Jedi Fallen Order Part 23: Can Openers

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Feb 9, 2021

Filed under: Retrospectives 151 comments

Cal and Cere flee the underwater Sith base. Darth Vader is hunting them like a psycho killer in an 80s slasher movie, and there’s no way they can hope to defeat him. During the chase, Cere steps in and suddenly taps into some top-tier power that stops Vader in his tracks.

Then Cal realizes that she’s using THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE.

“Cere! Listen to me! You still have a choice!”, he pleads.

Yeah Cere. You still have a choice to stop opposing the bad guy. What's your problem?
Yeah Cere. You still have a choice to stop opposing the bad guy. What's your problem?

During this series I’ve noticed that my interpretation of the Dark Side is very different from everyone else’s, for reasons that are deeply personal.

The popular reading is that negative emotions are inherently evil. Attempting to kill someone while you’re angry is an evil action, even if the person in question is Galactic Hitler and you’re trying to stop them from murdering billions. As Yoda says in the Phantom Menace, “Fear is the path to the dark side … fear leads to anger … anger leads to hate … hate leads to suffering.” It’s all about your emotional state.

While I understand that the prequels are in fact Official Canon, I was in my early 30s when they came out and I thought they were rubbish, so I’ve never accepted any of Lucas’ re-interpretations of his original work. Midi-chlorians are nonsense, the Jedi being government agents with an official uniform is gross and absurd, and prequel Yoda was a warmongering dipshit. To me the Force is mysterious, the Jedi are secretive monks, and Yoda is wise and borderline pacifist. In particular, I think that Prequel Yoda’s assertion of Fear→Anger→Hate→Suffering is ridiculous. I don’t think you can put those emotional states in any particular causal order, and even if you could it wouldn’t be that order.

But more than all that, I’m driven to reject the Popular Interpretation of Anger=Evil because of basic physiology. Specifically, if anger is evil then I’m an underachieving supervillain.

Sorry, You’re Not Allowed to Feel Those Emotions

Right, because only a Sith would use the Force to protect themselves.
Right, because only a Sith would use the Force to protect themselves.

As I’ve hinted at in the past, I have anger issues. As I said in my post about why I can’t play Dark Souls:

Getting frustrated by blocked progress is pretty normal. What isn’t normal is getting a massive dose of adrenaline in response to mundane problems. It’s not the frustration that’s the problem, it’s the Hulk-sized dose of useless hormone neurotransmitters sloshing around in my bloodstream. That’s a real physiological thing that happens to your body, and you can’t zen your way through that shit. I’ve tried. You can’t shrug off the effects of adrenaline any more than you can shrug off the effects of alcohol. One way or another, biochemistry is going to have its way with you.

What I’ve learned over the years of coping with this problem is that you really can’t control your emotions. In fact I associate emotion policing as just the worst sort of anti-care.

“Stop crying! I really don’t need your constant weeping right now.”

“Have you tried not being sad all the time? Try smiling more!”

“Just snap out of it. You’re home from the war now so you need to calm down and act normal.”

If we accept the prequels, then the Jedi aren’t allowed to feel negative emotions. Oh, and they’re also galactic heavies we send into areas of violent conflict. This is why I’ve been throwing around the half-joking hashtag #TheJediHadItComing. This is such an obviously terrible idea that it’s weird they don’t have some Anakin-level meltdown every few years.

Cere is mad at Vader for wanting to enslave children. What an evil bitch!
Cere is mad at Vader for wanting to enslave children. What an evil bitch!

Whether you’re a Jedi or not, I don’t think you have a lot of control over what emotions you’re feeling. Maybe you have a bit of wiggle room to take the edge off with good support and self-care, but there will be days where you’re an emotional wreck and you can’t get off that rollercoaster no matter how much you want to. Instead, you need to work on controlling your behavior in response to those emotions.

For me the problem began around 1981 or so, when I was about 10 years old. I started exploding with frustration when I couldn’t do something I thought I should be able to do, and I’d turn into a tiny little rage monster.

