Star Wars. A story of Jedi and Sith, good versus evil. But what IS a Jedi, and why DO they hate the Sith? Sure one follows the “Light” Side of the Force, and the other the “Dark” Side, but who determined that there are two sides, and who drew the line in between?
We are going to have to go beyond canon, beyond the movies, and get into Star Wars Legends (Expanded Universe) and other sources for this article. So what this says might be invalid once another movie, show, or comic book is released, but for now, this is what we know, about the Jedi and the Sith.
The Force is that thing that lets the cool characters in Star Wars move things with their minds, sense things beyond their sight or hearing, convince people to say or do things they wouldn’t normally do, or even shoot lightning out of their fingertips. Of course, it has to come from somewhere, and not just be a fun plot device.
In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn explains that The Force is somehow connected to Midi-Chlorians, a “microscopic life form that resides within all living cells,” which also fall in line with how Obi-Wan Kenobi explains it in A New Hope.
It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.
However Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back mentions that The Force lives beyond just living things.
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.
Technically Yoda said that it is between the non-living things, so perhaps he was implying that it is in the air itself.
The Force was created before the first living beings in the universe. However, it’s not until after the ability of hyperspace travel is discovered that a religious group of Force Sensitive people gathered on Ahch-To. They were led by an individual now known only as Prime Jedi, who created the Jedi order. We see a mosaic of him in The Last Jedi, balancing between the Light and Dark sides of The Force, in a very Yin-Yang pattern.
On another planet, Jedha, a temple dedicated to Kyber Crystals is formed, which are a Force attuned mineral that is the core part of a lightsaber. Kyber Crystals were seen on other planets as well, seeing as how Prime Jedi above is holding what appears to be a proto-lightsaber.
The Jedi grow, and eventually some members split off and create the Sith. Overtime, the Jedi and Sith continued to grow and continued to fight, leading to the destruction of the Old Republic. It was only because of a Sith, Darth Bane, that the Sith fell into hiding, and the Jedi believing they were completely destroyed. You see, Darth Bane, in his researching the Light and Dark sides of the Force, realized that the Jedi create the Light side, and the Sith use the Dark side. Therefore, the more Sith there are, the less Darkness there is to use. So he destroys his own brotherhood of Sith, so that he can be as powerful as all of them combined. Of course, he needed someone to teach his powers to, so they could continue, and created the Rule of Two, one master, one apprentice.
The Sith return almost 1,000 years later, with the appearance of Darth Maul, who tries to help enforce the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo by killing Qui-Gon Jinn. This begins the Fall of the Jedi, which ends when Darth Sidious executes Order 66 with the Clone Troopers, who then attempt to kill every Jedi, with the help of the new Darth Vader.
Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring balance to the Force. In the movies, he plunges it into Darkness, which is clearly not what the Jedi wanted. It wasn’t until he killed the Emperor in Return of the Jedi that he finally ended the Sith. What is balance of the Force though? The Jedi certainly weren’t balanced, as they only practiced the Light Side exclusively. It hasn’t been explored more yet regarding what “balance” means, because after Vader’s death, only one Jedi remained, Luke, who only caused more imbalance through his actions. So did the prophecy actually refer to Anakin, and if so, was it fulfilled?
There is no emotion; there is peace.The Jedi Code, Expanded
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; There is serenity.
There is no death; there is only the Force.
A Jedi does not act for personal power or wealth but seeks knowledge and enlightenment.
A Jedi never acts from hatred, anger, fear, or aggression but acts when calm and at peace with the Force.
Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
Jedi use the powers to defend and to protect, never to attack others.
Jedi respect life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than ruling over them, for the good of the galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.
There is a lot to unpack here, but essentially Jedi believe themselves to be nothing more than conduits for The Force, specifically the Light Side of the Force. Jedi see themselves not as an individual with hopes, dreams, desires, but instead as a fraction of the greater good, only to serve others.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.The Sith Code, Darth Bane
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
The Sith believe that the Force is a tool for them to use. If you remember, the goal of the Empire wasn’t to kill people, it wasn’t to destroy planets, it was to bring peace, freedom, justice, and security. The Sith aren’t inherently evil, but like any dictator in history, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lastly, there have been some that try to toe the line between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force, and they are generally called Grey Jedi. The closest we’ve seen in the films is Mace Windu, who used a form of combat that relied on the user allowing themselves to draw from their passion during combat, which was reflected in his purple lightsaber.
