The Lost Message of Star Wars: Acceptance
Every time I watch Star Wars, or read a Star Wars book, or a play a game like Battlefront or KoToR, I’m always amazed by one simple thing – maybe it’s not that simple, now that I think of it.
Star Wars (any and all films, media) has a basic assumption about the galaxy and intelligence life within it: They can get along, mostly.
Think really hard on this. When I watch the scene in Jabba’s Palace or the cantina from A New Hope, I wonder how these myriad alien species are able to stand in each other’s presence. The ability to hide your revulsion at the bioforms of some of these creatures would make you a born diplomat. Think about how a Gamorrean’s breath smells. Or what about flatulence from a Hutt like Jabba, whose diet consists of live frog-things and apparently opium or some similar spice. Imagine the scents and aromas from non-air-breathing aliens ( I don’t know – maybe methane breathers fart oxygen). Imagine the scent of wet Wookie fur.
Scent is just one thing – what about customs and habits, cultural ticks that might be bizarre or uncomfortable. How about the questionable diet of the Quarren and Mon Calamari?
In a galaxy with so many intelligent species, so many very different cultures, technologies and political systems, hive intelligences, strange and disgusting bioforms, it is a miracle that there’s a Galactic Republic at all.
For those who don’t know, the language of Star Wars is galactic basic. Not all species can speak it, but most can understand it. Again, a magical assumption. But trade languages have a way of proliferating, so there it is.
The Galactic Republic has stood for thousands of years – not war free, but the impression we’re given is that for the most part, most cultures are cool with the idea of a democratically established and oriented government.
For that to happen, there’s a measure of acceptance – it can be called nothing else – that has to be not commonplace, but standard issue among the species of the galaxy.
This acceptance is much more than tolerance. To do business with someone across town, you have to have trust. To do business with an entity on the other side of the ocean, you tend to have a lot of safety checks in place, contracts, non-compete, non-disclosure agreements, the works. Imagine doing business with beings from another world? How could you enforce the day-to-day rules? What if their cultural perception/view of commerce is wildly different than yours?
Clearly the unilateral acceptance of sentient beings is the basis of the entire Galactic Republic.
While the Empire, and now their antecedents the First Order (which, oddly, like the Third Reich, seem to be bad at counting) appear as very heavy handed metaphors for racism and fascism, the message is profound: a single xenophobic species is the enemy of all that is good and right.
We applaud Star Wars for its technology driven filmmaking, the franchise, the licensing, and the stories of adventure and space opera. But distilled to its core – the message of Star Wars is acceptance – and how wrong the opposite is.
Again and again, we see the entire galaxy rise up to combat the mono-cultural dreams of a cultish human sect.