When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, we were meant to think that the Jedi are the good guys, and after seeing Yoda and Obi-Wan, it made sense. But during the course of the prequel trilogy, the Jedi do some unethical things that make you question how it all really went down, and when you watch the movies thinking the Jedi the bad guys, it transforms the films completely. It’s supposed to be a story of how the Jedi, the noble protectors of a perfect society, found their Chosen One and trained him, but a Sith mastermind made his way into the heart of the Republic, organized a war, destroyed the Jedi, and turned the Republic into an Empire with himself at its head. But if you watch it knowing that Jedi are evil, it becomes a story of how a genius planted himself at the head of an evil organization to destroy it from the inside, and killed the galaxy’s oppressors with his own army. It may sound far-fetched, but there is evidence.
Jedi break their own code. “There is no emotion, there is peace,” but they invade Geonosis and start a war instead of negotiating. “There is no ignorance, there is no knowledge,” but they are still secretive and hide most of their affairs even from other lower-ranking Jedi. “There is no chaos, there is harmony,” except when one of their own accidentally commissions a clone army and starts a war…you get the point.
They are an army disguised as peacekeepers. They call themselves “keepers of the peace,” but they still prefer the frontline over protecting civilians. They were in every battle in the Clone Wars, from Geonosis to Triple Zero. They were spread so thin over all the many fronts of the war that they failed to notice the corruption in the Republic, and even in their own ranks.
They are terrorists. Onderon, a Separatist planet, was safely behind the frontline until the Jedi came to liberate the “poor oppressed civilians” from the “evil” Separatists. The people seemed fine, though slightly unhappy with their government, but what the Jedi saw was the opportunity to recruit more people to their cause. They successfully turned entire villages against their government, teaching them how to disable battle droids and tanks. When droids discovered their location, the Jedi encouraged the civilians to riot, who, using their terrorist-training, eliminated the droids and stormed the capitol. Saw Gerrera became a rebel, terrorist, and extremist due to the Jedi and the war that they brought to a planet that was safely uninvolved.
They ignore democracy (“My allegiance is to the Republic, to democracy!” — Obi-Wan) Mace Windu and his friends take it upon themselves to assassinate the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and are surprised when Order 66 is issued and they are proclaimed traitors. They tried to kill the Chancellor without consulting the Senate or giving him a fair trial. He was a Sith, but it was still an illegal terrorist assassination, and in making the attempt so open, they lost all hope of a peaceful relationship with the Republic in the future.
They abduct toddlers. Force-sensitive infants and young children are taken — kidnapped by force, if necessary — from their parents and raised with a cold detachment so they never remember their parents. When they are old enough to walk, they join a small group and learn to fight with lightsabers. Then they are selected by and apprenticed to Jedi Masters. If they are not selected, they have no choice but to become “servants of the Republic.”
They commissioned a clone army. That may not sound very evil to you, but it is. Human fetuses with modified and messed with genes are generated and grown in blindingly bright, transparent cylinders. When they are developed enough, they are hatched and taken off life support. They begin training after only one year and are ready for simulations with live rounds after two. They are grown to maturity in ten years among distant, emotionless Kaminoans who only see blinding shades of white and believe artificial genetic selection is the only way for a species to survive.
They hold slaves. Commanded by Jedi generals (the same ones that call themselves keepers of the peace), these kids, who are mentally only ten despite accelerated physical aging, go out to a real battlefield and fight and die in a war they didn’t start for a society that will simply dispose of them when the conflict is resolved. They have no rights and no vote; they live on dry ration cubes; they are not allowed to interact with anyone outside the Grand Army; they are always under surveillance; they are not allowed to have any belongings unless they are elite ARCs or Republic Commandos. If they try to escape or desert, their own “brothers” are sent to kill them.
They have no guilt. After all they did, not once did they question if what they were doing was right or wrong. Not once did they feel guilty about the lives of 100,000 clone soldiers lost on Geonosis and millions more in the rest of the war, abusing them from young ages, making them fight and die like expendable pawns against their will. Or for starting a war that destroyed hundreds of planets, costing so many civilian lives. Not only do they they do these things, but unlike the Sith, who are aware that they are evil and selfish, they can look themselves in the eye and say it was the right thing, and if given the chance they would do it again and know they are the good guys.
What do you think? Are they good or bad? Comment your opinion.