Zen to Sassy: The Jedi Spectrum

tcw_voices

M: K and I REALLY want to be Jedi.

K: Like REALLY BAD.

M: But, some aspects of Jedi-ism have us concerned. No, not the “no-attachments” rule. The only thing I’m attached to at this point in my life is my laptop and my favorite pair of fake pants.

K: The no attachments rule honestly sounds like the excuse I’ve been needing at every family gathering for the last five years to explain why I’m not dating anyone.

M: No, the thing that really concerns us is that whole… “accept everything as the will of the Force” thing–the whole “be chill” part. For while attachments we have none, chill we are not.

K: Preach. Lucky for us, there’s a bit of a, shall we say, spectrum within the Jedi Order. In an “on a scale from Anakin Skywalker to Luminara Unduli, how Zen are you?” kind of way.

M: Anakin “human disaster” Skywalker to Luminara “so Zen even Yoda rolls his eyes” Unduli. This wide of a range allows for a special specimen of Jedi. The Sassy Jedi.

K: The only kind of Jedi we could possibly be, because the Zen Jedi (even the ones we like) are just way too chill. About the good emotions as well as the bad ones. I don’t know that I could go without getting really excited as well as getting really angry.

M: You see, the Sassy Jedi do indeed experience this range of emotions. They just express all emotions as Sass. Obi-Wan, despite his severe emotion-repression, is about the perfect example. Instead of expressing his feelings, he either bottles them away… or lets them out in the form of extreme sarcasm.

K: He is the most obviously “sassy” of the Sassy Jedi. He can’t help himself, it spills out everywhere.

M: Flirting with Ventress, talking back to Dooku, being quippy with Anakin…

K: Seriously, it’s almost a problem. Except not, because we love him so much. There are a couple of other Jedi that fall more on that end of the spectrum too. For example, Aayla Secura, who, when asked if all Jedi are reckless, responds “Only the good ones.”

M: (*girl crushing so hard*) Yes, Aayla may not be as snarky as Obi-Wan, but she’s got style, is always up for a fight, and seems to acknowledge that emotions do, in fact, exist. I’d also put Even Piell on this list, now that I’m thinking about it. That one-eyed… thing *looks up species* Lannick has had ENOUGH.

K: Master Piell is another Sassy Jedi who doesn’t necessarily “sass,” but who isn’t so concerned with keeping his emotions in check that he won’t tell you what he thinks of you to your face.

M: That’s probably how he lost his eye, honestly.

K: I think Kit Fisto is also a Sassy Jedi. Like yeah, in that Clone Wars arc on Mon Cala, he’s super chill about the eels constantly shocking him, which is very Zen. But when he first sees them, he’s all “Ooh, eels! Very dangerous!” Like, he’s not…excited, exactly, but he is interested. Which is very Obi-Wan.

M: OMG, so Obi-Wan. “Which do you think it will enter? The ear or the nose?” (S2E7, look it up). Yeah, Kit Fisto takes on danger and life-threatening situations as if they’re a complete joke. He just grins through it all. It’s rather delightful.

K: What a gem.

M: I have a few Jedi I need help categorizing, but let’s move on to Zen Jedi to get a full idea of the spectrum first.

K: In that case, let’s start at the extreme Zen end of things: Luminara Unduli. It’s not that we hate Luminara…

M: Because hate is not the Jedi way.

K: And she does get the job done. It’s just… she’s the show off kid in class and sometimes that gets REALLY old.

M: I think an ANECDOTE is in order.

K: By all means!

M: So, in the Geonosis arc in Clone Wars (season 2, episodes 5-7, literally one of my favorite arcs), she is unbearably Jedi. The deal is that she and Anakin are going to create a distraction at the front gate of a droid factory, while Ahsoka and Luminara’s padawan, Barriss, sneak in through an underground system of tunnels and blow the thing up from the inside. A nerve-wracking situation all around.

K: Indeed. But guess whose nerves are not wracked?

M: Kriffing Luminara. Is she worried about Barriss dying? Nah, she’s willing to be unattached to her padawan.

K: *cue Anakin sputtering with shock*

M: Is she worried about the padawans getting lost? Nah, she made Barriss MEMORIZE the entire ancient tunnel system.

K: *cue Ahsoka sputtering with shock*

M: And then, when Ahsoka saves the day and everyone’s happily reunited, she doesn’t celebrate. NO, she just turns to Anakin and says something obnoxious about trusting in the Force or whatever. Such a goody-two-shoes.

K: The thing is, Luminara does EVERYTHING right, as far as the Jedi Code is concerned, but it’s super off-putting. In the movies, we see a lot of Obi-Wan and Anakin, and then later, Luke, as our Jedi protagonists, and we can understand and relate to them. But with characters such as Luminara, we see what the Jedi are technically supposed to be like. You can see why ordinary beings in the Star Wars universe find the Jedi a little bit cold and unreachable.

M: And why they see them as absolute mysteries. BUT, Luminara is an extreme. There are other Zen Jedi who are lovable as all hell. By which I mean Plo Koon.

K: Plo!!! Everyone’s adoptive Space Dad.

M: Plo does follow the Jedi Code diligently, but he does it with such intense compassion that he’s delightful. I seriously MELT every time he calls Ahsoka “little ‘Soka.”

K: It is TOO CUTE. And his relationship with his clones is the best. They call themselves “Plo’s Bros” for pity’s sake. But despite all of that apparent attachment (that most talked-about Jedi sin), Plo is very Zen.

