Screenshots taken from Official Trailer
Written By Aaron Di Placido, Australia
(This review contains some spoilers.)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is leaving fans heavily divided because of its reintroduction of one of its most infamous characters into the Star War’s universe. After the events that unfolded in 2017’s The Last Jedi where main villain, Supreme Leader Snoke, was killed off in spectacular style, many fans were left frustrated with how the rest of the trilogy would pan out. Many are now seeing this reintroduction of a former crucial Star Wars character as a last-ditch effort to save the franchise, possibly undoing characters’ story arcs from the original trilogy.
Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Whilst the film suffers from trying so hard to undo past events in films before it, this final installment, directed by JJ Abrams, still managed to effectively retain the “Star Wars” trademark, capturing the magic the series is renowned for, with a vast array of new worlds, characters, and action set-pieces.
The main plotline of this movie centers on Rey’s lineage. She is someone who has for the past two films been questioning who she is, why she is powerful in the force, and whether her destiny is ever going to make sense once she discovers where she comes from. Upon finding out that her lineage comes from one of the most villainous characters in the Star War’s universe, she immediately goes into a state of denial. From denial, she becomes rage-filled and almost commits a grievous act. But as with all previous instalments, evil does not have the last say.
What an incredible scenario, that despite Rey’s connection to this darker force, she was eventually able to overcome evil with good. This scenario is made even more incredible when we think about how it can relate to our own lives. Where do we come from? What if we are ashamed of our lineage? Can we fight our “nature” and win?
When Where You Come From, Challenges Who You Are
As Rey soon discovers, it is her past ties with her grandfather that has been consistently challenging her training to become a Jedi. She has roots embedded into darker skills and abilities. She almost can’t escape her past, despite her will to push forward into the light. Even her First Order adversary, Kylo Ren, senses it, telling her in one encounter, “The dark side is in our nature. Surrender to it.”
Rey’s struggle to reconcile her dark lineage with her desire to be “good” and embrace the light side of the force, parallels our journey as Christians. God calls us to live in a certain way, yet our innate sinful nature, as well as where we come from, and what we learned growing up could hinder us from progressing in His plan. Like it or not, our experiences and our parents’ expectations can have a massive influence on the decisions we make in our lives, and be huge determinants in whether or not we go forward with what God has called us to do.
Reflecting on the movie, I realized how much I could relate to Rey’s situation, and how I at times have felt like her in her time of desperation.
I have always been quick to anger and fast to judge. In a recent conversation with my Dad, he too acknowledged that this was something he had struggled with when he was my age. Along with this, I did often feel a weight of expectation on myself growing up, whether it be on the sporting field or in school. Though it was just my parents wanting to see me succeed and be the best I could be in all things, their influence and expectations determined major decisions in my own life, and I found myself exhibiting their traits and thinking more about what they would want than what God wanted me to do.
Approach The Father Of All
So what do we do when we see traits of our ancestors we don’t agree with in ourselves or find ourselves overwhelmed by their expectations?
We approach our heavenly father.
Like how Rey searched inside her heart and drew courage and strength from the light-side of the force that she had accepted in her heart, we too can do the same. Accepting Christ into our hearts, and asking for God’s help to change is the first step in breaking free from the control of our past experiences and parents’ expectations. It was only when Rey recognized that it wasn’t where she came from that determined who she was, but what she had accepted in her heart as truth, that she was able to overcome her grandfather’s hold.
Even director, JJ Abrams himself, acknowledged that one of the major themes of the movie was on how our bloodline doesn’t have the final say. In one Q&A session, he said,
“One of the themes of the movie is that anyone can be anything regardless of where you’re from. I don’t know if it resonates for everyone, but I think there are quite a few people who appreciate that idea of not coming from a place that you’re particularly excited about or proud of. Though I completely understand ‘you’re nobody’ is a devastating thing, to me the more painful, the more shocking thing was ‘you’re from the worst possible place.’ And is your destiny, is that thing that you feel, that you know is part of you, somehow, that you’re haunted by, is that your destiny? The idea that choices — there are things more powerful than blood, as Luke says. That feeling was an important thing to convey for us.”
When we fully surrender ourselves to God and allow Him to take His place in our heart, His spirit transforms our way of thinking. Through time, He shows us that we are worthy, and that we are called children of God, giving us the assurance and strength to overcome expectations of others and helping us only seek the validation of God. Don’t get me wrong, it is still important to honor our parents (Colossians 3:20), but this should never get in the way of seeking Christ and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
It is such a humbling and beautiful vision to be called a child of God, to be called in His own image (Genesis 1:27). This is what I am reminded of, whenever I struggle with my temper— recognizing that I don’t want that to carry on in my future and that because of God I am set free. Despite our biological lineage, our spiritual lineage connects straight to God and when we desire to do what is right, it is God we will find.
Read the review on Star Wars: The Last Jedi here.