Here’s a collection of great fan art I’ve been finding of the wonderful women of Star Wars:
I love images of Ahsoka with Morai, and this is one of the best I’ve seen.
This is a simple drawing of Admiral Amylin Holdo, but I love the purple in it in honor of her awesome hair, lol.
Jyn is one tough woman but she looks pretty and vulnerable here.
This is a gorgeous portrait of Rey. Again, a tough young woman whose youth and beauty are captured in a still moment.
I could never find any Sabine Wren fan art that I really liked, but this one is great. I wanted one without her helmet on, since I like to see faces, although this one has a manga kind of feel. Love the colors.
What “Women of Star Wars” fan art collection would be complete without Leia Organa? This one is lovely, capturing her regal face with an underlying sadness.
I tried to find one of Hera Syndulla that I liked, of just Hera without Kanan, but most of them were either cartoonish or sexualized (or they didn’t look like her at all). I’ll keep looking. Do you have any favorites of Hera?
What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
In my quest to watch more Star Wars content (I’m currently watching the animated show Star Wars Resistance) I came across Forces of Destiny.
These are two seasons of sixteen animated shorts (2-3 minutes) showcasing some women of Star Wars (Leia, Rey, Jyn, Ahsoka, Padme, Sabine, and others–even Q’ira with, of all people, Hondo!) having some action-packed adventures. They usually involve the character coming to the defense of someone against a threatening creature, stormtroopers, or even a crazed droid. No matter what the crisis, the character has to take some action that usually involves bravery, skill, and compassion.
They’re not in any particular order; the first two involve Rey protecting BB-8 from some sand monster on Jakku, and then some thugs who want to steal him; the next one has Leia on Endor helping some Ewoks against some stormtroopers, and then Leia again on Hoth helping Chewie escape a Wampa. Ahsoka, Padme, Sabine, Rey, then Leia again; the chronology is jumbled, but it doesn’t matter.
These clips are simple action sequences, but not all, and there are a few that I especially like:
“Imperial Feast” has Han and Leia on Endor after the defeat of the Empire; the Ewoks are about to cook some Imperial stormtroopers for dinner. Leia tells Han to go to Hera to get some ration sticks to give them instead. Han asks Hera for the rations, but she only agrees if Han will say that the Ghost is a superior ship to the Falcon. Of course he has to say it to ge the ration sticks, which almost physically hurts him.
“Unexpected Company” has Padme and Anakin on a mission together, and they’re happy to finally get some alone time while they’re at it. But Ahsoka comes along and says Master Obi-Wan suggested she go with them. They’re a bit chagrined, but later are glad Ahsoka came along to help them through a Separatist blockade. Ahsoka spies them embracing at one point, and it’s clear she figures out their relationship. She hints to Padme that she knows, but won’t say anything. And we get the feeling that Obi-Wan also knows, and purposely sent Ahsoka to spoil their alone time (that rascal).
The shows are mostly about all the Star Wars women, but we get a couple of bonus shows with the guys. One has Luke and Yoda on Dagobah. They’re swinging through the trees with Yoda in the pack on Luke’s back. I liked it, and I’m pretty sure Mark Hamill did Luke’s voice– but it’s his older, scratchier Luke voice, not young Luke’s voice, and it’s a little weird, lol. There’s also one of Chewie helping some Porgs get some hard-to-reach material for their nests.
These shorts are clearly meant for kids, and in particular, young girls, which I just love. With these clips, girls get some fantastic role models in strong, compassionate, helping women. Yes, these women often show their strength in a physical way, as in shooting a blaster, wielding a lightsaber, or running and jumping and fighting, but it’s not the point. The point is that these women are often coming to the defense of the defenseless (children, droids, Ewoks), doing the right thing (getting food to the Rebellion), or just helping each other. That is awesome.
The clips start with a voice-over by Lupita Nyong’o, who voices Maz Kanata. She says:
The choices we make
The actions we take
Moments, both big and small
Shape us into forces of destiny.
Forces of Destiny isn’t must-see Star Wars content, but if you have a child (especially a daughter) who loves Star Wars, they’d love this, I think. My daughter is 12, and never showed an interest in Star Wars (I still hold out hope, lol) and is perhaps too old for it now anyway, but younger girls could do worse than watching these great Star Wars women.