M: Yes. He’s very calm and calculated. I’m thinking of that episode when he and Ahsoka go on a mission?

K: Haha and he’s like “what has Skywalker been teaching you, little one”?

M: Yeah! He’s just like looking cool as kriff in his really, really cool cloak and talking to people. P.S. I love his cloak.

K: Ahsoka spends a lot of that episode struggling to be patient–they’re tracking baby Boba Fett and a bunch of bounty hunters, and like her decidedly not-Zen master, Anakin, she doesn’t like waiting for the action to start. Through it all, Plo stays calm, thinks everything through, and makes all the right decisions. Because he is one with the Force, and the Force is with him, probably.

M: And his patience is also what makes him such an amazing adoptive Space-Dad! This is a more general observation, but I love that whenever the Jedi are considering an issue, he always seems to be the one asking more questions and looking at things from a different angle. He is definitely a think-before-you-act kind of guy.

K: Yes, for sure. It’s clear the rest of the Jedi Council rely on his patience and understanding when they’re struggling with all the decisions they have to make.

M: GAH PLO I LOVE YOU. Okay, also in the “Zen but cool” category: Shaak-Ti.

K: Shaak Ti, my actual queen. Hmm, she’s a little further along toward the Sassy side, but still definitely in the Zen camp I think.

M: Yes, she’s not quite as “emotions not allowed” as some of the other Zen Jedi, but she’s so incredibly… cool throughout all of her adventures. It would be very hard to get her riled up.

K: There’s a reason she’s in charge of the clones on Kamino–she has all the patience of a kindergarten teacher mixed with the take-no-crap attitude of a drill sergeant.

M: Dude, perfect comparison! I just love how she sweeps into a room, being this scary-beautiful, beautifully-scary entity, and takes charge. I think I’d find her as intimidating as crap.

K: But also I would trust her with my life.

M: In the deleted scenes of RotS, there is a scene from a discarded subplot at the beginning of the film when Anakin and Obi-Wan are tracking down Grievous. In this version, she was captured by Grievous during the battle of Coruscant. When they find her, she only gets to apologize and say goodbye before Grievous kills her. It’s not a long scene, but she does make an impression. She’s so calm. It’s that moment that really makes me think of her as Zen. Not even being faced with death will cause her to lose control.

K: But even though she’s so Zen, you do NOT want to cross her. (I’m looking at you, creepy Kaminoan doctor from Season 6.)

M: OH MOST DEFINITELY NOT. She’s on the justice side of the Jedi.

K: Exactly. So, we’ve got an idea of what the spectrum looks like. Who are the Jedi you struggle to place?

M: Well, the two headliners, Yoda and Mace. Yoda is very zen pre-RotS, but I mean… Senile Yoda is a whole other creature.

K: True, true, but consider the following: Yoda is the one who teaches the younglings. All of the prequels-era novels I’ve read describe Yoda as this unpredictable eccentric. And of course, there’s my favorite “Lost a planet, Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” He is sassy, that one.

M: Oooh, good point. He speaks in riddles and you have to guess that some of that is just him messing with people. I guess a lot of when we see him, especially in RotS, he really has the weight of the galaxy on him. So sassy he may be, but worried he is.

K: But when Luke comes along, he’s given up on worry–it’s too late for that, so why not freak the kid out by stealing his flashlight and hitting his droid with a stick?

M: “MINE!” I LOVE YODA. Mace is also an interesting one. He’s very Jedi, but he takes NO crap, and always seems level 1000 annoyed with Anakin.

K: With Anakin especially, but also with everyone in general. It’s almost like he’s the Sith version of Zen instead of the Jedi version. He’s got that “controlled rage” feel about him. Emphasis on the “controlled.”

M: (Speaking of Sith, I’d rate them on a scale of “Palpatine takes Anakin to the bubble ballet” to “Palpatine jumps up and does a 920 degree Force spin while shrieking.”)

K: (I approve this scale.)

M: To finish off, I think there needs to be some sort of… side category. This would be the “Jedi Troll.” Super Zen, definitely trolling you.

K: Ok, I’ll bite, who would be in this category?

M: Qui-Gon Jinn.

K: OH OF COURSE.

M: Like he’s too much of a Sassy jerk to be a Zen Jedi, but he’s also so sanctimoniously Zen with his “Living Force” stuff. And we love him.

K: We do.

M: WAIT, we’ve forgotten to place one important Jedi– Ahsoka! Where do you think she’d be on the scale?

K: Definitely Sassy. It’s just a matter of degree.

M: Yes. Because she is Sassy. She’ll always be, it’s very innate. But I think her decision to leave the order is about the most Zen thing a Jedi in her situation could do.

K: Hmm, yes, I can see that.

M: I mean, yes, it’s not a “JEDI” thing to do, but it displays the more pure traits of the Jedi Code. “Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge.”

K: She also does have that more serious side that lets her be more Zen than she first appears.

M: Basically she’s perfect.

K: She’s probably the kind of Jedi I would want to try to match. Sassy, yet Zen.

 

Zen

Luminara Unduli

Plo Koon

Ki-Adi-Mundi

Adi Gallia

Shaak Ti

Mace Windu

Ahsoka Tano

Kit Fisto

Aayla Secura

Even Piell

Yoda

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Sassy

Extra Sassy Anakin Skywalker

Troll: Qui-Gon Jinn

 

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