It May Be an Accident, but ‘Rogue One’ Is the Most Politically Relevant Movie of the Year

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

As our prayers go out to Carrie Fisher, the dark urgency of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” only escalates with each passing day. It’s a transporting fluke — one of those rare movies that hits theaters with a timing that’s nearly karmic. Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” to name one other example, came out two months after the Oct. 19, 1987, stock-market crash, and it seemed to channel all the greed and house-of-cards financial chicanery that caused the crash to happen. But, of course, the film was shot many months before the market plunged. Stone, with his conspiratorial feelers, had tapped into something hovering in the zeitgeist. “Rogue One” has its finger on the pulse in a comparable way — and that’s a real surprise, since the “Star Wars” films, apart from a few throwaway knocks on President George W. Bush, have never existed inside the arena of topicality. Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, claims that there are “no political statements” in “Rogue One.” The funny thing is, I believe him entirely. “Rogue One” wasn’t designed to be intensely political. It just turned out that way.

The “Star Wars” universe has long been a narcotic alternative to the real world. When the original George Lucas film came out in May 1977, it was several years after Watergate, and Richard Nixon was still so demonized (oh, for the days when he looked like the Antichrist!) that any reference to Nixon in a movie inevitably provoked hisses and boos from the audience — the same response that ritually greeted Darth Vader. But I don’t remember anyone ever suggesting that Darth Vader was some sort of Nixonian power figure, and no one ever tried to link Luke Skywalker and his fellow Rebels to the spirit of the counterculture. To do so would have seemed insane, since “Star Wars” was a one-movie counter-counterculture, rooted in the mystical shiny new Force of technology. The film created its own cosmic hermetic sci-fi zap-o-sphere, and that was the thrill of it all. That’s what made it the ultimate escape.

To say that “Rogue One” is the best “Star Wars” film since “The Empire Strikes Back” is to acknowledge, on the one hand, that the bar has been set rather low. Yes, the new movie is superior to the top-heavy but slipshod “Return of the Jedi,” it’s better than the three digitally overcooked yet joyless prequels — and, to my mind, it’s a more exciting movie than “The Force Awakens,” because that film, enjoyable as it was, wore its commercial imperatives on its fighter-jock sleeve (it had to relaunch the series and restore its credibility), whereas “Rogue One” is a less programmed, more organic entertainment. It doesn’t have the burden of being an installment. It’s a rough-and-ready combat adventure crossed with a heist film, and the fact that its tone is new — more grit and grime; a spunky cynical heroine, played by the vibrantly alert-to-every-threat Felicity Jones, whose gender doesn’t need to be showcased, it’s just there — brings it closer to the spirit of the first film.

The movie’s one true note of revelation is its explosive topicality, which feels both accidental and inevitable. The relevance wasn’t planned — and if it had been, “Rogue One” would probably be just another didactic liberal message movie. (A rumor fueled by Donald Trump supporters, that the film was rewritten to include anti-Trump sentiments, has turned out to be totally false.) Yet part of the power of “Rogue One” is that as you watch it, the fight against the Empire expresses something in the air, something beyond itself.

I acknowledge: As part of the 53 percent of the electorate who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, it’s easy enough for me to say that the Empire, with its top-down authoritarian menace, equals what the gathering Trump administration is starting to look like. But my real point isn’t about facile fascism. It’s about how the ragtag, hanging-by-a-thread spirit of the Rebel Alliance connects, to an astonishing degree, with the dazed and confused mood that anti-Trump voters now find themselves in. The true subject of “Rogue One” is what it takes to get up and fight, just when you’re starting to be convinced that all hope is lost. Right now, more Democratic voters than you can count feel that way. We feel like our government has been taken over by a figure who got voted in because his supporters wanted, with some legitimacy, to see him “drain the swamp” — and instead, here’s a man who is already rattling the American nuclear saber (and talking about making it bigger and longer), as if it were his own personal Death Star.

For a lot of people, it’s impossible to watch “Rogue One” without thinking of that parallel. The Death Star, the weapon that incarnates the spirit of the Empire, has a power of annihilation that in “Rogue One” — far more than in “Star Wars” — plays off the imagery of nuclear detonation. The movie isn’t about trade policy or racism (though the multi-ethnic cast, led by the Mexican-born Diego Luna’s utilitarian cool as Cassian Andor, makes its own statement). The explicit metaphorical upshot of “Rogue One” is that people who dream of wiping things out with nuclear weapons have to be stopped. They need to be defeated. And Trump is already flirting with becoming that person. You can just imagine his Twitter review of “Rogue One”: “The new Stars Wars movie is junk. A dying franchise. Bring back Harrison Ford — so much better than these wimpy rebels. Boring!”

