A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
We all know what those words mean. Whenver we see them pop onto a screen or on the opening pages of a book, it becomes apparent that we are about to enjoy something from the Star Wars saga. I recently read the four Republic Commando novels written by Karen Traviss. These books, along with the Imperial Commando novel that picked up where the Republic Commando series left off seem to be quite a controversial set of novels due to their supposed pro-Clone, pro-Mandalorian, and/or anti-Jedi themes.
Well, with the four RC books under my belt, I can definitely see where some people would think that these books have a particular slant to them. I personally think that book #4, Order 66, is the heaviest pro-Mandalorian/anti-Jedi book in the bunch, with the other books in the series leaning harder towards a pro-Clone stance. Of course, without the Mandos (specifically Jango Fett and the Cuy’val Dar) there would be no clone army, so one could argue that the Mandos get love throughout the books. They do. I won’t question that. However, I believe these books aren’t so much pro or anti anyone. Instead, I think they are simply honest.
Yep, I’m one of those guys who believe that the Jedi aren’t as high and mighty as most people see them. In fact, they display quite a few negative traits such as cowardice, egotism, bigotry, and even a need for power or control.
Now before anyone flies off the handle and calls me an anti-Jedite (Is that even a word? It is now!), hear me out. I’ll go through quite few reasons as to why I’ve drawn this conclusion about the “good guys.” This isn’t a pro-Empire or pro-Mando post, but it is a post that will attempt to reveal the grey areas that have made me less of a fan of the guys in brown robes and more of a fan of the guys in white plastoid.
So, without further ado, here are a few of my reasons why the Jedi aren’t the awesome beings of goodness and light in the galaxy.
- Let’s face it. The Jedi can be a cowardly bunch. My first example is the grand daddy Jedi of them all, Master Yoda. When he faced off against Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, he had a chance to beat the guy. Instead, he took a beating and ran. “He who lives to run away, lives to run another day,” right? Why, Master Yoda, did you run? Was it so that you could train Luke Skywalker? Possibly, but you never sought him out. You waited for him to come to you at an age you considered too old for training. Then you became one with the Force when poor Luke came back to you to finish his training. You hid for years instead of attempting to train Luke as a youngster.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi cowardly walked away from his former best friend, Anakin, allowing the lava of Mustafar to finish the job for him. Yes, Kenobi probably walked away due to the fact that he couldn’t bear killing a man that he considered his brother, but letting him burn to death is a better fate? Let me say right now that if I ever turn to the Dark Side and my death can stop a whole bunch of terrible events from happening, you all have my permission to take me out with a lightsaber instead of letting me die in agony while burning up and lacking appendages! This is the second time that the Dark Side could have been stopped or at least slowed down, and the Jedi didn’t follow through!
- Yoda and Mace Windu knew something was up with Anakin, but they still allowed him to be trained (by a newly crowned Jedi Knight, no less, with a hippie Master). They still allowed him on the Jedi Council. Yes, supposedly it was to keep tabs on Palpatine, but they treated Anakin like a punk that didn’t belong with their “elite” group of Jedi. On top of that, Obi-Wan would often berate Anakin in front of others, adding fuel to the fire. The kid was obviously messed up and struggling with some big internal demons, yet they allowed it to happen. Why?
- The Jedi freely accepted a Clone Army given to them under suspicious conditions. They didn’t know who ordered the creation of the army. Was it Sifo-Dyas? Perhaps, but he was supposedly dead when the order was put in, but let’s go ahead and use this army any way since we really, really need back up! The Emperor didn’t even have to be that smart to put his plans into action with these guys! Now, in the EU, Sifo-Dyas did put in the order for the clones, but only with a lot of persuasion from Count Dooku. This isn’t made clear in the films, but I did want to mention it in this post. Still, even with this knowledge, why did the Jedi agree to use the army? Were they so certain of themselves that nothing could happen to them that they went ahead with the army’s usage?????
