Slave bikini: Everything the ‘Star Wars’ film series couldn’t get away with today
When Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters it precipitated an avalanche of online debates regarding its cast, various plot points, plot holes, which characters were lame, and why whatshisname (a.k.a. Alden Ehrenreich) isn’t anywhere near as good as Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark) in the iconic role. Hopefully we all agree Donald Glover (Atlanta) is just an absolute gem of a man.
With the internet currently at peak divisiveness (a quicksand of bad opinions and political chest-puffing into which you should think twice about before leaning), all of the new generation of Star Wars films have faced some staunch cross-examination by fans online.
We can’t help wondering how the OG Star Wars trilogy (and those regrettable prequels) would fare if they were released today. Between the online debate, political correctness squared, meme culture, and Disney’s careful (paranoid?) hands currently cradling the franchise, there are a fair few things in the old Star Wars films they couldn’t get away with today. Here are five of them.
The killing of children is probably not part of Disney’s business plan – or is it?
Are we bad people for still howling with laughter at Obi Wan telling Padme (Natalie Portman) that Anakin slaughtered “all the younglings” during Revenge of the Sith? If you watch the scene closely enough you can even see actor Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) suppressing a laugh of his own while delivering the godawful dialogue, so we stand no choice of holding it in.
That scene would likely not even exist in a modern day Star Wars film due to all the memes it would immediately inspire. But more to the point, it’s hard to imagine signing off on a plotline where a whole group of Jedi children are mercilessly slaughtered. Won’t somebody please think of the child-friendly merchandise options?!
The terribly offensive aliens of the prequels – you know the ones we mean
We’re well aware there’s a sub sect of Star Wars fans who legitimately love the prequels (and may the force be with you poor bastards – you’re loyal if nothing else). But there’s no denying many of the alien characters of those films appear to inhabit some shocking racial stereotypes.
From their looks to their overall gestures, behavior, and even accents, there’s Watto who some fans have interpreted as representing a grotesque Jewish stereotype, Jar Jar Binks and The Gungans who some have inferred are based on Jamaican people, the Neimoidians who seem to be caricatures of East Asian people, and even the Sand People who are said to bear “more than a passing resemblance to the Bedouin”.
As an Aljazeera article opined, such depictions could suggest “Lucas’ racial sensibilities haven’t shifted much from the Cowboys and Indian serials he grew up watching.” The internet would probably blow up if any of the most recent Disney owned movies skated anywhere near as closely to such racial insensitivity.
Lack of female representation
The new crop of Star Wars films are stacked full of cool, complex, and interesting female characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and even Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o).
The original trilogy is a little more scarce in terms of female representation. Sure, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is the reigning boss bitch of the whole galaxy, but aside from her what other strong, well developed, and interesting female characters are there? That lack of female representation most definitely wouldn’t fly today. Those pussy hats would be back on the streets immediately in protest!
A lead female character in some shockingly tiny lingerie
We’re all aware of how rockin’ Fisher looked in that skimpy two-piece that Jabba threw her into while she was his slave. That’s no problem – the woman was an absolute babe and we’re here for it. However, it’s a little tricky to imagine fans being quite as supportive if a modern Star Wars scene showed any of the lead female characters being forced to wear a similarly skimpy outfit – even if it is to express what a vile, perverse monster the villain is.
Rey in a thong and a triangle bra using her “force” to jiggle around a villain’s lair with a chain around her neck? There would be uproar. More importantly, Disney wouldn’t know how the hell to market such a salacious scene! And if Disney can’t make money of it, we’re guessing it won’t be in the movie.
We’re well aware that The Empire Strikes Back moment of incest between Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia is actually perfectly innocent since they don’t yet know they’re brother and sister and also it’s just a smooch.
But still. Can you imagine J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) or Rian Johnson (Looper) presenting a scene to Disney involving a brother and sister locking lips in a romantic manner? “This isn’t The 120 Days of Sodom!” they’d screech over their complementary spread of coffee and donuts, and who could argue with that?
All the groan-worthy ploddy politics of the prequels
Considering all the heated debates that arose concerning The Last Jedi and whether it tarnished the good name of Star Wars forever, we can’t imagine any of the laborious political plotlines of the prequels would go down well in our quick-fire internet thunderdome of a culture.
All anybody wants is to watch lightsaber battles, some feats of heroism, and some soapy family drama in space. What nobody wants is to hear about are long winded trade deals as though we’re tuning in to Tatooine’s dullest 24 hour news network. Put a sock in it, Padme!