One of the personal joys I find in studying Law and Literature is the way in which it enhances any and every experience of consuming fiction (literary, cinematic, visual, theatrical – the works). Law and Literature can be used as a lens by which otherwise black letter legal texts may be brought to vibrant life by reading it as you might a Shakespearean drama; and it can also be used to explore the ways in which legal concepts, issues and dilemmas as portrayed in works of fiction.
It’s been months since The Last Jedi barrelled its way into the public consciousness, and its melancholic, mature deconstruction of morality, humanity and the dichotomy of light and dark within each of us, still haunts me. It has a lot to say about the murky moral shades of grey of which the franchise has shied away from thus far, and some truly insightful thoughts on the nature of legacy, justice and heroism that will probably plague and pervade me until Episode IX comes out in 2019. The sequel trilogy’s crowning achievement for me is melding nostalgia with newness. One of the more fascinating aspects of The Last Jedi – which is really saying something – is how it touches on the topic of criminality in a more forefront way than previous instalments. Most interesting of all is how it deftly interrogates the internal aspects of criminality, exploring how the characters came to do the things they did, as well as examining the residual after-effects of their actions both internally and externally.
In this post I’ll be exploring how the Star Wars franchise has historically framed crime and punishment, focusing on the dark/ light dichotomy and using the sulky Skywalker scion as a case study of criminality and redemption.