The emotional power of “Rogue One” lies in how Jones’ Jyn Erso finds the faith to fight her way through to the other side of hopelessness. A great many adventure movies are structured that way — the heroes are up against it, it’s darkest before the dawn, etc. — but in “Rogue One,” the sense that the Rebels don’t have nearly as much power as the Empire, with its coiffed bureaucrats of death, is palpable. The Empire has the will, and the weaponry. But the Rebel Alliance has a spiritual belief: that those who attempt to rule by controlling everything are destined to see their dominion spin out of control. There will always be a weak point, like the one implanted in the Death Star.

It’s galvanizing to see a message this politically primal embedded in a “Star Wars” movie, since there’s always been something passive about “Star Wars” culture. It’s the quintessence of sit-back, drop-your-jaw, munch-your-popcorn, let-special-effects-do-the-work-for-you fantasy. In fact, you could make a case that the political environment in which we now find ourselves, where fake news is as influential as real news, and where you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint where Donald Trump’s fantasies leave off and his policies begin, was brought to you, in part, by the paradigm shift in pop culture ignited 40 years ago by “Star Wars.”

The galactically ginormous success of “Star Wars” gave rise, over time, to the preeminence of fantasy culture. And while I don’t want to serve up an overly tidy cause-and-effect equation, it seems naïve to imagine that the new, fake-news America has no connection to our all-fantasy-all-the-time movie culture. On a mass scale, we no longer want (or expect) reality at the movies. That makes it easier to stop wanting — or expecting — reality in other places. Put another way: How many of the people who voted for Donald Trump really care if he’s a fantasy-based or even fraudulent politician? He’s an exciting character. That’s what matters. Maybe that’s why “Rogue One” packs a political punch. The movie speaks to its audience in the language of fantasy, and that has a special power when the leadership it’s commenting on threatens to leave reality-based thinking in the dustbin of history.

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  1. Mr.Right says:

    One can make the case the rag tag rogue rebel squad were the “deplorable’s”, the forgotten man who rebelled against the mainstream establishment bureaucratic top down government in the Empire

  2. James says:

    Mr. Gleiberman, I usually find your articles interesting and thoughtful, but this one – I’m sorry to say – is just nonsense and not worthy of you or Variety.

    Is “Rogue One” really the “Most Politically Relevant Movie of the Year”?
    Sure, there are a few political themes in the movie, but nothing is explicit or really relevant
    beyond abstract statements that ‘hope is important’, which is a cliché.

    I would argue that “Snowden” is the most politically relevant and even subversive mainstream
    entertainment of the year, because it dares to show the dangers of US surveillance society
    and to celebrate the ‘traitor’ Edward Snowden as a just hero.
    And it dares to to name names: Barack Obama’s admin failed to protect our rights.
    Obama and his CIA stooge James Clapper lied to us.

    And, no, “Star Wars” was not as important for our cultural evolution like you suggest.
    It was only a successful entertainment like many others.

    And it has nothing to do with fake news and voting for Donald Trump at all.
    Only in your fantasy maybe ?

    Your text is the worst kind of politically charged, irrational, manipulative and biased film criticism.

    But at least you had the ‘guts’ to out yourself as a naive liberal, which is a beginning.

    I voted for Donald Trump for good reasons & I’m happy about it.

    What Barack Obama did in the last few days alone – seriously damaging relations with Israel and Russia – was very stupid & will not be forgotten soon.

    Trump on the other hand reacted reasonable and diplomatic.

    It’s time for Obama to go & never come back.

    And it’s time for ‘entertainment politicians’ like you, Mr. Gleiberman,
    to stop abusing film criticism for ridiculous ‘political commentary’.

    Nobody is interested in your thoughts about politics anyway.

  3. KansasGuest says:

    The fact that two opposing political viewpoints in the U.S. can look at this movie and think the message is meant for them just shows the power of film (and tv) when it’s done well. Certain themes are universal, and it’s easy for people to feel self-pity, and cast themselves as underdogs. In the grand scheme of things, though, it is just a movie and real life has permanent consequences.

  4. JUST FYI Trump’s ‘landslide’: 2623 to 489 among all U.S. counties!! That is huge. He also won the majority of States, not just counties. We shouldn’t let one or two states dictate who the presidentof the federal government should be. That’s be unfair and issuing undue favor and power to a select state or two.
    We are not one state or country but a plurality of 50 states! We are the UNITED STATES of america. Not the country of America.

