Quite the brazen title, if I do say so myself. And it’s my blog, so I do say so.
This week’s #ToughCallTuesday in the Nerd Dome explores the Jedi Masters we have seen (or will see) on the big screen as mentors for up-and-coming Jedi in training.
These are the five candidates chosen for these proceedings. Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Luke Skywalker. Let’s begin.
Qui-Gon Jinn was seen in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. It really is unfortunate that we got him for only one movie yet we got Jar Jar Binks for three (and possibly a fourth, for the wily-eyed viewer). Qui-Gon was knowledgeable and patient, a well-trained swordsman and user of the Force. He was trained by Count Dooku, who enraged a captive Obi-Wan Kenobi when he stated that Qui-Gon would have allied himself with Dooku and his crusade against the Galactic Republic. Obi-Wan, faithful to the memory of his Master, naturally fired back “Qui–Gon would never join you.”
Qui-Gon lost his life on Naboo in one of the premier moments of the prequel trilogy, the lightsaber dual with Darth Maul. He had returned to Naboo after taking on a second padawan. Already training Kenobi, Jinn thought he had found the “balance” to the Force in Anakin Skywalker. But he would not survive long enough to see if his gamble would pay off.
Qui-Gon Jinn also taught Yoda the ways of preserving ones consciousness even after death. It was a skill Yoda passed on to others – the skill we commonly refer to as the Force Ghost.
Jinn had an enormous impact on the Jedi Order. He was and would remain a stalwart Jedi Master, even if he was at times contentious with the Jedi Council.
Jedi Master Yoda is perhaps the most revered of all the widely known Jedi. A member of the Jedi Council and one of the few survivors of Order 66, Yoda sought refuge on Dagobah. Isolated in his self-imposed exile of survival, Yoda would later come across a young Jedi in training by the name of Luke Skywalker. But Skywalker was the last Jedi to receive training from Yoda in the diminutive Master’s life. Dooku, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Kit Fisto, and even played a part in the training of Obi-Wan.
Due to Yoda’s species having an extremely long lifespan, it could be said that he has used the Force longer than any others. And even at an advanced age, he was able to go toe-to-toe with both Darth Tyranus and Darth Sidious during the Clone Wars. In his final years, he met Luke and continued his training. Skywalker was not an easy pupil, often impatient and reckless. But when you’ve trained Jedi for eight hundred years, you’ve likely seen and done it all. And aside from his impressive lightsaber skills, it was Yoda’s understanding of the Force, and his calm demeanor in presenting it, that made younglings, padawans, and Jedi Knights alike respect him.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” – Yoda (Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back)
Anakin Skywalker had a very brief career as the Jedi Master to a padawan, with Ahsoka Tano as his lone on-screen apprentice. Wookiepedia tells us that he had several Dark Jedi and secret Sith apprentices, but since I’m basing this solely on the acts, deeds, and works we see on screen. And in Anakin’s case, that is limited to Star Wars The Clone Wars movie and series.
Anakin challenged Ahsoka from her first day under his tutelage. While doing so, he aimed to protect her, occasionally keeping her away from combat. But like her Master, Ahsoka was stubborn, and often found a way to bend the rules without breaking them. She was headstrong, which made her a logical apprentice for Skywalker. The two even had competitions to see who could take down more droids during the battle.
Tano survived Order 66, partially based on her own merits as a Jedi, but also because she was framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple. Only after a confession was she acquitted, however she refused the invitation to re-join the Jedi Order. And of course, we all know what happened to Anakin Skywalker.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was the first Jedi Master we encountered, way back on Tattoine when he talked about the Sand People.
“The Sand People are easily startled, but they will soon be back, and in greater numbers.“
Obi-Wan was the person who taught not just Luke, but all of us about the Force, about the Jedi Order, and about the Clone Wars. Not as old as Yoda, Kenobi had seen plenty of turmoil in his life. Losing his mentor and then losing his apprentice, it would seem impossible for him to find peace. It was on the dry, sandy planet that Obi-Wan kept an eye on Luke Skywalker before Skywalker went to find him in the cliffs. Obi-Wan had to train Luke, just as he took on the responsibility of training Anakin.
Training the”Chosen One” was no simple task, and Kenobi must have felt like he failed Anakin when he saw his former padawan be taken by the Dark Side. Luke was older when he met Obi-Wan, but he was still ignorant to the ways of the Force (not to mention a little whiny). And while it seemed initially that Luke may be too old to start his Jedi training, seeing the death of his mentor at the hands of Darth Vader was really the catalyst for him to take his training seriously.
We saw Obi-Wan travel the galaxy over four live-action movies, one animated film, and an animated series, constantly putting others before himself, the real hallmark of a Jedi Master.
Luke Skywalker is the one Jedi in consideration who hasn’t taken on that mentoring role in any of the films we have seen. So you have to go by what we saw in the original trilogy plus what we have seen in the trailers for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. And because we haven’t seen his training method, we don’t know what type of Jedi Master he would be.
But I’ll say this about Luke Skywalker: The future of the Force and the Jedi Order rested on his shoulders after Master Yoda phased out of the Living Force, joining Obi-Wan as a Force Spirit (YES…A FORCE GHOST). Expanded Universe canon had Luke starting a new Jedi Academy. I do not know if this will be included in the new movie, but it does seem likely that Luke will have to take on the role of Master to a new Jedi.
Let’s have a drum roll please for this week’s selection……
Luke Skywalker is yet unproven as a trainer of new Jedi. Which means you have to be wondering why I went with him. In a way, he received bits and pieces of each of the other Jedi listed above him. Through both direct and indirect training, Luke was able to learn from Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Qui-Gon. The passing down of wisdom and knowledge from the Jedi that came before all manifested in Luke Skywalker.
Plus, though he didn’t have the rituals, traditions, and trials of Jedi who were trained before the great purge, one could say his training was more difficult. He didn’t have a great community of Jedi from whom he could pull knowledge. There was no Jedi Council he could go to. He was, for all intents and purposes, on his own. His training consisted of a few exercises shred by younglings of generations past, but moreso it was a hodge podge of what was available. In other cinematic realms, Luke’s training would be like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV where other Jedi would be training like Ivan Drago.
Mastering the Force took a great amount of skill, and the wisdom of those who came before. That is why I would want Jedi Master Luke Skywalker as my mentor.