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One Canon Planet Forces Star Wars to Tell a New Kind of Jedi Story

Warning: contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic #4!In Star Wars, there is typically no higher or more powerful authority than the Jedi Order, but it turns out that during the era of the High Republic even those who had the power of the Force and the authority of the Republic on their side had to tread lightly upon the planet of Jedha. The unusual political dynamic that existed there not only forced the Order to have a presence on the planet, but also hamstrung their actions, turning typical stories of the Jedi Knights into something different.

Jedha was also known as the Pilgrim Moon. A satellite in orbit around the planet of NaJedha, it was home to some of the first civilizations in the galaxy, who explored the meaning and potential of the Force. That made it a holy place for all Force users and during the time of the High Republic it was a gathering place of many different Force religions. The Convocation of the Force was a council of representatives from the different Force traditions from around the galaxy, such as the Church of the Force, the Sorcerers of Tund, and the Disciples of the Whills. Because of the importance of the planet and the gathered council of desperate and sometimes polar opposite factions, the ancient Jedi Order had no recourse but to send representatives to the Pilgrim Moon to not only represent their interests but to help maintain the peace between the present Force users.

However, as demonstrated in Star Wars: The High Republic #4, by Cavan Scott and Andrea Broccardo, that often proves rather difficult as the Jedi of the High Republic have no real authority or special political standing on Jedha. After a mysterious explosion and the death of an Archivist from the Temple of the Kyber, Jedi Knight Vildar Mac and Padawan Matty Cathley find themselves restricted in their investigations and forced to tread lightly in the ever-shifting political miasma of the various churches and traditions. This dynamic is unique to Jedha, as normally the Jedi Order would simply not operate in a system where they had no authority. But because of the existence of the Convocation of the Force and the Jedi Order finding itself only one tradition among many, they must keep a presence there. The existence of an authority greater than that of the Order restricts the freedom of movement and enforcement that the Jedi are typically known to have during the long history of the Old Republic.

This sets up a situation not often seen in Star Wars stories – two Jedi who are kept from doing their job by political and bureaucratic red tape. In a sense, it more resembles a buddy cop movie from the 1980s than a traditional Star Wars story, with two rogue officers of the peace trying to solve a murder, even though their higher ups don’t believe their theories on who is innocent and who is guilty. Because of this, they are ordered to just “let it go” and “not do anything stupid.” Yet, much like Lethal Weapon’s Riggs and Murtaugh, the two rogue officers disobey orders and set out to prove that they are right. Even the names of the two protagonists of the story, Mac and Matty, sound more like characters in a buddy cop movie than wise and ancient Jedi.

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