In the age of social media, critics of the Star Wars franchise have claimed that the series can get too "political," whether they're discussing the live-action films, TV series, or other mediums, though showrunner of the upcoming TV series Star Wars: The Acolyte Leslye Headland recently pointed out how the nature of the franchise has embraced politics for decades. Surely some installments in the franchise have leaned more heavily into politics than others, but with war being intrinsically linked with political motivations, the showrunner addressed how series creator George Lucas has always incorporated those themes into his films, even if they are explored in fantastical sci-fi worlds.
"I mean, it's funny, because a lot of the feedback that I'll get — and I use the term feedback very lightly — but when I do go on social media, the feedback is 'don't make Star Wars political,'" Headland shared with The AV Club. "I'm like, 'George Lucas made it political. Those are political films.' War is, by nature, political. That's just what's up. It's truly what he was interested in talking about and looking at and digging into. So it's kind of impossible to tell a story within his universe that doesn't have to do with something that has to be that the characters see externally reflected in whatever's happening in the galaxy at that particular time period of when it takes place. You know? That's another thing that we all kind of inherited from him as well, and hope to kind of keep reflecting in the work, hopefully."
Admittedly, the nature of the original trilogy and its focus on Luke, Leia, and Han's journeys in the midst of a Galactic Civil War didn't dive into the inner workings of the conflict, though Lucas often expressed how he drew inspiration from real-world fascist organizations to craft the Galactic Empire. Additionally, the trilogy also concluded with the depiction of the destruction of the organization, resulting in celebrations breaking out across the entire galaxy.
The prequel trilogy, on the other hand, explicitly depicted how a fascist ruler could come into power, and while those films might not be as universally beloved at the original trilogy, Lucas has previously expressed that the events of the prequel trilogy were something he had always intended to explore.
Stay tuned for details on Star Wars: The Acolyte, which doesn't yet have a release date.