Have you watched this series? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
After having a very interesting conversation with Julie G from Darkside Creative about fan theories, OTP’s and odd pairings, I was inspired to look for fan art of Duchess Satine Kryze. There’s plenty of fan art of “Obitine” or the romantic relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Satine, and I think I’ve shared a few on this blog before. But I wanted to find some of just Satine. There’s not as much, and many seem a bit too cartoonish to me. But there were a few I found that I liked:
This one borders on cartoon-like, but it’s also elegant and lovely.
This one includes Obi-Wan, but I liked the style of it and how she might have occasionally indulged in missing him in private, when she showed only strength and serenity to the rest of the world.
This one looks like an official royal portrait or something; the aforementioned strength and serenity show through in dramatic black and white.
I adore this pencil drawing that shows a softer, more feminine side to Satine.
Today I just wanted to do something fun and frivolous, and thought I’d put on a Padme Amidala fashion show. She’s the best-dressed woman in the galaxy, and absolutely beautiful. I haven’t included any outfits she wore as Queen of Naboo (maybe some other time), but just the ones she wore as Padme–Senator, wife, mother. These are by no means all of them; this post would probably go on forever, as every new scene seemed to require a new outfit.
No matter what the occasion, Padme did it in style.
Thank you for attending the Padme Amidala fashion show, I hope you enjoyed it.
What’s your favorite Padme outfit? Let me know in the comments!
My next installment of Women of Star Wars: Animated Edition is Ahsoka Tano.
Ahsoka Tano is Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan in Clone Wars. She’s a young togruta with big blue eyes, and presumably was going to be Obi-Wan’s new Padawan since Anakin had achieved Jedi Knighthood. The particulars of how she became Anakin’s apprentice rather than Obi-Wan’s is detailed in the Clone Wars movie; turns out that Ahsoka has a slight rebellious streak. Despite his initial resistance to taking on a padawan, Anakin himself says to her: “You may not have done well as Obi-Wan’s padawan. But you might do okay as mine.”
The pair make a good team, despite being a bit too similar and getting on each other’s nerves at first. Ahsoka calls him “Sky Guy” and Anakin calls her “Snips”, referring to her initial snippiness.
I’m going to say right up front that I much preferred Clone Wars Anakin over movie Anakin (they almost seem like different characters to me), and I think Ahsoka has a lot to do with that. The fact that he has someone to feel responsible for makes him grow up a little bit; he also comes to care for her and risks his life many times for her. I just find it kind of funny when he dispenses sage Jedi wisdom, like stressing patience, when he can’t even take his own advice!
Ahsoka had some great arcs in Clone Wars; she grew from an impetuous, eager youngster who wanted to prove herself into a thoughtful, cunning, and brave Jedi warrior. But I feel she really came into her own when she actually walked away from the Jedi Order. Accused of murder, expelled from the Order, and put on trial, she’s eventually exonerated (with help from Anakin). But when the Jedi Order welcomes her back in, she refuses to rejoin them. Her hurt and betrayal at their lack of loyalty opens her eyes to other options; she decides to find out who she’s supposed to be and what she’s supposed to do on her own.
Ahsoka’s decision to leave the Order devastates Anakin. He understands, but Anakin himself values loyalty to a fault. Ahsoka knows this, and her guilt at leaving him comes back to haunt her in Rebels.
While Ahsoka is absent from Clone Wars during Season 6, she returns in the seventh and final season. After a much-too-long arc with the Martez sisters, she meets up with Bo-Katan, who enlists her help to liberate Mandalore from Maul. Her confrontation with Maul is thrilling and satisfying. It’s during the trip back to Coruscant with the imprisoned Maul that Order 66 takes place. It’s Ahsoka that liberates Captain Rex from the inhibitor chip in his brain that forces him to attack her, and together they escape the other clones who want them both dead. (Maul, unfortunately, escapes).
