The Grey Jedi in ‘Star Wars,’ Explained
"I only know one truth: It's time for the Jedi to end." - Luke Skywalker
As the Star Wars universe continues to expand, the galaxy of characters within it continues to deepen and complexify. Over the decades, as the world fills in, we have gotten to know more about the priestly Jedi and devious Sith, but fans of the films (who may not have delved into the novels or games) are also now learning about a new path, something between Good and Evil for force users: The Grey Jedi.
What is a Grey Jedi?
Essentially, Grey Jedi are those who walk the line between the light and dark sides of the Force, or who reject the control of both the Jedi Order and the Sith. There are two different categories that can define a character as a Grey Jedi.
1. A character who is trained and can utilize both the light and dark sides of the Force without becoming corrupted. This means that a Grey Jedi can use dark side elements or abilities (like electricity blasts) without giving in and losing themselves to evil, anger, and hate.
2. A Jedi who follows the light side of the force but operates outside of the Jedi Council’s control or defies their rulings. This means that a Grey Jedi does not have to follow the Jedi Council’s strict rules on attachment, they can fall in love and get married. Some Grey Jedi also reject the Council’s rules on who can train as a padawan and train force-sensitive beings who are older than four years of age.
Most characters that audiences would be familiar with fall under the second category. They don’t use the dark side of the force, they just push back against the strict (and sometimes stodgy) Jedi High Council.
Who are some notable Grey Jedi?
Are Grey Jedi canon? Grey Jedi are most commonly found in the Star Wars video games and comic book series. The classic game Knights of the Old Republic is notable because it not only allowed players to use dark and light side powers, but it also featured Grey Jedi in its storyline. One of the main protagonists, that players could align with, was a Grey Jedi named Jolee Bindo. Bindo was a Grey Jedi who left the Jedi Order because he fell in love and wanted to marry. He also discovered that his wife was sensitive to the force and tried to train her himself. Tragically, she was quickly seduced by the dark side, and after Bindo was unable to kill her, she went on to slay many Jedi in the final days of the Clone War.
Orders and sects of Grey Jedi that appear in the games and the comics include:
The Imperial Knights, guards of the Fel Empire who used the Force in a more pragmatic way, mainly as a tool or weapon of defense. They feature prominently in the comic series, Star Wars: Legacy.
The Jensaarai, a sect who left the Jedi Order to study the teachings of both Jedi and the Sith Lord Larad Noon. However, their leader was killed, and subsequently, they were unable to translate the dark side texts. As a result, the Jensaarai focused primarily on protecting their community and stayed closer to the path of good. They eventually reunited with the Jedi Order. They first appear in the Legends novel I, Jedi, and also appear in various Star Wars role-playing games.
As far as more straightforward canon goes, it gets a bit trickier. Qui-Gon Jinn was called a Grey Jedi by his peers for defying the council in training Anakin Skywalker (and then passing his training on to Obi-Wan Kenobi). Is Ahsoka a Grey Jedi? Ahsoka Tano could also technically be called a Grey Jedi because she left the order after their accusations and mistreatment. Even Luke Skywalker, when we find him in The Last Jedi, has seemingly given up on the Jedi (and restoring the Order) after his disastrous attempt at restarting the Jedi Academy.
However, it is important to note that all of these characters would fall under the second category of Grey Jedi, as none of them use any part of the dark side of the Force.
Why are they important?
As the Star Wars universe continues to expand and mature, it would be interesting to see Grey Jedi move more into the canon. An embrace of Grey Jedi would see a further evolution of the core Jedi philosophy: that there is only good or evil when it comes to the Force. There is, in fact, a Grey Jedi Code. This is a lesson that actually began back in the prequels—after all, the rigidity of the Jedi Order’s rules are what forced Anakin to abandon his mother and hide his marriage, leading to his rage, paranoia, and transformation into Darth Vader. A middle way would perhaps have saved the Jedi and the galaxy from falling into the hands of Emperor Palpatine.
It was further established in Star Wars: Rebels, when Ezra Miller and Kanan learn from Bendu, an ancient Force-sensitive being who exists “in the center” of the Force. But as the release of Ahsoka draws near, we see perhaps its biggest opportunity. It has now been confirmed that Ezra Miller and several other Rebels characters will be joining the live-action show. So, we might finally see just what Star Wars has in store for the Jedi who have chosen a different path.
(featured image: Lucasfilm)
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