    • Fickle Pickle says:

      It is not landmass that dictates elections. It is the people that LIVE there.

      If two square miles contain more of the population of a county then the other hundred square miles of the county then those two square miles SHOULD dictate the results of that election in that county, and the same goes for states and nations.

      One vote is one vote, and one vote cast in California or Texas should have just the same value as one vote cast in Wyoming or Vermont. Right now they don’t.

      • Steve says:

        Sorry to give you a history lesson, but when this country was first formed they had this debate. The little states didn’t want to be dominated by the big states nor vice versa. This is how they came up with the electoral college. If we went to a straight democracy it would tear our country apart. Presidential candidates would focus only on large communities and places like Chicago where (allegedly) the dead still vote. The rural areas wouldn’t stand for it. (Or at least some wouldn’t) This is why NY & CA count for less.

  5. Exactly, the DNC was the Empire this time. Please don’t attempt to Jedi-mind trick us! The DNC and HRC held the power of the media and even held veto and editing power! This was further exposed in wikileaks. Also,, the level of corruption of the Clintons? Helllooooo!
    The RNC were the underdogs aka the Rebel Alliance.
    We were saved from an Empire-like Orwellian police state!

  6. You do understand that the DNC is the Empire right? You are the establishment. This time around the RNC was the rebel alliance. Who had the big budget? Who had everybody behind them?

    All I can say on this take is that the projection is strong in this one

  7. Dear Mr. Gleiberman, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

  8. Wombat Splosion says:

    I’d love to get paid to write stupid shit.

  9. Virginia Bigelow says:

    How you can justify associating this movie with a Trump taking over and manning a nuclear disaster approach is ludicrous. Most voters for Trump feel like they voted for a patriot who cares about America as opposed to a politician who cares more about herself and her place in history than feeding the hungry or taking care of American veterans. I have felt like the US was sliding down a tube of hopeless loss of identity with the Democratic Party being in charge; Donald Trump gives me hope of our country having a chance. Even your 53% statistic is so misleading. Trump won over 3000 counties as opposed to 57 counties for Clinton. Also, the only voter fraud proven was by Democrats in Michigan, but it was Democrats who fought against requiring voter ID. When you have a Democratic win in a county that had 135% of it’s registered voters vote, there is something wrong. To use Rogue One to push your agenda is despicable!

    • Jacques Strappe says:

      Spoken like a true Russian, comrade. Fact is, NOT fake news, that a record majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, NOT Darth Trump. More Americans live in larger metropolitan areas than rural. Obviously, smarter Americans who really understand and care about their country live in these metropolitan areas where the better schools and jobs are located. The barnyard red counties voted for Trump because they essentially don’t understand politics or especially global politics. Those manufacturing jobs are NEVER coming back in any great number to make a difference. Trump lied, in addition to being the most crooked and deceitful person ever to run for the presidency. Trump is a total fraud who care only about his bottom line and couldn’t care any less about rural America unless he can make a buck off you.

      • Steve says:

        Hillary got 48.2% of the vote. That is not a majority. Are you sure you didn’t get educated in a barnyard red county?

        PS: I agree, manufacturing jobs are unlikely to come back in large numbers.
        PPS: What? A politician lied!!!! Stop the presses.

  10. Variety, what exactly does “Mexican-born” mean with regard to Diego Luna?

  11. loco73 says:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”
    —-H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

  12. Chris says:

    I was enjoying the review until current politics were mentioned, at which point I stopped reading. Don’t you democrats ever give up? Did you ever consider that Clinton won the popular vote only because of the results in New York and California? The two most populous states, where Clinton won by a margin of 8 million votes. These two states don’t speak for the rest of the U.S. and if the margin of victory here is excluded from tot total result, then Trump wins the popular vote by 7 million votes. Isn’t it odd how this relevant fact seems to escape all the press? Time to stop whining and get on with life!

    • JoshS says:

      Since when are New York and California not part of the United States? I mean if we’re going into theoretical, then i suppose you could not count 2-3 mid sized swings states and Hillary would have won both electoral and popular vote. I’m no Hillary fan, but hellabageez, you’d have to be deep in a red bubble for a denial of CA and NY to be your founding argument. Do you like clacking your baseless arguments on your phone or computer? Well, they was designed by an American from California.

    • JB says:

      I don’t understand why some people think voters in New York and California should count less than voters in other states. Last time I checked, those states were part of the USA.

