Film Review - Gender Bias Lens

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (more commonly known as Star Wars: Rogue One) is a space opera and war story starring Felicity Jones. Taking place between the events of Episode III and Episode IV, former imperial scientist Galen Erso is taken away from his by Orson Krennic to help design and build a superweapon called the Death Star for the Empire. Years later, his daughter, Jyn Erso, is sought out by the Rebel Alliance to find her father to retrieve the plans for the Death Star so the Rebels can have an edge in the fight against the Empire. The movie acts as a bridge to both the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy while also tying up the loose ends that appeared in Episode IV as well. It also fleshes out many different elements of the story that were not touched on before.

Jyn Erso plays a very strong role in the film as it’s leading role. It fleshes out her character arc from the beginning where she was separated from her father to helping the Rebels in the present. Because of this, it passes the Mako Mori test with flying colors. She has her own character arc that not only does not support anyone else’s arc but, has other story arcs supporting hers. One example being the arc of Galen Erso’s involvement in the Death Star’s construction being a story element that supports Jyn’s story arc.

It passes the Bechdel Test by a slim margin as there are at least three conversations that female characters have with each other in the whole film. One of which being Mon Mothma where she briefs Jyn on her mission to find her father. All of the other ones are with extras and side character that are not too relevant. Even so, the movie still passes the test in a satisfying manner.

My test wanted to focus on something that this movie does not necessarily excel at: represent of women of color. My test is called the diversity pass test because I feel like casting director will throw a person of color into the film but, will not put in the work to flesh their character out or just make them a side character. Their only objective seems to be to fill some very shallow quota they have in their mind. My test requires at least non-white woman who has her own fleshed out character arc that does not support a man’s story and if there is more than one non-white woman in the film, then they cannot be similar in terms of character and personality. They must be wholly original characters that are not a product of stereotypes.

The fact that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is able to pass at least one of these tests is an achievement in of itself. Even though representation can be improved in this film and this franchise as whole but, passing one of these tests is quite rare in Hollywood. These tests can help further improve the issue of representation in America.