Thoughts on The Force, the Jedi, and the Future after The Last Jedi (spoilers)

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The Last Jedi is out now, and it gives us a lot to think about when it comes to the Force, the Jedi, and the future of both.

Spoilers ahead.

In A New Hope, it’s implied that anyone can be a Jedi.  Obi-wan doesn’t do any kind of special test to check Luke’s worthiness, he just says Luke must learn the ways of the Force, if he’s going to join on the adventure.  Later we learn that it’s a bit more complicated than that, but the Force is in everyone and everything, it connects us all and binds the galaxy together.

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The Jedi of the prequels involved midi-chlorians and further complicated matters.  The prequels pushed the idea of the Jedi as a special breed, they are different from the rest of us.  Being a Jedi was like being a part of the X-men.  It’s not to say that the prequel-era Jedi were wrong, but they were certainly limiting their view of the Force and who had the right to wield that power.

The Last Jedi seems to have taken us back to the beginning, the Force is in all of us, it doesn’t matter who your parents are or where you come from.  Like Rey and Broom Boy, the power to change the world is in all of us.

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Luke asks Rey to describe the Force, she talks of a power that is limited to the Jedi to move things and control people.  Luke rightfully corrects her.  The Force is a power that affects us all and connects us all.  It’s not a religious dogma like the Jedi of old would have us believe.  It is not limited to a sect of secretive monks to hoard for themselves, it is a power that even a scavenger from nowhere can wield to change the fate of the galaxy.

It may not have been what Luke meant initially about wanting the Jedi to end, but I think it’s where he ended up by the end of the film.  He needed to forget the past, to unlearn what he thought he knew about the Force, himself, the Jedi, everything and find a new path.  Which is of course, Luke’s strength.  It’s what made him capable of learning from Yoda and Obi-wan, but also knowing where their teachings were wrong or not enough.  He forged a new path in throwing away his lightsaber and refusing to kill Darth Vader.

The Force, the Jedi, all of it is fundamentally changed by the actions of Luke Skywalker.

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There is a lot of talk in the new film about balance.  As Kylo Ren has grown stronger in the dark side, so Rey has grown stronger in the light to balance the equation.  I know I’ve seen a lot of talk about the chosen one and balance of the Force and how it all connects.  My personal theory after two viewings of the film is that Anakin Skywalker was the prophesied Chosen One who did bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith.  He corrected the damage done from the previous 1,000 years and restored the Force to it’s balanced state.

However, moving forward the Force has shifted into something new.  It may be that the Force needs to be rebalanced every generation.  The dark and the light need to be kept constantly in check to make sure that they are harmonizing.  Anakin’s destruction of the Sith restored a much needed balance, but now the Force has grown and changed.  Now, The Last Jedi appears to be telling us that balance requires two, we need both Kylo and Rey to maintain a balance.

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It’s all as Kylo says “We must let go of the past, kill it if we have to” because what has come before has ended and it’s time for a new set of rules and vision to guide the Force and the Jedi.

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