Belief that the Force isn’t specifically divided into Light and Dark is prominent in the belief of the Unifying Force. Unfortunately no one on the Jedi Council seemed to follow this belief in the Force, as the Jedi were dogmatic in their pursuit of cutting themselves off of half of the Force’s power.
Overall it seems that the only people that see the distinction between the Light and Dark sides of the Force are the Jedi Order, who determine that any part of the Force that requires emotion or selfishness is Dark and bad.
Nice outline of the nature of The Force. I’m a “Force is neutral” guy. The Force is what it is. It can be used for good or evil. I guess I would be a Grey Jedi given the understanding that it’s not The Force that is light or dark, gut those that use The Force.
This definitely follows the view of the “Unifying Force” which Qui-Gon Jinn was a strong believer in. Of course, this led him to disagree with the Jedi Council. Thanks for reading!
“The Sith learned how to manipulate both sides of the Force, and then they fell into the trap of being corrupted by the dark side. ”
~ George Lucas, Sci-Fi Online interview, 2005
“The Force itself is split into two sides: the living Force and a greater, cosmic Force. The living Force makes you sensitive to other living things, makes you intuitive, and allows you to read other people’s minds, et cetera. But the greater Force has to do with destiny. In working with the Force, you can find your destiny and you can choose to either follow it, or not.”
— George Lucas
“The film is ultimately about the dark side and the light side, and those sides are designed around compassion and greed. The issue of greed, of getting things and owning things and having things and not being able to let go of things, is the opposite of compassion – of not thinking of yourself all the time. These are the two sides – the good force and the bad force. They’re the simplest parts of a complex cosmic construction.”
~ George Lucas, Time interview (Bill Moyers) 03/05/99
“Which brings us to films 4, 5 and 6, where Anakin’s offspring redeem him and allow him to fulfill the prophecy where he brings balance to the Force by doing away with the Sith and getting rid of evil in the universe.”
~ George Lucas 2005
“The core of the Force….you’ve got the Lightside and the Darkside, one is selfless, one is selfish, and you want to keep them in balance. What happens when you go to the Darkside, It [The Force] goes out of balance.”
~ George Lucas, 2010
video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiImoO5QkcA – [50 second mark]
“The Darkside is always there, it is experienced daily by people. It’s like a huge cancer, alive, festering – both a reminder of the moral state and, at the same time symptom and symbol of a very sick society”
~ George Lucas, “The Mythology of Star Wars”, Joseph Campell and the Power of Myth DVD, 2001
*”The Force has two sides – [Light and Dark].* It is not an inherently malevolent or a benevolent thing. *It has a bad side* to it, involving hate and fear, *and it has a good side*, involving love, charity, fairness and hope.”
~ George Lucas
“I wanted to have this mythological footing because I was basing the films on the idea that the Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there. Most religions are built on that, whether it’s called yin and yang, God and the devil—everything is built on the push-pull tension created by two sides of the equation. Right from the very beginning, that was the key issue in ‘Star Wars.'”
-George Lucas, Times Magazine, 2002
“The act of living generates a force field, an energy. That energy surrounds us; when we die, that energy joins with all the other energy. There is a giant mass of energy in the universe that has a good side and a bad side. We are part of the Force because we generate the power that makes the Force live. When we die, we become part of that Force, so we never really die; we continue as part of the Force.”
—George Lucas during a production meeting for The Empire Strikes Back
“As evil begins to take over, [Darksiders/ People who use it are evil.] it pushes the Force out of balance. It’s easier to succumb to evil than it is to be a hero and try to work things through on the good side. Evil is inherently more powerful—it doesn’t have the burden of worrying about other people.”
~ George Lucas, 2005
“The “Phantom Menace” refers to the force of the dark side of the universe. Anakin will be taken over by dark forces which in turn destroy the balance of the Galaxy..”
