Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines the recent Qui-Gon Jinn comments made by Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu.
You can tell a lot about a person by the Jedi they name as their favorite. If Yoda’s your dude, you dig wisdom over stature. If Obi-Wan Kenobi is your fave, you appreciate human fallibility. If Anakin Skywalker is your champion of choice, uh…we’ll just steer clear of each other, okay?
In his recent Hot Ones appearance, Simu Liu emphatically stated that Qui-Gon Jinn is easily his favorite Jedi. Why? You gotta understand the chumps in charge during Star Wars: The Phantom Menace:
“This whole idea of the Jedi during the Old Republic, you look at those council scenes where everyone’s so stuck-up. They’re all just like, ‘These are the rules, we don’t ever break the rules,’ and by the way, [that’s] very hypocritical too, because the Jedi are supposed to not want power. They’re like, ‘We have no thirst for power,’ and there’s literally a council that oversees everything that’s in the highest part of Coruscant.”
Go back and watch that first prequel. It’s soaked in dread for what’s coming. The Empire is rising, and the Jedi are totally clueless about the evil pulling their strings. They’re judgy as hell, quickly dismissing Qui-Gon Jinn’s insistence that he found the Chosen One on some podunk backwater, or backdesert, planet.
Qui-Gon Jinn was the Smartest Jedi in the Room
Qui-Gon doesn’t back down. He hears the Jedi out, considers it, and shakes his head. They’re all Masters, but so is he. Qui-Gon refuses to cater to their demands. He knows he’s right. He won’t let their wagging fingers stop him from affecting change in the galaxy.
Liu only gets more fervent when recalling Qui-Gon’s confrontation in the Jedi Temple. He can’t let the discussion come to a quick resolution. Liu needs Hot Ones‘ Sean Evans, and anyone listening, to understand.
“I just love that Qui-Gon is a bit of a maverick. He doesn’t care. He’s like, ‘Sorry, I’m gonna train this kid.’ And ultimately, that kid is gonna grow up to become Darth Vader and overthrow the entire Republic, but still, you gotta admire the guy that can see through the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order. They think they’re the good guys—they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re so good,’ but really were the instruments of their own demise, in a way.”
The Shang–Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star ain’t wrong, and that’s why The Phantom Menace is called The Phantom Menace. We all just forget about that sometimes.
The Chosen One Fallacy
The Jedi have magic powers. They got the cool laser swords. They make for some really cool action figures. But they fail miserably as protectors of the peace, and the entire galaxy pays the price for their seemingly willful blindness.
Qui-Gon Jinn saw hope in Anakin Skywalker. And who knows what would have happened if Darth Maul hadn’t impaled him through the chest? Obi-Wan Kenobi honored his Master by continuing the boy’s education, but his ego got in the way.
Like the others who sit on the Jedi Council, Kenobi couldn’t imagine a scenario where they were wrong. He believed in his goodness. He believed in his interpretation of the Force. He could not see a future where the Sith sat on a throne built from their corpses.
Qui-Gon Jinn didn’t see the whole picture regarding Anakin Skywalker either. The kid wasn’t the Chosen One. Nor was the kid’s kid. We’ve all seen and argued the merits of The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker tripped up too. He believed his own hype, and it birthed another Dark Lord.
So, does that mean Rey Skywalker is the Chosen One? Ugh, please. We gotta stop with the prophecy.
Geroge Lucas Erased Star Wars’ Black and White Morality
Qui-Gon Jinn was indeed a maverick. If he’d lived beyond a single live-action appearance, maybe he would have seen the darkness bubbling within his student, or maybe he wouldn’t. That’s not the point George Lucas was going for in The Phantom Menace. The filmmaker sought to raze our arrogance.
We fell so hard for Star Wars in 1977. The aliens, the ships, the weapons – we wrapped ourselves in the merchandise and its rather simple good versus evil narrative. The Phantom Menace muddies the franchise. By exploring Anakin Skywalker’s fall and Darth Vader’s rise, the knights in shining armor collect some severe tarnish.
Lucas and Dave Filoni plunge further into this uncomfortable revelation with The Clone Wars animated series. Here they splash the Jedi’s arrogance into the spotlight. No hero walks away with a staunch, unbending posture. They’re all fools.
Except maybe Ahsoka Tano. Ah yes, I’m back on that kick.
Seeing the Horrendous Humanity within Every Jedi
Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan was the first to experience the Jedi’s fallibility when they accused her of bombing their precious temple. If they could be wrong about such a crime, what else could they be wrong about? She walked away from the Order and became a Rebel.
I’m inclined to agree with Simu Liu when it comes to Qui-Gon Jinn. He wasn’t without fault. He didn’t read the tea leaves properly, but he knew that peace and democracy are fragile. Qui-Gon took nothing for granted. The fight is neverending. And he proved it when he gave his last breath for it.
The real fantasy I can’t shake is imagining how Qui-Gon and Ahsoka would interact. Their ability to see beyond the obvious would have caused all sorts of trouble for the Jedi as well as the Emperor. They would have stirred some good trouble.
Simu Liu admiring Qui-Gon for his rebel tendencies is appealing. The actor recognizes the faults in his hero, and that’s a definite step in the right direction. Humanity is a mess. Thinking otherwise – worshiping otherwise is a trap.
Slapping posters of Luke Skywalker on your wall is an invitation to disappointment. That’s why everyone got so damn mad when we caught him sucking blue milk on Ahch-To. We saw him as an idol, not a person.