Disclaimer: this article may well be premature and is based as much on rumor and intuition as it is on fact.
The new Star Wars: Episode VII teaser trailer has just been released and the current controversy centers on John Boyega, an African-British actor who has a key role in the film. This however is a distraction, a ruse, a bait and switch, because there’s a greater issue at hand and that is the hyper-feminism that is about to “awaken” in the Star Wars universe.
The film is being directed by JJ Abrams, who came to fame as creator of the TV series Alias starring Jennifer Garner as part-time college girl, part-time super spy. George Lucas sold the franchise rights to Disney for an unholy sum and now JJ is the go-to guy for sci-fi after his apparent success with the Star Trek reboot. Personally, I think his direction of action sequences is generally pretty good but that’s about where my praise ends. As can be expected, he is well on-board with Hollywood’s progressive agenda, but how far can he go this time?
The Boyega blowback
“If you don’t like the new Star Wars, then you must be racist.”
Not only is the casting of Boyega being overplayed, I believe even the studio is pushing the fake controversy with message boards flooded with the topic. Even in the predominantly Euro-male demographic of sci-fi there’s never been any real issue with major black characters whether it be Samuel L Jackson, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Carl Weathers or Billy Dee Williams. They are all actors who fit their roles well and who weren’t only there for affirmative-action reasons.
“Hey don’t you think Black actors looked cooler with the moustache?” “I do brother”
The real trick being played is that Boyega won’t be playing the “Hero” at all—at best he will be a Han Solo/Lando style roguish helper. No, from all reports, the new Luke Skywalker “everyman” hero will be the character “Kira” played by Daisy Ridley. Yes, the new force wielding master-swordsman of the entire Universe is Miss Daisy.
“You’re not objectifying me are you?”
So why is this any kind of problem? There’s nothing wrong with female action heroes right?
Well guess what—this isn’t about “empowering women,” who don’t even buy into any of this themselves. After all, if things got hairy again in the Western world, guess who’d go back to being cannon-fodder and having to save the day? No, this is the usual attack on masculinity and the hero myth.
A timeless “galactic” tale?
Let us look at what Star Wars is and represents. Though I can’t say I was ever a “fanatic,” I could still appreciate the themes and visions contained in the epic adventure. We do know that one of the inspirations according to George Lucas was Joseph Campbell’s insights on mythology (e.g. The Hero with a Thousand Faces). In Campbell’s work, we learn of the primordial archetypes that have been used throughout history to represent various aspects of the human psyche and the individuals that embody them (e.g. the Hero, the Princess, the Betrayer, the Villain, the Rogue, The Wise Old Man, the Village Mother, the Witch, the Fallen etc.). We also learn that many of these stories follow timeless patterns—The Hero’s Journey—for very good reasons and that is why myths from every corner of the world share similarities.
The two, more direct cultural influences on the SW Universe would be the medieval cultures of Europe with its Orders of Knights, and Feudal Japan, particularly the Samurai codes of honor, the Master, and Apprentice. The original Star Wars: Episode IV plot was also adapted from Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” (1958) while a mix of Eastern and Western philosophies are used to create the mystical “Force” that spiritually bound its universe.
The medieval aspect of Holy warriors could also be extended through to Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East, which also had similar warrior classes filled with men who sacrificed their lives to protect their civilizations—or to conquer others if need be.
“Oh you didn’t know that all the great warriors of history were really women?”
The other practical building block is the millions of young men whose love for the SW Universe—thanks to its use of timeless mythology—is what made it the multi-billion dollar franchise it is today.
“I guess we’ll be dressing up as women at the next convention.”
What they are about to receive might be the ultimate betrayal. You can’t just change-up a primordial and timeless myth midstream, can you? It would be like gender-switching Ripley from Alien, or Katniss from The Hunger Games—suddenly they are very different experiences.
Social justice awakens…
So let’s look at some of the plot leaks. As I already mentioned, the new hero is a young female. Not only is Luke gender-switched, but the new Darth Vader (Evil Enforcer) is expected to be played by Gwendolyn Christie of Game of Thrones fame. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyongo will play a powerful Sith Witch.
“We’re running the whole universe now… get used to it chumps.”
The other prominent male character (who is not a geriatric), is played by Adam Driver, a young actor from the Southern states of the USA. In this film, he is heavily rumored to be the one of the force-wielding villains.
“At what point will I be killed off?”
The older male characters still involved like Luke and Han will all naturally be in retirement phases. Others like Max Von Sydow and Andy Serkis’ characters will be in the process of handing over the “baton of civilization” to our new female overlords.
Now don’t get me wrong—I really have no problem if studios want to put out this kind of fantasy. What’s ridiculous is that they expect the same “demographic” that gave rise to the Star Wars phenomenon to just lap up this “new” Universe where traditional masculine roles have been evaporated or subverted. They expect young males to bankroll a “myth” that puts them in the subservient position at best, or as the evil fossil at worst.
Today, Hollywood reaps a large share of their profits from international audiences. That has led to a more diverse casting couch in big films (which is natural) but guess what—most international cultures were also built on traditionalist and masculine ethics. The male audience in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia will all tend to have the same issues if their traditional gender roles are being attacked.
It’s not that this film (if it turns out as I suspect) should just be criticized, though that is good too—it should really also be avoided as much as one can manage. Without the millions of young men being conned into watching (funding) something that offers them very little as an archetypal myth—the studios will be forced to think carefully about the kind of propaganda they can get away with and what stories that can shove down our throats.
However if a sustained reaction does occur, things will get very interesting. They want you to focus on the “race” aspect which isn’t the real issue at all and can easily be dismissed, but the aggressive feminism overload can not. After all, most young men aren’t rushing to watch romantic comedies, so why would they watch this? Why not just watch Hunger Games instead for a teen-girl power fix? Why mess with the core Star Wars experience?
I will be surprised if it’s quite at the level I’m suggesting (let’s see what other plot details are leaked), but then again they probably think they can get away with it. Now maybe if the masculine characters are well written (e.g. Ra’s al Ghul “Liam Neeson” in Batman Begins or even Vincent “Tom Cruise” in Collateral), I could probably accept the rest of the social justice trash. At least those men had genuine, philosophical reasons for being the “bad guy” and that can provide some counter opinion (or balance) to the rest of the film’s subversion.
If we do actually get a hyper-feminist Star Wars, even more young males will turn away from film and television and stick with video games (and novels) where there is still some kind of freedom from the matriarchy.
As for the ambitious claim in this article’s title, well, given the massive orbit of the Star Wars universe (on par with gaming itself) and its traditional, mythological roots, any reaction to the feminist agenda might just explode into something bigger. We may in fact see another “force” awaken.