~ George Lucas, Cut Magazine, 1999
“It’s not that they can’t see the Dark Side coming, it’s just that the Dark Side begins to envelop everything. It’s like walking into a fog. The Jedi’s ability to see lessens as the Dark Side grows.”
~ George Lucas, 2005
“Everyone has the dark side within, so there’s a constant struggle to do the right thing. The good side is compassion and caring about other people, the dark side is greed and self-centeredness.”
~ George Lucas
The thing that she says at the very end [Padme] that ‘there’s still good in him’,as Luke says later on in Return of the Jedi, that ‘there’s still good in you’, that’s recurring, because there is and that’s the one thing that will bring balance back to the Force, that little ounce of good in him, and it’s his son that makes him realize that he made the wrong decision [ROTS], that the time for rationalization is over, and he needs to do the right thing which is to get rid of the Sith and bring Balance back to the Force.”
~ George Lucas
Balance: Episode III – Philosophy Of George Lucas
“It’s fear of losing somebody he loves, which is the flipside of of greed. Greed, in terms of the Emperor, it is the greed for power, absolute power, over everything. With Anakin, really it’s the power to save the one he loves, but is basically going against the Fates and what is natural.”
~ George Lucas, Revenge of the Sith commentary.
“People have a tendency to confuse it — everybody has the Force. Everybody. You have the good side and you have the bad side. And as Yoda says, if you choose the bad side, it’s easy because you don’t have to do anything. Maybe kill a few people, cheat, lie, steal. Lord it over everybody. But the good side is hard because you have to be compassionate. You have to give of yourself. Whereas the dark side is selfish.”
~ George Lucas, 2019
“Friendships, honestly, trust, doing the right thing, living on the right side and avoiding the dark side,” Lucas said. “Those are the things it was meant to do.”
~ Lucas on Star Wars and what its about, 2017
Thanks for reading! You’re right, in canon, there is no such thing as Grey Jedi. It is very clear what the original text of ‘Star Wars’ intended, that it was a form of purity. It is very clear how, those who live in and study the Force, understand it, which is more than we, an audience who are merely observing the consequences of it, will understand it.
You are clearly very researched, and I respect that a lot. I made sure to open up the article by saying “We are going to have to go beyond canon” because you’re right, this isn’t a true Jedi, there is no such thing as a Grey Jedi in the Star Wars Universe.
However, obviously there is a theory of Grey Jedi, and so I wanted to take the time to talk about that theory, because if you’ve never heard of it, you can’t deny it’s an interesting concept.
The physics of the Force work differently than real world morals and ethics. In the real world, people are too selfish to be Jedi, and too selfless to be Sith. So people wanted to apply real-world morality to this fictional universe, because it’s what we, as an audience, do. It represents the internal struggle we all face, day to day.
Thank you for reading, thank you for being interested enough to add so much to your comment, because it is extremely important what the creators believe/intend for their world. I believe that everything that you’ve written above is accurate, because as much as I love Star Wars (which is a lot), it’s not as much as Matt Martin, Dave Filoni, Pablo Hidalgo, and especially not as much as George Lucas himself. They know better than me.
I just wanted to gather the information about the Jedi, about the Sith, and about the popular fan-fiction idea of the Grey Jedi, because all of them get discussed online and in conventions, and it’s nice to know what someone’s talking about, so you can be part of the conversation.
Again, thank you, and I hope to hear more from you in more of my articles!
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I know so much time has past since you replied to my comment, but just came across it now and it is the first time I am seeing, so just in the interest if perhaps others may come along and see this in the future I just wanted to quickly reply.
I have no issue with anything you have said. What people do in their own fan-fiction, role-playing games or their own head-canon is and should be beyond reproach. Your response was extremely fair and well put while still defending your right to explore that idea outside of the canon. I myself support your right to do so. You don’t need anyone’s permission to engage on your own fantasy, fan-fiction or flesh out and explore the concept on your own and/or in-conjunction with others who may like the concept.
You clearly respect the Maker himself and those who he choose to work directly with him, and even those that came after and anyone who respects the Maker’s vision and acknowledges it for what it was/is has my full respect and marks you as a true Star Wars fan in my book. =]
Your grace in your response is equally commendable. – It doesn’t matter if I like the concept or not [which obviously, I don’t =p], everyone is entitled to their opinion, and no one is wrong for liking or not liking anything. It’s totally subjective.
