EFC 2.01 – Rogue One

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.

Fantasy Banner 1

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.”

Trust The Force 1

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.”

Chirrut 1

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.

findingnemo_quote

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.

Baze and Chirrut fantasy 1

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.

Saw Gerrera 1
Saw Gerrera says “Save The Dream.” An MLK reference?

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)


Rogue One

Release Date: December 16, 2016 (United States)
Rated: PG-13

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)

Joy & Sadness backs together

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4 thoughts on “EFC 2.01 – Rogue One

  1. For Tyeth

    Greetings Master Jason,
    You are correct about the aspect of trust within the Force and within the movies. Trust in the Force and your allies is vital, and this principle has been demonstrated before (or after depending on your point of view of the saga’s schedule/timeline!) in Empire Strikes Back. During his training with Yoda on Dagobah, Luke is instructed to use the Force to lift his X-Wing from the swamp. He attempts to but fails, because (at that time) he doesn’t trust/understand the Force and he doesn’t trust what Yoda (his ally) is telling him is possible.
    Yoda then lifts the stricken X-Wing using the Force to which Luke states, “I..I don’t believe it!” and Yoda replied “And that is why you failed!”
    Belief is a form of Trust in something, someone or an ideal. And when Luke believed in the Force it worked with and through him. Believe and Trust the Force!
    Great analysis.

    kind regards,
    For Tyeth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Experience Film

      Greetings Master Tyeth,
      That’s some shrewd Jedi insight you have laid out. The Dagobah X-wing resurrection is a great example of Trust in the force, and in an ally or, rather, Luke’s lack of Trust in his master, Yoda. I was so hoping someone would find examples like this from the other films. I guess the theme of trust is not quite as unique to Rogue One as I have talked it up to be. Thanks for commenting. And cool lightsaber website btw!

      Liked by 1 person

      • For Tyeth

        Hello again, thank you for the kind comments. There are a few examples of this Trust issue even as early as Star Wars (ANH)including the time when Ben Kenobi first teaches Luke aboard the Millennium Falcon with the helmet visor and remote droid. Even the Death Star Trench Run had an example when Luke trusted his own skills, though I believe that Ben Kenobi as a Force Ghost did what he could to help Luke aim his torpedoes. And before I forget thank you for the follow!
        Kind regards,
        For Tyeth

        Liked by 1 person

      • Experience Film

        Luke sure is a slow learner! Isn’t he? Those are good examples of trusting the force. However, I note a distinction here. Those are examples of trusting the force, trusting your own ability, and trusting the ability of your masters to use the force. I think the neat thing about Rogue One is that it shows us time and again how causal events that we’d usually ascribe to the mysterious power of The Force” can plausibly be re-ascribed to the actions of ordinary people, as a result of their caring for each other. Ben Kenobi and Luke used magic to guide the proton torpedoes, but they also reached their destination (The Death Star reactor) because of the act of courage demonstrated by Galen Erso, an ordinary person, non-Jedi. He put the design flaw there and he didn’t need to use The Force to do it, only his determination, intelligence, love for his daughter Jyn, etc.

        Like

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