The final few scenes of Season 7 Clone wars is haunting and heartbreaking, with Ahsoka contemplating the death of clones she’d fought with, and the devastation of the Jedi Order. She drops her lightsaber into the snow. Later, Darth Vader picks it up, wondering, perhaps reminiscing, watching a lone bird circle above, Anakin’s eye just visible through the red lens of his mask. This whole sequence gives me the shivers.
We don’t see Ahsoka again until Rebels, after 15 years have passed. It wasn’t until the book Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston, came out that we knew what she’d been up to in the meantime. After Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex parted ways, agreeing it would be safer for them both to do so. She wandered from place to place, hiding her identity and Jedi abilities, calling herself Ashla and repairing droids and mechanicals for a living. It’s in this book that she ends up facing an Inquisitor and defeating him. She takes his double-bladed lightsaber and makes them her own, “healing” the red, bleeding kyber crystals and turning them white. She also meets up with Bail Organa, and decides to join the Rebellion in a specific capacity: running his intelligence networks as Fulcrum. It’s a good book, and I recommend it.
It’s in Rebels that we see the fully adult Ahsoka Tano, when Fulcrum’s mysterious identity is finally revealed. She comes to know the whole Ghost crew, and is reunited with Captain Rex. These are some of my favorite scenes of Rebels. When they learn of the existence of a Dark Lord of the Sith, Ahsoka feels something familiar about him, and has her suspicions. She’s believed Anakin dead all these years, but her confrontation with Darth Vader in a Sith Temple on Malachor proves to her that Vader is, indeed, her former Master. “I’m not leaving you,” she says. “Not this time.” At these words, we see Vader pause, as if she’s gotten through to Anakin somehow. But only for a moment. “Then you will die,” Vader replies. She only survives the duel because Ezra, in a later timeline, pulls her through to the World Between Worlds.
We don’t see Ahsoka again until the final episode in Season 4, when she appears at the very end to meet with Sabine. They’re going to search the galaxy for Ezra, who disappeared with Thrawn in the last battle on Lothal. When they were in the World Between Worlds fleeing the Emperor, Ezra says, “When you get back, come and find me.” “I will,” Ahsoka replies. “I promise.” Ahsoka Tano keeps her promises.
What do you think of Ahsoka Tano? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
I’ve profiled several prominent women in the world of Star Wars films, including Leia Organa, Padme Amidala, Jyn Erso, Rey, and Q’ira. It’s been awhile since the last post on this subject, but I was busy watching Clone Wars and Rebels; now I have several more inspiring women to write about, including Satine Kryze, from Clone Wars.
Satine Kryze is the Duchess of Mandalore during the Clone Wars time period. She is the leader of a group of star systems that don’t wish to get involved in the Clone Wars, on either the Republic or Separatist sides. Satine is a staunch pacifist, which is a bit bewildering as it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mandalorians. (Think of Djar Dinn in The Mandalorian: “I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are my religion.”)
The Mandalorians are traditionally a warring culture, filled with warriors obsessed with weapons and combat. It’s this obsession with war that caused Satine to do a complete about-face and try to change the Mandalorian way into nonviolence.
I don’t claim to know or understand all of Mandalorian history, but what I do know is that during a particularly violent time in their history, a young Satine had to be protected by Jedi Knights: Qui Gon Jinn and his young apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi. They spent a year protecting the young Duchess, and it was during this time that Satine and Obi-Wan fell in love.
When the violence was over, Satine’s world had been decimated, and her experience caused her to become a pacifist, determined to turn Mandalore into a nonviolent world. Despite their feelings for each other, Obi-Wan and Satine parted ways, he to continue his Jedi training and she to rebuild her shattered world. This is all backstory, only told through dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin in “Voyage of Temptation”, Season 2. (And I would dearly love a novel or comic concerning this story. Why hasn’t anyone written one yet????).
It’s also during this episode that Obi-Wan and Satine bicker constantly and argue about the merits of pacifism. I truly believe Obi-Wan understands Satine’s decisions and admires her for it, but his feelings for her causes him to worry about her safety. He thinks Mandalore should join the Republic and defend itself against the Separatists. Satine will have none of it. She knows herself and her mind, and stands firm in her ideals. It’s clear to me that she thinks Obi-Wan, and the Jedi in general, betrayed their own ideals by getting involved in the Clone Wars to the extent they have. “I remember a time when the Jedi were not generals, but peace-keepers,” she says to them.
