For those living behind a rock (who fits under rocks?), Jyn Erso is the protagonist of the most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Her father, Galen Erso, is forced to be the head scientist behind the planet destroying Death Star, and she seeks to rescue him and then steal the plans for the Death Star. Along the way, she is joined by others in her quest. Cassian Andor, the Rebel operative, K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial enforcer droid, Chirrut Îmwe, a spiritual warrior, Baze Malbus, Chirrut’s companion with a big gun, and Bodhi Rook, an Imperial defector and pilot.
Together, they form the team of Rogue One. This team is greater than the sum of its parts. The idea of humanism holds no sway here. Humanism is about how the individual is strong and has to fight for themself by themself in order to succeed. Rogue One goes against that idea by subscribing to the theory of posthumanism. Posthumanism came as a response to humanism, and says that, no, you don’t have to fight by your own ability. In fact, you don’t even need to fight it alone. Posthumanism generally encourages the use of outside aid to make up for human weaknesses.
Jyn starts off very distrustful of her companions, only going with them because her father is involved, but she slowly begins to trust them more. K-2SO is not given a gun due to the fact that he was once Imperial, and the reprogramming may not be as complete as they would like. However, when Jyn and Cassian go into the data archives to find the Death Star plans, Jyn gives K-2SO a gun so he can watch their backs.
K-2 then goes on to fight off hordes of Storm Troopers who are trying to stop Jyn and Cassian. Jyn relies on K-2 and her other companions to help her steal the plans. Had she tried to go it alone, she would have been unable to, and she likely would have ended up dead (or, dead sooner).
Another post- Jyn exemplifies is postcolonialism. Postcolonialism is about what happens after one culture has subjugated another. Its primary focus is on the idea of the adopt, adapt, and adept phases. In the adopt phase, the person or literature in question goes along with the society around them, trying to be universally accepted by the subjugating culture. In the adapt phase, they take on some aspects of the subjugated culture, but put it through the subjugating culture’s lens. In the final phase of adept, they remove themself from the subjugation and take on their original culture.
Jyn starts off in the rebel culture of her family. Then the Empire comes to take them away to work on the Death Star, but Jyn hides in a safe room. A friend of the family and rebel extremist, Saw Gerrera, comes to rescue her and train her. What you might think is that the subjugating culture is the Empire, but it’s actual just the extremist views that Saw Gerrera teaches her. She adopts that culture and acts as an extremist herself, rebelling even against the rebels to a degree. She adapts the mild rebel views when she is forced to work with them. She has to reign in her more violent tendencies in favor of the Rebel’s less explosive methods. She finally becomes adept when her father tells her to destroy the Death Star. She fully takes on the original culture of her family’s rebel ways. She works with the other Rebel forces to infiltrate the data archives and steal the plans for the Death Star, without being unnecessarily extreme.
Jyn Erso is significant as a new heroine for a few reasons. First of all, while she occasionally needs saving, it is only ever because the one saving her is currently in a better position to do so. At other times, she’s the one doing the saving. Most notably, she is the one to finally transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebel fleet, without which Episode IV would never be able to happen and the Rebels would have fallen.
Secondly, while she does have a romantic sub-plot, it doesn’t make her any weaker. In fact, it would be entirely possible for someone to not realize there was a romantic sub-plot until the end of the film. It is so subtle that it is not a matter of her getting the guy, or him getting the girl, but rather serves to enhance the emotions of the ending.
Jyn Erso is a strong addition to the realm of strong heroines and will hopefully serve as an example of strong heroes in general in the future.