Star Wars The Force Awakens Kylo Ren Darth Vader

Since the third trilogy was announced, us fans have been speculating on what will come next based on what we know of the trilogy. After all, it’s based on the hero’s journey, so there are correlations we can draw across the trilogy. As Qui Gonn fell and Obi-Wan after, we should have known Han Solo would go too. We knew that the Light side lost in the first series and won in the second series, but who will win for the third trilogy?

It’s hard to say, but I think the answer lies in the in the Hegelian dialectic.

In very basic terms, the Hegelian dialectic is the idea that there are master and slave forms of thought. The master is always in control until the slave rebels, and then they install their system of beliefs and ironically become the master. It’s a consistent cycle of thesis (original thought), antithesis (the thought that overthrows the thesis), and synthesis (and new thought that usually incorporates little bits from previous theses).

Yes, fellow philosophy nerds… I realize that is a very simplistic way of putting it, but I’m not interesting in going all Kojeve on it and explain it in agonizing detail for three hundred pages.

Anyway, think about that master/slave dialectic of a dominant power being ousted by another. It sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Kind of like how the Light side thinks everything is fine until two dudes come along and kill everyone. Boom. The Empire takes control and is no longer the slave. Then Luke and his merry band come along, and again, boom. New cultural hegemony and the destruction of two Death Stars. Finally, the rebellion is doing all right, then boom. Space nazis build Starkiller base and destroy the seat of democratic power.

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Even Joseph Campbell’s’ Hero’s Journey – which ‘Star Wars’ uses as its framework – fits perfectly into the model of a Hegelian dialectic. It starts off with the ordinary world –  i.e. the world the hero accepts because it’s dominant – then it becomes challenged, and eventually the hero is able to transform the world. (Well, after 12 steps in any case). The hero is basically the slave in the Master/Slave dialectic.

And the new ‘Star Wars’ trilogy shows every sign of following in its predecessors’ footsteps.

The nice thing about the master/slave dialectic is there is an end goal where violence eventually ends after all the different ways of thinking basically do a March madness playoff. And if we know anything about ‘Star Wars’, it likes to transform the world by the end of each trilogy.

You can think of ‘Star Wars’ as Hegel-ception a little bit. Not only does each trilogy contain a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, each trilogy represents one aspect of it. Or at, least I intend to prove the third trilogy will be the synthesis.

The first trilogy is really about the Empire’s rise to power, and has its own master/slave dialectic that kills off some of the coolest Jedis ever (I will never be over Kit Fisto). But really, it represents the thesis: the dominant thought the second trilogy will rebel against, which is to say a fascist dictatorship dedicated to the Dark Side of the Force. But ultimately, within its own dialectic, the Dark Side wins.

The second trilogy is the antithesis, where Rebellion (with the not always useful help of Luke) ousts the Empire. In it, the Light Side wins.

The synthesis, then, would be the third trilogy where there is no dominant thought per say. Yes, there is the Intergalactic Senate, but there is also the First Order. Supposedly, synthesis is where you have can better understanding of everything.

I think this is exactly where the third trilogy is heading.

In the Hero’s Journey, there is always a goal in mind. So too, with the dialectic. If the goal is to bring balance to the force, then it makes even more sense. The Dark Side wins in the first trilogy. The Light Side wins in the second. It only makes narrative and philosophical sense for balance to be created in the third.

I purposefully avoided saying restored because I really don’t think there was ever a time there was balance in the Force. Also, “restore” has an ordinary quality to it that I just don’t think fits with movement to greater understanding.

The third trilogy, then, has to be the synthesis of the thesis, and the antithesis of the Force. It as to finally be about balance… or at least making Gray Jedi canon (those who walk the line between the light and dark side).