Their bickering is also a symptom of their unresolved feelings for one another. In that same episode, when Satine believes she’ll never see Obi-Wan again, she confesses her love for him. When pressed (and one must press Obi-Wan when it comes to his feelings), he admits that, “If you had said the word, I would have left the Jedi Order.” In typical Obi-Wan fashion, he tells her he loves her too, without, you know, actually saying “I love you too.” But it’s enough. In the third episode of the arc, she appeals to the Galactic Senate not to intervene in her world in the name of the war, and with Obi-Wan’s help, she succeeds.
In Season 3, Padme helps Satine uncover corruption on Mandalore, but Obi-Wan doesn’t see her again until Season 5. In “The Lawless”, Satine has been imprisoned by Maul, who has taken over Mandalore with the help of Death Watch. Obi-Wan, without the Council’s blessing, returns to Mandalore to help her.
He frees her, but they’re caught by Maul. Maul uses Satine as a tool for revenge, impaling her on the Dark Saber simply to cause Obi-Wan pain. Before she dies, she tells Obi-Wan “I have loved you always. And I always will.”
I love the character of Satine, not only because she’s the love interest of Obi-Wan, but because she’s a three-dimensional character in her own right. She’s a ruler who managed to change a violent world into a peaceful one–for a time, anyway. She stood by her ideals, some might say stubbornly, when it seemed foolish to do so; even when the man she loved urged her to do differently. She was a ruler who tried to stay above the fray of politics and follow her ideals. Perhaps it was naive, but I admire that.
As Anakin tells Obi-Wan in Season 2, “She’s an extraordinary woman.”
That looks like a mathematical equation, but the Solo novelization, by Mur Lafferty, is perfect to discuss more about Q’ira, as well as L-3, in my Women of Star Wars series.
I loved Solo: A Star Wars Story, and was eager to read the novelization in hopes of getting some more insight into the characters, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What I especially loved about the book was that it gave us more insight into the two female characters, Q’ira and L-3. There’s a scene in the movie where Q’ira engages L-3 in conversation while on the Millenium Falcon, and it’s expanded in the book to give us some more backstory to both characters.
After L-3 quips that’s “It works,” referring to a possible relationship between her and Lando, she goes on to ask Q’ira what her story is. A flashback scene takes us into Q’ira’s memories after Han escaped Corellia while she didn’t. She’s brought back to Lady Proxima, and as she realizes she’ll have to stand in for Han’s crimes as well as her own, “Resentment, a seed planted in dry ground at the spaceport, got a little bit of water and began to squirm very slightly in her chest.” She’s glad he got out, but…she didn’t.
Lady Proxima sells her to a slave dealer, who eventually sells her to Dryden Voss. The first year was “hell” filled with escape attempts and beatings. But on her last attempt, he’s impressed enough to offer her a chance to use her potential and work for him. He teaches her Teras Kasi, a fighting style meant for nonforce users to use against Jedi. She’s not free, but she does gain some power, as in becoming his right hand. She has luxuries, she lives unshackled, and can take part in Crimson Dawn business. Nevertheless, “the chain that attached them wasn’t one of physical links, but something she knew could never break.”
L-3 intuits this, and asks her “What’s your restraining bolt?” The answer, of course, is Dryden Voss himself, and at the end of the book, Q’ira removes her restraining bolt by killing him.
Q’ira asks L-3 about her story, and L-3 tells her that her first owner, after cleaning her sensors, forgot to put her restraining bolt back. She used the parts in his workshop to modify herself and download data, and left to look for work. Alas, no one wanted to hire her as an independent contractor rather than use as a droid slave. Until Lando. He took a chance on her, and they’d been flying together ever since, all the while L-3 never giving up on her quest to liberate any droid she could find.
I loved these two females having a “girl talk”, discussing the limited choices they could make within their constricted lives, and the nature of freedom and oppression. L-3 is actually freer than Q’ira: she’s there by her own choice, while Q’ira is beholden to Voss.
