The Jedi Knights are the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. Protectors of the Republic despite being highly distrustful of organized politics, they take children at appallingly young ages and raise them in sterile barracks, indoctrinating them with mystical rhetoric and training them in elite martial law designed to enforce their will. Shrouded only in bathrobes, they travel to every region in the galaxy telling people how they should lead their lives.
Convinced that the path to enlightenment lies with the Light Side of the Force, everything they say and do is automatically justified for the betterment of whatever societies they come in contact with. Anyone that disagrees with them is regarded with suspicion and blatant derision (or are suspected Sith). For them the end always justifies the means, even if it means making everyone else miserable. They’re the good guys, remember? Fleeting dreams of bolstering humanity’s greatest strengths and ideologies will quickly be ruined by years of repetitive dogma and stagnant belief systems that go unchallenged. Forget about helping others out of love because that will be forbidden, as will a sense of self expression and autonomy. CBR brings you the definitive list of the 17 reasons why it would suck to be a Jedi.
17 AREN’T ALLOWED TO FALL IN LOVE
“Attachment is forbidden”. The words Jedi stud Anakin Skywalker tells Padme in Attack of the Clones when she inquires about the devout life the Jedi lead. Her new Jedi witness protection program allows them a moment to reflect on just how sociopathic the Jedi Order is. He argues that because compassion is an essential pillar to a Jedi’s training, in what he calls “unconditional love”, that Jedi should actually be encouraged to love.
The continuation of their romance will go against the hallows of the Jedi Order, and they will be forced to keep it a secret. If they were discovered, Anakin would be forbidden from seeing Padme ever again, or risk being cast out of the Order. How are you supposed to be a guardian of peace and justice if feelings of affection aren’t allowed? Do you want a cult of sociopaths? Because this is how you get sociopaths.
16 CAN’T START FAMILIES
Since Jedi are forbidden from falling in love, it goes without saying they’re forbidden from starting families. When Padme gets pregnant in Revenge of the Sith, whatever joy she might have felt about being a mother of twins is quickly tempered by the mood-killing realization that the Jedi Order will never allow the family to exist. Anakin would be disgraced, and Padme’s reputation would be in jeopardy (their marriage was also still a secret at this point).
In the Republic Commando series, the notion of Jedi having families is explored. Mace Windu travels to a planet inhabited almost solely by “gray Jedi”, Force users that can walk the precarious balance between using both the Light and Dark Side of the Force, who also happen to have left the Order and all it’s buzzkill ways to start families.
15 HAVE TO PUT THE SAFETY ON THEIR FORCE POWERS
Unlike Sith, who are encouraged to just go to town with the Dark Side, Jedi are told that they have to limit the full throttle of their Force powers. To become too obsessive about using the Force apparently leads to the Dark Side. The general consensus is that once you use the Force for one awesome feat, you’ll want to do even more impressive stuff, and that’s just not OK. In other words, no fun allowed.
Anytime a Force sensitive person wants to use more of their power, like Ben Solo, and really tap into all the Force is capable of, he gets a slap on the wrist and told to cut that out. You know who wouldn’t do that? Snoke. He’d let him play with his toys whenever he wanted to. Do you want the Knights of Ren slaughtering the Jedi Order Luke created? Because that’s how that happens.
14 BEGAN AS CHILD SOLDIERS
Imagine the conversation between a guy in a stained karate gi and bathrobe with a young mother in which he informs her that yes, her child has been chosen to join the ranks of the Jedi Order and no, she can’t visit him on summer vacation. But it’s to her child’s benefit, because it gets them off the desolate armpit of a planet they’re stuck on, and they’ll be given food, blue milk, clothes, an education, and special weapons training.
Sounds a lot like the recruitment for a child soldier army. Imagine training your own elite squadrons of children in a specific mode of combat, indoctrinated with a particular set of beliefs, with little contact with the outside world except in a carefully supervised capacity, where all they do is go around spouting your spiritual rhetoric.
13 GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE ISSUES
So the Jedi aren’t allowed to fall in love, and not allowed to have families, because either of those things would jeopardize their devotion to the Jedi Order and that’s a big no no. The Jedi Order needs it’s recruits asexual, satisfied and fulfilled with their connection to the Force. It’s a wonder more Jedi don’t get seduced by the Dark Side given all the angst flooding the halls of the Jedi Temple.
