Henry Rymer: The Empire looks like the lesser evil

(Francois Duhamel | Disney Plus via AP) This image released by Disney Plus shows Pedro Pascal in a scene from "The Mandalorian." The ambitious eight episode show with the budget of a feature film is one of the marquee offerings of the Walt Disney Co.’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, which launches Nov. 12.

At the penultimate episode of this season of “The Mandalorian,” Werner Herzog (The Client), in a dulcet baritone voice, explains to the protagonist just how “successful” the rebellion against the Empire was.

“Judged by any metric,” Herzog pontificates, “safety, prosperity, trade opportunity, peace — compare imperial rule to what is happening now. Look outside. Is the world more peaceful since the revolution? I see nothing but death and chaos.”

Undoubtedly true. Since the prequel and original trilogies of the Star Wars franchise, the audience has been inundated with what can only be described as a propagandist view of this fictional universe.

As just one example, we’re told that the Jedi are an order of apolitical, benevolent guardians of the Republic whose sole goal is to bring/maintain “balance in the force.” Look a little deeper, and these “guardians” reek to high heaven with hypocrisy and political machinations.

The Jedi Order is dogmatic in its adherence to referring to anything outside their orthodoxy as being part of the Dark Side (not bringing much balance there, huh?) as well as using their apolitical façade to stage a coup d’état against an “emperor” who was given power via a democratically elected Senate (don’t hate the player, hate the game).

This reverence for Jedi lends itself to a rosy-colored view of the Rebellion, common political terrorists who are fighting against a phantom terror they see in governmental organization that doesn’t agree with their policy preferences.

The Empire is a massive political leviathan the covers thousands of planets and billions of sentient creatures. Aside from a few bad apples who happen to get over their skis from time to time (a rogue commander blowing up an entire planet might have gone a bit too far), the Empire represents an orderly means by which to organize the Universe.

We are primed to root for the underdogs in this franchise, despite the fact that the last three movies in the saga have shown rebellion was not only not the answer, but that the galaxy was worse off because of it.

Believe the propaganda if you’d like, but maybe the Empire, for all its flaws and failures, was actually the best way to bring about peace and prosperity in a galaxy far, far away.

Henry Rymer

Henry Rymer, Layton, a 2019 graduate from the University of Minnesota Law School, currently practices law and dreams of Jedi-conscience society in Utah.