Ahsoka Episode 6 Completely Redefined Jedi Canon With a Single Word
Finally, after three movie trilogies and several TV shows, the Jedi make a little more sense.
What does it mean to be a Jedi? If you’ve only watched the Star Wars films, each of the three trilogies will give you a different Jedi vibe. But, throughout the history of Star Wars, all Jedi lore, rules, and deeper meanings have been rewritten time and time again. Some retcons (like kyber crystals powering lightsabers) has stuck. Others (like microscopic midi-chlorians powering someone’s connection to the Force) are rarely mentioned.
Now, with one quick sentence in Ahsoka Episode 6, the Star Wars franchise has finally given a name to the kind of Jedi we’re most familiar with: the drop-outs and rogues like Luke, Ezra, and Rey. And in doing so, the overall Jedi canon now feels like it makes a little more sense. Spoilers ahead.
Way back in A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi took Luke Skywalker on as his student, but he never said the word Padawan. Other than the fact that George Lucas hadn’t decided that Jedi would use the term, we now have a pretty good explanation of how Luke, Ezra, and Rey were trained when compared to all the other Jedi from previous generations. In “Far, Far Away,” when Shin asks her master Baylan if he knows Ezra Bridger from back in the Jedi heyday, he notes Bridger is “too young,” because “he comes from a breed of Bokken Jedi, trained in the wild, after the Temple fell.”
Bokken Jedi explained
In our galaxy, a bokken is a Japanese wooden sword used for training and sparring. Because George Lucas grafted a lot of samurai nomenclature onto the Jedi, there’s a long Star Wars tradition of using these terms in different contexts. Here, the reasoning is pretty clear. In real life, a bokken is used as a substitute for a real sword, so a Bokken Jedi is a weaker substitute for the real deal, at least in Baylan’s eyes.
This means Luke Skywalker and Rey — two people who saved the galaxy — are Bokken Jedi, as opposed to traditional Temple-trained Jedi like Baylan and Ahsoka. Before the foundational retcon of the prequels, we had no reason to believe that all Jedi weren’t Bokken Jedi. In the now non-canonical 1990s Dark Horse Comic book series Tales of the Jedi, there was a wild quality to the training of Jedi throughout their history, which felt more aligned with what we saw in the original films. But The Phantom Menace changed all that, effectively making the Jedi way more bureaucratic than we’d imagined. Now, with Ahsoka, this small retcon seems to be pointedly commenting on that split in a way we’ve never seen before.
Rebooting the Jedi
In many ways, Ahsoka is taking the early Jedi vibes of the classic Star Wars trilogy and reasserting that path to Jedi-dom as valid and reasonably common. As established in Episode 2, it’s okay for Sabine to train as a Jedi, even if her “aptitude for the Force” isn’t amazing. In Episode 6, Baylan is wistful about the “idea” of the Jedi Order, which implies the practicality of the Order was questionable.
Throughout the original and sequel trilogies, there’s been a big emphasis placed on the need for the Jedi, but not necessarily the Jedi Order. In a way, Luke’s disillusionment in The Last Jedi is a product of him doing what the previous generation did; formalize the Jedi, rather than embrace the wild ways of Bokken Jedi. The prequels gave us rules the Jedi had to follow but, of course, those rules were made to be broken, quite literally, by everything that happens in the story of Star Wars.
We still don’t really know what kind of Force users Sabine and Shin will become. But hopefully, by the end of Ahsoka, the definition of Jedi can permanently drop the fussiness of the prequels. Ancient religions and sorcerers’ ways have their place, but they can become a drag when there are a bunch of stuffy rules to follow.