We get much more from L-3 when she’s plugged into the Millenium Falcon after her “death.” At first she resists, not wanting to become a slave to humans again, as a ship doing what they want her to do. But the Falcon talks to her and convinces her that it’s either meld with the ship and become one with it, or die. She can live on, and become part of something bigger.
I love, love, love that we get to hear the Falcon actually speak to L-3 (well, through its circuitry). It’s what we knew all along: the Millenium Falcon is a character in its own right. Once L-3 does merge with the ship, its character becomes a combination of concern, and even love, for its owner(s), a vast navigational knowledge, and a bit of sass. Sounds about right.
We even get a scene of Lando talking to L-3 one last time once she’s plugged into the ship’s computer, which is touching. They trade jokes and insults before saying goodbye, and then her individual consciousness fades away into the Falcon. One last flicker thinks This is tolerable.
In the Epilogue, we get another scene that was not in the movie, but that was satisfying in that it connected to another Star Wars stand-alone: Rogue One.
The young woman who is Enfys Nest has travelled to meet with Saw Gerrera, to deliver all that coaxium she stole from the Crimson Dawn for her cause. She’s surprised that he brought along a girl, about eleven years old, with him: Jyn Erso.
He brought her along because he wants Jyn “to learn.” Seeing how young she is, Enfys, who is young herself at sixteen, removes her helmet so Jyn can see her. “They’re going to underestimate you,” she says to Jyn. “Make them regret it.”
As they all walk onto her shuttle to discuss the coaxium, Jyn whispers to Enfys, “He’s going to underestimate you,” referring to Saw. The last few lines of the book is:
Enfys smiled to herself. The girl learned fast. They might be in good hands after all.
This was a wonderful little bridge to Rogue One, and a great ending to a excellent novelization.
Here is the latest installment of my Women of Star Wars series.
Ah, Padme. I have so many conflicting feelings about this character.
Clearly, she’s an intelligent, capable woman. We meet her in The Phantom Menace as the Queen of Naboo (an elected position, despite its title), at a very young age, perhaps 15 or so. She’s smart enough to have a decoy to protect herself and throw off adversaries. She’s decisive and strong-willed. She’s brave, leading the attack to take back her position and oust the Trade Federation. She can also hold up 50lb headresses–now that’s a tough woman!
We see more of the same in Attack of the Clones, particularly in the Battle of Geonosis. But she’s also a Senator of the Republic, once her term as Queen of Naboo ends. She’s still a woman of importance, a woman to be reckoned with, even though still quite young. Even when she and Anakin are obviously falling in love on Naboo, she’s clear-headed and tries to resist giving in to her feelings. She knows what the consequences will be. Whereas Anakin, impetuous as ever, is willing to give in to his passions and throw caution to the wind. When they get married at the end of the film, you start having a bad feeling about this.
I get it, she’s pregnant and can’t very well go on dangerous missions or adventures. And I’m not saying she needs to be wielding a blaster to be strong or essential. That doesn’t mean she can’t contribute something to the film or do something halfway useful. In conversation with Anakin, she tells him she wants to go back to Naboo and have their baby there, because she doubts the Queen would let her continue as a Senator on Coruscant. Um, why? Because she’s pregnant? Maybe there’s some cultural Naboo thing I don’t know about, but this didn’t make any sense to me, and it kind of offended me.
I feel bad for Natalie Portman, because the filmmakers didn’t give her character anything to do in this third, and pretty damn important, installment of the series. She is now officially just “Anakin’s wife” and “Luke and Leia’s doomed mother”, and really just a placeholder in the story. I hate to say it, but she’s a crying Barbie doll in this movie, and it really pissed me off. After strong, capable Padme in the first two films, this is what she’s reduced to?
Understandably, with nothing to do and a child on the way, Padme is feeling lost and vulnerable. She doesn’t know what’s going on with Anakin, but feels there’s something off, not quite right. She weeps. She stares off into the distance. She waits for men to come and go to her. This image of Padme disappoints me.
Just because she’s in love and pregnant means she’s falling apart? I’m not sure what I can suggest for a better storyline for her, but surely she deserves better.
