How Did The Jedi Become Just A Myth In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'?

When it comes to Star Wars, audiences are extremely familiar with the Jedi. They can use The Force. They have lightsabers. They have an affinity for beige and brown cloaks and clothes. However, as we've seen in the most recent trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Jedi have become a myth, regarded as legends.

With the revelation of this detail of the Star Wars universe, there have been some who are having a hard time accepting that Jedi in The Force Awakens are treated as a myth. How are the famous battles of the Jedi fighting alongside the Rebels against the Empire so easily forgotten? When we look at the history of the Jedi, not to mention consider certain practical elements of the Star Wars universe, it shouldn't be too hard to understand why.

Han Solo Star Wars: the force awakens

"The Dark Side. The Jedi. They're all real."

For some fans, it may be hard to picture citizens of the Star Wars galaxy as being out of touch with people who seem to be some of the most famous and powerful warriors in existence. But that's only because most of the stories we've seen unfold on film and television have focused on Force-sensitive characters who have become Jedi or at least other characters who have allies who are  Jedi. However, that doesn't mean that everyone in the expansive galaxy, a pretty big place, would have encounters or knowledge of Jedi, and that's for a multitude of reasons.

The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace: "Have you ever encountered a Jedi Knight before, sir?"

When Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are dispatched to take care of some dispute with the Trade Federation, there's an exchange between Nute Gunray and Rune Haako where the latter asks the former, "Have you ever encountered a Jedi Knight before, sir?" Gunray's response indicates that he hasn't. The galaxy is a big place, it would stand to reason that not everyone even knows they exist.

Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith

The general population not being familiar or having encounters with Jedi is especially true when you consider the fact that in Revenge of the Sith, the newly named Emperor Palpatine uses the clone army that was created under his authority as Supreme Chancellor to wipe out the Jedi. It's called Order 66, and very few Jedi survived this massacre at the hands of what became the Galactic Empire.

If Palpatine is able to use his clone army to take out the Jedi, then it's clear that their population wasn't very large to begin with. But beyond that, let's say that if even a dozen Jedi survived outside of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars and Kanan from Star Wars Rebels, do you think they're going to make it known to anyone around them that they're a Jedi? The death of the Jedi is the beginning of the end of their presence in the public eye.

All of this happens a little over 50 years before The Force Awakens, when the Jedi are believed to be nothing more than a myth. That's a lifetime for some, and plenty of time for two generations of kids to have been born who didn't grow up in a world with Jedi working as the guardians of peace and justice. They only know the Empire, and they likely aren't even aware of the Sith being involved with their actions.

Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels: "Kid, I'm about to let everyone in on the secret"

If that's not enough, there's even more evidence as we move beyond the prequels. First of all, in Star Wars Rebels, we get the indication that the Empire is keeping a close eye out for people who might be Force sensitive. Stormtroopers in training are tested in their skills, and anyone who seems to do too well on those tests is sent to see The Inquisitors.

What happens when they meet them, we don't really know. Maybe they attempt to recruit them as Inquisitors, and I'm betting that they don't have much use for a Force sensitive person who isn't keen on joining the squad. Therefore it stands to reason that the Empire continues to wipe out any remnants of those who may be strong in the Force.

In addition, we see that there are very few surviving Jedi, with the Empire still on a mission to kill all those who survived Order 66, giving all the more reason for the Jedi to disappear and be out of public sight. It's also worth noting that Ezra Bridger is a character who is Force sensitive, but has no idea how to use his powers, despite being aware of strange feelings. It's not until Kanan takes him under his wing and trains him that he begins to hone The Force. This illustrates how without guidance, even those with Force sensitivity may not be able to achieve their potential. And without any Jedi Masters training Force sensitive people, there will be less and less people using The Force.

A New Hope - Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker: "What is it?"

In Star Wars: A New Hope, set nearly 20 years after Revenge of the Sith, our main character Luke Skywalker isn't very familiar with the Jedi at all. In the conversation Obi-Wan Kenobi has with the farmboy when giving him his father's lightsaber, Luke has no idea what a lightsaber is when it's handed to him, and even has to ask what The Force is. Kenobi even tells Luke that the Jedi are all but extinct.

Star Wars - A New Hope - Han Solo

Han Solo: "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

And then there's our favorite smuggler, Han Solo. He doesn't believe in The Force and doesn't seem to place any faith in the Jedi. He says lines like, "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." But Han makes it even more clear where he stands on the subject of The Force when he says:

"Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense."

