Obi-Wan + Anakin = Qui-Gon

One thing that is great about Star Wars, and fantasy in general, is that math and science are flexible, at least as far as it concerns this galaxy. That said, I have come up with a formula that may bring more light to the galaxy at large:

Obi-Wan + Anakin = Qui-Gon

Obi-Wan = adherence to the code

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the main through lines we have in the saga, and that is vitally important. He is more than just a link to the old ways.

Throughout his life, Obi-Wan is dedicated to the ways of the Jedi, and for many young Padawans is one for whom to aspire to become as a Knight. What makes him so is that he is dedicated, sometimes to a fault, to ideals.

In The Phantom Menace, this desire to stay true to the Jedi code causes him to challenge his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. While Qui-Gon seems to be looking at a bigger picture, Obi-Wan is focused on the mission, and keeping the peace. Moreover, he is trying to do it all within the Jedi Code.

One could imagine Obi-Wan having the Jedi code in the picture fold of his wallet.

Move ten years later to Attack of the Clones and Obi-Wan is now a master himself, trying to lead Anakin, as impulsive as he is, to think of the bigger picture and how his actions will affect others. Still the same, Kenobi is doing it within his lens of the Jedi Code, which is hard for Anakin to comprehend. A great example is when Kenobi tells Skywalker, with regards to his lightsaber, “This weapon is your life.” A Jedi mantra if there ever was one.

As the Clone Wars progress, Obi-Wan earns the nickname “The Negotiator” due to his approach of trying to find mutual ground, which falls in line with the Jedi’s overarching mission of keeping the peace (which Obi-Wan does better than any other Jedi in the midst of war).

Even late in the game, during the time of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan is all about the mission, the ideals, and the job. During the Battle of Coruscant, Anakin is determined to help the clones, however Obi-Wan replies, “They are doing their job so we can do ours.” Even if it means that some of them may die. This point in particular shows the distinction between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and likewise shows that Obi-Wan will never put anything above the mission and the Code.

Anakin Skywalker = loving people

In the same scene just touched upon, Anakin shows his motivating factor as well. Anakin Skywalker is about people as much as, or even more than, Obi-Wan is about ideals.

Rex. Ahsoka. Obi-Wan. Palpatine. Padme. Anakin is going to stick up for his friends to the end, sometimes even doing egregious acts in order to do so, such as murdering Tal Merrik in cold blood. Of course, he justifies all of this by saving people, but still the same cold-blooded murder is cold-blooded murder.  

Anakin wants to be a Jedi from the moment we meet him on Tatooine. But whereas Obi-Wan wants to be a Jedi so as to promote the ideology and be a living testament, Anakin wants to be a Jedi to save people. He promises to save his mother, and promises to free the slaves. Not doing either makes him feel like a failure and is a major reason for his push into darkness.

Anakin’s failure is not in attachment. Love can never be said to be a bad thing. Obsession, however, almost always is; it is obsession over those he loves, and his inability to control their pain, that leads to the rise of the Sith within. This parallels the fall of the Jedi, for whom Obi-Wan is a prime example, who have fallen into an obsession with code and creed rather than love and need.

Obsession leads to anger, which leads to the dark side.

It is said that pride comes before the fall, but it is obsession that comes before the pride. So then, is the fall to blame, the pride to blame, or the obsession to blame? Such is like asking if you would blame the leaves for a tree not growing. The problem starts not at the leaves, nor the branches, but rather the roots.

Qui-Gon = loving people + adherence to the code

Qui-Gon is our root when it comes to the Jedi. Being that the Jedi legacy lasts thousands of years, it would have been impossible for George Lucas to show their entire history. Ergo, Qui-Gon is utilized as a remembrance of the ideal, the way the Jedi should be. While he is oft referred to as a rebel

That way pays its respects to Jedi as peacekeepers, and peacekeepers cannot exist without two things: love of people and respect of code (aka morals; aka standards; aka a set of rules to live by) .

Many religions have similar ways of prescribing how to live. For instance, Christians have their code and their call to love people:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. — Matthew 22:35-40

In this, commonly referred to as the Great Commandment, we see Jesus telling his followers to respect the code (God, manifest in our world as the Bible) and to love people. There are a plethora of examples that show the terrible things that happen when one or the other is sacrificed. Terrible things get justified in the name of the code, forgetting that the code was intended to improve the lives of people, not bring honor and glory to self (re: the crusades, Hitler, genocide). Atrocities such as murder, robbery, etc.  are committed in the name of protecting loved ones, forgetting that loving all matters, and moreover that the call to honor the code is equal to the honor to love.

Qui-Gon shows this clearly when he tells Queen Amidala, “We can only protect you. We cannot fight a war for you.” Offhand it may seem that he is simply being practical, for two Jedi cannot fight a winning war against the Trade Federation, no matter how skilled they may be. Digging deeper though, we can see that Qui-Gon is committing himself to the code of the Jedi, which means upholding the peace in as non-violent of a way as possible, while also honoring his love of the lives of all beings in protecting the Queen.

Even more importantly, we see Qui-Gon’s love of people juxtaposed to the Jedi Order’s slow descent into an adherence to code alone. Whereas the Jedi do not see the value in training Anakin because of the risks, Jinn sees the person deep within, and Anakin’s passionate ability to love others. More than even his Force skills, or his role as the Chosen One, I would argue that Qui-Gon sees someone who can bring balance to the Force not by overcoming the Sith, but by overcoming the weakness of the Jedi, which is their inability to love.

Qui-Gon saw more than a prophecy in the eyes of Anakin. He sees his heart for people.

And then there is Jar Jar. Frequently criticized as the cancer of Star Wars, Jar Jar is critical to the storytelling. As told by Bryan Young, the lesson Qui-Gon teaches is that all life has value. The Gungans miss this in banning Binks. The Jedi miss this in joining the war. The galaxy misses this in allowing for Palpatine to rise to power. Life loses its value in name of the code.

Motivational speaker Eric Thomas, in one of his renowned lectures, tells viewers that when times get tough one should step into one’s belief system rather than conforming to what and how the world tells you to live. The Jedi failed in doing this by becoming more and more political, which Qui-Gon warned against. They tried to be teachers all of the time, and never admit that they need be students.

In the galaxy far, far away, there are a never-ending amount of rabbit holes to explore what ifs and maybe so’s galore. This formula is one such instance, for if Anakin and Obi-Wan had been able to see their one shortcomings, and in turn help each other find greater balance, the tale of Star Wars might have been quite different. But like a student learning new calculations, mankind as a whole, as displayed in Star Wars, is in a constant state of trying to get to the other side of the equals sign.

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