      • Steve says:

        Sorry to give you a history lesson, but when this country was first formed they had this debate. The little states didn’t want to be dominated by the big states nor vice versa. This is how they came up with the electoral college. If we went to a straight democracy it would tear our country apart. Presidential candidates would focus only on large communities and places like Chicago where (allegedly) the dead still vote. The rural areas wouldn’t stand for it. (Or at least some wouldn’t) This is why NY & CA count for less.

    • So you’re saying you stopped reading at the title, which made it clear that there was political analysis involved in this review?

    • Simon says:

      “…at which point I stopped reading”. And that is why you missed the subtle points made. Well, too bad for you.

      • Chris says:

        Tough crowd, lol. To be specific, I read 75% of review. Stopped when it became more about Trump than movie.Chris

  13. Steve says:

    As part of the 51.8 percent of the electorate who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, it’s easy enough for me to say that the Empire, with its top-down authoritarian menace, equals what I think the Clinton administration would look like.

  14. Trent says:

    Grow up and get over it baby.

  15. J T Wellborn says:

    As usual, Gleiberman has it exactly backwards. The uprising has taken place by the voters and the empire ( Democrats ) has been set asunder. The good guys won.

  16. Patrick Riggs says:

    It was SO frustrating to read such poppy-cock by yet another disappointed DEM in the election just had filtering into a “sci-Fi” fantasy film review…Thus, I just HAD to comment, as much of your statements were in themselves totally unrelated to Rogue-One movie.. Then I read comments and found I was FAR from only person that felt your article was complete sour grapes~ Rogue-One wasn’t even that good-of a movie…But in the spirit of Holidays… to say something nice, I agree that Empire Strikes Back was best of the Star Wars films…

  17. Richard Hn says:

    This article is spot-on, in my opinion. The world at large has been moving ahead of us socio-economically, to the huge benefit of the common good of their citizens, and many Americans are kept woefully ignorant of that fact. People commenting here on the reverse of the “message” discussed by this author–please witness that street art and other tactics as evidence of the ignorance-inducing propaganda! The basic facts of income distribution up and climate change are just two of the Evil Empire’s issues–in continued enhancement of the first and denial of the latter. As I believe it does for this author, it seems so obvious to me. But there’s “hope” at the end of Rogue One. Hang in there Princess–the Force will be with you always.

    • Pete says:

      Richard,
      Forgot about the Evil empire and those two things. Your correct, the attack on the middle class by the fascist left has resulted in destruction of our middle class jobs! No doubt, without those jobs and an increase on income taxes as well as corporate taxes, the US has driven out most corporations like Medtronic and Apple, resulting in job loss, welfare increases, and an income gap!! Like George Soros has said, “the US Constitution is the biggest impediment to his plan of a global government” and having the leftest push out middle class jobs is important to destabilize the Republic!! You were spot on about the problem, you just had not thought through who is responsible. Will give you this, no POTUS has done more to hurt the middle class, especially blacks, economically than Obama.

      Global Warming. First, I actually think there may be global warming. The Evil empire has repeatedly confused data concerning it, such as NASA satellite data, and other government agencies playing with raw data or just making it up. Now, I am a little less clear how the weakest greenhouse gas (compared to water vapor and methane) has changed from 290ppm to 380ppm (that’s parts per million atoms of air) is the culprit. However, even if it was, how does China burning fossil fuels and having a manufacturing economy, say versus the US, make the world safer or better? Except it does weaken the United States, like George Soros wants, as you get in one inequity.

      Thankyou for pointing out that so many people just don’t actually connect the dots to what is the Empire, and the fascist left, attack upon the Republic.

  18. BillUSA says:

    You ought to be a physicist with your logic. It’s like watching a computer simulation of an Einstein-Rosen bridge when you allege a point in the negative then go along with it. For example:

    “a spunky cynical heroine, played by the vibrantly alert-to-every-threat Felicity Jones, whose gender doesn’t need to be showcased, it’s just there — brings it closer to the spirit of the first film”

    If her gender doesn’t need to be showcased, then why do you try to showcase it? I mean, if you really, truly believed that her gender wasn’t relevant, then why call attention to the fact that the character is a woman?

    You don’t stop there. Here’s this thinly-veiled attempt at revelation:

    “The movie’s one true note of revelation is its explosive topicality, which feels both accidental and inevitable. The relevance wasn’t planned — and if it had been, “Rogue One” would probably be just another didactic liberal message movie. (A rumor fueled by Donald Trump supporters, that the film was rewritten to include anti-Trump sentiments, has turned out to be totally false.) Yet part of the power of “Rogue One” is that as you watch it, the fight against the Empire expresses something in the air, something beyond itself.”

