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A Jedi sect in 'The Acolyte'
Image via Disney Plus

‘The Acolyte’ presents the Jedi at the height of their power, and simultaneously at their weakest

Are the Jedi abusing their power?

The Acolyte is giving us a glimpse into the golden age of the Jedi at the height of the High Republic, but instead of being awed by these warriors of peace and justice, we find that they’re a pale imitation of what a real Jedi should look like.

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I guess that was the intention all along. The Jedi Order we see in the prequel trilogy has lost its way, blind to what moves against it in the shadows of the corrupted Republic. It only makes sense to show the first seeds of the plunge here, in a story that takes place 100 years before The Phantom Menace.

But how exactly does The Acolyte differ from other Star Wars stories in the way it depicts the Jedi?

Peace is a lie through which the Jedi maintain their control over the galaxy

indara carrie-anne moss the acolyte star wars
Photo via Disney Plus

To understand what The Acolyte gets wrong about the Jedi, or perhaps very right about the Jedi of this particular period, we need to examine how our main characters like Master Indara and Master Sol are operating within the confines of the Jedi Code.

For instance, we know it’s a dangerously manipulative practice, perhaps even bordering on the Dark Side, to use the Force to compel the truth out of someone. Yet Master Sol does it without a second thought when interrogating a High Republic prisoner. If you might recall, our Jedi Masters in the Clone Wars had to pull their strength together to interrogate Cad Bane, and then very reluctantly.

The Jedi who fought in the Clone Wars had lost sight of the real battle, and their actions always bordered on the grey area. For Master Sol, using the Force to get the truth out of a lowly criminal comes as easy as breathing.

Then there are the events of episode 3, which saw our Jedi Masters interfering in a dynamic they didn’t quite understand, resulting in Mae giving in to the dark side and destroying her home and family. One might ask; if it’s illegal under the High Republic laws to train children in the Force, what right do the Jedi possess to do the same by taking them away?

These are all the uncomfortable questions that The Acolyte is hinting at, and we do not doubt they’ll be fully explored in the coming weeks.

Star Wars has always vaguely hinted at the idea that the only real Jedi was Luke Skywalker, who, upon somewhat ignoring the advice of Master Yoda and Ben Kenobi, managed to redeem his father and save the galaxy. That’s not to say Luke was infallible, of course, but he came as close to embodying what a Jedi should be as possible. In the case of the Jedi Masters we see in The Acolyte, I fear only the opposite may be true.

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Jonathan Wright
Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.