The Empire ~ Good? Bad?
- By Bryan Dean
When I watched Star Wars for the first time, I saw a clear message: Jedi, Rebel Alliance – Good Guys; the Empire – Bad Guys. From the movies, we see that there is a struggle against the Empire, a Galactic Civil War. The reason? To achieve freedom from oppression and domination.
But over the years, as I look more and more at the opinions of others, I find that some justify the Empire. What I see as black and white, others see as gray.
Some argue that the Empire was not an evil organization, but one of order. A necessary fixture in an otherwise out-of-control galaxy. They argue that the Empire was made up of hard working people looking to provide for their families while serving the needs of others. Some call the Death Star a government building that was destroyed by terrorists.
Now, it may be true that not every individual on the Death Star was evil, but the station they occupied can hardly avoid that description. It’s main function was to fly and kill. “Just like an X-wing”, some may say. Personally, I think of the X-wings as defensive weapons. The Death Star was an offensive weapon, in every way. There was no real need for such a ‘building of government’, other than to taunt and to kill. By the billions.
“But the Rebels were terrorists!”, some have said. “The Alliance was a terrorist organization!” Really? Was their prime objective to evoke terror in the galaxy? Or was it to stop terror? Did any of the things the Rebels did or said frighten you? Were you angry at the Rebels when you witnessed their struggle to survive as they tried to stop the death and destruction present in the galaxy? Can we compare the deaths of Imperials inside TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers, the Death Star – weapons of war, to the deaths of the people, plants and animals on Alderaan? To the smoking corpses of the Lars and the Jawas?
Now, people are free to interpret the Star Wars saga as they wish, of course, but can one honestly say that the Empire was needed? They seem to forget what the Empire replaced: peace and order. Sure, there was war and unrest right before the institution of the Empire, but it was an orchestration of a con man, a game that was rigged. Palpatine controlled both sides of the board. And when he was finished with his game, he murdered the main pieces on that board, Jedi and Separatist alike.
Those who defend the Empire often use the Clone Wars as an example of uncontrolled conflict under the watch of the Republic. But they seem to forget the thousand years of peace before that. Some do recall that fact, but don’t care.
Which brings us to a main reason why some support the Empire… they hate the Jedi. They don’t care what the Empire entails, as long as the “arrogant” Jedi were dead. I just don’t get that sentiment. Even if there were arrogant Jedi present, did they deserve to die?
As I said, people are welcome and free to relate to anything they wish. Personally, I can’t relate to the Empire. I can’t agree to the statement that the Empire was a government for the benefit of the galaxy. I think the beings who celebrated at the end of Return of the Jedi would agree with me.
Bry Dean is the founder and administrator of Knights’ Archive. You can follow him on Twitter at @bry_dean.