The Sequels and Disney era are more openly political and coming from someone who doesn’t really get into politics I find it to be sometimes off putting.
I actually think that Disney era star wars stories in general are really far less political than what’s come before and relevant political undertones are really lacking. The prequels and TCW are the most political imo. What do you find political about, for example, the sequels?
I think in terms of story and relevance the Prequels and The Clone Wars are definitely the most political. They’re more self contained to the stories being told and you can draw lines with them to their relevance in day to day to life. Their importance in story always comes first though.
With the Sequels and Disney era it’s more the undertones and modern story techniques of making them topical versus telling the story around said politics. Like L3 representing identity politics and Lando being pansexual. These are both very real issues that are obviously trying to connect to a real world issue. There’s more of a new wave feminism approach to certain characters like Holdo versus more lead by example feminism approach of Padme and Leia in the original six films.
These things are definitely important and I think are needed. They have a place in media in general but there’s a thin line you must make when creating stories. I find with Star Wars it’s usually been used for escapism and being treated as timeless with politics serving the narrative, not the narrative serving the topical ideals of the time. Although certain things naturally carried over as we have an issue as humans to make the same mistakes over and over.
The best examples I can think of are fitting in the kiss at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. It’s there to appeal to a group versus having meaning within the narrative as there’s no build up. It’s the opposite of Leia taking charge and not letting the boys boss her around in the original film when they rescue her on the Death Star as it’s established right away with Darth Vader then a bit later with Tarkin she can hold her own.
With George Lucas Star Wars it was always what you did with your political power that defines you as shown in The Heroes in Both Sides arc in The Clone Wars. Courtesy to popular belief I also don’t think the Rebel Alliance and Empire were as black and white as some make them out to be.
With Disney Star Wars it’s segregated between Resistance good, First Order bad. Finn’s background and DJ really challenging the notion they could be anything more than that went nowhere. The only time I can think of that I feel the political message mostly works is with the fathiers as they serve the narrative.
None of these things I find in what Disney are doing are bad things. They just need to serve the story and fit the narrative. Story should always come before agenda and how you portray it when you do.
It reminds me of a relevant quote from Andrei Tarkovsky when he described his film, The Sacrifice:
“The film highlights that if we don’t want to live like parasites on the body of society, nurtured by the fruits of democracy, that if we don’t want to become conformists and idiotic consumers then we have to dispense with a lot. And we have to start with ourselves. We’re quick to blame others, the society, our friends, but not ourselves. On the contrary, we like to indoctrinate others, give speeches on how to behave, want to be prophets, but have no right thereto, because we attend least to ourselves and don’t follow our own advices. It’s a dramatic misunderstanding if one person says: “That’s a good person.” Because what’s that today, a good person? Only if one is willing to sacrifice oneself, one can claim to influence the general process of life; there’s no other way. The prize is to pay is our material wealth. One has to live as one talks, so that the principles are not just idle talk and demagoguery, but turn into reality.”
"Pleasure’s fun. It’s great, but you can’t keep it going forever; just accept the fact that it’s here and it’s gone, and maybe then again, it will come back, and you’ll get to do it again. Joy lasts forever. Pleasure is purely self-centered. It’s all about your pleasure: it’s about you. It’s a selfish, self-centered emotion, that is created by a self-centered motive of greed. Joy is compassion. Joy is giving yourself to somebody else, or something else. And it’s a kind of thing that is, in its subtlety and lowness, much more powerful than pleasure. You get hung up on pleasure; you’re doomed. If you pursue joy; you will find everlasting happiness.” - George Lucas