Return of the Jedi came out in 1983. When I got to the final scene where Luke rejects the Dark Side, I didn’t see him rejecting anger itself, I interpreted him as not allowing his anger to control him. A lot of people saw him get pissed off at Vader and saw that as Dark Side behavior, but for me it was just a natural emotional reaction to having Space-Göring promise to hunt down your sister and turn her into a murderous space-Nazi. That’s a pretty reasonable thing to get upset about! For me his “rejection of the Dark Side” wasn’t him deciding he wasn’t angry anymore, it was him deciding to not allow that anger to make decisions for him.

Now, I’m sure people will want to quibble with this interpretation with various quotes from the movies. I’m not saying my interpretation is the only correct one, I’m just explaining why I saw the movie this way and why I find the “anger is evil” idea so intensely distasteful.

Anyway, back to Cere…

Cere Turns Evil For a Moment

Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? I was trying to use the force to stop Darth Vader. WHAT SORT OF MONSTER HAVE I BECOME!?!
Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? I was trying to use the force to stop Darth Vader. WHAT SORT OF MONSTER HAVE I BECOME!?!

This is why I just can’t get behind the idea that Cere is using the DARK SIDE of the force here. Once again, there’s nothing wrong with her motives. (She’s trying to defend children from a guy planning on torturing them.) There’s nothing wrong with her actions. (She’s trying to stop a malevolent enemy, and she’s not even trying to kill him!) There’s nothing wrong with the emotions she’s feeling. (Most reasonable people would agree that this is a very upsetting situation! Jedi aren’t supposed to be Vulcans, are they?) The only thing she’s doing “wrong” is that she’s using one of the forbidden powers on the Jedi hotbar. (Is she? She’s just sort of holding Vader in place?)

This moment has no stakes for me because I’m not worried that she’s about to turn evil. She’s certainly not doing anything immoral.

But for whatever reason, Cere realizes that she’s somehow doing wrong and lets go. And suddenly she’s weak again, thus reinforcing the idea that the Dark Side isn’t just more alluring, it’s demonstrably more powerful than the light. This also sells the notion that good and evil is a matter of style rather than intent.

This interpretation that anger=evil would also let Palpatine off the hook. I fully believe that Palpy could slaughter his way through the Younglings while humming showtunes. He’s the very embodiment of “Evil and Loving It”. If he dances through the Jedi temple with a grin on his face, waving a blue lightsaber through the kids or flinging them into the nearest infinite abyss with a dismissive flick of the wrist, would that mean he’s not using the Dark Side? He’s not angry. He’s not using one of those scary red lightsabers. He’s not frying people with electricity. If evil is based entirely on emotions and aesthetics then Dancing Palpatine must be killing the kids with the light side of the force, right?

Again, this doesn’t work for me. I realize anger=evil is a common interpretation of the Force, but I personally really hate it.


Cal swims to the surface with Cere. What is this crap in the water? Are those... feathers!?
Cal swims to the surface with Cere. What is this crap in the water? Are those... feathers!?

Anyway, our heroes blast a hole in the wall and the ocean rushes in. I can’t be sure, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Darth Vader didn’t drown in the resulting deluge. Our heroes swim to the surfaceI think we need to assume that Jedi are naturally immune to aerobullosis. and Merrin uses her powers to save them at the last second before Cal passes out.

Later Cal wakes up on the ship and everyone hugs and celebrates. Yay! We won! 

So now it’s time to open up this holocron and get this list of names. 

But Wait!

You know that annoying thing where a game will expect / allow you to get right to the threshold of the ending and then piss off for a dozen hours to mess around with collectibles? Isn’t that annoying?

Well that’s what we’re going to do…

The Collectible Trap

When you find a crate, BD-1 jumps in and rummages around inside.
When you find a crate, BD-1 jumps in and rummages around inside.

(For the record, you can’t actually go collectible hunting at this point in the game. The trip to the Sith base is a one-way tunnel that leads to the closing credits. I just thought this was a cheeky place in the retrospective to put this.)

I don’t know if you want to call the post-Ilum stuff “the second half of the game”, or “Act III”. It’s hard to say because your real-world time investment will vary greatly depending on how much time you spend rounding up collectibles. Also, the uneven distribution of story beats makes it sort of hard to nail things down in terms of what stage of the story we’re supposedly in.

My problem was that I really loved collecting lightsaber parts, so I was always interested in finding as many of those as possible. Sadly, you can’t tell what sort of collectable you’re going to get by looking at a chest. 

