Is Disney Zardoz-ifying Star Wars?


At this point, the main thing to argue Star Wars is the exact date of its death.  There are a lot of people saying that that Episode 3 of The Acolyte killed it, but I’m of the opinion that it died some time ago.  Disney is just parading its embalmed corpse around like an oriental despot, subjecting it to all manner of public humiliation out of sheer vindictive pleasure.


Indeed, I was content to let the whole pathetic spectacle pass without comment, but the nature of the weird things reviewers are reporting caught my attention.  The storyline and setting were clearly no longer Star Wars, but what were they?  Episode 3 provided the answer: Zardoz.



The Death Wish

If you’ve seen the truly strange and disturbing 1974 sci-fi cult classic, the parallels are shockingly obvious.  If you haven’t seen it, my review will bring you up to speed.


Consider the similarities.  Zardoz centers on events in the Vortex, a secluded, insular community that is destroyed by the arrival of outsiders – specifically a male outsider.  The ethos that the Vortex distributes to its primitive subject is something I’m sure Leslye Headland would agree with: The penis is evil.


Another theme of Zardoz is that life has become a burden for the elites, who now long for the solace of death.  Well, isn’t that the attitude of the Jedi master who gulps down a lethal poison the moment it is offered?  The Jedi of The Acolyte seem very much akin to Arthur Frayn and his band of weirdos, bored out of their minds and desperately trying to find some purpose in their bleak, hollow world.  They speak platitudes, but in practice it’s all a lie and only death can assuage their boredom.



Beyond Good and Evil

The Jedi were once cast as the heroes of the Star Wars franchise, but that was long ago.  There are no heroes now, just people fighting for power.  The Acolyte has made this explicit, and we once again see clear, indisputable parallels in Zardoz.  Whether one looks at the Brutals killing and raping for fun and profit or the inhabitants of the Vortex who urge them on while indulging in endless orgies, there is no God in the world of Zardoz


The same is true of Disney Star Wars.  The old concept of the Force being a benign spirit of life has been cast aside.  It is now just an energy source, and the Jedi have gone from the guardians of peace and justice to patriarchal gatekeepers.  Indeed, one could argue that they are the Brutals, fighting endlessly with the Sith who – unlike the Jedi – at least admit their ambition rather than hiding behind lies and hypocrisy.



We Interrupt This Column for a Brief Lesson in Theology

Before going forward, I need to correct some of the errors I am seeing.  Many people are referring to the “immaculate conception” of Anakin.  This is incorrect.  The Immaculate Conception refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary receiving a special grace from God that freed her from Original Sin at her conception, making her a suitable vessel to carry Our Lord. This is Catholic dogma, not shared by Protestants.  


Anakin’s birth is akin to the Incarnation of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, which is when the Word became flesh.  Thus while the Immaculate Conception is related to the Incarnation, they are very different things (and are celebrated on different days).



George Lucas was raised Methodist, so he doesn’t believe in the Immaculate Conception.  Shmi Skywalker as just a normal woman whose selection was inexplicable and after giving birth and sending her kid off with strangers she just met, she went on with her life (and met a grisly end).  To be sure, this does raise some theological questions as to what the Force was thinking, but that’s a topic for another time.


Some folks have said that having the conception of the twins happen by means of the Force breaks the lore and undermines the significance of Anakin’s incarnation.  I disagree.  Anakin was incarnated by the Force as an expression of its will.  The twins were the product of artificial insemination, a deliberate abuse of the Force by self-identified witches to thwart the realities of biology.  They made a Force-powered turkey baster.



So, About All The Demonic Stuff

Yeah, I don’t even need to bust out the They Live spirit shades to see what’s going on here – it’s pretty explicit.  Disney is not only endorsing same-sex couples, but ones that raise kids in a cult, deny them access to a father (which tons of research proves is necessary to healthy development).  Disney also wants us to believe that raising them in isolation from other children – with whom they could interact and learn – is a good thing.  This is obvious child abuse, but we’re supposed to pretend it’s not because Disney says so.


There’s also the usual Satanic message that it’s better to be honest about being evil than try to be good and fail.  In this worldview (pervasive in Hollywood), no one is actually virtuous, and people who seem that way are just really good at hiding their hypocrisy.  It’s the concept behind Hazbin Hotel, which posits the devil as being creative and fun and angels who serve God as mean and overbearing spoilsports.


As always, they write what they know, and Headland got a front-row seat for how depraved Hollywood can be.  This is her idea of virtuous entertainment suitable for children.



The Date of Death Debate

As far as the date on the franchise’s death certificate, the record shows I was an early adopter in declaring Star Wars dead.  With the benefit of hindsight, the Special Editions of the movies were the clear forerunners of what was to come.  Once Lucas saw that he could alter his previous work and fans would generally go along with it (Han shooting first notwithstanding), the way was open for him to make the prequel trilogy without much regard for the previous material – he could just retcon it at will.  Disney is operating under the same assumption.


At the time, I was just as into them as any fan could be, but Episode III was the last straw for me.  I sat down and cranked out of four-volume rewrite which eliminated the continuity errors, focused on the Emperor as well as Anakin, and has gotten a decent reception.  I did not want to see the sequels, but submitted to watching Episode VII under duress and hated every minute of it


I therefore disagree that The Acolyte killed Star Wars, but it has I think decisively demonstrated that there is no going back.  Disney is carrying the MCU and Star Wars like the skulls of dead kings from 300, waving them around to show everyone who is boss.  Apparently, the fans are just tuning it out, which is for the best.



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A.H. Lloyd

Best-selling author and curmudgeon. Retired senior NCO. Read my other insights at and buy my brilliant books.