That's part of what makes it so great for Han Solo to tell Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) that the stories they've heard are real. "The Dark Side. The Jedi. It's all real." It's like your cousin who told you that your parents were Santa Claus comes back years later, believing that the jolly fat guy is real.

Star Wars

Admiral Motti: "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader."

Even working beside one of the Empire's leaders who carries a lightsaber isn't enough for some people. Let's not forget how Admiral Motti disrespected Darth Vader when he said:

"Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress..."

We all know how that exchange ended. Remember, that dissension is from someone who is a superior officer working for the organization responsible for eradicating the Jedi. It seems the Empire has done a pretty good job of making people forget about the Jedi, and this is a little over 30 years before we've even reached the timeline of The Force Awakens.


Rebel Victories Don't Mean Jedi Resurgence

Of course, this is all before Obi-Wan Kenobi encounters Darth Vader on the Death Star, which will later be blown up by Luke Skywalker. So surely people will know more about the Jedi after that? Well, considering how rare Jedi are and how isolated their work in the Rebellion was, it would stand to reason that very few people outside of the Rebel forces know who was responsible for destroying the Death Star, let alone the fact that he was learning about the ways of the Force from a veteran Jedi.

After all, despite the fact that the first Death Star was destroyed, that clearly hasn't stopped the Empire from marching forward. Their continued dominance is the reason Episode IV is called The Empire Strikes Back, and it's clear that other systems still crumble under threats from the Empire, as we see with Lando Calrissian's dealing with them on Cloud City.

But even after Return of the Jedi, when the second Death Star has been destroyed, not to mention Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader being killed, that's still not enough for the Jedi to make a comeback (despite what the title may indicate). Not even Luke Skywalker would be famous outside of his circle of friends and some rebels. Most of them probably don't even know what happened on the Death Star between Luke, Vader and Palpatine. And the confusion over what seemed like the fall of the Empire is a big part of The Journey to The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Aftermath reviews

Aftermath: Journey To The Force Awakens

In the first major novel to set up the state of the galaxy following Return of the Jedi, it becomes clear that the victory in the Battle of the Endor was just the beginning. The Empire isn't just giving up, and factions of it are still very much in control of many planets and systems. Since they control communication all over the place, word of the second Death Star being destroyed hasn't even reached certain parts the galaxy. That's what allows the Empire to continue and eventually evolve into what we know as The First Order in The Force Awakens.

So again, there's absolutely no reason for the legacy of the Jedi, or even the name Luke Skywalker, to be well known to anybody outside of some of the Rebels who fought along side him and his friends. And considering it'll have been another 30 years since the end of Return of the Jedi, it makes perfect sense for any belief in or mention of The Force to disappear.

rey and finn Star Wars: the force awakens

The Force Awakens

There's a reason that the movie is called The Force Awakens, and it's because the Jedi have been gone for decades, turning The Force into nothing but a detail in a bedtime story, something a crazy old grandfather might tell his grandkids about. And considering the fact that the Empire wiped out the Jedi, and seemed to get rid of anyone who might have strength in the Force, it only makes sense that the return of The Force (that Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke have felt) would come from a familiar bloodline, seemingly the only remaining bloodline with ties to The Force: The Skywalkers.


The Skywalker Family

Just recently we've been told that this new trilogy continues the story of the Skywalkers, so that means at least one of the new characters coming in Episode VII will be a descendant of Skywalker. But the question is, which character is it, and which Skywalker are they a descendant of?

[Note: speculation of possible spoilers follows]

The new trailer paints both Finn and Rey as new heroes, and at least one of them is likely to be a new Jedi. The former is seen wielding the lightsaber while the other is juxtaposed in a rather interesting way with villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on the final poster. Clearly the mystery is still very much intact as to who will have the Force awaken in them (a line in the most recent trailer hints at this), but there's a chance that it could be both, regardless of either of their ties to the Skywalker bloodline.

Perhaps this new trilogy will abandon the sort of Chosen One mindset of where The Force manifests itself, and the ability to be a Jedi lies within everyone. It might just be up to them to listen to The Force in order to harness it.


Hopefully, this dive back into the legacy of the Jedi in the Star Wars galaxy illustrates why it's not so unbelievable for their achievements and existence to become myth. But with an awakening on the horizon, it's a safe bet that the Jedi aren't going to stay a myth for much longer.