By Kyle B. Stiff
There have already been over one billion blog posts and YouTube vids in which big-brained types have methodically broken down what’s wrong with the new Star Wars movies. The world doesn’t need another in-depth analysis, so I won’t do that… but then again, what about some bullshit brainstorming about how the story could have gone differently? So that’s what this piece is about.
I’m not the first person to be confused about what the New Order even is, and why the battle at the end of Return of the Jedi seemingly had no effect on the galaxy. Did the Rebels forget to set up their Republic once again, and just remained guerilla fighters because they’d gotten used to it? And if the total defeat of the Imperials, including the loss of their leaders, their superweapon, and most of their big ships, really affected them so little, then shouldn’t they be acknowledged as the rightful rulers of the galaxy?
In any case, I think it would be interesting if the storyline reflected the times we live in now. The Rebels should have remade the Republic, but then their leaders should have inexplicably gone insane and spread propaganda about Imperials being everywhere. Anyone not on board with the new rulers would be declared “literally an Imperial stormtrooper” and been censored, thrown out of their job, doxxed, and un-personed. They could post images of Darth Vader on every planet, convinced that he somehow still lived, or was magically influencing people who were not progressive Rebels. While the Empire was anti-alien, the New Republic could move aliens onto human worlds in order to combat perceived anti-alien prejudice. The human leaders of the New Republic could even undergo surgery to make themselves look more alien, slowly turning into abominations that were neither human nor alien.
In this situation, instead of Luke turning into a titty-sucking cynic, we could have seen Leia become a villain. Lots of people have already noticed that extreme progressive views destroy beauty, so it would be interesting to see Leia, the beautiful space princess of the original trilogy, turn into a surgically modified proto-alien monstrosity. Her brother Luke, on the other hand, instead of running away because he almost killed a kid who was having a bad dream, would instead run away simply because he saw the horrible effect of everyone’s mind being controlled by something he didn’t understand, and he was genuinely afraid that his own mind would be consumed as well. Imagine a monk choosing to live far from civilization because he doesn’t understand the benefits of Antifa or Gillette ads or why the green piggy guards from Jabba’s Palace were being pushed into human resources positions in the New Republic. Remember that Luke was basically trained as an assassin by Yoda, but in this instance, he would be facing a monster that couldn’t be defeated with a lightsaber, a monster so insidious it had somehow replaced his own sister.
Or, as terrible as it sounds, it might be interesting for Luke to realize that he will be forced to do what Yoda trained him to do so long ago: Kill a member of his own family for political reasons. How fucked up is that!? It would probably be so disturbing to him, on such a deep and fundamental level, that he would seek the solace of an alien titty because what else does he have???
I’ve always been confused by this character. It was never explained why he had a bout of conscience and could no longer serve the New Order. If the Empire used clones for stormtroopers, it would have been interesting if the New Order used something even more disturbing, like victims of MK ULTRA who had been turned into suicidal fanatics. Imagine soldiers who had their core humanity ruined or buried under layers of traumatic programming. Maybe Finn’s programming was incorrectly administered, making him the odd man out. Or maybe joining the Rebels is a part of his programming, and he doesn’t even know it. Or maybe his programming was corrupted, so he left the New Order and joined the Rebellion, but he found the Rebels so ideologically repulsive that he couldn’t help but constantly argue with them, shouting, “Palpatine did nothing wrong!” and ruining every friendship.
Otherwise he’s kind of forgettable, isn’t he?
I’m old enough to remember a time when nerds were routinely rounded up, fitted with explosive collars, and hunted on live tv. No memorials commemorate this because nobody gave a shit about nerds in the 80s. Times are different now, and nerd culture is mainstream. However, let’s be real… times haven’t changed that much. Deep down, women don’t care about Star Wars, they just tolerate it because they don’t want us to feel like idiots for getting into fights over why Qui-Gon Jinn didn’t disappear when he got lightsabered in his gutworks. The wheels of culture are spinning hard to bring women into sci-fi, but they will never appreciate my life-size Lando Calrissian body pillow or my ability to repeat a lot of the alien dialogue from Return of the Jedi, which I can do despite the fact that it’s been many years since I’ve seen it. (If you’re curious, I can even replicate the weird voice modulation they used when Leia was pretending to be an alien bounty hunter.)
The desire for “strong” female protagonists is powerful in everyone except audiences (they just want a good story). Progressive types like to ignore the history of interesting female characters in sci-fi and fantasy and are pushing for Mary Sue types who are good at everything and have no personality. This is how we get characters like Rey, but apparently it could have been worse. Captain Marvel is slated to be the Alpha Mary Sue, the ultimate Mary Sue of which all other Mary Sues are mere reflections, or maybe harbingers of the prophecied Mary Sue Prime who is destined to defeat Thanos.
Anyway, Rey may be bland, but she actually fits pretty well within my idea of the New Republic becoming a totalitarian left-wing nightmare, because her absolute mastery of everything would make her a pretty scary villain. Imagine her gaze, so lacking in doubt because her mind is free of all complication, and now turn the intensity up to eleven after she gets indoctrinated by Empress Leia. What Vader was to Emperor Palpatine, the brutal feminazi Rey could be for Empress Leia, going beyond simply Not-Needing-a-Man and outright killing supposed “like literal stormtroopers” without hesitation (or, from the good guys’ perspective, massacring civilians who commit thoughtcrimes and facecrimes). Imagine if she wore a perfectly clean white uniform and even had a halo of light shining around her, because she was just that pure in her progressive beliefs. She could even use a blue lightsaber, traditional among good guys, or hell she could have a unique golden lightsaber.
In this situation, Kylo Ren’s emo sensibilities would seem like a breath of fresh air, but still be meme-worthy. He’s the kid nobody sat with during lunch, but he’s trapped in a football player’s body. He could very well be the Jedi equivalent of the emotion felt by K from Blade Runner 2049 when he saw his girl in hologram form, lost to him forever, taken out of the home and reduced to a corporate product that anyone could buy. Hell, a Jedi master tried to kill him in his sleep; he was made for tragedy and self-doubt. In some sense, he’s the perfect hero for a dystopian sci-fi story about a civilization destroying itself via endless revolution. Luke used to dream of visiting new worlds, but Kylo could stare at his grandfather’s mask and dream of going back to a world that possibly never existed.
It would be interesting to see Luke and Kylo team up in episode 9 rather than shrugging off the conflict between them. Instead of one of them nearly getting bisected while taking a nap and the other one pushing his soul out of his anus so he could get sassy with someone a thousand light-years away, what if they were forced to work together to take out Empress Leia and Mary-Sue Rey? The banter would be legendary! One of them is an alien milk fetish freak who’s “too old for this shit” and the other one is absolutely convinced that the world was better when Vader was goose-stepping over Ewok and Jawa corpses. “They take our jobs,” Kylo Ren would yell at Luke, “and they drive down wages and the crime rate skyrockets!” Meanwhile Luke, ancient boomer that he is, would be like, “It doesn’t matter if they come in *legally*!” and Chewbacca would be like “UwaaWaaAaAaa!” which is pretty standard except in this movie, he would be completely shaved, looking like a mutated hairless possum and trying to pass for human so Kylo Ren wouldn’t freak out about having to team up with an alien.
Anyway, Star Wars Episode 9: Right-Wing Traditional Jedi Values would be impossible to write in a lefty environment where sci-fi is generally seen as “problematic”, but it’s fun to speculate about an alternate universe where the mainstream can be challenged. As the noose tightens and we learn to watch what we say, we can always dream of a world where the human spirit isn’t dying from a terminal mind virus.