MadameAce: After the release of The Force Awakens, many of us were left wondering just who the hell Rey is. She’s powerful in the Force and certainly an important enough person in their universe to warrant being the star of three movies. So what’s the deal? Is she Obi-Wan’s granddaughter? Luke’s child? Or something else altogether? A less common theory says that she’s Anakin Skywalker reincarnated. The theory posits that due to Anakin’s crimes, he was sent back to the world as Rey to live on a desert planet. There are a number of things wrong with that—being a girl is not actually a punishment, for one thing—but while I disagree with the original poster regarding why Anakin may or may not have been reincarnated, could reincarnation even be possible within the Star Wars universe?
Well, yes. Regardless of whether or not this theory is true, it can easily fit into the narrative, and Lady Geek Girl and I are about to explain why.
Lady Geek Girl:Star Wars borrows heavily from Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, which does incorporate reincarnation, though many people in the Western world misunderstand what reincarnation is actually about. According to Buddhist teachings, people are stuck in an endless cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth called saṃsāra. This cycle is not a good thing, because it means being stuck in a cycle of suffering. However, one can break out of this cycle by achieving enlightenment. One can only do this by following the Middle Way, aka Buddhism. Through meditation, one can achieve insight about the truth of life and extinguish desire, which allows one to escape suffering and end the cycle of rebirth. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to achieve enlightenment and break that cycle. But just because Star Wars borrows from Buddhism, that doesn’t mean it follows it strictly. While there is no direct evidence that reincarnation exists in the Star Wars universe, it could certainly be a possibility.
After rewatching Oliver & Company and The Fox and the Hound, I got to thinking how strange it would be if my cats were just as intelligent as the animals in Disney or Pixar. For many of us, talking animals were a big part of our childhood, and they have continued to be part of us well into adulthood. From live-action films like Homeward Bound to completely animated movies such as Bolt, these stories are a great way to teach audience members, particularly children, valuable life lessons. The Fox and the Hound teaches us about empathy and societal pressures, The Lion King tells us about growing up and taking responsibility even if we don’t want to, and Zootopia teaches us about inclusion and racism.
Even if all these movies are by no means perfect, the messages they want to teach us are pretty clear. However, very rarely do talking animal movies delve into topics like abuse and death. And let’s face it, the world is a really awful place for animals, and from an animal’s perspective, it must be rather horrifying to live here. Happy talking animal movies have their place, but as The Fox and the Hound lets us know, so do unhappy ones. And that brings me to Fluke, a live-action 1995 drama film.
As I continue brooding about life and true happiness, I can’t help but think about the anime series Angel Beats! After re-watching the show for the eighth time, I realized just how often the characters’ thoughts about religion (and the afterlife) affect what happens in the plot. While the story occurs in a world considered the afterlife, how they choose to pass on (or stay in limbo) is affected greatly on different belief systems. From Buddhism to Christianity, the characters believe in different icons or principles from these religions and make a lot of assumptions about this world because of their beliefs.
Reincarnation is the idea that a person’s eternal soul is reborn numerous times in different bodies. In a religious sense, reincarnation tends to occur as a purifying process: through each life cycle, you either learn important lessons, cleansing your soul and becoming closer to heaven, or rack up karmic negativity, setting your eternal self back in the queue and, depending on the belief system, guaranteeing a shittier vessel for yourself in your next life cycle. The monotheistic Big Three—Judaism, Islam, Christianity) don’t generally hold with this concept, but it is an important part of many Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
Reincarnation is also a time-tested trope in fiction, and I find it interesting that in most cases, it’s a hard and fast aspect of the fictional universe rather than a religious belief that some follow and some don’t. It’s just given that reincarnation exists. Continue reading →