- Once they got their paws on the Clone Army, they allowed them to be slaughtered willy-nilly by the Separatists. Why? Because they were cannon fodder, right!?!?!? In the Republic Commando novels, the clones and many of the Jedi Generals found it odd that they were spread so thin across the galaxy fighting outmanned and outgunned, but the Jedi Generals went along with Palpatine’s plans any way because he apparently knew something they didn’t! In the films and on the cartoon series, the clones were sent in to defend people they didn’t know in a war they didn’t sign up for. They were basically pressed itno service and the Jedi allowed it to happen. Only Anakin seemed to really treat them as human beings. An excellent example of this is at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith whenever he and Kenobit are attempting to rescue the chancellor from Grievous. When the Vulture Droids and Buzz Droids attacked, Kenobi allowed them to pass and attack the clones while he and Anakin stayed on course for Grievous’ ship. When Anakin heard that the clones were in trouble, he said that he wanted to go back and help them. Kenobi told him not to, stating, “They have their job and we have ours.” Granted, they were on a specific mission, but Kenobi’s response was so cold and instant that I lost a little faith in him. The clones were essentially a slave army.
- One of my biggest hang-ups is how the Jedi, specifically Yoda and Obi-Wan, treated Luke. As already stated, Yoda didn’t seek out Luke to train him from an early age and then griped that he was too old to be trained once Luke made his own way to Dagobah. Then Yoda and Kenobi hid the fact that Vader was Luke’s father from him and even told him that Vader had murdered his father! Sure, they did this to protect him until he was ready to know the truth, but by hiding this fact from Luke and then essentially letting his pops spring it on him open Luke up to the Dark Side of the Force? Why should he trust these old Jedi who are keeping secrets from him about his father and, later on, his sister? The dude with asthma, as evil as he might come across, was pretty straightforward about everything. Luke could have easily turned to the Dark Side due to the deception of the Jedi!!!!
- Another reason that the Jedi aren’t as great as they initially appear is their “holier than thou” attitude. They clung to their dogma as if it were a life or death situation. Instead of changing when things started going south, they put all of their faith in the Force. They essentially allowed Anakin to turn to the Dark Side. They allowed the Clones to be used in a war that the Jedi believed was possibly manufactured. Their egos got in the way of common sense!
- Finally, the Clone Army was bred for war and genetically modified to take orders without question. When Order 66 was given, few of them hesitated to follow through. Why? Perhaps it was because the Jedi came across as always a bit “better” than the Clones. The clone commanders had built up relationships (and not necessarily good ones) with all of their Jedi Generals, but who was it that they fell into rank behind to destroy the Jedi Temple? Anakin, that’s who! They supported the one Jedi that treated them like humans and like individuals that mattered in this crazy war they were impressed into service for against the Separatists.
So, there are just a few of my reasons why I believe that the Jedi aren’t necessarily as nice and wonderful as many people believe. I’m not saying that the Sith are any better, mind you. I’m just saying that the Jedi weren’t the best of Boy Scouts either. In fact, you could say that the Jedi were just as bad as the Sith, because ultimately both of them used the Clones for their own purposes.
Some will probably say that the Jedi were blinded by the Emperor, but if that’s the case, why did so many of them have doubts and bad premonitions and still did nothing about them? I could see them being blinded if they never doubted what was going on, but their was a lot of doubt from many of the Jedi.
Ultimately it’s all a matter of opinion, but I think I’ve stated my case pretty well. If you believe otherwise, let me know in the comments below.
Also, I must admit that despite my sour taste for the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Yoda, and Plo Koon are some of my favorite Star Wars characters. Kenobi is probably my favorite character in the entire saga. I’ve always looked at the prequels as being more about his development than Anakin’s, because I honestly believe that he felt bad for everything that he did to both Anakin and eventually Luke.
As always, thank for reading. Feel free to weigh in on this topic below.