the last jedi is a redemption arc for the jedi, in this essay I

Where’s the rest op?


(No seriously, I’m curious)

TLJ addresses the inherent problem with the Jedi — their insistence that their culture and religion was the correct one and that they had to teach children this specific culture for the Light to survive

Luke rightly says this is vanity. It also led to the practice of removing Force-sensitive children from their homeworlds before they could become attached to them, before they could benefit them and do good work for their people — like how Ezra, uniquely, gets to connect with the Force of Lothal, and works to save that world by inspiring its people. The best moment Rebels has ever had is honestly when we find out that Ezra’s parents were alive in S1 and heard his broadcast and were roused up to fight, but lost their lives. It doesn’t present this as Ezra’s mistake, and he chooses not to save them via Palpy’s shady time travel later. Them being inspired was a good thing, even if it had a bittersweet outcome.

Now imagine if this had been the circumstances of Shmi’s death.

Anakin being removed from Tatooine may have preemptively prevented a slave uprising. He could have been an Ezra, but he becomes an enforcer of evil instead. This is why I consider the Jedi to have actively weakened and imbalanced the Force by taking children away. Their homeworlds needed them.

The best thing Obi-Wan did was let Luke and Leia grow up with parents. And Yoda was there to see the results.

TLJ shows Yoda having changed and grown in really specific ways.

TPM — he tells a nine year old, full of fear, that he is too old to learn

ESB — he tells a young man in his twenties, full of impatience, he is too old to learn

TLJ — he tells a middle aged man, full of regret and failure, that he is still that young man looking to the horizon. that he is at just the right point to learn, that both of them were when they failed. and he doesn’t say anything about Rey being too Anything to train, those are Luke’s fears and he tells Luke to let go. he burns the tree in an act symbolizing his willingness to let the Jedi way be passed on in flexible, less centralized and codified ways. Rey can interpret the Jedi texts through her own unique perspective. She has no master but her own desire to do the right thing.

So, Yoda and Luke’s relationship is awesome! Yoda genuinely changes — I’m going to make a case for him here, he was wrong ideologically but he meant well and he truly cared for the children he took in. He and Luke both had the experience of finding those children slaughtered by an apprentice who went rogue. They both retreat from the world because of it.

And Yoda learns that Luke was right, that having grown up attached to his family made him care, made him fear too, but made him fight to save what he loved. So he returns to offer this to Luke when he is ready to hear it. He is attached to Luke! He’s very fond of him, he tells Luke not to be afraid of loving Rey and wanting to protect her.

The moment where he says “lose Rey, you must not” — this is the moment he could not have with Anakin, telling him that of course he should go save his mother, go as fast as he can, it’s not too late.

And the movie ends on the Canto Bight kids, on a little slave boy like Anakin, who is attached to his friends but also to the fathiers, to his fellow sufferers. He wasn’t taken offworld to be trained at a distant temple. We are meant to understand that this could be better. It’s like Ezra or Rey or Finn or Rose, instead of like Anakin. Yes, he will grow up experiencing the inequality of the galaxy, but who else can stop inequality, than someone who knows it intimately?

Finn and Rose did a wonderful thing for those kids, as did Luke later on (and whoever conveyed the tale to them). The kids were inspired to save what they loved. You can’t do it any other way — you can’t save what *other* people love in this massive galaxy, with a small elite peacekeeping Force that can’t possibly be everywhere at once. You have to empower everyone.

And that’s how the Jedi were redeemed. Because Yoda learns this from his grave failures and passes it on to Luke, the student who grew beyond his master, so Luke can pass it on to Rey.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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