I’d see a box in some hard-to-reach spot and spend a few minutes figuring out how to get it, because I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a new bit of saber livery. But then I’d finally open the chest and discover it’s another stupid poncho color, or a new paint job for the ship, or a new paint job for BD-1. 

Hang on Shamus! What poncho?

The poncho does a good job of obscuring all the expensive motion-capture and hiding the most interesting parts of his costume.
The poncho does a good job of obscuring all the expensive motion-capture and hiding the most interesting parts of his costume.

Yeah. See, Cal is SUPPOSED to wear a poncho. I love the idea of Cal draping something over himself as a sort of quasi-cape and I REALLY love that he’s not wearing brown “Jedi Robes”. My problem is that I think the poncho is an ugly shapeless bag that hides Cal’s form. This is really bad in a game with such a focus on parkour and acrobatic fighting. It’s like watching a dancer wearing a choir robe or an olympic gymnast performing with a burlap sack over their body. I’m here to see this person move in extraordinary ways, so let me see them move! 

The poncho looks like a stiff tarp and it doesn’t really flutter in the breeze enough to sell the motion of all the platforming he’s doing. It doesn’t feel like a cape, it feels like he’s wearing a garbage bag. Bleh. Worse, the poncho colors are… well, tastes vary, but I wasn’t a fan. They cover the entire earthtone spectrum from infra-beige to ultra-taupe. That makes them appropriate for Star Wars in this time period, but it also makes them uninteresting to collect.

So I always selected the option for “no poncho”, which is why you don’t see one in my screenshots. So you can imagine how underwhelming it was to open a box and discover a new poncho color / material.

Can Openers

Back on Zeffo, Cal couldn't use the force to shove open crumbling walls. And for some reason he refused to use his lightsaber, no matter how many times I shouted at my screen.
Back on Zeffo, Cal couldn't use the force to shove open crumbling walls. And for some reason he refused to use his lightsaber, no matter how many times I shouted at my screen.

As you get through a metroidvania style game, you gain new tools to open things. Sometimes your obstacles aren’t literal doors. In some games these additional access powers let you shoot new projectilesLike Lara Croft being able to fire rope arrows and pull stuff down., or reach high places, or crawl through small spaces, or blow stuff up, or disable otherwise impassible turrets, or whatever. We can throw all of these kinds of tools under the broad heading of “can openers”. As you gain new can openers, you gain access to more parts of the world. 

On your first visit to Zeffo you don’t have any of your big can openers, so you can’t reach most of the prizes. Then a bit later you unlock the ability to shove stuff with the force, which lets you push down weak walls. Then you gain the ability to pull stuff, and that lets you remove more obstacles. Gaining the ability to hack doors and forcefields removes another set of barriers, as does double-jumping. 

So now the player has a choice: Do you want to go back to the planets every time you get a new can opener so you can grab the next batch of trinkets? Keep in mind that many of these planets are large one-way obstacle courses. You can’t just grab something and leave the way you came in. Once you enter, you’re committed to traversing most of the level before you can leave again. If you grab new collectibles every time you get a new can opener, then you’re going to run these mazes and fight these mooks many, many times.

Or you can go the other way and ignore all collectibles until you get the last can opener. The problem is that there isn’t a very large window between the time you obtain the last can opener and the time you get sucked into the endgame where it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pause the plot to go trinket-hunting. The only reasonable time to go prize-hunting is directly after Ilum, but before getting the holocron. If you go any sooner you’re short on can openersOr you’re missing your lightsaber.. Any later and the plot has entered the “time is of the essence” stage. You can’t keep playing after you beat the game to round up all the crap, which means you only have this narrow window in Act III. That works against the idea of collectible-hunting as being something you do casually to take a breather from the main story.

This is exacerbated by the way this game handles New Game+. In other games – like Batman – the New Game+ mode allows you to play through the game a second time, but with all of your can openers available from the start. This makes collectibles more fun, since you can grab them on your way through.

But in SWJFO the can openers are directly linked to story progression. It’s nice to have story and gameplay integrated like this, but when combined with the one-way obstacle course design, it feels like there’s never a good time to take a break and round up the shiny things. 

