Thanks to my old high school friend, John F., for pointing this out to me. Great summary of why Rogue One may be the best Star Wars film yet. The author is at pains, sometimes, to be sufficiently critical; maybe errs a bit much on heavy handed readings to get the critique he wants. Also, I think he misses how much the Force (Dào) has become a character in the films as much as any person–therefore the mystical is not as muted as he argues. But the piece does a really good job of pointing out all the real material conditions that make this film very important. Also makes a good use of Frederic Jameson’s notion of pastiche and nostalgia.
to a global culture fully immersed in media, it truly matters what shapes these stories take. Representation matters. Storytelling matters. And yes, Star Wars matters. Not just because a film like this gives millions of people of color around the globe heroic characters to recognize and identify with, or that it’s centered on a female protagonist whose actions and abilities aren’t defined by her parentage or her romantic relationships.
It matters most of all because the one idea the film really commits to is how these “star wars” aren’t about abstract collisions between mythic notions of good and evil.