6 Reasons The Jedi Would Be The Villain In Any Sane Movie
Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Kit Fisto -- they were our heroes growing up. With their lightsabers and Force pushes, the Jedi battled evil and made the galaxy a better place. But did they really? Here are six things about the Jedi that ... look, we're really sorry about this, but we're about to ruin your image of Kit Fisto.
The Jedi Mind Trick Is Fucking Terrifying
Early in the first movie (and this counts for both "firsts"), we're introduced to a Jedi mind trick -- a way for Jedi to manipulate others. It's explained to viewers that The Force gives "power over the weak-minded." Apparently, being stupid in the Star Wars universe is a serious enough crime that your free will can be taken from you by some dick wizard.
"You're attracted to older men. You don't need that shirt. You have a latex allergy."
The thing is, there's no real indicator of what the Jedi mean by "weak-minded." It's not just stormtroopers who pulled Tatooine checkpoint duty. Powerful monarchs are apparently susceptible, while mob bosses and junk salesmen are immune. When you think about it, the "good guy" Jedi ability to control minds really seems to work only on the exact minds it shouldn't.
When you think about it more, you realize those incompetent stormtroopers that let Obi-Wan drive through the droid checkpoint were almost certainly killed later by their supervisor. We doubt Darth Vader would have taken, "Some old guy vouched for those robots," as an excuse. And while on the subject, would they even remember? A Jedi mind trick is probably like getting blackout drunk. Later that day, those two stormtroopers were being pulled into the air by their throats and shitting into their plastic armor with absolutely no idea why it was happening. It might have been nicer to just run them over with the landspeeder, Obi-Wan.
"You caused the accident. You don't have insurance. You think the old man will go away if you pay him."
And that's the thing -- it's never made clear the limits of this power, either in its scope or where it's appropriate to use. In Episode II, Obi-Wan runs into a sleazebag named Elan Sleazebaggano (no, really, Elan Sleazebaggano). Elan tries to sell him a drug called "death sticks," which would have the stupidest name ever put on a page of a screenplay if it wasn't sitting there next to the words "Elan Sleazebaggano." Obi-Wan uses his Jedi mind trick to tell him to go home and rethink his life.
"From now on you'll be Elan Notsuchabadguyalthoughhecouldstandtogivemoretocharityo."
But wait ... if that works, it raises a question: Why not do that all day? Wouldn't that eventually cut galactic crime by around all? Couldn't you save billions more lives a second if you had a TV show where you mind-tricked viewers into being good rather than cutting a bad guy in half every few weeks? But that just brings up the larger point ...
The Jedi Have No Official Policies, Regulation, Or Accountability
If you sat down and watched all six Star Wars movies, you might have some vague notion of a Jedi Code. It seems like they should have one, right? They certainly wouldn't train people and Muppets to control minds and crush throats without giving them strict guidelines on when it's OK to do those things, would they?
"One quick thing: This sword cuts through fucking anything. All right, that's the end
of the safety briefing. Get out there and have fun!"
If there is some kind of Jedi Code, it seems to be a loose suggestion at best. In the prequels, Qui-Gon Jinn doesn't follow the code, and the only consequence is not being allowed on the Council. Is that even a punishment? The Jedi Council looks like Sam Jackson and a room of radiation-poisoned dildos, and they seem to have all the political power of a U.N. ambassador's wife's book club.
"I'm Yarael Poof! I'm anal-safe and machine washable!"
Is there a system in place for when a Jedi starts doing whatever the hell he wants? For instance, if one of them were to mind-trick his way through a police checkpoint to get to a bar where he cut your arm off during an argument ... is there someone you can call? In Episode II, after Obi-Wan casually flings himself into space traffic, it's up to Anakin to steal a car and save him. Is that the Jedi Code? Grand theft speeder? He doesn't flash any kind of Jedi badge -- the owner of that car can simply suck it, courtesy of The Force.
In Episode III, Anakin seems to go against the Code pretty hard when he mutilates and murders Count Dooku. He even mentions several times that dismembering and decapitating people in cold blood isn't the Jedi way. And then what? There's no investigation ... no paperwork. Anakin doesn't have to turn in a report, but you know the Jedi Council heard about it. Even if they weren't clairvoyant wizards, the galaxy's worst forensics investigator would have figured out the murder weapon was a lightsaber and given them a call.
