Star Wars – A Cry For Redemption

The Star Wars galaxy cries out for redemption.

By redemption I mean a state in which everything is as it should be, and stably so: evil and darkness should not have the possibility to creep back in.

One might think such a state has been reached by the end of Episode VI, when the Rebels rollick with the Ewoks over the defeat of the Empire, Luke is happy, as is his newfound sister Leia with her lover Han Solo; and even Anakin Skywalker a.k.a. Darth Vader, outsmiles his two other Force ghost companions, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

But by Episode VII we are back with an aspiring Empire 2.0 (the First Order) as well as an aspiring Darth Vader 2.0 (Kylo Ren).

Is redemption accomplished by Rey in Episode IX? She has destroyed (let’s hope) Darth Sidious once and for all. So this embodiment of malice that comes as close as it gets (if such a thing is even conceptually possible) to an incarnated Platonic form of evil is out of the way. Could not a new Palpatine rise? If the first one, an aristocrat from as beautiful a world as Naboo could, why not? And what of the crime syndicates? What of crooked banks and trade federations? Of opportunistic arms dealers? The list could go on.

Other questions also remain open. For example, and this moved me particularly deeply when I watched the finale of “Clone Wars”, what is the destiny of the clones? Those brave soldiers and good friends every watcher of the series must have taken into his heart; those human beings bred for one purpose, elevated to real dignity by the Jedi, bereaved of their free will by Palpatine and abused as killer machines: my heart cries out “Somebody redeem them”, someone “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).

We get a glimpse of what it could mean to be redeemed in the framework of the Star Wars universe when we look at those Jedi who reappear as Force ghosts. But this is apparently not open to all, but subject to conditions, as we learn from Yoda’s spiritual journey in Clone Wars[1]. A redemption open only some Force wielders is not really an ultimate redemption. The others have to go about their business on this side of the Force – but to what end? Will there ever be a final state of “good life”, of bliss? If not, what use was and is it all along to fight valiantly? – and note, not just for local peace and stability. To that end, all means are in principle admissible, but the Jedi and many other staunchly deny this. Moreover, a wholly ‘this-worldly’ end doesn’t care for transcendent values; but many protagonists in the Star Wars universe do (e.g. Satine or Ahsoka in Clone Wars). Indeed, if those adorable characters were right in loving righteousness more than their own lives, must they not be utterly dismayed upon the realization that their bravery is swallowed up by the endless re-cycling of good and evil (provided those terms make sense at all)?

C.S. Lewis once wisely said: “If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world.”

[1] Season 6, episodes 11-13

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