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The new Star Wars movies start where, forty years ago, the original began. Despite the triumph at the end of Return of the Jedi, the political situation in the Star Wars universe has reverted to its previous state. The Empire is now the First Order, the Rebellion is now the Resistance, Palpatine is Snoke, and there are no meaningful differences between the originals and their replacements. Many viewers have complained about the stasis, and indeed it is disappointing. But a Straussian esoteric reading will reveal that it serves a purpose.
Our heroes avoid mentioning the political stagnation—probably because it is decisive evidence of their failure. Luke, Leia, and the other protagonists of the original trilogy continue to see their stories as central to the universe, even though they have accomplished nothing. Rather than restoring balance and galactic order, they have produced a generation of orphans, stuck fighting their supposed leaders’ battles all over again. And no wonder the leaders are no help—they have never even read their own sacred texts, and they abandon their commitments as soon as they face failure.
Course - Meta-commentary - Failures - Baby - Boomers
This, of course, is a sociopolitical meta-commentary on the failures of the baby boomers. The original Star Wars films (Episodes IV-VI) celebrated the revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s, which the boomers believed had led to a more peaceful, enlightened, and improved universe. The same narrative was repackaged for a new generation in the 1990s, with cosmetic tweaks. And then there were the prequels. But now, in the 2010s, the failures of the revolutionaries can no longer be obscured.
Kylo Ren, our new villain, is the only character to draw attention to these galactic defects: He wants to sweep away the failures of the previous generations and start afresh. “Let the past die,” he says. “Kill it, if you have to.” Kylo...
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