"Hey, Jedi Council. I'm looking at a big pile of laser-sword cauterized human parts.
You ... you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
Compare this to our world, where you have to go through months of applications just to sell tacos out of a street cart. But, we guess the system works for them. After all, when in these movies do you ever see a Jedi go rogue and start causing problems for everyone?
The Jedi Don't Care About The Republic Or Democracy In General
If you sat through the prequels, congratulations! Suffering builds character! Well, during those character-building hours, you may have noticed the Jedi were fighting for the Republic. So they're on the side of space democracy, right?
Not exactly. The first image we see in the Star Wars timeline is them going to negotiate the trade route. Why are these unelected, erratic sorcerer cops who are barely even accountable to their own Jedi Council in charge of this? Why wasn't a representative of the Senate with them? Sending two armed men with no economic or diplomatic training to a trade negotiation seems like something a gang would do, not a democracy.
So they aren't big fans of democratic procedures, but what do the Jedi think about the Senate itself? Let's look at a quote from the end of the prequels, when Mace Windu and Yoda discuss the growing threat of Palpatine.
"I was there too! I'm Ki-Adi-Mundi, which is Cerean for 'Hands-Free,
Suction-Mounted, Ribbed Dildo With Faux Pubic Locks'!"
Ki-Adi-Mundi told them, "If does not give up his emergency powers after the destruction of Grievous, then he should be removed from office." That seems reasonable. And then Mace Windu goes, "The Jedi Council would have to take control of the Senate in order to ensure a peaceful transition."
Yeah, these champions of galactic democracy decided to stage a military coup to ensure a "peaceful" transition. And it wasn't their last, desperate choice. Taking over the government with lightsabers was their very first idea. So maybe it wasn't a heat-of-the moment mistake when Obi-Wan took Ponda Baba's arm off in Mos Eisley. Because it seems like cutting off arms and telling everyone in the room to screw themselves is a Jedi's go-to move under any circumstance.
"Now that your arm is on the floor, you still think Linkin Park sucks? Jedi for life, son!"
It's possible the Jedi were so far up their own asses with their ideals they really thought they could peacefully take over the Senate. Fine. But when they found out Palpatine was a Sith Lord, by cleverly noticing that he's so obviously a Sith Lord, they decided not to tell anyone. Instead, Mace Windu said, "He's too dangerous to be left alive!" and they went in swords lasing.
They didn't get a warrant, Senate approval, or verification of any facts. They went in to assassinate a man with as much care and oversight as a punk band firing their drummer. Jedi Council, you spent half the movie complaining about your powers not working and your vision being clouded. And suddenly now, when it has to do with murdering the leader of your government, you're certain you have it all figured out? Are you even listening to yourselves, Jedi?
But that just brings up another point ...
Jedi Have No Non-Lethal Options
It's clear Jedi are quick to murder. But even if they wanted to peacefully deal with someone, Jedi don't carry handcuffs. Or tasers. Or pepper spray. We know stun guns exist in this galaxy, so why not carry one? If a 6-year-old can build a C-3P0, someone should be able to rig up some kind of net gun or sleep Frisbee. Maybe a lightsaber that simply hurts rather than eviscerates?
"I wish I didn't have to cut you in half, but it's the only setting on this thing!"
The closest thing we see to a non-lethal move from a Jedi is about 20 minutes into The Phantom Menace when Qui-Gon Jinn puts his hand on Jar Jar Binks' shoulder and makes him pass out. Let's ignore the damage this does to the compartmentalization of nerd brains by introducing the Vulcan nerve pinch to the Star Wars universe. What it means is that Jedi have the means to poke a guy to sleep even when they have goofy-ass never-before-seen alien physiology. They simply never use it as a method of conflict resolution; it's only something they use to shut up their annoying friends.
In Attack Of The Clones, Obi-Wan uses himself as bait to catch the bounty hunter Zam Wesell. His plan, in its entirety, is to stand by the bar, wait for her to stick a gun in his back, then chop her hand in half. We're not saying he was wrong, exactly. We're simply saying there were maybe a few ways to bring in the suspect without hacking off a part of her. It's very telling that while her fingers were still flying through the air, Anakin says to the bartender, "Jedi business."
"AND JEDI BUSINESS IS BOOMING, BITCHES!!!"
