"I only know one truth: It's time for the Jedi to end." With those final words, Luke Skywalker closed out the first teaser for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one of the most anticipated films of the year. It's a line that sent the internet into overdrive as fans everywhere began to contemplate just what these ominous words mean. Coupled with the title of the film, it seems pretty clear what it means: The Jedi will end with Luke Skywalker. Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has already confirmed that the title refers to Luke, but if the Jedi are truly over, then what does this mean for the future of the franchise? What does this mean for Rey?
As more information slowly trickles out about the film, it becomes more apparent that Star Wars is moving further away from the Jedi and the Sith. The ancient battle between the light side and the dark side, pure good versus pure evil, has been the cornerstone of Star Wars mythology. Without that, just what else is there? Well, there is one thing actually and it's something that's been part of the lore for years now. The world is not black and white, but full of grays, and it looks like Star Wars is finally embracing the path of the Gray Jedi.
The Gray Jedi is not a new concept to Star Wars, though it hasn't ever shown up in any definitive forms in the various movies or TV series. No one has ever come out and said: "and this is Dingo Comethole --he's a Gray Jedi." However, the evidence is beginning to pile up that Gray Jedi are about to become a huge focus of the latest trilogy, so we thought we'd shine a little light for those unfamiliar.
What Is A Gray Jedi?
A Gray Jedi can essentially be boiled down to either of these points:
1. A Force user who can utilize both the light and dark sides of the Force without strictly following either path or succumbing to their weaknesses. For example, the user can utilize dark side Force abilities without giving in to their angry and losing themselves to evil.
2. A Jedi who operates outside of the Jedi Council and does not adhere to the standard rules and regulations of the Jedi. This means the Gray Jedi get all of the benefits with none of the crappy rules like not being able to fall in love.
If you were both of these things, then more power to you. A Gray Jedi is technically more Jedi than Sith, but they typically stay out of the affairs of either group and do their own thing. The simplest way of looking at it is a Force user who is as powerful as a Sith, but with all the morality and honor of a Jedi.
Using both sides of the Force, a Gray Jedi is capable of using multiple Force powers. They were just as adept at using the Jedi Mind Trick as they were blasting lightning out of their fingertips. As such, a Gray Jedi is very powerful, but they are always walking on the fine line between embracing too much light or darkness. They are just as susceptible to losing themselves to the Force as either a Jedi or Sith.
When They Were Introduced
The origins of the Gray Jedi go all the way back to when The Jedi Council first established itself as the central authority of the Jedi Order. Some Jedi felt that the Force was the only thing they were entitled to answer to and did not approve of the changes the Council made to the Jedi Code, such as no personal attachments. So, they became classified as Gray Jedi, either doing things their own way or leaving the Order altogether.
Gray Jedi are most prominent in video games, where the player is allowed to use light and dark side powers. The classic Knights of the Old Republic series is most notable for its use of Gray Jedi in dramatic storytelling, featuring a few protagonists and characters who could end up saving or ruling the galaxy based on player preference. Gray Jedi have also appeared in other Legends material, such as books and comics.
As far as actual canon goes, that's a bit more difficult to track. What defines a Gray Jedi differs per person. For example, Qui-Gon Jinn was said to have been called a Gray Jedi by his peers for his tendency to act against the wishes of the Council. Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars can also technically be called a Gray Jedi, due to her forsaking the ways of the Jedi, but still following a path of good. However, neither of these two ever trained to use the dark side of the Force, so they are arguably not "true" Gray Jedi.
Why It's Important To The Future Of Star Wars
There are a lot of seemingly innocent details that hint toward Star Wars: The Last Jedi introducing Gray Jedi. For starters, the teaser has Rey prominently in a gray outfit, which is certainly a conscious design choice. For comparison, Anakin wore lots of black pre-Vader, and Luke himself was introduced wearing a bright white outfit before going all black to show his possible shift to the dark side.
The poster for The Last Jedi also contains its own clues. Rey's lightsaber starts blue but it gradually turns to red toward the top. This would seem to hint at needing to achieve a balance, a keyword used often in the trailer. Also, the positioning in the poster is very telling; Luke (light side) on one side, Kylo Ren (dark side) on the other and Rey right in the middle. Is it just hinting at Rey being unsure which path to take or is there about to be some Gray Jedi up in here?
If Star Wars were to embrace Gray Jedi, it would be a major update to its chief philosophy: There's good and there's evil and never the two shall meet. It's an archaic worldview, which is fine seeing as how Star Wars was originally targeted at kids, but it's 2017, and certain storytelling sensibilities have changed. Not everything is black and white, and adopting a new philosophy is both mature and fresh for Star Wars.
As awesome as a good old good vs. evil struggle can be, we've seen these dozens of times in Star Wars by now. If they want to make a movie a year for the foreseeable future, then they need to seriously spice things up to keep it fresh and engaging. Removing battles between Jedi and Sith doesn't also remove conflict, and Star Wars can afford to explore a new direction. Both Rey and Kylo Ren have the makings of a Gray Jedi in them, and if nothing else, it would be awesome to see someone shoot Force lightning and not be a dick about it.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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