Kylo Ren, the angry posterchild of the First Order.
Image: Disney/Lucasfilm

Okay, we get they’re bad, but what do they actually believe? Beyond thinking that the Empire rules, I mean.

In an excellent video essay, creator Lindsay Ellis dives deep into that question, looking through the way the Star Wars films depict the fascist ideologies of the Empire and the First Order, interrogating if there’s any deeper ideology to be gleamed, and whether or not that actually even matters.

Advertisement

What I really admire about this video is the way it deftly mixes a real-world education on fascist ideology with a strong aesthetic primer on the way Star Wars draws inspiration from fascist art in depicting their baddies, and how it’s still broadly generous in its take on the franchise. It never gets into “and that’s bad,” territory, acknowledging that there can be space to question these depictions without necessarily condeming them. It’s smart, even-handed, fascinating criticism from one of YouTube’s best critics.

It’s worth the time, especially on a chill weekend. Check it out below.

Advertisement