master indara and master sol standing before the witches on the acolyte

How Are So Many People Just Now Realizing the Jedi Are Not Really That Great?

It’s wild to me that people watched Star Wars and saw a group of overly religious wizards who took kids from their parents as the clean-cut good guys, but hey, what do I know? With The Acolyte, fans are getting a more complicated version of the Jedi, and people … aren’t happy.

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The anger stems from the fact that the episode “Destiny” shows the Jedi going to Brendok and forcing the witches there (who are not apart of the Republic) to let them test children, Osha and Mae, to train as Jedi. When a fire breaks out because of Mae, the Jedi also do nothing to help save the witches, and the only “survivor” is seemingly Osha, all because the Jedi intervened. It isn’t the worst thing they’ve ever done, but it doesn’t exactly paint the Jedi in the best light.

The Jedi, as a group, are too overly strict in their rules—no emotional connections, continually doing as the Jedi Council says. It all leads to some people straying from the Order, and for a group that claims that only the Sith deal in absolutes, they sure have a lot of absolutes. While, yes, the Jedi are the “good guys” fighting against the fascist rule of the Empire, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect—far from it—and that’s what we’re seeing in The Acolyte.

Fans are angry about this version of the Jedi because most of them have painted them as “good guys.” From what I’ve seen on lots of onlineconversation , they are mad that the Jedi didn’t succeed and that they didn’t save everyone? Which is a weird thing to think because we’ve seen the Jedi fail many times before, and it has been their own fault in the past (never forget what happened with Anakin Skywalker).

In the prequel trilogy, George Lucas himself showed how the Jedi were the cause of their own downfall, and their lack of self-awareness was what allowed for the rise of Darth Vader and Palpatine. But the idyllic dream of the Jedi that Luke Skywalker believed in is not the reality. It may be what Obi-Wan Kenobi hoped was true of the Jedi, but the reality is that they are a group of people who take children away from their families and tell them they cannot have emotions about it.

I do think that the Jedi are inherently good. They are people who want the best for the galaxy. They just don’t know the best way to go about it that isn’t the most extreme version possible. All The Acolyte is doing is showing us a time in their history when they were at their most devout, and when they, as a collective, thought that what they were doing was the right thing without questioning it.

The Jedi just aren’t perfect; it’s that simple.

What I think is a little outrageous about the anger over episode 3 of The Acolyte is that everyone is seemingly furious that the Jedi are being painted as beings who make mistakes when that’s what makes them interesting to me. No one is completely good or perfect. Everyone has their flaws, so yes, an entire collective of people thinking the same way is not without flaws.

I think it is naive to think that the Jedi are wholly good and that they are above criticism and have never done anything wrong. So, the angry reaction to the series, as if The Acolyte is showing us anything other than what the Jedi were known to do, is a bit outrageous. They did go and test kids to see if they had the power of the Force. They took those kids away from their families and taught them that emotional attachments would lead to the dark side.

All of that happened, and the series just put a spotlight on one of the darker moments of that history. There is nothing wrong with the Jedi making mistakes, and at least one of them clearly understood that mistake and tortured himself for it. (He took it to an extreme, which the Jedi are also known to do.)

If anyone thinks that the Jedi are above criticism, they missed the entire point of the prequel trilogy. Clearly, what The Acolyte is trying to show isn’t working for them, but it does work for me and fits in with the rest of the franchise so far, and I love seeing the Jedi at their peak, still making mistakes that could easily be solved with some logic.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.