Why do the Jedi lie? Honesty and The Force

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Why do the Jedi lie?

I love fan theories on films and books, especially when they are well thought out and have evidence to back up the claims. These theories can cause us to see something from a different perspective and challenge our preconceived beliefs. While some of these theories are incredibly complex such as the Pixar theory or how Stanley Kubrick used The Shining to confess his filming of the fake moon landing, others are simpler such as everyone in Fight Club, not just Tyler, being a projection of the narrator’s psyche, or how Willy Wonka is a serial killer.

One of my favorite films of all time is the Star Wars series. I was eight when the first one came out, and I was hooked the first time I heard a lightsaber swoosh or the mention of The Force. As I’ve grown older and hopefully wiser, there’s something about these films that bother me: The Jedi are supposed to be the good guys, with their moral code and their monk like robes, while the Sith are supposedly the embodiment of all evil. If this is true, why do the Jedi lie, while the Sith seem to approach things with brutal honesty? Most people (especially some of the women who have dated me) seem to feel that lying is a bad thing. Why are the good guys so flippant with their words?

The most obvious example of this is when Obi Wan tells Luke what happened to his father. While Obi Wan might have been trying to protect Luke’s feelings, it’s still pretty clear he lied to him. Later when he tries to justify his actions by telling Luke how the story about his father was true from a certain point of view, it sounds hollow, and I’m not sure any of us in the audience buy it.

Would the story have played out any differently if Obi Wan had told Luke the truth about Vader? Could the story have possibly been even better if Luke had known the truth? One aspect of Shakespearian theatre is the hero shedding his father figure. We’re denied seeing Luke do this in Episode 4, when he achieves his greatest military strike by destroying the Death Star. Now reimagine that scene where after the Death Star is blown to pieces, Luke gives Vader the metaphorical middle finger as he tumbles helplessly in his TIE fighter.

“Screw you dad, you’re not the boss of me,” Luke could say, or something a little more eloquent than that.

What about Leia? Don’t you think it would have been easier for Obi Wan to convince Luke to leave Tatooine if he had told him the girl in the holograph was his sister (not to mention saving Luke from an awkward make out session)? What if she had the knowledge Vader was her father while she was being asked the location of the rebel base? Could she possibly have used this information to save Alderaan?

We’ll never know, because Obi Wan didn’t have enough faith in either of them to tell them the truth. Was this just a flaw in Obi Wan, or did other Jedi lie as well? When Luke first lands on Dagobah to continue his training, Yoda conceals his true identity. Further in the series, Luke identifies himself as a Jedi Master to Jabba, even though he hasn’t earned the title yet.

Vader had no hesitation telling Luke or anyone else the truth.

What about the Jedi Mind trick? Isn’t this just another form of lying? Or worse?

The Sith don’t use the mind trick.

All of this makes me wonder, what if the Jedi are really the bad guys in the film? What if the reason there are only two Sith is because the Jedi killed all the others?

Now that ‘balance has been restored to The Force, it will be interesting to see which side comes out on top when the new movies come out later this year. Although it should be noted that in the first trailer released for the new film, the only lightsaber to be seen is a red one.

When the Gods of fate finally place a lightsaber in my hand, I hope it’s a red one.


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