(Warning: This article contains spoilers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.)
Hot take: The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film.
Star Wars is more than just the biggest sci-fi franchise of all time. It’s even more than a cultural phenomenon that has had folks invading movie theaters at hyperspeed. It’s art that reflects some of the most profound ethical issues of our time—including the need for animal liberation. Through porgs, fathiers, vulptices, and that repulsive green milk scene, The Last Jedi didn’t hesitate to put the plight of animals used for human desires on screen.
At the beginning of The Last Jedi, we’re introduced to the adorable porg species. On the hidden planet of Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker is isolating, porgs run free. We see Chewbacca cooking a dead one over an open fire. As he’s about to bite into the animal’s body, a group of live porgs standing by the fire catches his eye. They all start crying, shocked that he presumably killed and is going to eat one of their own. At that moment, Chewie has a “vegan epiphany,” if you will: After seeing that porgs are individuals with feelings, he decides not to eat the corpse.
Throughout the rest of the film, we see Chewie and the porgs together, as the animals latch on to him after seeing his compassion for their species. His empathy for them reflects a very real animal rights issue: Chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys, and other animals are killed for food here on Earth, despite being intelligent, feeling individuals who deserve to live free of abuse. Did you know that approximately 9 BILLION chickens are killed for food every year in the U.S. alone? Just like the porgs in The Last Jedi, they are sensitive animals who are not ours to eat.
One of the most emotional scenes in The Last Jedi involves fathiers, beings who resemble horses. When Finn and Rose are in the wealthy city of Canto Bight, Rose expresses her distaste for everything that the city stands for. But while looking down at a fathier track that is eerily similar to horseracing tracks on Earth, Finn expresses how beautiful he thinks the city is. Rose encourages him to look a little closer at the fathiers being forced to race 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 city’s rich citizens.
This ridiculously senseless cruelty reflects the pain that horses, big cats, elephants, bears, dolphins, and other animals endure for human entertainment. Whether it’s for horseracing, circuses, marine parks, film and TV, or elephant rides, forcing animals to perform is wrong.
Later in the movie, Rose and Finn break the fathiers free. You can see the gratitude on their faces as they run through grass after being liberated from their lives of abuse and suffering. Their plight is a metaphor for the many animals here on Earth who suffer every single day for human entertainment.
The vulptices in The Last Jedi also underscore the need for animal liberation. These fox-like beings are covered with beautiful crystal “fur.” Just like real foxes, they’re extremely quick and clever. They end up saving the film’s heroes by helping them escape when they become trapped.
In real life, foxes are also extremely smart and clever. But here on Earth, people kill and even skin them alive, all so that humans can wear their fur. Just like The Last Jedi‘s quick, cunning, and compassionate vulptices, foxes are amazing individuals who don’t deserve to be slaughtered for their fur.
That Disgusting Green Milk Scene
One of the most memorable scenes in The Last Jedi is when Luke Skywalker takes milk from an alien sea cow on Ahch-To. As you may remember, theater audiences were shocked and some people were left gasping in disgust. Yes, stealing and drinking milk produced by someone else’s mother is disgusting. Mother animals make milk for their own offspring, not for humans (no, not even for Jedi like Luke).
It’s unethical to take something that doesn’t belong to you, and cows who are abused for milk on dairy farms often live in filthy conditions, sometimes amid their own feces. They’re forcibly impregnated, and their babies are kidnapped from them shortly after birth. Male calves are usually slaughtered for veal, while females endure the same fate as their mothers: being treated as nothing more than a milking machine.
The disgust that audiences felt when Luke drank milk from a being on Ahch-To should also be felt when humans drink cow’s milk.
Rose saving fathiers like an animal rights queen? We love to see it. Chewie contemplating the ethics of eating meat? An intergalactic veg icon.
Humans could learn a thing or two from The Last Jedi scenes involving Rose, Chewie, and even Luke’s disgusting green milk.
With animal liberation themes so obvious that they were as recognizable as the Millennium Falcon, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the best film in the franchise—and we’ll duel anyone who disagrees. So get your light sabers ready—and may the force be with you.
Want to start helping animals who are exploited for experiments, food, clothing, and entertainment?