Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I promised we would discuss Qui-Gon arguing with Yoda, and the past couple of posts have led us to this point. So let's go and watch that again.

Okay, first of all… wait what are they wearing?

This maybe should have come up before, when we met Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, but is thrown into even more stark contrast with this council.

The very first Jedi we ever meet is Old Ben Kenobi in Episode 4, who lives as an outcast on Tatooine. There isn’t even any evidence that he’s hiding from the Empire, it could be that no one cares about him anymore. He’s old and a has been and a hermit in the middle of nowhere.

He wears desert peasants robes. Because he is a peasant who lives in the desert.

Luke wears similar clothes for a while, but then spends a lot of Episode 5 in his flight suit, and in Episode 6 wears… an all black outfit that’s a cross between “high class ambassador” and “ninja”. Which is fitting, because in Episode 6 he is a cross between a high class ambassador, and a ninja.

No, wait, a space ninja.

But the switch back to peasant robes makes sense because during the Old Republic the Jedi were… a massive temple at the heart of a world spanning metropolis. They help rule a galaxy spanning Republic, often engaging in interstellar diplomacy as their most important duty.

But, Obi-Wan wore peasant robes, and fans expect to see a galaxy full of Obi-Wans. He was what a Jedi was, so just crank out clones of him.

So we have a commercial explanation for why all the Jedi are dressed like desert hermits. And yet even without intention, it creates an impression. Which is that of humility. How charming, even though the Jedi sit at the cosmopolitan center of the galaxy, they dress like ascetics.

Or in this case, the impression is a false humility that contrasts with the Jedi’s authentic humility in the Original Trilogy.


Sigh. We'll get to what is actually said tomorrow I guess.


  1. Some of the old Marvel comics (pre-TESB) showed Jedi in flashbacks as wearing black jumpsuits similar to what Luke ends up wearing in ROTJ (cf., and in fact some of the books do describe Luke's outfit as what he figured a Jedi would wear, IIRC. But Yoda wears similar robes in TESB and ROTJ, and Anakin's ghost (even the original Anakin's ghost) wears Obi-Wan-like robes as well. I can believe that Obi-Wan's robes in the original film were meant to be more indicative of his status as a hermit than as a Jedi (especially compared to the costumes of other people on Tatooine, e.g. the Larses or the bartender), but I'm less sure that robes as a Jedi uniform started with the prequels.

    1. So, some mixed evidence here. Yoda's robes are probably also hermit-inspired (he's not even supposed to be clearly visible as a Jedi when we first see him.) So on one hand you have this comic page, but on the other hand you have ghost-Anakin wearing robes.

      It's helpful of course to remember that ghosts are _memories_ more than existing incarnations. See
      (and there never was a 50 year old Anakin who wore a robe).

      So what IS ghost Anakin? It's Luke's imagination of his father, cleansed of the Vader-corruption. And Luke's fantasy dresses him the same way he's seen Obiwan and Yoda look.

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