WHOA. POP CULTURE ON THIS BLOG?
I guess it’s the end times!
Well not so fast! I haven’t seen any meteors, nobody but North Korea is threatening to launch nukes (and it’s not like they could if they really wanted to), and Heimdall and Gjallahorn are mighty silent. Ergo, it is NOT the end times, and you just have the good fortune of seeing me write a bit about Star Wars here on this blog.
As will be the usual routine from here on out, this blog publishes on a one week delay from my associated Tumblr act, so that’s the place to be if you want to get updates faster — with more numerous posts of varying media types as I find share-worthy material. The big stuff will always find its way here though, so if you are somehow Tumblr-averse, fret not. Reblogs of other people’s WordPress content will be exclusive to this site, however, and posts here will be prettier and more multimedia friendly, so there can and will be bonuses to following both sites.
Now. *claps hands* The main article today!
Star Wars desperately needs a Gray Jedi, and here’s how and why.
In the aftermath of the prequel trilogy, a lot of the luster that the Jedi used to have has been lost as we bore witness to what the order had deteriorated into by the time of Anakin Skywalker. We saw them overtaken by the very things they sought to oppose – they became a political and military order more than a spiritual one, which is a very real risk run by organized faith-based movements, such as Churches.
The idealized version of the Jedi that Obi-Wan Kenobi would later preach to Luke Skywalker is utterly nostalgic, and being such, reflects a reality that never really was. But Kenobi was correct – there was a defined period, in which his lifetime coincided with the end moments, wherein the order truly fell from grace and became little better than the Sith. I mean, Mace Windu and Yoda may have been correct that Palpatine was a traitor, but imagine the Pope saying “That Obama guy, he’s clearly a traitor to the American people. The Vatican must intercede and remove Obama from power until a new better leader can be elected.” This is essentially what the Jedi were proposing, which is seriously meddling with a nation’s politics in a very measurable and hardcore way, where the Jedi are meant to be politically neutral. That is a long way for the Jedi to have fallen, and quite a hard surface to have landed on from that height.
Unfortunately, the Jedi were never as removed from politics as Kenobi liked to imagine in his older age. But we, as audiences, today still live with his basic notion that “Jedi Good, Sith Bad”.
Alas that the world is not that simplistic. Wouldn’t it be great if it was though? It would make some key life decisions much easier.
But I digress.
I am very much a child of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, despite the clear nosedive in quality it took close to the end (much like the Jedi). The SWEU made clear that the Force wasn’t neatly divided into Light and Dark sides – that was always just the Sunday School version of it. Quoth Han Solo: “THAT’S NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS.”
And here we get to the centerpiece of this thought article: we need a Gray Jedi in the hero spot. And I think Rey has it in her to reject the duality of “with us or against us” preached by the Jedi and Sith.
Ask any real life witch: magic is a tool, and possesses little capability to influence you morally one way or the other. The spell caster is in fact the one doing the influencing of the magic, whether they know it or not (it generally helps to be aware of this though).
Rey has no real connection to the Jedi or the Sith at the outset. She’s heard stories about them, but her outsider’s view would be ideal in an examination of both parties and what they do well and what failures plague each side. From that, the Outsider has everything needed to build a new philosophy from the remains of Jedi and Sith that acknowledges the truth about people: no being can survive with a divided nature (just ask Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde how that turns out). It’s only by meeting in the middle of two extremes that balance (the arc word of the prequel trilogy) can be found.
Rey could be our first New Canon Gray Jedi. The passion and power of the Dark Side married to the discipline and self control of the Light. Either extreme left to themselves will destroy you, but together, they make us whole.
It’s like salt: the constituent elements are pretty damn effective poisons, but when brought together take a form that is necessary to our well being.
The presence of a Gray Jedi in the center spotlight could be a superb role model to kids, especially in the early days of that path where Rey stumbles. Maybe she gets carried away with how good using the dark side can feel, or she becomes too detached from her friends and allies to the point of apathy while she struggles to free herself of want in the Jedi manner. Maybe both. Preferably both.
Kids need to see someone like Rey get that balance right. After all, that sort of struggle is an important part of growing up, and Disney owes it to kids and young adults to show a role model who is going through that struggle and emerges better and “cooler” for it – give them the take away that we all stumble and fall as we reach for our completion as people: we might do too much of this or not enough of that, but that the end result is every bit as empowering and fulfilling not just to the self but also to others around us that it really is.
We need a Gray.
And Rey has it in her character to be that hero.
Besides, look at her outfit in the last movie.
Not light, not dark.
Somewhere in between.