Every once in a while, social media is flooded with chains of posts asking fans to name their favorite movie, series, or franchise. It’s inevitable, every one of us has seen or participated in something like this. Find your feeling, you know it’s true. When it comes to war of stars, these often spark a bigger debate within the fandom because it’s Star Wars. When it comes to Jedi, there are a few favorites, like Luke Skywalker (Markus Hamill) or Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). But if the intent is to discuss who would be the ultimate Jedi in this universe, then there’s only one option: Star Wars: Rebels‘ Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.).
Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Obi-Wan are indeed the most commonly mentioned Jedi, and it’s understandable. If someone is feeling particularly brave, they might even go with Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Undoubtedly, they all have their merits, and no one owes anyone an explanation for their preferences. Each of them embodies a different aspect of what it means to be a Jedi, but if we consider all aspects of Jedi doctrine (rather than the decisions of the Council), Kanan Jarrus is the name that best represents Jedi to offer to have. Let’s see why.
Caleb Dume was a young Padawan who trained under the tutelage of Jedi Master Depa Billaba during the Clone Wars. The conflict only lasted four years, but it was enough to kill not only most of the Jedi themselves, but also the trust of the common people in the fabled warriors. Young Caleb had a little time left to experience what it was like to be one of them, but the Jedi he saw weren’t the legendary ones, because wars don’t make anyone great… And the Jedi stuck to the neck in one. When Order 66 was issued, he managed to survive and escape, having to adjust to a very different life to avoid attracting attention. These events are shown in the first episode of the Bad batch animated series and the major comic series, Kanan: The last padawan.
When we meet him inside Star Wars: Rebels, he already has a different name. Kanan Jarrus still carries his disassembled lightsaber, but just in case a blaster can’t help (an uncivilized weapon, right?). He had to do some questionable things to survive, but does his best by working with a rebel cell to help the citizens of a small outer rim planet, and is even in a relationship with the leader of this rebel cell, Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall). It’s not until he meets Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) is really starting to mature, both as a person and as a Jedi.
Thing is, judging a Jedi by a narrow and dogmatic doctrine as we know it isn’t really ideal. After all, that’s the set of rules that made them die out. What makes fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano so popular is precisely that they defied the rules of the Jedi. Ahsoka himself went so far as to leave the Order. Before her, Qui-Gon Jinn was even denied a seat on the Council for his defiant attitude. But both had to contend with the institution that was the Jedi, with all of their rules and procedures, which eventually turned out to be their downfall. Kanan did not do this and had much more room to explore the limits of his religion without abandoning its core principles. In the process, he became what a Jedi should be rather than what they had actually been years before. He’s even overcome the Order’s old grudges and helped a Mandalorian master the ways of the Darksaber. If that had happened a decade earlier, he would never have heard the end of it.
Romantic and idolized as they were, the Jedi Order was an antiquated institution and held its members on a very tight leash. It did not allow itself to change and evolve with the galaxy. A Jedi basically had to live like an all-powerful monk, and that’s a difficult lifestyle in such a vast galaxy. Especially in terms of personal ties. Romantic relationships in particular were forbidden because they could ultimately lead to fear of loss. This happened to Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), but we already know this story.
But for a well-trained Jedi, that really shouldn’t matter. Romantic relationships may be a form of bonding, but when the core principles of the Jedi religion are firmly ingrained in a person, marriage or dating should not take away from their focus or devotion to power and those in need of help. On the contrary, it was Hera who often kept Kanan on the right path. She brought clarity to his darkest moments and always pushed him to do the right thing. So much so that even when the Old Master managed to contact Yoda, he didn’t blame Kanan for being in a relationship. And when the time came to choose between love and the greater good, he knew exactly which path to take.
Again, of course, Kanan was lucky not to have to deal with the judgment of a regulator. He could only be with Hera because there was no Jedi order forbidding him like they did Anakin. Kanan most likely knew of the celibacy rule but chose to live by what he thought was right, once again without deviating from the fundamentals of his religion. Maybe the galaxy would be a very different place if Anakin were allowed to be with Padmé (Natalie Portman), but Kanan had to live, which the chosen one was denied, and we can get an idea of how things could have been. Romance isn’t bad for anyone, even Jedi. One could argue that even Ben Solo (Adam driver) came because of Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) pull, fueled by a romantic connection, not just the dyad.
Kanan is living proof that Jedi can serve the galaxy, help people, be selfless and altruistic without having to constantly deny who they are. He was allowed to experience what it really meant to serve power without having to worry about political bickering or dogmatic decisions. And if its Padawan Ezra Bridger decides to pass on what he has learned, the future Jedi and the galaxy will be all the better for it.
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https://collider.com/kanan-jarrus-ideal-jedi-knight-star-wars-rebels/ Rebels is the ideal Jedi Knight