Rogue One and the Star Wars Meta-Narrative
[MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE BELOW THE CUT]
We’ve been having an on-going conversation in YA lit lately about world-building, politics, colonialism, and navigating harmful meta-narratives of power. It was all I could think of for an hour after seeing Rogue One last night. (When I wasn’t thinking about how devastating this movie would have been to me as a kid. ;___; )
First of all, let’s get this out of the way: I liked the movie, for the most part. The second half in particular was very exhilarating and well done, with regards to action and emotional resonance. If the main character, Jyn, was a little too free of characterization, a little too audience-insert with no discernible motivation for most of the movie, the rest of the posse made up for it. They were all men, alas, but all men of color, which is amazing, and for the most part quickly and succinctly characterized (for better or worse stereotype in a few cases.) It’s the most diverse Star Wars movie yet, though the Rebels in power are still white and the only WOC is barely on screen and her political position is not exactly aligned with the Heroes.
So I liked it, on the level of story and plot and character (mostly).
Looking at the meta narrative means pulling your POV as a reader/viewer/critic back to look at the building blocks, the tropes and archetypes, and the political structure of the work with regards to the greater puzzle of the culture’s power structure and the power dynamics the work is in conversation with (within its own world/series and external works).
[spoilers and discussion of specific meta-narrative below the cut]