Technically a physical relationship, if committed without feelings that might lead to attachment, is Oked by the Jedi Order. However, most Jedi wouldn’t know their genitals from the lightsaber on their belt, the infrequency of their interludes making emotionless one night stands a little difficult to accomplish. This would lead to all sorts of issues in the sack, from awkward inexperience, to just not being able to communicate their carnal needs.
12 NO FASHION SENSE
Yes, the Jedi are essentially wizard monks, and have no need for fancy duds given their line of work as galactic social workers with laser swords. However, since they also function as diplomats, ambassadors, and occasionally need to blend in with their surroundings, looking like The Dude in a karate gi is embarrassing. They all wear what amounts to a uniform in the same varying shades of brown, just without a sash full of merit badges.
The Sith get all the sexy clothes. Shades of black, gray, and jewel tones make them the most fashion savvy of the Force users. Sure, their garb is intended to be intimidating, but it also allows for their individual expression, and is the Sith vs Jedi debate nothing if not the power of the Individual vs The Hive Mind?
11 HORRIBLE HAIRCUTS
In The Phantom Menace, we were treated to little Ani’s bowl cut and Obi-Wan’s short hair that was somehow also pulled back in a tiny ponytail. Then there’s the issue of the dumb little padawan braid, which starts dinky and grows the longer their training continues. Anakin sported the same short hair/ponytail/braid look in Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan decided he was going to sport mock turtle necks and cut a new prog folk album. The only human that came out alright was Qui-Gon, if only because he had some appealing salt and pepper highlights going on.
Anakin sported some serious emo locks in Revenge of the Sith, though most of the time they were a sweaty, mop top mess. His son would go on to give us the male equivalent of Farrah Fawcett waves, doing nothing to further the notion that Jedi humans have terrible barbers.
10 ASCETIC LIFESTYLE
They may not have to wear tunics made out of horsehair and whip themselves at dusk to show their penance, but the Jedi live an ascetic lifestyle nonetheless. In the Young Apprentice series of books, readers get a pretty good description of quarters in the Jedi Temple; sparse, functional, with no band posters on the wall.
If Jedi choose to live on their own, it’s usually in some dingy hut (see also Obi-Wan and Yoda), or perpetually aboard spacecraft that aren’t very homey anyway. Contrast that with Vader’s gargantuan castle on Mustafar. Emperor Palpatine’s throne room was described as being full of artifacts and sculptures, as was the norm for most Dark Side users. Nothing wrong with an appreciation for the finer things in life.
9 ORIGINAL THOUGHTS/IDEAS ARE IGNORED
In The Phantom Menace we learn that Qui-Gon was a pretty radical Jedi for his time. He routinely defined the will of the Jedi Council, and often encouraged his apprentice Obi-Wan to follow in his footsteps. Even training Anakin was controversial and the Council didn’t approve completely, but Obi-Wan said Hell Nah and did it anyway.
Anakin’s reckless ideas of “aggressive negotiations” when diplomacy fails, or that the Senate should enforce sanctions and restrictions on planets that don’t abide by a popular concensus were not well received during his time as a Jedi. Granted, they’re pretty militant, but they’re still alternatives to Jedi doctrine. Without any new ideas, even the most well preserved belief systems can lose their traction. By closing itself from new ideas, the Jedi Order comes across as stuffy and old fashioned.
8 MUST FOREGO DESIRE OF MATERIAL THINGS
Much like subscribers to Buddhism, Jedi are encouraged to not covet material things. Materialism is considered for the weak minded, for those that desire instant gratification through objects and things, and who probably want to flash their wealth by showing off their new customized swoop bike or space yacht. Material things are seen as distractions to a Jedi, and not necessary for the enjoyment of life as lived through following the will of the Force.
Yeah ok, but having to wear the same shabby robes all the time, and sport a lame haircut, and sleep in a closet, all while being around dignitaries, politicians, and royalty that are dripping with the finer things would probably get old. Anakin probably felt more than a little inferior to Padme’s status in life, considering her birthright and the fact that she could have probably married into nobility.
7 CAN’T GET MAD (EVER)
Some space jockey cuts you off in their shuttle, you just have to remain calm. Some Padawan calls an object to their hand but it beans you in the eye on its way, you just have to wince and hope they practice aiming. Some Tusken Raider kills your biological mother and you just have to let that roll off your back because well, you’re a Jedi, and to get peeved off would lead to the Dark Side.
