How Star Wars Ends

Mitchell Dostine believes that we already know how Star Wars will end (assuming that there is an end, and not an endless string of Disney Star Wars movies that simply peters out several centuries from now without resolution).

It will end in gray.

The evidence, he suggests, is to be found in the prophecy and the idea of the Force being balanced, and the indication we’ve already been given that Luke Skywalker is determined to be The Last Jedi. The implication is that the Jedi took the light side too far, always creating their Sith antithesis. The time has come to genuinely achieve balance.

I’ve long seen that as the underlying message of Star Wars, in true Taoist fashion, and so I’d be delighted if he is correct. It hasn’t always been clear that George Lucas understood his own mythology that way. But he isn’t running things now, and so we’ll just have to wait and see.

In the Expanded Universe and a variety of Star Wars fiction, one finds that the Gray Jedi make regular appearances.

Star Wars Fanon offers this quote from Leor Danal:

There must be both dark and light. I will do what I must to keep the balance, as the balance is what holds all life. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace; serenity, yet emotion; chaos, yet order. I am a wielder of the flame; a champion of balance. I am a guardian of life. I am a Gray Jedi.

It also includes the Gray Jedi Code:

Flowing through all, there is balance
There is no peace without a passion to create
There is no passion without peace to guide
Knowledge stagnates without the strength to act
Power blinds without the serenity to see
There is freedom in life
There is purpose in death
The Force is all things and I am the Force

IO9’s “History of the Gray Force in Star Wars” includes the following:

It’s my opinion that, at least to some in the galaxy, the Jedi might seem to want balance, but are really just as bad as the Sith in terms of orthodoxy. Their emphasis on order and monasticism over logic could be one reason why Anakin fell. To quote Jolee Bindo from the Knights of the Old Republic video game, “Love doesn’t lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled… but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love… that’s what they should teach you to beware. But love itself will save you… not condemn you.”

Elsewhere in Star Wars news, IO9 asked what the “big reveal” in The Last Jedi might be. Another Patheos blogger talked about the formative influence of being a pre-teen Jedi wannabe. The BBC and P. Z. Myers both looked at the Jedi religion. John Morehead connected the next movie with religious disillusionment.

Robyn Walsh has shared her thoughts on Star Wars as an educator and academic. Here is an excerpt:

Star Wars does tick many of the boxes we tend to cite if we are determining if something is a religion; for example: shared stories, practices, figureheads, hierarchy,” said Dr. Walsh. “Add to this the fact that there are people out there seriously claiming to be Jedi, and you could conceivably argue that Star Wars is a ‘new religious movement’ that is only a few decades old and still finding its feet.

“However, personally, I think that it falls short of being a religion. At this stage, the groups forming around the movement are not cohesive. It is also not clearly derivative of an already-established tradition, so the parameters for things like which stories and practices are ‘orthodox’ are not terribly clear.

“And,” she added, “it’s uniquely difficult to ‘start’ a religion when your founding father is a guy from Modesto, California.”

Neil Carter pointed out that quoting the Bible does not work like a Jedi mind trick. And IO9 had an article about the difficulties Wookipedia faces in trying to keep the new canon and other materials straight.
Gray Jedi Code

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  • John MacDonald

    I recall that Palpatine said “Good is a point of view;” and Obiwan said “Only Sith deal in absolutes;” And Anikan said “From my point of view The Jedi are evil;” and Obiwan said “Palpatine is Evil” and Obiwan espoused the “Point of view” epistemology in the original trilogy, etc.

    Maybe the force will fall into balance when the characters start being consistent, lol

  • John MacDonald

    This post by Dr. McGrath is actually, as Derrida said in his argument for deconstruction, a good example of the fallacy (Possibiliter ergo probabiliter) committed by traditional hermeneutic method: Prediction in the case of science, retrodiction in the case of history, and interpretive conclusion in the case of the humanities – You take a scant amount of ambiguous evidence and shape it to fit your interpretive model. The model thereby accounts for your evidence, and is not contradicted by any evidence (or at least explains away seemingly recalcitrant evidence). Thereby the machine of scholarship keeps on producing and generates yet another possible conclusion: the grey Jedi theory of Star Wars finales – another guess to throw on the heap of End Times Star Wars speculation. It’s a schizophrenic’s circus of competing hypothesis, each vying for supremacy, while all any particular one can claim is that it fits the evidence and is not falsified by any apparently recalcitrant evidence. This is a good analogy for historical Jesus studies, where the machine of scholarly speculation has shaped the scant, ambiguous evidence to produce such models as Jesus as apocalyptic prophet, charismatic healer, Cynic philosopher, Jewish Messiah, prophet of social change, Euhemerized mythical being, etc. In fact, the only two facts universally attested to by scholars seem to be the baptism by John, and the crucifixion. Regarding the former, the John the Baptist pericope casts John in the guise of Elijah, and may echo Elijah bequeathing a double portion of his power to Elisha, so there is no way it passes the criterion of embarrassment. Regarding the latter, Paul interprets Christ’s crucifixion in term of the reference in Deuteronomy of something being cursed that is hung on a tree: “13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” — (Galatians 3:13). So if mythicists argue that Paul learned about Christ’s crucifixion from scripture (1 Cor 15:3), this could be a possible place. The proper deconstructive reading is not to affirm mythicism, but rather use it to inject doubt into other models. The process of continuous unravelling and unknowing is ethics. Derrida said deconstruction is justice, such as when society relooked at its assumptions about women, African Americans, The LGBTQ community, etc. Certainty and reason are what cause terrible things.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Derrida emphasized that his approach was about the reading of texts, and not some of the other things that people have tried to do with it. As a hermeneutic, speculation about where an ongoing TV or film series is headed does illustrate nicely the risky character of interpreting an incomplete text, or speculating about authorial intent. But mythicism is not deconstructive in its approach – it does not merely read texts against the grain, but runs afoul of what the texts do in fact say. There is no need for something like mythicism to “inject doubt” into the study of history, because as you note, and as is true in every field of inquiry, there are few things that are genuinely universally agreed upon.

      • John MacDonald

        Derrida taught that “reason” and “certainty” could be the opposite of justice because they lead to the “rationalization” and “justification” of our merely subjective points of view (such as when fundamentalists prooftext words supposedly by Jesus to “justify” their approach to life). Ethical thoughts consist in critiquing, not simply the arrogant erecting of systems as some traditional epistemology would have it. Derrida said in “The Gift of Death” and “Given Time, Counterfeit Money,” following Kierkegaard, our decisions are always “leaps of faith” that risk violence because there is never enough time to make a decision, and never enough information on which to decide, and we can never anticipate all possible consequences, etc. So, for instance, Derrida presents the allegory of the hedgehog crossing the road in his short work on poetry, “”Che cos’è la poesie?”