And then, at the end of the film when she’s giving birth to the twins, the medical droid states that she’s otherwise healthy, but she’s dying anyway. She’s “lost the will to live.” Yeah, okay, her husband has turned to the Dark Side and it’s broken her heart, but excuse me, you HAVE BABIES that need you. You have something left of what Anakin once was in his children, but they’re not enough? I’m sorry, but this doesn’t ring true for me. Early Padme would NEVER have given up.
I can’t help but conclude that the filmmakers simply didn’t know what to do with Padme in the third film, didn’t have the time, or take the time, to be true to her character, and reduced her to a frustrating stereotype. This is extremely disappointing and kind of unforgivable, considering that Star Wars has done a pretty good job overall with its female characters over the years; even Padme from the first two films is admirable and fairly three-dimensional.
Revenge of the Sith is my favorite movie out of the prequels, but this one thing–the mishandling of Padme–is my one sticking point. Yes, her death is tragic and moving and so forth, but it would have carried more weight if she’d been allowed to be a fully realized human being rather than the starry-eyed girl who thinks of nothing but her lover.
I get it–she’s young and love is blind, but I can’t help feeling that Padme was wasted on Anakin. She’s far his superior in character, temperament, and intellect. She fell in love with his looks, his charm, and maybe even his vulnerabilities–and it proved to be her undoing. Tragic, indeed.
What do you think of Padme Amidala? Did the filmmakers do her justice in ROTS? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
I happen to be one of those people who loved Solo: A Star Wars Story. I don’t necessarily think it’s crucial for the canon (unlike Rogue One, another movie I loved even more), but it was a fun, entertaining heist movie.
One of the more interesting aspects of the story was Qi’ra, young Han’s love interest. They grew up together on Corellia, as orphans/runaways who worked for Lady Proxima, an alien crime lord. It was a tough life, but they dreamed of something better, of having their own ship and not living under anyone else’s thumb. Despite their crappy life, they had a youthful innocence that allowed them to dream.
The two hatched a scheme to escape, and, long story short, Han got out. Qi’ra didn’t.
It’s the experiences of these two young people that determines the choices they make later, and how those experiences define them.
Han went into the Imperial forces to become a pilot, but decides it’s not the life for him. Plus, he couldn’t follow orders. Big surprise there. Despite seeing battle and war, it doesn’t ultimately change who he is–the irrepressible scoundrel we’ve all come to know and love. He’s still one of the “good guys”, even though he’s loathe to admit it.
When they meet again years later, Qi’ra recognizes this and knows they can never make a life together. Because she HAS been fundamentally changed by her experiences. We don’t get too many details besides dark hints and references to “the things she’s had to do” to survive.
For one, she’s beholden to baddie Dryden Vos for getting her off Corellia–at least that’s what I’m guessing–and giving her the opportunity to rise in his crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn. In addition to presumably killing indiscriminately at his command, I’m guessing she’s also had to sleep with him, something only hinted at in this Disney movie, but the assumption is there.
All of which leads to a self-loathing that she’s accepted, something that Han doesn’t recognize or accept himself.
I don’t believe Qi’ra is evil. She’s damaged and she knows it; there’s no point in trying to be anything else. When she kills Dryden Vos, I believe it’s for two reasons: to save Han, out of a love she still feels for him; but also to elevate herself, for she has ambition as well. If this is how it has to be, then she’s going to be in charge. She’s taking back some power.
I do think she’ll get more than she bargained for dealing with Darth Maul. That’s a type of evil she hasn’t reckoned with yet.
Qi’ra’s abandonment hurts Han, and it partly shapes the man he becomes in the near future. No commitments, no attachments. Don’t trust anyone, a lesson he thought he’d learned from Beckett–until he meets a certain princess and her friends years later. That’s when we–and he–learns that he really is one of the good guys.
As for Qi’ra, I wish we could find out what became of her. The scene with Darth Maul was a teaser for a second film, but Solo’s disappointing reception (undeserved, in my opinion) may nip that in the bud. Too bad.
