In my last post – Continuity Confusion in Resistance – I outlined the plot of the Season 2 episode of Star Wars Resistance titled “A Quick Salvage Run.” In turn, I examined how, at the end of that episode, when the Colossus makes its getaway from the First Order, the ship is not tracked through hyperspace, an outright confusing fact considering the First Order possess the technology to do so. For the sake of brevity, I will let you go read that post to see what I say about the topic. Here, though, I wanted to return briefly to “A Quick Salvage Run” to pose a question that popped into my mind as I was watching. Allow me to set the stage.
In the episode, Kazuda Xiono leads a salvage team comprised of the members of the Warbird pirate gang to the Fulminatrix, the First Order Dreadnought destroyed by the Resistance at the beginning of The Last Jedi. The intention of the salvage run is pretty straightforward for Xiono: find the hyperfuel (coaxium) still in the ship and bring it back to the Colossus. Of course, the pirates have ulterior motives, salvaging any other materials they deem valuable, although they do not hinder the primary objective.
As one can imagine, the “quick salvage run” to the Fulminatrix is the core of this episode, and many scenes are devoted to Xiono and his confederates scouring the wreckage of the massive vessel. And it is was during these scenes aboard the Fulminatrix where my question popped into my head:
Where are the dead bodies?
Seriously, there are no bodies of First Order crew members anywhere to be found within the wreckage of the Fulminatrix. Not even one. According to the reference book Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Incredible Cross-Sections, the dreadnought had the following personnel aboard:
- 53,000 officers
- 140,000 enlisted
- 22,000 stormtroopers
That is a total of 215,000 crew aboard the Fulminatrix when it was bombed by the Resistance!!! Are we really to believe that Xiono and company are running about the vessel and no dead bodies would be present? I mean, it stands to reason that some of the crew were probably able to evacuate the doomed dreadnought, while the bodies of thousands of others – like Captain Canady – were completely incinerated in the inferno triggered by the Resistance bombs. Never-the-less, it is difficult to believe that not a single dead body would be laying about as Xiono and the pirates navigate the debris-strewn corridors of the dreadnought. Surely, hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies should be strewn about the ship, contorted and mangled by the explosions that ripped through the Fulminatrix.
I mean, I guess someone could argue that because Star Wars Resistance is a kids show – it is animated and on Disney XD – the presence of dead bodies would be upsetting to children. Frankly, I find that reasoning entirely unconvincing, especially because animated Star Wars programs have been known to show death/dead bodies in the past. Besides, “war” is in the name of the franchise and this means there is an obligation not to sanitize warfare. This is not to suggest that every Star Wars story must depict the exact same level of death, horror, and destruction. I hardly think a “kids show” needs to show the grotesque, burnt corpses of First Order ensigns and gunners littering the hallways of a destroyed dreadnought. No, in this case, a few dead stormtroopers lining the darkened hallways as Xiono and the pirates walk-by would have been enough, a clear reminder to kids and adults alike that when the Resistance bombs exploded, people died.
Great post! This is a topic I’ve also considered every now and again with Star Wars. I don’t find the lack of bodies surprising. While Star Wars certainly has the responsibility not to sanitize warfare, I think the series as a whole has rarely lived up to that. The only times I remember war being portrayed as terrible as it truly is are the times when the lives lost belong to the good guys. However, when the villains are the ones being killed, it seems as if every attempt is made to keep the evil faceless, so as to not see them as lives being lost. For me, this is most prevalent in the destruction of the Death Star where so many people die, yet the main series does not grapple with the immensity of that action. It gives the impression that lives taken by the just simply aren’t worth as much as other lives. To make physical reference to the fact there were people on this ship and that those people died would undermine the view that violence in the name of justice is okay. The presence of bodies would force us to ask “did this person deserve to die?”
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Thanks for the comment, Tommy! I think you are spot on regarding the different ways lives being lost are dealt with on the “good side” and the “bad side.” The Death Star is a perfect example of this, and should remind us that in the blast – just like on Alderaan – a lot of lives were lost. The common trope about this is “did the janitor aboard the DS deserve to die?” It is a bit of a simplistic question without a lot of nuance, but the point it is conveying is easy enough to grasp. As a whole, I think SW has, at times, done a good job of forcing the audience, across mediums, to wrestle with the cost(s) of warfare – physical, moral, and ethical – but it doesn’t always depict the actual warfare as accurately as it could, but there are some really good moments. I actually think the battlefield on Mimban in Solo: A Star Wars Story is one of the absolute best representations of actual warfare SW has shown. The brief battle we see is dirty and gritty, we actually see someone blow up (which reminded me of a scene from the movie Glory). Likewise, the first Battlefront novel – Twilight Company – offers some pretty harsh and gut-wrenching descriptions of warfare on the planet Sullust. You can really imagine the bodies piling up…which gets back to my initial point. War is hell, and a “kids show” should be reminding the audience of that fact even if it is not going to do so in an overly grotesque manner.
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