    Gee, what’s next, you gonna tell us who you voted for in your review about a non-partisan-messaged film that you’re eagerly inserting political messages into?

    Dag, how’d I guess?

    “I acknowledge: As part of the 53 percent of the electorate who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, it’s easy enough for me to say that the Empire, with its top-down authoritarian menace, equals what the gathering Trump administration is starting to look like. But my real point isn’t about facile fascism. It’s about how the ragtag, hanging-by-a-thread spirit of the Rebel Alliance connects, to an astonishing degree, with the dazed and confused mood that anti-Trump voters now find themselves in.”

    And here’s another partisan shot at our President-Elect:

    “The explicit metaphorical upshot of “Rogue One” is that people who dream of wiping things out with nuclear weapons have to be stopped. They need to be defeated. And Trump is already flirting with becoming that person”

    Keep in mind that the real-world narrative about Donald Trump was established by a left-left-left media conglomerate that cherry-picked his words to fit some imaginary script of him being some crazed lunatic with his finger on the button. And, despite your careful attempt to not craft a sentence that suggests you think otherwise, he’s not a racist either. The only thing he’s flirting with is putting our country back on its feet again after eight years of pandering to the weak and looking weaker to the world.

    Not satisfied with contradicting yourself, you manage to take a jab at your readers:

    “Put another way: How many of the people who voted for Donald Trump really care if he’s a fantasy-based or even fraudulent politician? He’s an exciting character. That’s what matters”

    No, you liberal robot, the reason your propaganda rag was left with egg on its face is because REAL people in REAL America used their heads and voted their conscience. We know Trump has his flaws, but he is definitely the lesser of two evils. We can’t pick who runs for President. We can only vote for one of the candidates.

    If America becomes too uncomfortable for you, there’s always North Korea. I hear their form of government is closer to what you would have had under Clinton.

  19. Jessa says:

    The artists’ name is Sabo, and all his work is amazing. Jedijones77 is right on the money with his assessment below.

  20. jedijones77 says:

    LOL, what an utterly fake liberal fantasy. As the brilliant L.A. street artist showed with his “Rogue Won” posters, TRUMP was the anti-establishment rebel who beat back the evil empire of international socialists who have been oppressing Americans for years through their agents like Barry Hussein and the Clintons. The left is now in the position of Snoke, Kylo Ren and the First Order in The Force Awakens, living as a rejected theology in a land they no longer control. The rest of us must be wary of the sinister plotting and evil sneak attacks they are now concocting to try to re-establish their dominance over freedom-loving Americans.

  21. Phil52 says:

    People see what they want to see, and the mind looks for familiar patterns, the man in the moon being a classic example. The politically obsessed will find a political meaning in anything … why, just the other day, I saw a drunk leaning crookedly in an alley … what a metaphor for Hil … oh, never mind.

    But if you are looking for a political parable in Rogue One, consider that Trump was a genuine, anti-establishment insurgent on the Republican side, and Bernie Sanders was the Viet Cong on the left. There were two genuine insurgencies in this election, and one of them won.

    As for Hillary … well, she was the product of the raw, establishmentarian power of a political machine, nominated largely by the Imperial Senate of the superdelegates, lavishly funded by the tributary vassals of the special interests, surrounded by a phalanx of highly paid, professional political operatives who couldn’t shoot straight, clearly implying that they were Imperial Storm Troopers. What other meaning could the producers and directors have had in mind?

  22. Pete says:

    I have been watching Star Wars since 1977. I never really viewed it as political. I must completely disagree with the author about who is the “Empire” and who are the “goodguys”. First, forces that pretended to be something they weren’t attempted to destroy a free peace loving republic. The impetus was based upon a lust for power and the arrogance that they were better. Much like the NAZI’s of old, they used propaganda (journalisism), popular people (celebrities), and the threat of old conflicts (Russia) to attempt to gain control and enslave. Further, there chosen leader the dark lord, Senator Palatine, pretends to be something he is not, much like the current POTUS, and seems to have no history in the movie series (like Obama’s sealed records), and even Hilter covering up that he wasn’t even German. In reality, the Emperor attempted to create chaos until he could seize power. Not that different than George Soros funding efforts to destabilize the United States because “its Constitution and its government are the biggest impediment to a single world government” (probably one that George Soros or his family plans on running), or George Soros confiscating the wealth of Jews he sent to the gas chambers “because somebody was going to do it”.

