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Film franchise Star Wars is famous for tackling the big themes – good versus evil, for example.
Now one US-based film buff thinks the latest installment, The Last Jedi, has taken on another massive topic – animal liberation.
Writing a blog post for peta2 (the youth-orientated section of animal rights charity PETA) writer Joelle – social media strategist and former film major – says the newest film in the sci-fi franchise features character Chewbacca having a ‘vegan epiphany’.
Joelle references a scene where Chewbacca is cooking a dead porg (‘an adorable species’) over an open fire. He is going to take a bite when he sees other live porgs.
She writes: “[The porgs] all start crying, in shock that he presumably killed and is going to eat one of their own.
“At that moment, Chewy has a ‘vegan epiphany’, if you will – after seeing that porgs are individuals with real feelings, he decides not to eat the corpse.”
Joelle believes the relationship Chewbacca develops with the porgs – ‘the animals latched on to him after seeing his compassion for their species’ – reflects empathy for living, sentient animals who do not deserve to die (like chickens, who are killed in their billions, for example).
Another scene Joelle believes has a strong animal liberation angle features horse-like animals called ‘fathiers’.
She writes: “While Finn and Rose are in the wealthy city of Canto Bight, Rose expresses her distaste for everything that the city stands for. While looking down at what looks like the horse-racing tracks we have on Earth, but using fathiers instead of horses, Finn expresses how beautiful he finds the city.
“Rose tells him to look a little closer and references the fathiers racing down below. We then see close-up shots of the animals being violently whipped and electrocuted with some sort of taser – all for the entertainment of the rich people of the city.”
Joelle compares this ‘senseless cruelty’ to the abuse experienced by animals in entertainment – including horses, bears, elephants, and big cats.
When Rose and Finn free the animals later, she writes: “Seeing the gratitude on the fathiers’ faces as they ran free through grass, having been liberated from their lives of abuse, was so touching.”
The final scene ‘underscores the animal liberation theme’ according to Joelle, who writes: Vulptices are fox-like creatures covered with beautiful crystal ‘fur’.
“Just like real foxes, vulptices are extremely quick and clever… But here on Earth, foxes are killed and sometimes skinned alive so that humans can wear their fur.”
She concludes: “So there you have it – three reasons why the depiction of the fictional creatures in Star Wars: The Last Jedi supports animal liberation.