None of this is helped by how underwhelming the collectibles are. I know all the popular games are doing it these days, but that doesn’t mean that doing it will make your game popular. I feel like SWJFO would have been stronger if the team had left out the collectibles. I like customizing my saber, but this design is awkward.

Or even better, get rid of the annoying one-way doors and embrace a more open map style. 

The Player Sets the Pace

Oh man, I hope this poncho is browner than the last one. It was way too beige for my tastes.
Oh man, I hope this poncho is browner than the last one. It was way too beige for my tastes.

At any rate, these collectibles create a huge amount of variability in the pacing of the game. Some players will stop after Ilum and spend endless hours re-running all the obstacle courses to get the goodies, and other people will blast directly through to the end. After Ilum you’re either barely started or nearly there.

The post-Ilum part of SWJFO feels like an entirely different game from what came before. Check the story once you acquire your new saber:

  • Dialog as Cal leaves Ilum and goes to Dathomir for the final time.
  • Very brief hike to the Dathomir temple.
  • Cutscene where Cal faces Jaro Tapal and makes peace with his ghosts.
  • Cutscene where Cal makes friends with Merrin.
  • Cutscene where Cal argues with Malicos.
  • Boss fight against Malicos.
  • Cutscene where Cal gets the Astrum.
  • Cutscene where Cal returns to the Mantis and introduces Merrin to the crew.
  • Warp back to Bogano.
  • Cutscene where everyone discusses the Astrum and talks about opening the vault.
  • DialogThe player has control of the camera and they could walk away if they REALLY wanted to. on the surface of Bogano where each crewmember says some words to Cal before he goes to open the vault.
  • Gameplay: Very short hike to the vault. 
  • Cutscene where Cal opens the vault.
  • Cutscene-ish linear walking section where Cal has a vision of the new order falling to the Empire.
  • Cutscene where Cal gets the holocron and confronnts Trilla.
  • Boss fight against Trilla.
  • Cutscene where Trilla runs off with the holocron.
  • Cutscene where Cal experiences Trilla’s fall through her eyes.
  • Gameplay: Brief run back to ship, kill some cannon fodder troopers.
  • Cutscene where Cal makes peace with Cere and she knights him.
  • Cutscene where they infiltrate the Sith base.
  • Gameplay: Very long fight through room after room of troopers.
  • Cutscene with Trilla.
  • Boss fight with Trilla.
  • Cutscene with Vader.
  • “Gameplay”: A brief linear run through Vader’s quicktime events.
  • Cutscene where Merrin saves the Jedi.
  • Cutscene where the Jedi finally open the holocron.

The first half of the game was dominated by puzzles, combat, and parkour. This last section was nearly all cutscenes and boss fights, with barely any regular combat, barely any parkour, and no puzzles whatsoever. I have the sneaking suspicion that maybe this is the result of cut content. 

A Puzzling Lack of Puzzles

Back on Zeffo, Cal had to unlock Force Push before he could shove the giant metal spheres around to solve puzzles.
Back on Zeffo, Cal had to unlock Force Push before he could shove the giant metal spheres around to solve puzzles.

On Dathomir, it takes a few tries to get into the temple. But once we do, it’s just a short walk through a handful of back-to-back cutscenes to the Astrum. It seems very likely that this traffic jam of cutscenes was supposed to have a lengthy puzzle tomb / obstacle course in the middle of it. (Specifically, between making friends with Merrin and getting into a fight with Malicos.) Then when the budget got tight or the ship deadline got too close, they dropped the puzzles and platforming, which left no space between the cutscenes. 

The same goes for the tomb on Bogano. It really is a bit odd that Cal uses the Astrium in the middle of the room, which opens the door, but the door doesn’t go anywhere. Instead he just has a vision and when it ends the holocron is floating in the middle of the room where the Astrium was. It really feels like he should have needed to travel deep into the tomb to recover the holocron.

I don’t mind that the latter part of the game doesn’t have puzzles, but it does feel really strange how different the two halves of the game are. Not just in terms of pacing, but in what kinds of gameplay dominate the experience.  

