Star Wars / The Last Jedi – A New Hope

On Monday we all went to see the latest STAR WARS film, Episode 8, THE LAST JEDI. I can tell you this much without spoiling the film: this last episode ends the way the first episode began.
Let me try to explain.

In 1977 we were there for the first showing of the film in Toronto. We walked out of the theatre changed. We experienced something we had never experienced before— and the film really lived upto it’s namesake, A NEW HOPE. That film gave us a new hope. Why? How?

Because in 1977 we were boxed in by our limited horizons. We couldn’t see the future yet, because nobody had ever been able to film it like George Lucas. Star Wars changed all that. For the first time we saw the big picture.

And what is the big picture? It’s that the battle has always been and looks like it always will be—good against evil. All the characters involved in the Empire are selfish, self-centered, uncaring, unflinching, misanthropic megalomaniacs. The Imperial Storm Troopers and the toadies who surround the Emperor are all of the same ilk: they serve the Emperor because he has all the power. Nothing ever changes. In this world, weak people congregate around strong leadership because it’s good for business, it’s great to be on the winning side, it’s bad to hang with a bunch of losers.
Throughout history the guys with the guns and the money have always gotten a large following. But what’s missing in history, in business, in finance, in government— in every sphere of human life— is that we should not, must not serve EVIL, however powerful and popular it is.

The Empire is evil. It is based on the premise that certain powerful people have a right to rule over others. So they build big machines and horrendous weapons like the Death Star to intimidate all the citizens of the Galaxy into joining with them.

That’s why STAR WARS is so popular. Deep in every heart is the personal desire to join the Rebellion. The most profound scene in this latest film is the last one— that little boy with the broomstick is every one of us who feel it is RIGHT to serve RIGHT and wrong to serve wrong. I suspect that MOST people would join the Resistance (and I’m talking about the resistance against evil) if they were given the chance. Why? Because intrinsically, foundationally, deep in the human heart, there is this tremendous human desire to overcome evil forever.

That’s why I write this ANALOGYMAN post today, four nights before Christmas. Because STAR  WARS and Christianity and Christmas are very much related. All three are principally focused on the universal problem of good and evil. Most people don’t know this. That’s why I’ve posted dozens of film analogies on the ANALOGYMAN site. You really ought to take some time over the Christmasholidays to check them out.

But why did I say this last episode ends the way the first episode began ? Because the first episode features Princess Leia sending her message of distress— “help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” — and the last episode ends with the resistance defeated and in disarray and apparently all hope gone. AND YET we sense something extraordinary. At times like this, we all discover that in every human heart lurks the knowledge that evil will never win, can never win, not while there is a resistance, not while there is good. Good must triumph over evil.

Of course, such talk is bold talk coming from those of us brandishing broomsticks. On what basis does our resistance have any hope or throw any weight? The specter of eternal WAR throughout the galaxy for all time (the basic premise behind Battlestar Galactica and STAR WARS) remains the perennial theme precisely because most people have never read the book which provides the basis for our hope and our resistance to evil.

The Bible is the only book which clearly defines both the enemy and the remedy. The Bible is the only book which gives us genuine hope that one day evil will be completely destroyed.

One of my favorite new Christmas carols is the opening song, “IF I CANNOT BRING YOU COMFORT” from the movie TOYS

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have and so
We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year.

Right now, with the state of the world the way it is, it’s difficult to send out a comforting message to the whole world. There’s just too much heartache and heartbreak and need. If you don’t believe this, listen to Jon Anderson’s version of O HOLY NIGHT:



So I might not be able to bring you COMFORT, but I can certainly bring you hope. Why? Because I know something that seems to have become the best-kept secret of the 21 st Century— that this “Jesus” which Christians make such a fuss about at Christmastime has already delivered the decisive blow that will lead to the destruction of The Empire. The whole purpose of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection was to destroy the “last enemy” of all life— “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1Corinthians 15:26) Death is the enemy that stalks all life. Death. And who is the prince of death? The great archetype of all evil villains, the father of all lies, the creature the Bible calls Satan, the Devil.

So when you sit on the edge of your seat hoping that Luke Skywalker will finally stop the evil Emperor in his tracks, remember that Jesus Christ already started the process 2000 years ago and will soon be returning to finish the job. Life really is good against evil, right against wrong, the good guys against the bad guys.

One of the most inspiring hymns in the Christian arsenal has these lines:

This little child so few days old
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold
And in this weak, disarméd wise
The gates of Hell he will surprise.

That Baby born in that lowly manger is the Prince of Peace who will one day soon set things to rights. So you there with the broomstick and the desire to fight back, take heart and take hold of Christ— who, in the final analysis, if all literary license can be taken to it’s final conclusion— really is the Last Jedi… and the saga of Star Wars is really a powerful analogy of the fight of good against evil… and the greatest hope of all is that in the end, the good side wins.