    Real evil is out there. Truth and knowledge are essential for the survival of a Republic, Donald Trump is a potential threat, like any other POTUS. However, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Obama, and media pundits, have demonstrated that lies are the norm. PS, still trying to figure out how someone investigates Benghazi and says it was a video tape. Better, how 95.1 million WORKING AGE Americans are better unemployed and that 85% of ‘job creation’ the last 8 years are part time. Worse yet, the people still claiming no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 5k warheads destroyed and Obama admitted ISIS ga Bed control of the chemical weapons dump in Iraq two years ago.

  23. Bill B. says:

    Fascinating observation.

    • eWakko says:

      Uh oh, better let Trump know there were WMDs in Iraq, he railed against Jeb during the primary debates “Trump, Feb. 13: You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

    • Absolute joke the way this film is described what had Donald Trump got to do with star wars rouge one absolutely nothing stick to the film please take your political views to a galaxy far far away this film is a big disappointed no way is it even as half as good as the force awakens never mind the other 3 the plot is predicable and at times boring the action scenes are OK not mind blowing just can’t get into the characters at all to many new people who don’t stick out forest whitaker in star wars film enough said

  24. Mark says:

    This writers bias is clearly showing. I didn’t see any correlation to the election, but if I wanted to make that assertion I’d reverse his analogy and say the oppressive government establishment regulators represent the nasty evildoers? The Rebels are the people truly rebelling against the oppressive regulatory burden and elitist mentality. Fake news was perpetuated by the majority liberal press- well and Hillary Darth Clinton. This writer needs a clue. As for his speaking for the majority who voted against Trump- yeah , when you include liberal California, but when looking at majority of counties nationwide Hillary won only 57 to Donald’s 3,084. So the majority of the country spoke alright. I did not see any of this political crap in the movie. I just saw a great Star Wars addition.

  25. Rick says:

    Nothing in this movie reminded me of Trump. Some people just see what they want to see.

  26. Jonathan Lee says:

    “(…) there’s always been something passive about “Star Wars” culture”.
    Exactly! Maybe it is just some kind of naïveté, but Mr. Gleiberman seems to believe that, long time before ROGUE ONE, that was not “politically relevant” — better start to think what we talk about when we talk about politics.

  27. David B. says:

    “Electorate” means eligible voters. While 53% of voters chose someone other than Trump, it is likely that if voting is required by law, it would have been as many as 65% would have rejected his candidacy. A decisive majority of voting age Americans do not want Trump as president. With an incoming administration that willfully disseminates misinformation, it is important to be accurate.

    • Steve says:

      “As part of the 51.8 percent of the electorate who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, it’s easy enough for me to say that the Empire, with its top-down authoritarian menace, equals what I think the Clinton administration would look like.”

      I took that quote directly from the article, but I may have changed a word here or there. Still, it is just as “true” as the original.

    • Jessa says:

      That’s ridiculous. Voting shoulder never be required by law.

      There’s no mystery here; those with the self incentive to register and get themselves to the polls end up voting.

      Alternatively, voting is akin to letting a non-paying customer on the street walk into your restaurant and demand certain dishes be put on the menu, so there’s certainly an argument that only those who pay into the tax system and get nothing in return should be allowed to vote.

      So if you pay in OR break even with the IRS, you get a vote. If you don’t pay taxes, no vote.

      • U.S. Taxpayer says:

        Please explain for us how one “breaks even” with the IRS, besides not having any taxable income…

  28. Shannon Peacock says:

    Gah! Here we go again. Another writer reading way too much into Rogue One and making it all about their own interests.

  29. Gummibarchen says:

    This kind of article only works against the movie, as it has fueled the politics-obsessed people into bashing the movie and making all sorts of stupid accusations of it having an agenda.

  30. loco73 says:

    I must admit that going into this movie, I didn’t have high hopes for it. After the first screening of “Rogue One”, I liked it a lot, but I thought that would be it. But after more screenings it just seemed to get better and with each viewing, there was more to be discovered, more to be seen, more details to nail down. Now, I unabashedly love this movie…this is good stuff, it is, for me at least, one of the best movies I have seen this year. And for me as a movie fan, to say that about what is primarily supposed to be a typical “popcorn blockbuster” is no small thing. And though these days awards are not what they once were (one seems to pop-up every month), I do hope that come nomination time “Rogue One”, gets recognized by the BAFTAs and Oscars, especially in the Best Picture category and others.

