The Mantras of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus

Originally published on December 18, 2016

WARNING: This piece contains major SPOILERS from ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.

The first STAR WARS standalone film, ROGUE ONE, is now playing for the world to see. So far, it’s been getting a mainly positive response from critics and the public alike; and if you’ve read our group review of it, you’ll see the amount of praise we’ve given it as well.

This is also the first STAR WARS film to have a number of Asian actors in it, as leads might I add; two of them being Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe and Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus. The two are buddies who are first seen protecting a temple on the moon, Jedha.

Despite the two being friends, personality-wise, they are polar opposites of each other. Chirrut is a spiritual warrior who, despite not being a Jedi, is a strong believer in the Force. Baze, on the other hand, is more of a “shoot now, think later” kind of guy, and thinks the Force is – as Han Solo put it best once – “a bunch of mumbo jumbo.”

A few times throughout the film, Chirrut recites a mantra out loud to himself: “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” For those who wonder why he does this, I believe this is his way of reaffirming his belief in the Force, despite his obstacle of being blind, as well as not being a Jedi.

However, later near the end of the film, shortly after Chirrut dies, Baze comes to the realization that the Force really has been with them on this journey all along. In his final moments before his own death, he recites a mantra as well: “The Force is with me, and I am one with the Force.”

Since seeing the film, I’ve been wracking my brain over why the sentences are in the reverse order from how Chirrut would recite them, before finally drawing to the conclusion I made earlier today.

As mentioned earlier, Chirrut’s mantra can be seen as a way of him reaffirming his belief in the Force, and therefore, the Force will be there for him. For Baze, as his friend dies in his arms, the realization comes to him then about the existence of the Force, as Chirrut, at last, becomes a part of it. By saying “The Force is with me,” he’s basically saying that he’ll always have his friend with him, which is why he follows up by saying that he is one with the Force; and thus solidifies his belief in it in his final moments.

If Baze went on to become part of the Force after he died, I wouldn’t be surprised. Hearing both these mantras from these lead characters make for a reassuring message of affirmation that geeks everywhere can look to for guidance, especially in a time of darkness.

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