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A moral inquiry into the pleasure of watching Stormtroopers die in Star Wars

Screenshot: YouTube
Screenshot: YouTube

There has been much debate lately over whether or not it is okay to take delight in an act of violence against a reprehensible person—namely, the soaring sucker punch delivered on Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day to “alt-right” shitheel Richard Spencer. The vast majority of the internet agrees: Yeah, it is okay. A new video from Pop Culture Detective Agency performs a similar investigation, asking if it’s okay to delight in the pain of one of pop culture’s most famous metaphors for Nazism: Star Wars’ Stormtroopers.

A serious case is made that the character of Finn, played by John Boyega, represents a moment for the canon to break with its history of Stormtrooper slaughter. By humanizing a Stormtrooper and showing his capacity for morality and rebellion, the filmmakers suggest that such a metamorphosis could be possible for any Stormtrooper, and that, indeed, such a redemption was the very point of the original trilogy. Nevertheless, The Force Awakens did not go on to explore this morality but instead delighted (to comic effect, sometimes) in the murder of dozens of Stormtroopers. Were each of those a possible Finn? Should we mourn them?

Eh, probably not. They’re Stormtroopers! Such murky morality may be better explored in the various anthology stories presently being devised by the Lucasfilm creative corps. If it feels a little self-serious to castigate Star Wars movies for killing Stormtroopers, here, wash the bad taste out of your mouth with this surprisingly delightful impression of Christopher Walken as Darth Vader.

That’s a Darth Vader no one would let die.

[via Gizmodo]

[Note: Gizmodo, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]

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