Jedi Bible

A long time ago in a galaxy far away there was no paper. This is something I didn’t realize until I read a book of essays by Ryan Britt a couple years back. George Lucas, although a limited visionary, saw a Star Wars universe without paper. When I thought back over the original trilogy, and the harsh prequel trilogy, that seemed to be true. Nobody picks up a piece of paper to read anything. Like many people I went to the theater to see The Force Awakens and left stunned. After being battered by episodes I through III, it was good to see the old form return. It was as if the force really had awakened. Then I went to see The Last Jedi.

Overly long and often plodding, I wondered, after it was over, what was so different this time. Not only was Luke Skywalker annoyingly noncommittal to the force, but backstory and counter-backstory made the truth hard to discern. There was a lot more talk of the Jedi religion as a religion. From my perspective, of course, this isn’t a bad thing. I would like to know more about this. There’s a secret tree on Luke’s island wherein are the sacred Jedi scriptures. Yoda shows up and calls down lightning like a little green Elijah and burns the Jedi library and its Keebler home. Then it hit me: not only is there paper in this universe, there are actual books. Scriptures.

We’re never shown the inside of any of the books, but if the fact that fans tend to fill in the blanks holds true we may well see future publications of the Jedi Bible. H. P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, a fictitious tome, now exists because his devotees couldn’t live in a world without it. And paper scriptures add an entirely new dynamic to any religion. Most world religions (at least on this planet) have some form of text. Books tell us what to believe and how to live our lives. Given enough time people will realize that they were written by other people and need to be interpreted by people. After all, if God could write the Bible, what would prevent him from writing the Qur’an, or the Book of Mormon? So stuck here in the middle of a trilogy the rules have changed. First paper has appeared in Star Wars. And although it’s a little too early to be sure, it looks like Jediism will never be the same.

3 responses to “Jedi Bible

  1. Jeremiah Andrews

    Hello Steve, Would not Joseph Campbell be a source for those books, as his cosmology is part and parcel what George Lucas fed off of in the beginning, if memory serves? I’ve read his books long ago. I know the books were there in the movie, and there is no back story to them, like you said. Other characters in the story, have little backstory, that were introduced into The Last Jedi. Where would one look for the Jedi Religion source but Campbell ?

    Jeremy

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    • That’s a good point, Jeremy. George Lucas spent time with Joseph Campbell before the original Star Wars came out, but it was pretty clear that the lessons hadn’t stuck when the prequels came out.

      What particularly struck me was that Yoda destroyed the scriptures, not Luke. It seemed that the entire movie was advocating moving on from the past. Look forward, not back. This may be inevitable with the Trump situation where many of us are just trying to get from day to day until a brighter future might emerge. Still, it seemed strange to get rid of scriptures that were (apparently) the foundation of the whole Jedi movement. Some movies (such as the first of the series) have a religion consultant. It tends to show when they do.

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