*Here are a few posts and articles, I thought might be interesting, in light of the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. There are spoilers for Rogue One in this post, so if you have not seen the movie yet, skip the last half of this post, until you have.
me, any regular day, blogging: i hate how fanboys glorify vader as a badass because he’s really such a tragic character
me, in the theater, gripping my darth vader sippy cup and death star popcorn bowl, watching my boy literally brutally murder the good guys: *softly* Oh my god.
Rogue One Spoilers
Spoilers ahead: ye be warned.
Okay as much as I enjoyed this movie, and as RIGHT as I think they got a lot of things, and as pleased as I am with the character of Jyn Erso, there’s something we need to discuss.
In the entirety of the film, I count only six women with speaking roles. Six.
One is Princess Leia, who literally is on screen for about six seconds and whose line is only one word.
One is Lyra Erso, who is dead within the first five minutes of the film.
One is a rebel leader whose name I did not catch (not positive it’s even mentioned), and is only in the two scenes where the rebel leaders are discussing the war around the table.
One is one of the pilots in the attack at the end of the film. She has about four lines maximum and doesn’t survive very long.
One is Mon Mothma, who is very important, but again is only in a couple scenes.
The last one is Jyn, who I thought was really well-written, and I’m very pleased with her character overall.
It’s also important to note that only ONE of those women was a WOC.
So while this movie was led by a strong female character, to whom her squad listened and whose authority they did not question and whose romantic interests were not important….this movie was STRONGLY LACKING females. This movie did A LOT right. It really did, and I very much enjoyed it. But we’ve got a long way to go.
It’s inconvenient truth time.
Felicity Jones had the weakest performance in Rogue One. Like…it was not good. It was nearly impossible to connect with her as a character. There’s an emotional moment that relies on her ability to emote and the camera is focused on her face for an extended period and it just falls flat and even becomes awkward and uncomfortable to watch because she can’t sell it. All of the men of color in the film? Brilliant, heartfelt, emotional, strong performances.
Which got me thinking about The Force Awakens. While Daisy Ridley does a decent job for it being her first film, her acting performance is, frankly, mediocre and the weakest of almost everyone in the film. There are key moments in the film where the emotional translation and meaning isn’t clear because her facial expressions and ability to physically emote lack necessary nuance and depth. The men of color in the film? Again, brilliant, heartfelt, emotional, strong performances.
And what gets me is that Ridley got the role after like 3 months of auditions while John Boyega had to audition for 7 months and JJ Abrams had to have a come to Jesus moment with Disney execs because they were resistant to casting a Black man as the male lead.
I’m just struck by how all of this is a blatant example of how PoC have to be twice as good and work twice as hard as white folks to get half as far. And to add insult to injury, even with a comparatively weaker performance, Ridley still got more leading role offers post TFA than Boyega and well all know that Felicity Jones is gonna get more shine & opportunities than the men of color in the film. I’m just tired of white people building careers and getting accolades on mediocre performances and calling it progressive because they happen to women, meanwhile PoC are consistently excellent and continue to be ignored and sidelined.
The greatest accomplishment of Rogue One to me is the fact that it will forever change the way people will view the events of Episode 4, 5, and 6. And it will change it for the better.
What happens in Rogue One gives so much meaning to what happens in the original trilogy. Suddenly now the Rebellion is given the depth and complexity it never had. Vader and Tarkin are even more terrifying and sinister. And more than anything else, the destruction of the first Death Star and the eventual victory of the Rebellion in bringing about the fall of the Empire carries even more weight and becomes all the more satisfying because we saw the sacrifice it took for all of this to come to pass. The celebration on Endor will never be the same, because that happiness only exists because of Rogue One.
The original trilogy happened because one group of rebels took it upon themselves to not give up when everyone else did, and in doing so, gave the Rebellion the kick it needed to bring freedom to the galaxy.
Without Rogue One, there wouldn’t have been the original trilogy.
They had a new hope because Rogue One gave it to them.