  31. I hardly comment on these things, but really just wish you all would calm down, including the author and all of you that are commenting. It’s a movie. Loosely related to another from 1977. It’s 2016. Not everything is about the already consuming events of the year. If anything, this type of entertainment is meant for us to escape everything you all are arguing over. Can we all just do that, please? Next thing we know, someone’s going to see parallels between the state of the world and Sesame Street. God.

  32. Cass says:

    OMG Stop, you’re trying too hard.

  33. It never fails to amaze how ignorant people are to the real Star Wars allegory. Palpatine is Rothschild, the real power, the central banking oligarchy. Bin Laden was Count Dooku with exact parallels to the ‘terrorists’ and the established fact that 911 was an inside job blamed on the ‘terrorists’ but orchestrated by the ‘elite’. Although Palpatine was a public figure and Rothschild not so much, the way he’s been able to make the trendy liberals love their enslavement and applaud increasing tyranny is astounding. “So this is how liberty dies, to the sound of thunderous applause’.

  34. Jessa says:

    Nope. Trump, God Emperor, is the Empire’s last great hope. Glad American got it RIGHT on Nov 8th.

    Highly recommend reading Adios America as a counter to this “review” and Rogue One as a whole.

    • Jessa says:

      ^American Empire–not the Star Wars one.

      Can’t stop laughing at Gleiberman’s 3rd to last paragraph. Lamenting the hopelessness engulfing Hillary’s Rebels in combating President Trump, as if he’s full of evil. Um, HELLO–take this idea, flip it around, and apply it to the campaign for a far better use of this analogy. It was the Clinton’s with the “power,” the “will,” and the “weaponry.” They had the money. The prestige (as empty as it is!). The inevitability. The PC culture behind them. They had EVERYTHING.

      The enormous feat the Basket of Deplorables pulled off on election day? That’s when the REAL REBELS (the American people–take away a certain state and Clinton loses the popular vote) stood up to the most evil Empire of political dynasties: Clinton herself, her comrades carrying out her kill list, her pizza-loving cronies (Podesta and David Brock–who not only acts like a villain but actually looks like one), her puppet master George Soros, the campaign chest filled with $globalist$ dollars, her zombie SJW staffers that bend and bow to political correctness everyday of their lives. That’s the modern day empire that was defeated by the Trump meme-makers filled with joy and meme-making magic and hopefulness up until November 8th.

      Tl;dr
      “The emotional power of “Rogue One” lies in how Jones’ Jyn Erso finds the faith to fight her way through to the other side of hopelessness…the sense that the Rebels don’t have nearly as much power as the Empire, with its coiffed bureaucrats of death, is palpable.” Yes, Trump=Rebels, Empire=Clintons. And their Pizza loving Chickenlover friends.

    • KWK says:

      This article is not a “review”. It’s a think-piece…an op-ed if you will. As such, the writer is perfectly entitled to express his views.

      • Jessa says:

        And never once did I say he can’t express his opinion, but that’s what you glom onto instead of critiquing my critique of his views. Yeah yeah, it’s not a review review–Pauline Kael I miss you–but it is a review of the film, and an argument, and both aspects of his piece suck.

      • Tom says:

        Liberal idiot though he may be. Educated I know, but educated to imbecility.

  35. Eric says:

    Haha…..Rouge One totally made me think of Hillary and her giant polical George Soross machine as the empire.

  36. eddie willers says:

    You guys are making me root for the Empire.

  37. Donald MacLeay says:

    I think the author is going out of his way to make the movie relevant. Besides being a total rehash of Star Wars cliques the movie includes references to real world conflicts such as the rebel wearing an Army Airborne helmet and the visual reference of Dubai’s Palm Island. The first half of the movie Jyn Erso’s character seems taken from the “Afghan Girl” photograph. The movie itself makes fun of the bad aim of the Star Troopers.

  38. Likeonions says:

    A religious and armed group of rebels fight against a tyrannical government led by a charismatic black man, a revolution against the established order. You see, you can spin it however you want because it’s based off of a vague paragraph in the crawl text from a movie from 1977.

  39. Derek A Stallings says:

    Hard to give a *ahem* “journalist” any credibility when they use words like “ginormous”. Lingo like that, coupled with the newly founded fascination with reading anti-Trump wish fulfilment histrionics gives the impression that the author has an emotional age far below the legal age of voting. What if Hillary had won? Would we have received articles comparing the victory of a lying, manipulative serial killer to the exploitation movies of the 70’s? Somehow I think not.

  40. Richard B. Riddick says:

    Nah man Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are the Rebellion/Resistance, without these two we’d be in deep trouble. They are holding up “progress”.

