A Mandalorian Monarchy
What everyone actually wants for Season 3
Star Wars is a franchise in conflict with itself. It stole its recipe from mythology, franchised the hero’s journey, and then failed to grasp any of mythology's larger implications. The problem is that Star Wars has always wanted to be a left-wing story, often to its own detriment. Mythology is inherently right-wing, a fact that haunts the franchise, not only in its successes, but most glaringly in its failures. And the failure of the latest Star Wars trilogy, paired with the success of The Mandalorian, proves that all we really want is a king.
Mythology is right-wing. Yes, that is hyperbolic - or is it? Not a single good story ever ends with, “...and then they made a democracy.” But the story of America you say! Well, even the Revolutionary War ended with, “hey, let’s make George Washington our king.” Then the writers said, “that’s not really in character for our revolutionaries, and kind of undercuts this season’s themes, so let’s have George Washington refuse and set up a republic,” which shows you just how mimetic most of history is. America has been waiting for the Return of Their King ever since.
Which brings up a good point, Tolkien’s last entry in his trilogy was Return of the King not Return of the Dirtbag Senator.
If anyone knew a thing or two about mythology, I’m sure we can agree it was Tolkien. That’s why it's so funny when Star Wars tries to escape its own truth. When it tries to pontificate about tyranny and weak democracies, but never follows up with the obvious alternative. I mean for a franchise that refers to their Jedis as knights, surely a kingship isn't a bridge too far.
The sequel trilogy should have been about setting up a Jedi monarchy or some kind of theocracy, the realities of governance, and the burden of rule. Rumor has always had it that Lucas had a third trilogy planned. I don’t know what it was, but I’m sure some nerd out there does, and you should leave that info in the comments, because I won’t be combing through 40 hours of behind-the-scenes content to cobble together quotes about it. Regardless, that’s what it should have been about. Monarchy was the logical next step.
Every story needs a bad guy, and you have a power vacuum to fill. So they could have come up with some shadowy Sith secret societies vying for a return to power. Or even shadowy businessmen that infiltrate a Galactic hedge fund and try to rule through ESG scores. Call it BlackRock… er… BlackMoon. Anything. Do anything other than “the empire is magically back.”
Would Lucas have gone in this direction? Or was he still at war with the ideologies in his head? I have always found it funny that Lucas helped produce Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. It’s one of those things that makes me wonder if his views grew a bit more nuanced by the time the prequels came about. Or was he just going through a “fascy” phase. After all, Star Wars does have great aesthetics. A generous reading of Lucas’ abilities and interests makes me think he would have gone in a monarchy type direction with the last trilogy. If not Jedi monarchy, maybe a theocratic High Council? Maybe, this is why he never tried, because he knew what the story demanded.
Star Wars is about governance, and the realities of rule. It’s not about the rebels or the Empire, tyranny, or even democracy, not even the Jedi. This was the mistake Disney made. They cobbled together the surface level themes, such as trusty rebels and tyranny and “muh democracy,” and then went for round three without any thought to the wider context or story.
They messed up The Force Awakens so badly, that by the time it came to The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson just decided to become an accelerationist.
Based? I joke. Nothing from Rian Johnson could be based.
Regardless, the rebels only exist as underdogs. They exist as perpetual cucks to the empire, and once the empire was defeated, they had no place in the story. Instead of saying something meaningful about the will to rule, Disney just hand-waved the tyrants back into place. Which in an ironic sort of way, shows that the Empire deserved to rule, and the people deserved to be lorded over, because literally no one else in the galaxy had the will or skill to try. The Jedi’s Naïveté Strikes… Again. The comedy and the tragedy of Star Wars is that in its attempts to subvert, it always finds itself subverted. Star Wars is the perfect left-wing fantasy, because the hero’s are all impotent, idealistic victims and they remain heroes as long as they stay victims. In art, the truth always wins. Was this the real tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?
But Disney gets a second chance with the Mandalorian. They have a beloved and heroic character, who at the micro level is a riff on the western gunfighter, and at the macro level is the quintessential Arthurian hero.
At the end of season two, Mando won the Darksaber through single combat. The Darksaber being the lightsaber of his founding people. John Milius would be proud. Goodness, what would a Star Wars movie written by John Milius even look like? I digress. Mando has thus far demonstrated that he is a nuanced and good leader. Someone that would make a great king. He values “the way,” but also broke it by removing his helmet to save his ward, Baby Yoda. And like a good leader, he accepts that the way was broken, and his honor stained. So off he sets, without a single complaint, on a quest to regain that honor and earn back his place as a Mandalorian. A journey that (should) end with the rebirth of his people and planet, and him as the new founder king - by right of the Darksaber.
This is the ending every single person watching this new season wants, regardless of whether they are liberal, degenerate, republican, democrat, libertarian, or frog. Whether they know it or not, they all want chad space spartans led by a warrior king. They don’t even want sniveling virgin Jedi when presented with this option. Deep in our hearts we all want this, because this is what will bring catharsis. This is the ending that resides deep in our gut when our brain is stripped of all the pedantic, academic rationalism it has been force-fed since birth. Good fiction and good cinema speaks to your heart, it hits you in the gut, it only cares about your brain in so far that it doesn't try to intervene.
Will Disney screw it up? I imagine they will. I would not be surprised if Mando breaks the lightsaber at the end of season three, pulls a George Washington, and sets up some sort of goofy representative government. And everyone will hate it. It won’t work on any level, and Star Wars will officially be dead. The critics and fans won’t know why they don’t like it, but they will feel cheated, and then they will come up with reasons to cope, and they will all still be wrong, because in the end, what they really wanted was a King.
Great piece. I agree with a lot of the points you made. Like you said, doubtful the House of Mouse will venture down this path in their storytelling. Good stuff!
Also, big fan of John Milius. 👌🏾 top notch.