Star Wars has always been a spiritual narrative to me. Deeply personal. (People who know me well enough would just associate me with either Star Wars or Game of Thrones.) A great many times I returned to the galaxy far far away when I needed someone to journey with me, especially at critical points in my life. Rogue One is no exception. The narrative comes at a point when I need it the most.
With that, just three things:
1. The Force engages you where you are at. You might not be part of the Jedi Order, but a relationship with the Force is possible, because the Force is all things. As Maz Kanata said in The Force Awakens: “I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing… It’s always been there. It will guide you.”
So when Chirrut delivers his now-iconic line, and pulls off a Denzel Washington Book of Eli stint throughout the film, know and believe that the Force is real and personal to those who listen and live in and with it.
That is essential. It changes the spiritual narrative of the Force with beings. Because Force-sensitive or not, whether or not he’s been activated by his function and exposure to the crystals that power the Jedi lightsabers (and the Death Star too), Chirrut believes in the Force. And the Force believed in him.
2. War is a terrible ordeal. We have been used to a battle between Light and Dark sides of the Force that we have come to believe that the Jedi can do no willful wrong. But it is not just the Jedi fighting the war. It is not just the Skywalkers. There are troops; there are foot soldiers. For the Empire, we have the story of Finn from The Force Awakens. And here in Rogue One, we have the story of Cassian Andor. And they, absent the cloak that makes them part of any Order, are committing crimes on behalf of the cause that the Jedi have philosophically perfected.
Even the good have to speak the language of the fight. And the language of war is messy. It drives everyone to the brink of becoming the very thing you want to fight.
But there are moments, those inspired moments of calling, that you’d know, deep in your gut, that all the sacrifices have been for that precisely. And whether you’ve been asleep, or avoidant, or being strategic, or committing terrible acts, you will feel the calling.
And you will respond to it. With all that you have. With all that you have left.
3. In a cause as great as the Rebellion, each has a role to play, and all roles entail sacrifice. Some fight as insiders, putting in holes that can be exploited. Some fight as frontline soldiers, invited to die in a heartbeat with honor. While some — they fight the long fight, creating their full identity and committing their entire lifetime to the cause.
As Marx said, there are conditions for change, but there is a moment for change. That means, we can never know when the moment will come; we will never know when the time is truly right. All we can do, is poke at the wall, as many times and as long as we can, until the wall falls. Until the moment of revolution truly comes.
And that is why, short game or long game alike, all rebellions formed by a just cause are built on hope.
I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.
Thank you, Rogue One. And yes, there was a scene that made me cry. Ugly cry. Damn monk pulling the lever.
UPDATES to this blog:
> Edited the earlier version wherein I missed the detail that this Rogue One Death Star is not the one for which many Bothans died. Thank you to Mike Juan for pointing it out 🙂