This blob was originally posted on NJOE.com years ago and I just came across it in my old documents. Thought I would post it here as nostalgic Star Wars reading.
“For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”
The Jedi had been a force of peace and justice. As Mace Windu says, they were keepers of the peace – not soldiers. They stood the test of time and conflict and helped shape the galaxy; then war came. The Jedi were thrown into a role that they did not belong to. They were forced into morally compromising situations and made to choose the lesser of two evils. The Clone Wars created a cloud, along with the dark side of the Force, to ensnare the Jedi into become soldiers, not keepers of the peace. As war went on, it claimed many Jedi and not just their lives, it began to eat at the heart of the Order. They lost sight of what was truly important and became slaves to a failed government, instead of following the Force. In the end, as history shows, all were lost but two (there may be more that George has not reveled yet). Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda bridged that divide to raise up a new Jedi Knight to restore peace and justice to the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker has been questioned of late. His characterization is said to be off; it is said that he is no longer that “farm-boy” that we all know and love. He seems cooler and less willing to trust and look for the good in people. Is this the case and is it really uncharacteristic?
Luke has not had an easy life. His aunt and uncle murdered, his hand cut off by his Sith father, and almost electrocuted to death by The Emperor. His training was woefully short as a Jedi, he fell to the dark side for a while… and then there is an endless list of super weapons, warlords, madmen and women that he had to face, Sith, kidnappings of family members, the loss of many loves, the loss of close friends, the death of his youngest nephew, the loss of his oldest nephew turned Sith who was taken down by his niece, and the death of his wife to his nephew-turned-Sith. All of this is surrounded by, and couched in, over 40 years of unrest and war with one group after another. All while trying to find the New Jedi Order’s place in the New Republic/Galactic Alliance. This man is lucky to be alive, let alone sane.
War, as can be seen in the days of Kenobi and Yoda, had a wearing, gnawing effect on the Jedi. Attachments to governments instead of the will of the Force also led to misplaced loyalty and, in the end, devastation of the Order. The Jedi had failed to live for the Force, instead fighting and dying for the status-quo. It was only through Kenobi and Yoda, sitting under the tutelage of Qui-Gon and 20 years of contemplation, that they could see the error of their ways and begin to work their way back to The Jedi Code:
“There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.”
Luke has been battered by the galaxy. Yes, he was that optimistic farm-boy and still is in some ways. Yet, as the years have gone by, he has changed. He is more reserved and cautious. His desire to trust everyone has gotten him into trouble more times than he can count, so he has tempered it with wisdom and discretion. A person cannot be expected to be the same after more than 40 years of conflict, war and death. Just because Luke is a Jedi does not mean he is immune to the pain and anguish that the galaxy has to offer. If Luke was still just as naïve and wet-behind-the-ears as he was in the films, he would be the worst written character ever. But the Luke of Return of the Jedi is much more mature than just a few short years ago. His experiences molded him and honed his character, and they continue to do so throughout the books (even if he does get a little whiny now and again).
A lot of fans were very disappointed in Luke’s refusal to try to redeem Jacen, feeling that it was out of character for him. And yet Luke does try to reach Jacen and get him to see the error of his ways, but it is too late in the end. Jacen is too far gone. Jacen chose to believe that only he could save the universe and only he could truly understand what must be done. It is the height of arrogance and pride to believe that only you can do something. It is written, “Pride comes before disaster, and arrogance before a fall.” Jacen is guilty of this fault and it led him to becoming unreachable. He became lost in his reason and blind to anything but his own power and will to change the “future.”
Luke is not beyond fault here, though. He should have been more involved in Jacen’s life, especially after his ordeal with Vergere. Luke was woefully negligent in allowing Jacen to just leave for five years, unsupervised, to wander the galaxy and collect Force knowledge. Dexter Jettster said it best: “I should think that you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom.” Luke’s greatest mistake was not being there to temper what Jacen learned, to teach him with the wisdom that comes from experience and the guidelines of the New Jedi Order’s code,
Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
Jedi use their powers to defend and to protect.
