Rogue One and The Walking Dead: Similar themes between Star Wars and TWD

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story face some of the same challenges that we see in the world of The Walking Dead.

Darth Vader and Negan?

I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this weekend and the parallels with The Walking Dead were striking. Who would have thought that characters in the newest Star Wars film, Rogue One, would face some of the same challenges facing Rick and his crew in the world of The Walking Dead?

Don’t worry I’m not going to spoil anything about the new movie, but I do want to reveal two quotes from Rogue One that got me thinking about parallels between the Star Wars universe and The Walking Dead. (And yes, I wrote them on my hand in the middle of the movie so as to not forget them) The first one: “You’re confusing security with terror” and the other one was “Rebellions are always built on hope.”

Emperor Negan

The Empire sees the Death Star as a way to ensure that people fall in line with their commands. Step out of line, lose your freedom or your life. There’s no grey area. The early plans for the Death Star included the justification that by having such a powerful weapon, there will be peace. (Peace, of course, comes at the service of the Empire) The counterargument: “You’re confusing security with terror.”

Sound familiar?

Negan sees himself as providing a service to the communities around the Sanctuary. While it’s true that the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and Alexandria don’t need his protection, Negan has taken it upon himself to be the one who creates peace and enforces the rules in the area. No one asked him to do it, and if you refuse his services you do so at your own peril.

The Empire operates in the same fashion. You don’t get a choice about it. If the Empire comes in and wants to take over, that’s what happens. “Resistance is futile,” as a certain dark lord tends to say.

Rick and the Rebellion

The second quote reminds me a lot of Michonne’s speech at the end of the midseason finale, “Hearts Still Beating.” Rick’s group has been through a lot over the years, and yet they persevere. They, like the Rebellion in Star Wars, keep fighting the good fight with the hope that they will find themselves in a better place at the end of the battle. They’re both fighting for the future, fighting for a better place.

The odds are always against them, with the bad guys outnumbering the good guys. “We’re the ones who live,” Michonne reminds Rick. “That’s why we have to fight. Not for us…for Alexandria, the Hilltop. We can find a way to beat them.”

Men like Negan and Darth Vader are good at destroying hope. They beat you down until you have nothing left. That’s the whole idea. Once you’ve been beaten down, it’s easier for the Saviors and the Empire to get exactly what they want. Hope is pointless. If anything, hope is dangerous.

All it takes is a spark of hope to start a revolution. One little ember can ignite a movement. It’s that hope that has kept the Rebellion fighting the Empire, and it’s what Rick’s group has used time and time again to persevere in some difficult situations. Hope for something better is how Rick and the rest of the group will ultimately defeat Negan and the Saviors. (Author’s note: I’m sticking to show continuity and avoiding comics continuity, so this speculation comes purely from what we’ve seen so far on the show)

Similar Themes

Star Wars and The Walking Dead both also feature characters who go rogue. They go off on their own missions and for better or worse find a way to make things happen. We saw that in Season 7 with Carl’s adventure to the Sanctuary. Similarly, Luke left Han and Leia on Endor to go back to face Darth Vader. In both cases, things worked out fairly well, but those rogue missions can often make things worse. (Imagine The Walking Dead’s Andrea bumbling around on the Death Star “trying to help”)

More from Undead Walking

Though one story takes place in a galaxy far, far away while the other takes place in the woods of Georgia, the themes are the same. The Star Wars universe and the world of The Walking Dead include similar stories with themes of good vs. evil, survival, beating the odds and restoring peace to the world. Ruling with an iron fist is not creating peace, it’s living in fear. Hope is what keeps people working to create a better life.