    The trillion dollar Rothschilds and Rockefellers are the heralds of the New World Order, which is parallel to the Empire/First Order in the newest film.

    Snoke eerily resembles Lucifer, the NWO’s master and false god.

    The world is run by Satanists, but we should pray for the conversion, such souls of great wealth would make powerful allies against the Devil and his army.

    Jesus is the Light and the Truth, and he’s a pretty cool guy from what I’ve read in the New Testament. I would rather be with Him in Eternal Life, and with you rather than submitting myself to an Empire of Satanists.

    May God bless you and your family this holiday season, and may God bless Donald Trump, his cabinet and their families.

    Peace.

  41. Thomas Fitzgibbons says:

    Mr Gleiberman, please look up the definition of electorate. That means all citizens who could vote, and unfortunately during the past election 92 million ‘elected’ to not vote. Sad statement about how engaged people are in the political process. So instead of 53 percent, about 28 percent of the electorate voted for Hillary and 27 percent for Donald. The winner of the popular vote was Apathy.

    Also, please check your Constitution. It will remind you that we live in a Republic where the states elect the president through the Electoral College and where Donald scored 57%. That is the only precentage that really counts.

    If it makes you feel better, take out the New York City and LA counties and Donald wins the popular vote. Unfortunately, we really couldn’t use the Detroit metro area vote totals because in the recount they had more votes than registered voters. Would we see the same problems if we looked more closely at NYC and LA?

  42. andre bazin says:

    I see where you’re coming from. But, your paper gets a solid C from me. C+ for feeling.

    First off, the original Star Wars was emphatically a counter-cultural film. The rebels were the Vietnamese in guerilla warfare against the empire of the United States. As stated by George Lucas, and understood perfectly at least by this author. And, the movie that started the commercial imperative of the big-budget extravaganza is Jaws, which is highly entertaining and escapist, but filled with intimate moments and profound sentiments, as the dinner scene between father and scene – also, practical effects used to great impact. That it is perceived as complete escapist fare is because of the studio appropriation of it, after it dismissed its potential, as well as misinformed bias against popular forms of entertainment.

    Second, Star Wars has always been political. It’s a political story from the start. There’s a republic, there’s an empire, there are rebels, there are sides.

    Third, Star Wars isn’t a passive movie. The whole “mystical” jedi force has inspired countless kids to tap into their inner spiritual and mental strength. To rebel against injustice and tyranny. To train oneself on a path towards manifest destiny. That George Lucas famously borrowed from Asian culture, mythological anthologies, and other intellectual, artistic, and cultural sources is outright and evident and well-done.

    I don’t mind your article. It’s just a little misinformed and mainstream-biased and, honestly, weak. Whatever. You get paid for it, kudos. Merry Christmas.

  43. Andy Kogerma says:

    Outstanding article–well thought out and reasoned, thought I doubt Trump fans the KKK, or Aryan Nation will like it.

  44. Nate says:

    Worst article I’ve read in a long time.

  45. This article just proves how much of a bubble you live in. That ‘hopelessness’ is relegated to a small number of diehard progressives. The confidence in the economy is the highest it’s been in 8 years.

  46. John says:

    You do realize that you have it backwards, right? The Empire is the Democratic government that’s been reigning over the US for the past eight years. The Rebels are the ‘deplorables’ who rose up against that government to overthrow it.

    • KT Chong says:

      Then why did the alt-right and Trump supporters start the #DropStarWars boycott over Rogue One?

      • Lelu says:

        Because Chris Weitz (screenplay writer) tweeted that Trump was a nazi & his supporters were white supremacists.
        You really need to read other news sources besides just mainstream liberal ones.

  47. Lelu says:

    This is why everyone hates regressive liberals.

    Hillary’s camp with their globalist agenda are closer to the Empire than Trump’s grassroots following.

    I didn’t even vote for him and even I can see that.

  48. Rick Katz says:

    I see, so Variety ASSumes all it’s readers are Democrats. Or is that their wish..that only Democrats would read Variety? Please tell us plainly Variety.

  49. sdkjhfsdlk says:

    I stopped reading when you felt you had to remind everyone that 53% of the electorate didn’t vote for Trump. We got it, Hillary won the popular vote, which is still as irrelevant as it was the day after the election.

  50. Jo Mama says:

    “…the “Star Wars” films, apart from a few throwaway knocks on President George W. Bush, have never existed inside the arena of topicality.”

    So you weren’t paying attention to the prequels in the slightest. Engineering war from both sides, false flags, the loss of liberty through a new era of peace and security. The prequels were above you, it seems, and went right over your head.

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