Jedi respect all life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than ruling over them, for the good of the galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.
Knowledge that is molded by nothing is dangerous.
Another major complaint leveled at Luke was his mistrust and (some say) mistreatment of Vestara Khai. They point out that Luke saved Vader from the dark side, so why could he not have some faith that Vestara could perhaps follow on that same path. Darth Vader is a very different person. He was not raised evil or Sith – he was a boy, a kind and gentle boy who “….knows nothing of greed.” It is this that makes The Phantom Menace so important. It lays the foundation for why Anakin could be turned in Return of the Jedi – he was never fully evil to begin with. The same argument can be made with Kyp Durron. Again he was not evil, but possessed by evil and made to do terrible things.
Vestara is a very different character than these two. She is raised her whole life to be a Sith, to live according to their code and cherish their values. A lifetime of teaching is not easily, if ever, undone. Unlike Vader, which Luke can sense good in, Vestara can never truly be read by Luke. Her core being is concealed in the web of lies that she spins and truly believes. Yes she loves Ben in her own way, and is attracted to certain aspects of the Jedi way of life, yet she is never able to let go of her attachment to the Sith way of thinking. In the end, her very way of thinking is antithetical to the Jedi code. She is unwilling to sacrifice her attachments and, in true Sith fashion, is willing to give up vital information to save herself instead of lay down her life for others. So, is it cold and unfeeling for Luke to be wary of someone like this, especially when his own son is involved? Has Luke not just had his nephew fall to the dark side and seen the repercussions of that on his son, his wife and the galaxy? How could Luke be anything but cautious and circumspect of this Sith teenager? This is not callous, it is wisdom born of over 40 years of hard learned lessons.
There are many things that Luke needs to change and he has many mistakes to try and rectify. The first is being tied to a government. Luke has already begun down this path; he has removed the Order from Coruscant and set it up elsewhere. This is a wise move and it detaches the Jedi from the government in a good way, enabling them to focus on the Force and not the political machinations that are always swirling about. What is right is too big to be attached to any one form of government.
The second issue is the lack of training structure in the New Jedi Order. This was one of the things that the old Order did well. It had a very regimented and thorough program to train Jedi and guide them in the wisdom of the Force. Luke needs to be more hands-on in the shaping and training of the Jedi, as do the other masters. Good training and wise teaching are essential in raising up strong future Jedi. As can be seen throughout all of the Star Wars timelines, knowledge and power without wisdom has deadly consequences for the galaxy.
There is also the issue of Luke holding fast to these visions of the “future.” Yoda said, “Always in motion is the future.” Luke should be careful to not hold fast to these visions as gospel and instead be looking to the Force and focusing on the here and now. Being preoccupied with the future has never worked out well for the Jedi – just ask Zayne Carrick. The biggest problem with knowing the future, though, is that Luke is being forced down a certain path because of the Legacy comics, creating a huge problem in allowing the story to feel organic or true to this axiom of Yoda’s.
The last thing to mention (even though there are many more) is that Luke needs a timeout. Like Obi-Wan and Yoda, Luke is in need of some space to contemplate his actions and the effect that he has had on the universe. He needs to be able to reevaluate the course of the New Jedi Order and rethink his role in it. All of the conflicts and wars have left Luke very little time to do any this and he has had the weight of the galaxy riding on his shoulders for far too long. There are many foes that are still lurking in the shadows and to face them, Luke needs a gut check. Who is he? Who has he become? What can he learn from his successes and, more importantly, his failures? Where has he gone wrong in the first place? Has he lost too much of his optimism in light of the ever encroaching darkness? Here’s to hoping that the authors of Luke’s future will give him the time to rest and take it all in. If a person always has to react to a new crisis without the time to process the last, they can never truly learn and grow. If given this time Luke may be able to become an even better Jedi and man for the galaxy; so lets give the man a break and let him go pick up some power converters or a good cup of caf at Cafbucks.