Feat. The Music of Lissie (In a special EFC music video!)
“I am one with the force, the force is with me.”
The writers of Rogue One have a message for us. Just like Galen Erso, they buried it in their creation. The message is simple, but powerful, and it has to do with The Force.
So, what is The Force? Anybody? Oh yeah, that thing that makes rocks levitate when you close your eyes and bite your lip, that invisible hand that chokes out your insolent henchmen. Maybe if you’re a Jedi like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader… But what is it for the rest of us? Just some arcane power beyond our grasp?
If that’s the case, how come the line “I am one with the force, the force is with me” is uttered a zillion and a half times in a Star Wars film with no Jedi, the only beings in The Galaxy said to have access to this mystical energy? I’m talking about Rogue One.
Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy’s script is riddled with sagacious one liners like the one above. At first I thought they were sprinkled in haphazardly, even awkwardly. Now I see they are deftly wired together. Every key line finds a mate at some point in the film, sometimes in the same scene. These circuits of dialogue, some tight, some longer-winded, all work to bring the themes, story, and characters to life. The code I’m about to reveal is also hidden via one of these circuits.
Yes, I believe there is message buried between two particular lines of dialogue, and reinforced by a third. Each line is spoken by a different character. Here they are, in the order they arrive in the film
1) “Trust the force.”
In the film’s opening scene, Jyn Erso’s mother, Lyra, bestows upon her daughter a kyber crystal necklace and instructs her to “Trust the force” before sending her to her subterranean hiding place.
2) “Trust goes both ways.”
The next line is spoken by Jyn in her first scene alone with Cassian, in the cargo hold of his ship. She is holding a blaster, which Cassian does not want her to have. At this point in the story she is still mostly a stranger to him. Moreover, a criminal who The Rebellion just broke out of prison. When he demands she give up the blaster she contends, “Trust goes both ways.” Cassian acknowledges her assertion by returning to the cockpit empty handed, indeed as a show of trust.
On an interesting side note, Cassian’s droid sidekick, K2SO strongly disapproves of his decision to leave Jyn with the weapon and quibbles that there is a high probability she will use it against him. However, from her warm facial expression we know that probability, however high it was before the dispute, it has surely dropped off in the seconds since. This scene suggests, among other things, that human trust is an X-factor that computers are destined to overlook in their calculations, much like The Force. Let’s move on to that most important line.
3) “I am one with the force, the force is with me.”
This is Chirrut’s mantra, a blind guardian of the kyber temple, who we meet on planet Jedha. Notice within the Mantra how The Force works both ways. As in, “I” am part of it, and “it” is part of me. Sound familiar to anything else we’ve heard thus far? Trust? Bingo!
Jyn told us that trust also works both ways. When you combine her line with Chirrut’s and simplify the equation you arrive at the decoded message: The Force = Trust. Eureka!
The Force = Trust
But there was at least one easier way to realize this. Jyn’s mother already told us at the very beginning when she said, “Trust the force.” Re-phrase her command by adding a comma and you get: Trust, The Force. Trust is The Force.
Sure, there is not but one definition for this mysterious energy. In fact, it’s pluralistic nature is part of what makes it so powerful. What I’m trying to say is that I believe trust is the definition Rogue One uniquely contributes, its Force fingerprint, if you will. Chalk it up alongside the definition you would contribute if you made your own Star Wars film. What would that definition be?
What do you think? Am I reading too much into the dialogue? Seeing something that is not truly there? If you think so then I’d defend my case by pointing out just how integral trust is to the Rogue One mission and to the relationships between and among its heroes.
Indeed, the outcome of the mission rests upon our heroes’ ability to believe in, and rely upon one another every step of the way. This much can actually be observed while watching the film, not merely “decoded” from the script linguistically.
Here is but one example of what I’m referring to. After Chirrut fends off the storm troopers in the streets of Jedha, Jyn asks him if he is a Jedi, to which his machine gun blaster friend, Baze, replies, “There are no more Jedi, only dreamers like this one (referring to Chirrut). Chirrut contends, “The Force did protect me. Baze corrects him with indignation in his voice “I protected you.” This much is true, Baze shot the last bunch of storm troopers when they had Chirrut dead to rights in the street. It was not The Force that saved Chirrut, it was his friend and ally.
Furthermore, without trust Galen Erso’s vital message would never have made it to the rebellion. In fact, it was nearly stifled by a character, Saw Gerrera, who was unable to trust anybody, despite repeated efforts to clear his mind with his inhaler.
Actually, Jyn is the only character he can trust, because he’s known her since she was a child. Specifically, she trusted him when she climbed the ladder out of her hiding place after her parents were taken. Because she showed him trust, he found it easier to trust her. Again, it goes both ways. It is because of Saw Gerrera’s trust in Jyn that he shares her father’s message with her and, by virtue, the rebellion.
Rebellions may be built on hope, but they are won on trust. Trust in a higher power, yes. But more so, trust between comrades. That is the message the writers of Rogue One wanted real life renegades to hear. I believe The film showcases this truth inside and out.
Thanks for reading!
EFC 2.01 Music Video (Feat. “Don’t You Give Up On Me” by Lissie)
Release Date: December 16, 2016 (United States)
Director: Gareth Edwards (Godzilla (2014))
Writers: Christ Weitz (Cinderella) & Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity, Armageddon) (Screenplay), John Knoll & Gary Whitta, (Story), George Lucas (Characters).
Starring: Felecity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, and Forest Whitaker.
The Inside Out: Sadness (34), Joy (23), Anger (16), Fear (9), Disgust (4)