Turning to the dark side of the Force isn’t just about dressing in all black or collecting stuff that glows red. A new clip from the Star Wars: Rebels Season 3 introduces us to a new Force-user called the Bendu who doesn’t see the Force in black and white.
Voiced by the indomitable Tom Baker (he defined Doctor Who in the ‘70s) the demi-god-esque Bendu presents himself to the blind Jedi Kanan Jarrus as “the one in the middle,” existing in-between the light and dark sides of the Force. In a new clip, the Bendu asserts that “the Jedi and Sith wield the Ashla and Bogan,” referring to the seldom-mentioned proper nouns for the light and dark sides, which are technically canon. The Bendu seems to defiantly eschew Kanan’s view of “the dark” side by wisely pointing out that those who intended to do good can often end up doing evil. The Bendu also doesn’t fear objects like Kanan does and pays specific attention the Sith Holocron which Ezra picked up from Darth Maul last season saying “an object does not make you good or evil.”
The comments from the Bendu seem to deepen the larger issue of what makes someone truly “in touch” with the Force. In Revenge of the Sith the “evil” Palpatine reminds Anakin that he has to take a “larger” view of the Force and describes the Jedi as “dogmatic.” And even though Palps was up to no good and was keen on massacring people, the idea that the Force is strictly binary does seem a little unrealistic. If it’s truly an energy field that surrounds “all living things,” then it stands to reason that some of those tendencies may be a little bit grey.
Both The Clone Wars and Rebels have explored the complicated nature of the Force probably in more detail than any of the Star Wars films. For example, though still very powerful with the Force, the heroic Ahsoka Tano declared she was “no Jedi” in last year’s finale of Rebels. Similarly, Maz Kanata tells Rey she’s “no Jedi” in The Force Awakens but that she “knows the Force.” In a scene cut from the movie, Maz is shown wielding the Force against some First Order stormtroopers in the raid on her castle. Meanwhile, Rogue One will give us Chirrut Îmwe, a blind monk who also seems to have a connection to the Force despite not being a Jedi. Han Solo may have told Finn, “That’s not how the Force works!”, but the complicated nature of the Force looks to still be unfolding.
Star Wars: Rebels Season 3 debuts September 23 on Disney XD.