“I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.” Han Solo spoke those skeptical words in the original Star Wars. Once a firm non-believer, Solo would come around by the time of Episode VII. “Crazy thing is… it’s true. The Force. The Jedi… All of it… It’s all true.” Though it was once the heart of the franchise, recent productions have shied away from focusing on what binds the universe together. That begs the question: Does Star Wars still need the Force?
A recent Slate article argues that no, the franchise does not need to rely on the Force as a central theme any longer. The piece cites as authority for its position Star Wars Resistance, and both anthology “Star Wars Story” films, Rogue One and Solo. Admittedly, Resistance barely even references the Force at all. But to say that the show, or the referenced films, proves that it’s no longer integral to future Star Wars storytelling? As Luke says “every word of what you just said, is wrong.”
The Force Remains Central to Star Wars
First and foremost, the article’s reliance on Rogue One to support its theory is decidedly misplaced. The Force runs to the very core of the film. Jedha is Jedi holy ground, steeped in the “ancient religion.” The Guardians of the Whills were the protectors of the very temple in which Jedi practiced the mystical art. Chirrut Imwe is as true a believer as they come. Sure, the movie’s novelization references a separate martial art as a basis Chirrut’s calm demeanor. However, that complete ignores Chirrut’s repeated mantra: “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.”
Keep in mind also that, like Rogue One, Star Wars Resistance is merely a part of the overall saga. In fact, it runs directly into the events of Episode VII, and will continue beyond the events The Last Jedi. Let’s not forget what the overarching, and at times overhanded, central theme of the sequel trilogy really is. The fact that the Force hasn’t been a central theme to Resistance yet doesn’t mean that it won’t be a factor in Season Two.
Even Han Solo Believes, Deep Down
Likewise, relying on Solo is equally misplaced. Remember the words with which I began this article. Han was a skeptic… initially. But to say he was a complete skeptic? Nah. If he was, he wouldn’t cling to a pair of lucky dice the way he does. It’s one thing for Han to claim he controls his own destiny. To the contrary, his actions in possessing the dice suggest otherwise. Han my call it luck, but he still believes in something that plays a role in his fate.
“Its energy surrounds us and binds us… You must feel the Force around you, here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere….” Yoda understood that better than perhaps any Jedi. We may not see it in every aspect of the franchise, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, central to everything that is Star Wars.
What do you think?