Michael J Manacci

In 1961, Dr. Joseph Campbell wrote an anthropology book entitled The Hero of a Thousand Faces. In it, Dr. Campbell presents his theory referred to as monomyth or the hero’s journey. Since its publication, this book has been the benchmark for fiction writers to develop proper character development by simply following the monomyth process. While many storytellers have utilized monomyth to their stories’ advantage, one specific USC film graduate studied Dr. Campbell’s writings religiously and fully grasped the power of the force of the monomyth. That young man’s name was George Lucas.

Although he had done films prior to creating Star Wars, it is nevertheless his most successful franchise. Taking elements from tropes like fantasy, science fiction, and real-world geopolitics, George Lucas created a unique and vast universe packed to the brim with lore and legends alike. Perhaps one of the main reasons that it was such an enormous success was the fact that the main characters are totally relatable, and because of this, we can easily follow along with their growth as people. So one can easily imagine that longtime fans such as myself held their breaths with fear when Lucasfilm was sold to “The House of Mouse,” Disney, in 2015.

One of their first projects post-Disney was a film that, based on the trailer, I really couldn’t make heads or tails of called “Rogue One: A Star-Wars Story.” Speaking for myself, all my fears and anxieties of Disney sabotaging our beloved Star Wars were put to rest. I and many other fans in the cinema left with both a standing ovation and newfound pride in the franchise we all loved when we were kids.

Our story begins during a very dark time for the galaxy far, far away. The Clone Wars have faded into the annals of Galactic History. The Jedi are all but extinct, and the Empire has a stranglehold on the galaxy like never before. There isn’t one aspect of civilian life that has been left unscathed by the Empire’s influence. So naturally, disdain for this evil regime is at an all-time high. The seeds of rebellion sewn years ago are about to blossom with the public. It seems that heroes of extraordinary courage and valor have origins in the flotsam and jetsam of the galaxy.

The daughter of an Imperial Science Officer, Jyn Erso, having been on the run with the rag-tag band of guerilla fighters led by the ruthless yet elusive Saw Guerra, has been captured by Imperial forces. While in transition to prison, she is rescued by Rebel Alliance Commandos and is taken to the rebellion’s headquarters on Yavin 4. The Rebel Alliance high command informs her that they wish to gain access to her father through her and that she could be of some use helping them by gaining access to his life’s work that he was devoted to against his will.

Meanwhile, a Rebel covert ops captain named Ando must take Jyn to the planet Jedha to link up with Saw’s partisan and intercept an Imperial Pilot defector who possesses an encrypted message from Galen Erso, Jyn’s father from this rebel cell. After arriving on the spaceport on Jedha, things get pretty heated when Saw’s partisans ambush an Imperial convoy transporting kyber crystals. Before that, Jyn encounters a beggar on the streets of Jedha who was once a monk in the Order of The Whills, a sister organization to the Jedi. Back at the Partisan’s base, Saw has a bittersweet homecoming with Jyn, whom he helped raise. Then out of nowhere, what appears to be a small moon appears in the sky over the base of Jedha. It’s the Death Star, and it proceeds to horrifyingly destroy both the capital city of Jedha and the Partisan’s base, with Jyn and her newly found teammates narrowly escaping.

Upon returning to headquarters on Yavin 4, the rebel high council debated intently on whether or not to go to war in response to the destruction of Jedha. Against the grain, Jyn Erso decides to avenge her father’s death at the hands of The Empire by putting together a black ops commando team to infiltrate the Imperial base on Scarif with the intention of stealing the plans to The Death Star. Having used an impounded Imperial shuttle, the rebel fleet follows them to Scarif, and a massive battle ensues, kicking off The Galactic Civil War. All thanks to the bravery of Jyn Erso, her willingness to take a stand for herself, her family, and for those who can’t.

Heroes are not born, Dear Reader; they are made for the situation for which they are required for.

It almost always seems that the ones God calls for greatness are the ones whom society would despise. Jyn was a convict, the former monk a beggar, Ando was orphaned by Imperial forces, etc. However, God doesn’t and never will consider earthly pomp and circumstance. Our Lord Jesus lived amongst the prostitutes, the lepers, and the tax collectors. The very people that the Pharisees wouldn’t even consider human, let alone glorify. God loves us so much that he can and will take what man has rejected and utilize it for his glory and the furthering of the Kingdom. So the Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7.

“But the Lord said to Samuel ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

Whatever rejection you have faced from mankind, whatever heartbreak, no matter how many tears you have cried, none of it matters when you are one of God’s children. God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to keep you that way.