Imagine never being able to get irritated over anything because irritation is a gateway drug to hate, and hate leads to suffering, and blah blah blah. No doubt anyone else with Force sensitivity would Force choke anyone that so much as looked at them funny in traffic. Or Force push the neighbor’s barking dog into the next state.
6 PEACE DOESN’T PAY
It seems that the only time anyone sees the Jedi doing anything remotely cool is when conflict or all out war breaks out. For the great abilities they have, Jedi don’t actually get to use them to any great extent. Jedi aren’t supposed to lust for power, which seems to be the main job of the Sith, but it’s a bit like having a great talent for trivia but staying at home watching Jeopardy every night rather than sweeping the pool at the local pub.
When conflict arises, and diplomacy can’t save the day (and for the sake of dramatic plot progression, it never does), the Jedi suddenly pull out their arsenal. Yoda hurls Senate pods like frisbees. Anakin sweeps aside squadrons of Battle Droids with a cavalier brush of his hand. Obi-Wan beats the Sith out of the vastly superior warrior Darth Maul.
5 CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN SPACE
To study the ways of the Force and attend a Jedi Academy, it means going to an educational facility that functions as both monastery and barracks. Like Catholic School in Space, there are aspects of devotional worship to studying the will of the Force, assessing its concepts of fate, balance, and what it means to have free will. There is a vaguely military component with excessive training in martial combat and the use of highly dangerous weapons.
Quarters are very sparce, a Jedi student often bunks with several other students until they gain the privilege of their own room. They are discouraged from fraternizing too much outside of the Academy/Temple, cultivating a sense of self expression, or developing original thoughts. But hey, you get to learn how to do cool stuff like read minds, and move ridiculously large objects (none of which you will actually be encouraged to do).
4 OVERLY RELIANT ON FORCE POWERS
Though Jedi may only show off the coolest of their powers during times of conflict, they do use the Force in everyday life quite a bit, which just makes them lazy. Even if it’s just Anakin floating a piece of food off the dining table onto his plate because he’s too comfortable to get up, it’s clear that becoming overly reliant on the Force to accomplish mundane tasks is a real problem.
Whether or not Jedi intend to, they’re constantly trying to assess the character of others without appearing intrusive. Obi-Wan has a suspicion about politicians like Senator Palpatine in the prequels, due to the fact that he can use the Force to read their auras if not their thoughts outright. Only Force sensitive people like Palpatine could even stop them. The rest of us would have all our weird ideas out in plain view.
3 SPACE POLICE
The Jedi are like galactic social workers, hall monitors, and space police all rolled into one dour package. They stick their nose into everyone’s business as government operatives, yet clearly have an agenda that is occasionally at odds with that government (as is evidenced whenever the Jedi Council grew suspicious of the Republic’s control of the Senate and had Anakin act as a double agent).
Need to steal a galactic citizen’s speeder and chase down a bounty hunter? No problem, just tell them it’s “Jedi business”. If they continue to protest, just wave your hand in their faces to change their mind. In fact, it would be difficult to resist the temptation not to just completely change the narrative of every mission you went on.
2 ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE RIGHT
The Jedi are nothing if not insufferably self righteous. Imagine always needing to be right about everything all the time. Mace Windu pompously declares in Revenge of the Sith that Senator Palpatine couldn’t possibly be a Sith Lord because it wasn’t “in his character”. Qui-Gon arrogantly decides that Anakin is the Chosen One and therefore everyone needs to just get on board the hype train. Obi-Wan brashly decides that he can train Anakin, even though he’s barely past the trial period of apprentice himself.
The Sith have no shortage of gloating and monologuing, but it’s to be expected from those that give into temptation and anger in all areas. When it comes in the form of a sternly worded lecture from Obi-Wan on the perils of hormones, it loses its sense of authority.
1 THEY DIE (A LOT)
While it's true that in A New Hope, the Jedi's light had "gone out of the galaxy", and Vader and Obi-Wan were all that was left of the "ancient religion", in the prequels, there's literally hundreds of Jedi. They have something to do with every major galactic issue that crops up. Contrast their numbers with the Sith. In the prequels, there was only ever Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine and his apprentices, and in the OG trilogy there was Vader.
Novels and comics have tried to fill in the Sith ranks, but the point is, the Sith, for their small numbers, only had to sub out once or at the most twice to fill their ranks. And they caused plenty of damage to the galaxy. Compare that to the Jedi, who numbered in the hundreds, and died in huge crowd scenes, having not half the influence over the future of entire systems.