Liking the Empire has always seemed a little weird to me. Especially with the strong parallels drawn between it and Nazis. In light of the new films those lines are even more clearly drawn. With Hux basically Hitlering it up in episode seven they aren’t even playing like the empire aren’t space Nazis. The prequels try to humanize Vader, and succeed, especially if you take the animated series in to account. It’s a weird thing to want to do in some ways. Because Anakin is fictional it’s okay to make his motivations sympathetic. Of course telling tales of good Nazis isn’t exactly unheard of. It’s an interesting to think about. If you slap a coat of safety over something evil it becomes okay to emulate that evil, at least playfully.
The clone wars really muddles those waters with the clones being forced to do evil things with the inhibitor chip and genetic engineering. The very humanity of the clones is questionable in some ways since they are essentially looked at as disposable even by some of the Jedi. The clones are little more than a slave army. They don’t get the basic choice of what to do with their lives. It’s unethical to have created them at best, agreeing to use them no less so. Which makes me question how good the Jedi really are at heart. It’s a lot easier to enjoy Star Wars if you click off that thinky switch…
Some people thought I didn’t like Rogue One because I voiced some opinions on twitter about it, but I did enjoy it, just not the same way I enjoyed other SW media. It’s aa very different film tonally. It’s a war movie. Not as hardcore as some, but that’s what it is. Star Wars movies only graze the surface of the horrors of war, or the value of self sacrifice, most of the time. Even the Clone Wars cartoon only scratches the surface of those themes in the 8 or so seasons of it’s run. Rebels similarly skirts the edges of that stuff most of the time.
I’m certainly not against expanding the scope of Star Wars stories though. At the same time, it makes it harder to say who the intended audience is. Is it kids? I’m not sure I can say that of Rogue One. It’s walking a real fine line of what themes are acceptable for kids. Then again self sacrifice for a good cause is good, right? From a different point of view the rebels are terrorists. Of course in Star Wars the empire seems to know on some level that it is the bad guy. It doesn’t call the opposition terrorists, just rebels, which is a more positive word in our culture. If the empire really thought it was in the right it would paint the rebels as the evil, which naming them as thugs and terrorists would do.
Of course when you’re writing a space opera you don’t always think of stuff like that and someone has to come along later and kick you in the dick over it.