From the Star Wars trailer for The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker says to Rey “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” What could he mean by this and what other clues do we have in Star Wars folklore that lead us to the answer. There is some question about all the Star Wars reading material before and since Disney took over Lucasfilm and what is canon and related to the movies. I will favor the canonized literature and media to point out what direction I think the films will eventually go with The Last Jedi.
What this means for the future of the galaxy far, far away, is a change in the characters and philosophies of those who are Force sensitive. The Jedi and Sith are opposites in philosophy that must change concerning the use of the Force. As in living we are guided by the choices we make and not always led by absolutes in philosophies and dicipines in life, the user of the Force questions how to use the gift of power given to him or her. There have been unaffiliated dark siders and Gray Jedi that bridge the gap between the two extremes of Jedi and Sith.
I believe that Luke Skywalker is saying that for the Force to become more effective in the lives of the galaxy the proper use is located closer to the center of the spectrum of the Force. There are examples of those users of the Force that objected to the extremes in philosophy and fought against the ways of the Jedi or Sith. Here are some that did not always follow the Sith or the Jedi in philosophy and world views.
During Dark Horse’s “Star Wars: Republic” comic series in 2003 Qui-Gon Jinn was introduced as a Jedi Master. Later in Episode One he was the one that wanted to train Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Jedi against the wishes of the Jedi Council. He was a believer in the idea of the Living Force not the same as the Cosmic Force taught by others in the Jedi. He was ever mindful of the present moment and wary to heed the premonitions that other Jedi relied on. He said that to Obi-Wan Kenobi his Jedi Padawan in that movie. His middle of the road approach put him in conflict with Jedi teaching and understanding. Had he been alive to train Anakin and imparted this way of life perhaps Anakin could have resisted the pull of the Dark Side.
The Jensaarai, first appearing in the 1998 novel “I, Jedi” by Michael Stackpole, was founded by a Jedi Knight who left the order after discovering Sith literature claiming the Jedi stole all they knew from the first Sith Lords, their name is an ancient Sith word for “follower of the hidden truth.” While this is non-canon it is an example of a group of people who were influenced by the Sith Lord Larad Noon, and a large part of the Jensaarai philosophy relied on “integrating the shadow.” Aspects of the dark side of the Force could be used without surrendering to the evil of the Dark Side of The Force. The Jensaarai were able to live between light and dark without becoming servants of the dark side.
Quinlan Vos was a Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars who, like Qui-Gon Jinn, wasn’t a big fan of all the rules of the Jedi Council. He was an effective user of The Force and now part of the canonized “The Clone Wars”. In “Dark Disciple,” Vos was tasked by the Jedi Council with assassinating Count Dooku and bringing an end to The Clone Wars. Taught by Asajj Ventress, and after the two had become lovers, Vos learned about the dark side in order to lure Dooku into leading him to Darth Sidious and ending the threat of the Sith once and for all. Although it did not work as planned Vos is another example of someone not adhering to the ideals of the Jedi or Sith.
Introduced in Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 “Clone Wars” micro-series, and one of the Nightsisters of Dathomir, Asajj Ventress was Jedi padawan of Ky Narec Jedi Knight and later apprentice to Count Dooku’s alter ego, Darth Tyranus. After the Clone Wars ended Ventress struggled to find meaning in her life. While working as a bounty hunter, Ventress and her Jedi lover Quinlan Vos attempted to assassinate Count Dooku. But rather than return to the dark side in order to exact revenge on her former master, Ventress sacrificed herself to save Vos and return him to the light. Asajj Ventress in her search for a purpose at both ends of the Force spectrum is a great example of a character not directly aligned with the light side of the Force who does good.
The Jal Shey History of over 4,000 years makes them one of the oldest orders of Force users in the galaxy. Very little is known about them except a few words from Jal Shey mentor, Peet Sieben from the novelization of the 2008 “The Clone Wars” (Star Wars) by Karen Traviss. They studied and pursued an intellectual understanding of the Force. While they were sensitive with the force and had learned the martial and physical pursuits of the Jedi and Sith but did not follow their respective beliefs. They abhorred war and conflict but understood its ability to bring out the best in individuals. They were highly respected for their wisdom and understanding of the Force, and were considered to be the brightest minds in the known galaxy.
Powerful Force wielders lived on the planet Mortis. They were a shape-shifting family of three. Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ashoka Tano were lured by the Father to his hidden world so that he could evaluate Skywalker and discern whether or not he was The Chosen One. The Daughter personified the light side of the Force, the Son the dark side, and the Father himself was the manifestation of the balance between the two. Skywalker was tested by the Father to see if he was worthy of taking his place to be the calming force between Daughter and Son and he passed the test, but Skywalker chose not to stay and went back to being a Jedi. The family clearly represented the three aspects of The Force.
In “The Clone Wars” film from 2008, Anakin Skywalker was assigned a padawan named Ashoka Tano. The two would develop a bond during the trials and trebulations of The Clone Wars. Almost at the end of The Clone Wars Tano is framed for several murders and a bombing in the Jedi Temple and is expelled from the Jedi Order. Her innocence is proved by Skywalker and she is asked to come rejoin the Jedi but she refuses. Her faith in the Jedi had been shaken. Tano reappears as an integral part of the burgeoning Rebellion in 2014’s “Star Wars: Rebels. She represented a Star Wars character with a lightsaber doesn’t have to follow the rules in order to do good.
Ezra Bridger was an orphan from the planet Lothal who became a padawan and helped lead the rebellion against the Empire before the battle of Yavin. He has been pulled between the philosophies of the Jedi and Sith, having both the Jedi Kanan Jarrus and the former Sith Lord Darth Maul as teachers. Bridger has utilized the dark side on several occasions, most notably to access the knowledge inside a Sith Holocron. Maul and Kanan both ended their respective training prematurely. Without a source of complete understanding for either Jedi or Sith teachings this could lead him down a dark path, but all signs so far indicate him beginning to develop his own, more neutral understanding of The Force.
“Jedi-Bendu,” or the Bendu was a supposedly an ancient being “in the middle” that represented the center of the Force between the two extremes of the Jedi and the Sith. In the third season of “Rebels,” Ezra Bridger and his master encounter the Bendu. Although he seems friendly with the rebels, he refuses to take sides in their fight against the Empire. The Bendu is an representation of neutrality in the Star Wars galaxy even though he has great power in The Force. As Ezra Bridger continues to develop his views of The Force the Bendu’s influence on the young man may help shape hisunderstanding of The Force.
“Who is Rey?” We know she is strong in The Force. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” did not give us her history or who left her on the planet Jakku where she became a scavenger to survive. Now that she has met Luke Skywalker and we are lead to believe Skywalker trains her and makes in that training the statement “it’s time for the Jedi to end”. Perhaps as the title says Luke is the “last Jedi” and Rey is the beginning of a new order that will operate more in the middle of The Force and won’t follow the strict path that is the Jedi or Sith.
Maybe it is Luke Skywalker that brings balance to the force in the training of Rey. I think it’s clear that there is something very different in store for Rey. Whether she falls to the dark side or develops more grayer areas of The Force, seeking a balance in beliefs. We will not know until December. 🙂 Walt