Friday, June 21, 2024

I never would have thought that shades of gray was a Star Wars thing until recent times.

When I was in college and playing the West End Games version of Star Wars (it was a lot of fun), I would explain to the uninitiated a few ingredients that are essential to any Star Wars tale. The first of these is that it is a story of good versus evil. I'd reiterate that there are "no shades of gray" in Star Wars. You are either just really good or you are the most evil thing that has ever existed. The second thing that I would tell people is that, in Star Wars, things like capital ships are enormous. Scale is exceptionally important. So you want things to be so big that when they are in orbit around a planet, they create an eclipse. That's just a "rule of thumb."

So here I am in 2024, and none of those things I used to tell players in my Star Wars games make any sense anymore. Star Wars now is about moral and ethical discussions. It's an infatuation with "the gray" in everything. On one hand, I think that it is good for Jedi characters to be fully realized people and not just cookie cutter good guys. It's also excellent for the Sith to have motivations for what leads them down that path or to point out things that they care about that drive their actions.

However, at the end of the day, I have a difficult time reconciling modern Star Wars with what I used to believe about it. I used to believe that Star Wars existed in a universe in which there is a Light Side of the Force and a Dark Side of the Force. The Dark Side was spoken of in terms of aggression, selfishness, hatred, a thirst for power, and general bad feelings. A fall to the Dark Side was considered a tragedy and a fallen Sith finding their way to the Light Side was called a "redemption arc."

But in 2024? Things are a lot different. In 2024, Jedi can be complete and utter assholes. A Dark Side user can be a hero because they are an assassin that gets rid of problematic Force users who profess outward virtue but did a lot of terrible things that they kept secret. There's lots of projection that the characters who are (by definition) good are actually very bad and do terrible things. And now we have a group of characters who are by definition bad (they are literally villains) who have really good points and are actually good?

Anyway, all of these complaints about the latest iteration of Star Wars, which is called The Acolyte, don't make me want to stop watching. It's a gorgeous show, and I think I just like watching Star Wars characters interact on screen. It's also interesting to see Jedi as galactic peacekeepers who are so overpowered relative to the average person that they rarely ever need to use their weapons. Instead they all seem to know kung-fu. Maybe this is a nod to the "style" over "blunt tools" that Obi-Wan once spoke about to Luke Skywalker regarding the elegance of the lightsaber. In any event, its entertaining. I just am continuously surprised by what I'm seeing and wonder how I could have gotten the "Star Wars formula" so wrong.


  1. It would be hard for pure good and pure evil to last 47 years. Some gray is going to have to slip in there over time.

  2. The problem with anyone gaining power, even the "good guys", is that at some point, it becomes about keeping the power. And, for the Dark Side to have gained an Empire, the Light Side must have done something really, really wrong. I am so behind on all things Star Wars, I may never catch up.


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