Course at University of Akron Requires Students to Watch All 9 Star Wars Films

The Films of Star Wars course at the University of Arkon in Ohio is making all nine Star Wars [...]

The Films of Star Wars course at the University of Arkon in Ohio is making all nine Star Wars films required viewing.

The elective course will use the long-running film series to explore history, mythology, religion and culture, as reported by

University of Akron School of Communication associate professor and Star Wars expert Juan Contreras has taught the course since 2016.

Star Wars viewing is required, but being a Star Wars fanatic is not.

"Stories are a reflection of our culture, our concerns, our struggles, our triumphs and our dreams," Contreras said. "A class like this can help students appreciate that, and learn some insights that can help them become more effective storytellers."

All nine films — from 1977's A New Hope to December's The Last Jedi, along with standalone spinoff Rogue One — will be the center of the course as students will look at the roles of women and minorities in the films and "analyze their relevance in the world today."

"Traditionally, oppressive regimes have attempted to force minority groups into submission, and those groups become second-class citizens," reads a statement by Contreras.

"In The Last Jedi you see The First Order, much like the Empire, mainly led by white males, while the Rebellion has female leadership, and even an alien admiral."

Franchise newcomer Laura Dern, who plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi, spoke on the importance of the franchise in a December interview with

"The other day a family came up to me, and it was three generations — this grandmother saying how excited she was for her granddaughter to have strong female characters that she got from the original with Leia," Dern said. "I thought that was so beautiful, seeing how it impacted."

"As a team and as a tribe, the people who are making these films care so deeply about their female characters," Dern told Elle. "It's so amazing for kids and for girls."

Writer-director Rian Johnson recently responded to an all-male fan edit of The Last Jedi that removed all the women — making the product just 47 minutes long — by exhausting his character limit on Twitter with a lengthy laugh aimed at the edit and its creator, "the chauvinist cut."

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits 4K UHD Blu-ray and Blu-ray in March.