May the Force be with you always…
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You probably won’t post this one because it makes clear, just like George Lucas’s Quotes that there is no such thing as ‘Grey Jedi’ in canon. The EU was never canon. – These Quotes from The Lucasfilm Story Group are in agreement with Lucas’s Vision and canon.
“Are ‘Grey Jedi’ canon or just a fan fic thing?”
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm story group] 2018 –
‘Yeah its basically a fan thing. It doesn’t really make sense with the way the Force works.’
Question – “Surely there is harmony in both the light and the darkside? A way to control both and not be consumed by evil?’
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 – “That sort of goes against what Star Wars is all about. The Darkside corrupts.”
“There really is no such thing as ‘grey Jedi’ in our stories”
-Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
“I have never heard that term [Grey Jedi] used in any of our storytelling”
-Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 – “Point is it seems implausible to maintain a state of “grey”, being a bit light and a bit dark. The dark would take over.”
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2019
“as George [Lucas] says, the Dark side corrupts. So one couldn’t stay ‘in the middle’ for long. The EU isn’t a great example for proper usage of the Force.”
“And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it.* The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, *the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married.”*
~ George Lucas, Flannelled One, 2008
“The Darkside comes at a cost. That cost has to be more than “it makes me a badass.”
~ Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
“Remember that if a fictional character thinks something,it doesnt necessarily mean they’re right.”
~ Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
Commentor – “The Bendu is in the ‘middle’ of both sides. I was wondering if the Dark Side was a literal side or a corruption of the Force.”
Pablo Hidalgo Reply – “We only have the Bendu’s word on that. No one is in any position to set anything in stone about the Force. As it should be.”
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 – “In Star Wars terms, Dark and Light are pretty clear cut and it’s safe to say Ahsoka is Light.”
Matt Martin Reponse [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 – “Ahsoka is a pure good soul. There’s no grey there.”
Matt Martin [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 –
“I think there’s a big difference between being perfect and being grey. Nobody is perfect, even Jedi. Constantly making dark choices pushes one into the dark side. Occasionally letting emotions get the better of them then recovering from it is just life.”
“That’s the whole point of Star Wars. You can be selfless, or selfish. This is what George spoke about the most. This will lift you up, this will tear you down. It’s really that simple, and that’s the Force in a nutshell.”
~ Dave Filoni 2016
Matt Martin – [Lucasfilm Story Group] – 2018
“I wouldn’t consider Qui-Gon grey either [Ashoka]. They’re good, light side Force users who happen to shirk some of the dogma of the Jedi Order.”
Matt Martin – [Lucasfilm Story Group] – 2019
“Vader was never ‘gray’. I’m not saying a person can’t be redeemed, but to exist in that middle seems unlikely. When Anakin turned, he turned.It’s pretty black and white.”
Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm Story Group, 2017
Pablo – “I’m a gray cop. Oh, I don’t do any police work. No forms. No paperwork. Turned in my badge and gun. Don’t go to work. I kill and steal VCRs.”
Commentor – “Than what would we call Ashoka?
Pablo – A former Jedi.
”The novels and comic books are other authors’ interpretations of my creation. Sometimes, I tell them what they can and cant do, but I just don’t have the time to read them. *They’re not my vision of what Star Wars is.”*
~ George Lucas 2004
“I like to refer to the Interview with Lucas in the Special Editions.When asked about the novels and what not, he simply says:
”Those are another author’s interpretation of what I’ve created, *and not to be taken seriously, as far as what is really going on in the Star Wars world.”*
~ George Lucas
“Q: What do you think of the *Expanded Universe of books?*
A: *”The books are in a different universe.* I’ve not read any of them, and I told them when they started writing I wouldn’t read any of them and I blocked out certain periods.”
~ George Lucas 2003
“I don’t get the whole ‘Grey Jedi thing.”
– Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
“I keep getting asked about ‘Grey Jedi’. What is that? Like an Irish Monk?”
~ Pablo Hidalgo,[Lucasfilm Story Group] 2016
“There is no ‘Grey Jedi’ symbol.”
