“Editor’s note: We realize that interpretations and reactions to storyline elements and their ramifications have been hotly debated. We offer this review as one plausible viewpoint.
Theoretically, “the Force” in the Star Wars movies has always been religious. It is referenced in terms of religion at least twice in the original 1977 Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV: A New Hope). But in practice, there is not much religion in either the original trilogy or the prequel trilogy (Episodes I to III). Yes, as they train the young Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force, the elderly Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda spout some vaguely Taoist and Buddhist philosophical principles about a spiritual energy source with light and dark sides, overcoming attachments, and trusting intuition, but when we see them at the height of their powers in the prequels, the Jedi Council (leaders of those who follow the light side of the Force) are more political than spiritual, acting primarily as a police force for the Galactic Republic. In the two most recent Star Wars movies, however, the series has begun to foreground the more religious elements of the Force. (Warning: this conversation has spoilers for the Star Wars film The Last Jedi.)”
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author John McAteer about online-exclusive film The Last Jedi: A Star Wars Movie for the Era of ‘the Nones.’”
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