Star Wars Is Once Again at the Forefront of the Culture Wars

Mark Eades/The Orange County Register via AP

It seems we can't get away from Star Wars being part of the culture wars. How long ago was it that Disney fired Gina Carano? Her lawsuit is still ongoing.

As you've probably heard, there has been a lot of criticism of the newest Star Wars show The Acolyte. Ed has been posting reviews in the headlines for weeks. I've been watching it myself and the critics are right. It's not a good show for reasons I'll get to below.


As always seems to be the case these days, criticism of these shows is quickly taken as a sign of a "toxic fandom" who are accused of racism, sexism and other character flaws. Here's the feminist site The Mary Sue bashing critics three weeks ago.

It has been a thing in this fan base, fueled by angry men behind their keyboards who rarely show their actual faces online. They are pushed to do so by their own bigotry and hatred, and it doesn’t really make sense that so-called “fans” of Star Wars have that in their hearts. The entire franchise is about fighting against the oppressors, and yet, here we are.

Yes, here we are. Again. We've done this with the Star Wars sequels (especially The Last Jedi) and we've done it with some of the Disney Marvel shows. And we've done it with the all-girl Ghostbusters reboot and many others. Now it's time to make The Acolyte another battle in the war. Today the main star of the new show posted a video responding to her critics.

You can read the lyrics but basically she's upset that critics have pulled up this clip from a 2018 interview about a previous film and labeled her (or the show) woke.


That interview was about a film I never saw called "The Hate You Give" which (based on trailers) looked like it was intended to be BLM the Movie. To be fair to her, I don't think she was wrong about the goal of that film. Her comment that "white people crying was the goal" wasn't meant in a stick-in-the-eye sort of way, at least I don't think it was. She was saying that the goal was to make a white audience feel deep empathy for the black characters. That's something that a lot of movies have done over the years. The John Grisham film A Time to Kill comes to mind.

So I'm with her up to a point, but if her main problem was that people misunderstood that old clip, I'm not sure the dance video helps. Because now it seems like she really isn't looking for empathy so much as she's telling people to F the F off. I don't know, maybe she's gotten some really ugly, racist messages from some people and that's who this is aimed at but what about all the people who just think the show is bad? It would be so much easier if all of them were racists, but that's just not the case.

The Acolyte should stand or fall on its own and having seen it I can say that it really isn't very good. Its failures aren't the fault of this actress but of the writers who have really made a hash of it in a number of ways in just four episodes (that's all that have been released as of today). Let me just point out in an overview what we've seen so far:

  • In the beginning of the first episode we see the main character kill a Jedi with a knife as the Jedi is using the force to save the life of a bystander with a child. At this point, with no other backstory, we are predisposed to strongly dislike this person who is clearly bent on revenge.
  • In episode two (I think?) the same villain tries to kill another Jedi who exists inside a force bubble. Having failed to kill him with knives she returns and convinces him to drink poison on the grounds that he knows deep down he deserves to die for what he did to her and her people.
  • In episode three we finally learn what the Jedi did to her. And the answer is that they showed up on a planet where she and her twin were the only children living with a coven of lesbian space witches. The Jedi tested her and her twin sister for force powers. They then agreed to take her sister with them after said sister decided she wanted to go with them and become a Jedi.
  • In response, the bad sister sets their home on fire in an attempt to kill her twin and apparently kills all of the lesbian space witches in the ensuing conflagration.
  • In episode four, the main character has one more Jedi to kill (one of the four who was present when she burned down her own home) but she suddenly decides her lifetime of vengeance makes no sense and she's going to turn herself in and go to prison. Why does she suddenly decide this? Because she now knows her long lost sister is alive. The same sister she tried to kill as a child.

She's literally killing Jedi because she tried to kill her sister and instead killed her own family. As far as we can tell four episodes in, she's seeking revenge for something that was entirely her fault. As a story it makes no sense at all. 

In fact, there has to be more to it. I predict that in some future episode we're going to be shown that either a) the Jedi actually killed her parents or b) maybe a Sith (evil Jedi) killed them and blamed it on the Jedi. But if the latter is true, why did the Jedi in episode 2 agree to drink poison? Clearly he'd done something terrible. 

The whole show feels like a badly written mystery in which the only real goal is to mislead the audience so they never really know what's happening or why. It's not enjoyable at all.

Stepping back a bit, why are the writer(s) seemingly working so hard to make the Jedi the villains here? Up to now it has been pretty clear that in the Star Wars universe there are good Jedi and evil Sith. We've had 9 movies going back to 1977 based on that. Do we really need a show whose entire point seems to be that some Jedi are actually monsters who carried out massacres? Is the whole point of this that no one is really good? And if so, has anyone involved seen Star Wars?

As is often the case, the culture wars boil down to progressives trying to force their views on a bunch of people who were just looking for some light entertainment. We'll apparently never be done with Disney using our childhood favorites to tell us we're wrong about everything. It makes for bad movies and even worse television.


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