What's really weird is that the Jedi don't feel bad about any of this. Not only because they live in a universe where you can replace Jedi-removed limbs with robot parts, but because ...
Jedi Are Trained To Feel No Remorse Or Pity
Throughout the movies, we are constantly hit with how the Dark Side is about anger, hate, fear, insecurity, dry mouth, diarrhea, VCR repair -- it's bad, and obviously so. So when we see any of the Sith fight, it's either cruel like Dooku, lustful like Maul, or sadistically cheerful like the Emperor. The Jedi, however, fight with nobility. They never seem to be having much fun during their sword fights. Yoda's fighting style is 80 percent front flips, and he still manages to look bored.
"Ugh. Another goddamn laser-sword fight, this is. This freaking job, I hate."
But, then again, how often do you see the Jedi show regret for those they fricassee? We never saw Luke wonder about the widows of the Death Star. We know those robots mowed down in the prequels were sentient. They joked, laughed, made sarcastic quips ... they even feared death. Did any Jedi so much as blink as they cut them down? Or any enemy for that matter?
"That heartless Jedi took everything from me. Everything."
These are supposed to be enlightened peacekeepers. How enlightened can these people be if they can sleep at night as easily as they cut people in half? There isn't a single line of dialogue in these movies dedicated to the guilt a Jedi might feel for killing thousands, maybe millions of people.
Furthermore, the Jedi don't seem to care about collateral damage. In Return Of The Jedi, Luke blew up a "pleasure barge." Some of the passengers were probably just nice Tatooine couples on their honeymoon. A lot of the employees were slaves. Max Rebo and the Max Rebo Band were probably on that boat! That's like killing the Ace Of Base of space, Luke!
"Yeah, hold on a minute, did that Jedi kill me!?"
The detachment isn't just our imagination -- it seems to be an important part of the Jedi doctrine. Yoda routinely speaks to Anakin about removing connections with people, accepting death as a part of life, and basically separating oneself from any emotional links. Keep in mind Yoda says these things when he's talking about Anakin's girlfriend and his mother, who they left on Tatooine to be a slave. And if he can get that detached from his family and girlfriend, imagine how little he cares when he's murdering his enemies and the innocent people standing near them.
Speaking of innocent people destroyed by the Jedi ...
The Jedi Abduct Children
The Star Wars universe doesn't have very many children in it. In fact, the first one we meet grows up to cut all the other ones we meet into pieces. The only thing we really know about Star Wars kids is that, if you're born with Force powers, the Republic takes you away from your family. In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn tells Anakin's mother that if he had been born in the Republic, they would have taken him early for Jedi training. How early isn't made clear, but in Attack Of The Clones we see a room full of blindfolded toddlers practicing with lightsabers.
"Teacher? I keep hearing screams and then nothing else. Can I take
my blindfold off? Teacher? T-Teacher!?"
So these children are taken from their homes, or in Anakin's case purchased, and given deadly weapons before they know how to read. It seems ... irresponsible. And to support that point, we're going to pick on Qui-Gon Jinn again. This man threw a boy in a dangerous pod race in some kind of ridiculous spaceship repair scheme even George Lucas didn't seem to understand. After he miraculously survives that, Qui-Gon drops him in a war zone with only the advice, "Watch me and be mindful."
That's not a helpful tip for a 9-year-old going into his first gun fight. That's something you say when you're teaching him how to eat an artichoke or convince his mother you need a bigger TV. And if you've seen the movie, you know Anakin's "mindful" move is to hide in the cockpit of a working starfighter and immediately bumble into the war. Which seems like a great time to remind you: If you ate a pound of shredded newspaper, your shit would write a better movie than The Phantom Menace.
"That's fair." -Everyone involved in making The Phantom Menace
So that's their system, in a nutshell: They take children who are too young to have developed any empathy, moral reasoning, or critical-thinking skills, and raise them in the way of the Jedi. This involves disconnecting from the rest of society, developing supernatural abilities, and declaring themselves to be above any and all laws. We're wondering if, every once in a while, a Jedi wakes up in the middle of the night and says, "Wait, am I in a cult?"
Chris tweets as a fictional modern-day wizard, @JackAsherWizard, and has no followers. Maybe you can change that for him?
For more information to bolster your Star Wars arsenal, check out 7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped the Ball and The 5 Most WTF Origins of Iconic 'Star Wars' Scenes.
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