Whether they are loved, feared, respected or hated, many members of the Jedi Order are wise and capable fighters. All in all, they are a formidable force (heh) for good in the Star Wars universe. Yet, alongside their fondness for meditation, beige robes and primary colored lightsabers, fans have noticed a recurring thing that these mystical monks usually do at some point or other.
Why Do Jedi Masters Always Exile Themselves In Star Wars?
Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker... what’s the one thing that they all have in common aside from attaining the rank of Jedi Master? Yup, they all went into exile. Yoda and Obi Wan relegated themselves to the backwaters of Dagobah and Tatooine after their unsuccessful attempts to murder Darths Sidious and Vader, and as for Luke? Well, he removed himself from the rest of the galaxy and set up shop on Ahch-To after his catastrophic failure training Ben Solo.
Sure, these were heavily traumatic times for the Jedi, so a bit of RnR would be needed to pull themselves back together, but that isn’t the case with these masters. In fact, until they are pulled back into the fray, they have isolated themselves for years on end. Fans have long wondered why this is the case. Are they just big fans of the peace and quiet or do they enjoy being drama queens? Well in actual fact, the reason for Luke, Obi Wan and Yoda’s long, self-imposed exiles is a fundamental part of Jedi teachings.
#MarkHamill recently revealed the answer to this when he was quizzed about Luke’s strategy in Return of the Jedi’s first act. Because, when you stop and think about this part of the film, the way in which Luke and co. go about rescuing Han is overly-complicated. Why did the gang have to slowly infiltrate Jabba’s Palace over several weeks or months? After all, their skills during the Sarlacc Pit-skirmish demonstrate how the fledgling Jedi Knight and his friends could have stormed the fortress from the off, and with relative ease!
Since Return of the Jedi was released some thirty years ago, Hamill was understandably hazy on the script details, but he wholeheartedly agreed with a suggestion from interviewer Dan Brooks:
“StarWars.com: I think Luke wanted to try to get things done as peacefully as possible before he had to enter the picture.
Mark Hamill: Yes, exactly. A Jedi would want to avoid confrontation.”
Yes, in this interview Hamill’s referring to another aspect of Star Wars, but his justification for Luke’s actions is sound, and it’s easily applicable to the self- exile of the Jedi Knights. Looking back at the Star Wars series in its entirety, it actually explains quite a lot.
“A Jedi Uses The Force For Knowledge And Defense, Never For Attack…”
Sure, we all know that the Jedi are pacifists, ever since Yoda stressed as such to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, but we never realized that members of the Order took this approach so closely to heart. Again, let’s take Luke as an example. You’d have thought that freeing his friend from a despotic crook and rallying opposition against the fascistic First Order were two actions that would help ensure peace in the galaxy. However, it seems that the Jedi can’t reconcile altruistic intentions such as these with any form of outward aggression.
Certainly, this kind of ruling is evident throughout the Jedi’s dealings in Star Wars saga. Their adherence to non-violence explains why Obi Wan didn’t straight up arrest Jango Fett on sight in Attack of the Clones. Plus, it also answers why Qui-Gon Jinn didn’t threaten Watto into handing over Anakin alongside the necessary parts for Amidala’s ship.
Of course, there are other reasons why these Jedi Master’s were relatively inactive during their exile. For Yoda and Obi Wan, their solitude was penance for their failings, plus they were also watching and guarding the Skywalker twins until the time was right to usher them forward. Additionally, Luke left the wider galaxy in search of early Jedi temples, as well as other forgotten secrets. Nevertheless, by eschewing the rest of the galaxy, all of these Jedi are avoiding the confrontations that would undoubtedly occur if they overtly challenged the forces of evil.
Yet as admirable as the Jedi's commitment to non-violence is, it’s arguable that their inactivity inadvertently led to even more bloodshed and strife. Moreover, it could be seen that, by not bolstering the forces of the Rebellion and the Resistance with their powers (and potentially padawans), Luke, Yoda and Obi Wan allowed the Empire and the First Order to strengthen their grip upon the galaxy.
However, this kind of approach might be about to change in #TheLastJedi. It’s clear that Luke is no longer the Force-user he once was. After all, in the trailer, he seemingly wants the traditions of the Jedi Order to end. What has Luke discovered during in his exile? Has he had an epiphany about the failings of his forebears? Whichever it is, we’re set to learn more about the ways of the Force than ever before, come December!