To say I’m not a fan of what Disney is doing to Star Wars is putting it mildly. Disney paid $4 billion dollars to buy the franchise and now they want to make money, but the older generations — those who watched movies before the advent of Hulu and Netflix — aren’t the target audience for this new trilogy. No, the millennials and their willingness to spend their disposable income on entertainment are the real target. To that end, Disney has introduced a new cast of characters who have begun to remake the galaxy far, far away in their own narcissistic, millennial image.
(There are spoilers ahead: if you insist on paying The Mouse, I mean seeing the movie before reading further, then you must do what you feel is right…)
Setting the tone is the DJ character: He’s not a millennial himself but he has their ethical code: no loyalty to anything, he only cares about himself.
Finn: OF COURSE he fled the First Order… because they wanted him to, like, kill people and stuff! I mean, YUCK — that was a hostile work environment! He wants to work in a fun, diverse place. Everyone wearing the same uniform, always having to wear your helmet, no self-expression at all? Forget that noise: Finn wants to work where superior officers have purple hair and ambiguously gay pilots are promoted to the rank of Commander despite not really doing anything to deserve it.
Poe: OF COURSE he gets the most excited when BB-8 came back — what millennial doesn’t go insane when separated from their smart-device for a few minutes? And Poe doesn’t do half of the work that BB-8 does on a mission anyway. If he was a programmer he would copy and paste everything from StackOverflow and hard code his unit tests to pass. (For non-programmers: that’s equivalent to saying he’s a plagiarist who acts like he’s authoring original material.)
Admiral Holdo (the Jurrasic Park lady): Purple hair is a nice nod to non-cultural-conforming self-expression, but she’s clearly not a team player… I mean, secrets don’t make friends! She had to stay behind to die: millennial justice demands it. However, she does earn millennial hero points going out in an act of suicide. Whether it was for the greater good or because she was never going to be accepted for who she was doesn’t matter.
Kylo is a bit of a quasi-millennial. He’s not allergic to doing grunt work (very non-millennial) but he’s pissed about not being respected and mentored and reaffirmed by his boss… so he kills him. Be very scared of a highly motivated millennial (but don’t worry too much, they are exceedingly rare).
Rey is the prime example of a millennial who expects to be coddled and coached and have her emotions nurtured… and when she doesn’t get what she expects she pursues the call of the dark side because why put in the hard work? Having her actually turn to the dark would have made sense as a millennial — this is one area where Disney isn’t mirroring the culture with her character. That and not immediately trading bodily fluids with Kylo even if they don’t believe in the same things — that’s anti-millennial too. But she’s on target with her quest to learn more about her parents: she narcissistically can’t believe that she is nobody from nowhere because she FEELS like she’s SOMEBODY. Clearly someone isn’t affirming her beliefs sufficiently.
Han, Luke, and soon (in the first scene of Ep. 9?) Leia will be dead. Because they have to be — they are victims of the updated “Die yuppy scum” and “Trust nobody over the age of 30” memes. There’s no place for them in this Mickey Mouse version of the Star Wars galaxy but, from a certain point of view, their characters are in a better place now. We’re guaranteed never to have a scene of Han and Chewbacca talking about their feelings or of Luke sending a green laser-sword Instagram message to Kylo Ben — or of Luke getting his milk at the local Whole (sea)Foods.
Let the past die indeed. Too bad the future of Star Wars isn’t dying with it.