Qi’ra may have written herself off from the good guys, but even though I believe she’s more than capable of fending for herself against crime lords, I don’t think she truly has the heart to play serious with the bad guys–Maul, the Emperor, the Sith, the Dark Side, etc. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps we’ll never know.
Did you like Solo: A Star Wars Story? What did you think of Qi’ra? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
Here’s the latest installment of my Women of Star Wars series.
Jyn Erso from Rogue One is an interesting character to analyze, because she doesn’t initially align herself with either the Empire or the Alliance. Who is she and what does she want?
At the beginning of the film, I assumed that after witnessing the death of her mother at the hands of an Imperial, an Imperial who also took her father away, she’d naturally drift toward the Alliance. But no. When we first see her as an adult, she’s a criminal who is busted out of imprisonment by the Alliance for their own reasons.
My assumption was based on adult thinking; I forgot that as an 8-year old, Jyn might have understood things differently. All she knew was that she lost her parents to the Empire; and she was left in the hands of Saw Gerrera, an extremist formerly linked with the Alliance, who taught her how to survive, surely, but who also “abandoned” her. She trusts no one, and just lives day to day to survive.
I’ve read the Rogue One novelization, and it gets deeper into the character of Jyn. The book presents her as not just distrustful, but deeply damaged by these perceived abandonments; not only that, she spends many years hating her father. I’m going to delve deeper into the novelization in another post, but for now I’ll focus on Jyn as seen in the film.
We don’t necessarily see that hate for Galen Erso in the film; what we see is a person who has endured many losses, who has had to fight to survive, and who has become bitter with that life. When her father says when she’s a child, “Whatever I do, I do because I love you. Say you understand,” and she replies, “Yes, Papa,” we know that an 8 year old can’t possibly understand what’s happening and why. The loss of her father is painful and bewildering, and she’s angry without understanding why.
When Saw Gerrera leaves her behind because she’s a liability for his group, he left her able to take care of herself. We, the audience, may understand it intellectually, but as a 15-year old, Jyn just sees it as another abandonment. Is it any wonder she has no particular allegiances?
When she agrees to help the Alliance, it’s because she has no choice, really, but we get the feeling that she needs to find her father, if only to get answers. This is a personal quest for Jyn; she’s not there because she hates the Empire, or has any sympathy for the Alliance. She probably hates them both, along with everyone else in the galaxy.
Things start to change for her once she sees her father’s hologram message. She understands a little more about him, what he’s done, and why. It brings up painful, almost paralyzing emotions, and Cassian must pull her away to escape the destruction of Jedha’s Holy City.
On Eadu, Galen Erso dies in her arms (from Alliance bombs, no less). His last words to her are “It has to be destroyed.” At this point, Jyn becomes determined to do just that–not for the Alliance, but to give her father’s death meaning. It’s still personal. Her father built the damn thing himself so he could secretly put a weakness inside it. This cost him his family, and caused Jyn to live the painful life she’d lived. It has to all mean something. She must finish the job, if she’s to have any kind of personal resolution.
But it’s also not just personal anymore, either. Her confrontation with Cassian after Eadu moves her closer to this. She’s understandably upset when she learns he meant to kill her father all along. This perceived betrayal cuts deep, considering her trust issues. Cassian argues that he decided–on his own, against orders–not to pull the trigger. It’s not enough for Jyn, and she continues to harass him. He counters with, “You’re not the only one who’s lost everything.” Like her, he’s been suffering since he was a child. But, he says, “Some of us decided to do something about it.” Ouch.
She still grumbles, but it’s here that she’s beginning to come out of her own personal, painful bubble. Her faith in Cassian is restored when he gathers the Rogue One team after the Alliance Council decides against attack. The last third of the film shows Jyn being who she was meant to be: a woman with a purpose. She needs to destroy that Death Star not only to avenge her father and give his death meaning; not only to take back some power for herself after a life of powerlessness; but because it’s the right thing to do.
Jyn’s not looking to be a hero, but her sacrifice makes her one, along with the rest of the team. As she and Cassian watch their death approach, there’s sadness in her, certainly some fear, but no regret. She’s done what she’s meant to do.
How do you feel about Jyn’s character? Did she ring true for you? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!