~ Pablo Hidalgo,[Lucasfilm Story Group] 2017
Pablo Hidaldo’s [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2018 – “Grey Jedi Code”
George Lucas defines balance in the Force as “the removal of the toxicity of the dark side, a la the removal of toxins from blood. You return things to balance by eliminating whatever is causing them to go out of whack; thus, you keep the Force in balance by making the light side pure and free of the dark side.”
“The Darkside is always there, it is experienced daily by people. It’s like a huge cancer, alive, festering – both a reminderof the moral state and, at the same time symptom and symbol of a very sick society”
~ George Lucas, “The Mythology of Star Wars”, Joseph Campell and the Power of Myth DVD, 2001
“Everything you need to know about the Force is in the movies, I can’t say that enough…Everything recycles, cosmic force, living force, cosmic force, living force…it’s all made up of the same stuff.
Our agency to use the force for ourselves creates evil, and the Darkside as something to be oppressive and destructive rather than just the natural process of life and death. And than our commitment to being selfless, giving unto others, generates kindness and happiness, togetherness and bonding and not being afraid of things outside ourselves and that is the Lightside of the Force and everyone gets along and is happier….I mean this is nothing new that I’m doing.”
Dave Filoni, Rebels Season 4 Finale Q&A, What George Lucas taught him about the Force.
“In the end, it’s about fundamentally becoming selfless moreso than selfish. It seems so simple, but it’s so hard to do. And when you’re tempted by the dark side, you don’t overcome it once in life and then you’re good. It’s a constant. And that’s what, really, Star Wars is about and what I think George wanted people to know. That to be a good person and to really feel better about your life and experience life fully you have to let go of everything you fear to lose. Because then you can’t be controlled.
“But when you fear, fear is the path to the dark side, it’s also the shadow of greed, because greed makes you covet things, greed makes you surround yourself with all these things that make you feel comfortable in the moment, but they don’t really make you happy. And then, when you’re afraid of something, it makes you angry, when you get angry, you start to hate something, sometimes you don’t even know why. When you hate, do you often know why you hate? No, you direct it at things and then you hate it. And it’s hard because anger can be a strength at times, but you can’t use it in such a selfish way, it can be a destroyer then. These are the core things of Star Wars.“
~ Dave Filoni, Celebration Chicago 2019
Dave Filoni on Balance in the Force
“I think it works into what the struggle is. You want to achieve this balance or you want to become … I think it’s a natural part of it, and really the introduction of this idea of balance comes from the prequels,” Filoni told ComicBook.com. “That’s where the prophecy of the chosen one and ‘the one who will bring balance,’ as quoted by Mace Windu, really comes from. So, I find that very interesting because the prequels add a tremendous amount of depth to all these things, especially ways of the Force. The people, I don’t think realize that that’s where it comes from, but it’s not something that’s natural to the original trilogy. It’s something that stems from the prequels, which added a tremendous amount to what we know about Star Wars.”
“One of the fundamental things to always understand about the light side and the dark side of the Force and the intentions that drive those things are willingness or will to be selfless or selfish,” he said. “From those two key points of starting grow out either in enlightenment of selflessness or greed and fear and anger and hate, and you just go spiraling down and down and down, but those are the building blocks that George [Lucas] would always talk about and I always keep trying to come back to in everything I do because if you work from that point, then actually you can tell a story with the Force.”
~ Dave Filoni Comicbook.com Interview,Balance in the Force, 2017
“The Dark Side consumes. And there is no balance to be found in such a path.”
Qui-Gon Jinn, Age of Republic: “Balance”
“I don’t turn to the light because it’s means I’ll win some sort of cosmic game. I turn to the light because it’s the light.”
~ Qui-Gon Jinn
“For a Jedi there is no place for a rainbow Force,” Luke said quietly. “There is no room for compromise. We walk the path of the light side, or we fall into darkness. There is no gray area, Ben.” ~ Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker (Page 187 Fate of the Jedi, Book II: Omen)
Tweet to Mark Hamill -“I always wondered what the Jedi Master himself thought about ‘Grey Jedi'”
Mark Hamill Reply -“Not sure what that is.”