Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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The Jedi are Mother, the Jedi are Father…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 4, 2016

We’re still in a spoiler-free zone here, as this has nothing to do with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, other than having helped inspire this musing. It was also inspired by our Thanksgiving family session of the D20 Star Wars RPG.

I haven’t read many of the non-canonical “Expanded Universe” Star Wars books. So a lot of what I might say may have already been covered by some very talented authors during the dearth of (good) Star Wars movies. And as far as the backstory of the Star Wars universe… hey, Knights of the Old Republic is about as far back as I go.

But mixing some thoughts from the TV series Babylon 5 (still an outstanding sci-fi series that far too many people missed), and the likewise excellent Netflix-produced series Jessica Jones, I’ve devoted far too many brain cells to thinking about the whole Jedi Knight thing.

Although the prequel Star Wars movies handled things very clumsily, they did (accidentally?) introduce a question: If someone really did have supernatural powers that included mind control and mind-reading, how could you actually defend AGAINST someone like that accruing enormous power? Particularly if they managed to work in secrecy? Jessica Jones did a fantastic job of exploring this, with a villain (played perfectly by Doctor Who alumnus David Tennant) whose only real limitation was the pettiness of his ambitions.

I’ve spoken of this before with respect to fantasy economies and magic items. But I’ve begun to wonder if the Jedi Order isn’t a lot like Babylon 5‘s psi corps – a way to impose control over beings with great, often undetectable power. I mean, they begin training (indoctrination?) at an extremely young age, taking the kids from their parents for complete training. “The Corps is Mother, the Corps if Father” anyone?  They forbid love and marriage? Why, to prevent the continuation of a force-using bloodline? You know, the Jedi sound kind of scary.

Of course, the most sinister and cultlike aspects really came from the prequel movies. Originally, the Jedi Knights were… Ben Kenobi and Yoda. Yoda was a wise Kung Fu master, and Obi-wan was… well, mostly a cheerleading ghost. Luke clearly grew up a lot after handing his butt handed to him by Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, but that was only partly from Yoda’s training.

Whether Lucas intended it that way or not in the prequels doesn’t really matter anymore. Maybe it’s covered in some of the expanded universe novels and I just missed it. But it’s interesting fodder for game design or fiction. There’s the old saying that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I’m not sure that’s the case. I think it’s more of a case that power attracts corruption… or that whenever a power rises, someone will move in to seize control of that power, or to limit / destroy it.

Which sucks in real life, but makes for pretty interesting stories.

Filed Under: Design, Geek Life, Movies, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read

  • Dave Toulouse said,

    Sure sounds like the best plan to prevent many of them meeting the wrong Sith lord and turning to the dark side 🙂

    It’s like the gentle version of entering the Jedi temple to kill all younglings. The dark side sure is more effective when it comes to this matter though.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    The Sith have this whole Star Trek mirror-universe Darwinism thing to rise to the top, I guess. “Kill my #2 guy, and the spot is yours.”

    Or maybe that was just the Emperor.

    Part of this musing came from the rules in the Star Wars RPG about what Force powers are dark side and automatically earn you Dark Side points. Like the Emperor’s lightning. What we kinda gathered was that using the Force directly to injure or kill someone was bad, but using the Force indirectly to kill them was just fine. I guess that makes the line arbitrary but not too fuzzy.

    Not that the RPG is canon.

  • Maklak said,

    This makes a lot of sense, but they would just say no or retconn it, because Jedi are supposed to be a force of good. It would just be another “no endor holocaust” or “Han Solo didn’t shoot first.”.

    I liked Babylon 5 and even made myself a P8 character for the RPG. I was under the impression that creation of Psi Corps was more or less forced by mundanes and only later evolved into more sinister form. In any case, in later spin-off there is no longer a Psi Corps and everyone says it was bad, but there is still an organisation controling the telepaths.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, the Psi Corps was created to keep the telepaths in control by the mundane population. But yeah, after they were all put together and given all kinds of rules and informants, they started plotting. And – hey, there they were, a (semi-) unified group of people with very special powers that could be highly advantageous to their allies…. 😉

    There’s an excellent little trilogy of books that I own that revolve around Bestor. The first is about the rise of the Psi Corps, ending with Bestor’s birth. The next is about Bestor’s career, ending with him getting an assignment to visit Babylon 5 for the first time. The last one takes place after his fall, when he’s on the run from his own kind.

  • FuzzyDuck81 said,

    I read that PSI Corps trilogy too, it was excellent 🙂

    As for the above thing about the Star Wars light side issues.. some aspects of that have already been explored in KOTOR2, there’s some interesting interviews with Chris Avellone & how he wrote Kreia