Don’t get me wrong, this game isn’t lacking in content. I’m not saying the designer cut corners, I’m saying I think their original scope was perhaps too ambitious and they needed to scale down. If that’s the case, they did a pretty good job. You can’t see the seams in the form of plot holes, jarring cutscenes, or odd tonal shifts. It’s just that this game is really uneven in terms of cutscene balance and gameplay modes.

In the next entry we’re actually going to cover the ending. For real this time.



[1] I think we need to assume that Jedi are naturally immune to aerobullosis.

[2] Like Lara Croft being able to fire rope arrows and pull stuff down.

[3] Or you’re missing your lightsaber.

[4] The player has control of the camera and they could walk away if they REALLY wanted to.

From The Archives:

151 thoughts on “Jedi Fallen Order Part 23: Can Openers

  1. MerryWeathers says:

    Now I know you said it was a totally personal gripe but I still feel the need to object.

    The poncho looks nice on Cal, I don’t know why but whenever he wasn’t wearing it, it felt… wrong.

    1. Cal has relatively long arms and short legs–not spectacularly so (unlike the child Cal)–but enough that if you’re expecting “standard average body layout” he looks a bit . . . off. The poncho covers this up admirably.

  2. Joe says:

    You messed with the order, I can’t cope! Actually, I can.

    So I wonder if the whole lack of emotion thing is meant to be a kind of slippery slope affair. Like, if you if you go with your immediate instinct, you might make a bad decision. Best to view the situation with a cool head and determine the correct response. Almost Vulcan-like. If someone has the power of life and death over others, you don’t want them to be impulsive. But that doesn’t quite work either. Sometimes you need the instinctive response. I dunno. It’s messy however you look at it.

    But when I ripped off the Force for my own writing, I went for a ‘it’s what you do with it that counts’ view. Sure, Force lightning can be used to torture people. But if it’s actually electrical, maybe it can jumpstart a car. Force speed could be really useful in the kitchen, etc.

    And I agree with all the side bits being distracting. On my current playthrough of CP2077, I’m trying to do all the sidequests and random encounters before starting the first main quest of act 2, so I can concentrate on the story.

    1. Chris says:

      I can imagine force lightning is something you can only summon to torture someone. Like how Luke couldnt lift his spaceship from the swamp because he didnt believe he could. Maybe for lightning you need to want to see someone suffer.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I like this – the effect is linked to the intention, rather than the power.
        I remember that Luke used most of his ‘Force Abilities’ in desperate situations rather than cool ones – i.e he Force Jumps at one point in ROTJ because he needed to get out of the carbonite machine fast, before it froze him; he didn’t necessarily ‘intended’ a super jump.

    2. For me, the worst moment with the side content was when you’re doing the big Drama Walk-Up to fight Malicos. Visually it’s stunning, but you get halfway down the hall and BD leaps off your shoulder and SKITTERSKITTERSKITTER BWOOP?

      C’mon, seriously?

      1. PPX14 says:

        The whole scanning for information just seemed to serve to detract from the game in that manner I thought. Especially when the information was so dull. Including the 1000 year old fossil… Cal maybe missed that bit of geography.

    3. Sartharina says:

      When a Jedi acts, it’s supposed to be in line with the Force. They don’t act on personal, selfish instict, but instead go with the flow of the Force of the universe and life around them. The Light Side of the Force lets you do the impossible if you act in harmony with it. The Dark Side is taking the Force and using it to impose your will on the universe. Even in the original trilogy, using the Force as a Jedi is about “letting go” of your anger, and accepting the world. It’s based on the same ideology that got westernized into “Open Palm” and “Closed Fist” in Jade Empire.

      1. Thrasher Thetic says:

        This read makes the force a manipulative supervillain. After all, the dark side and all that murder exist too, presumably ‘The Force’ had plans for them too.

        Makes me REALLY enjoy Traya in KOTOR 2.

    4. Bubble181 says:

      Using the Force for personal gain/benefit, like Speed in the kitchen, is an upsetting of the Balance, and thus, Dark Side, though. At least according to some material.

  3. MerryWeathers says:

    I suppose the reason why controlling your emotions is so important to the Jedi is because of their ability to use the Force, like if you were just an ordinary person then getting angry woudn’t be that big of a deal compared to someone with powers getting angry, which could become disastrous, they might think it feels good and go on a power trip or start resorting to taking the “quicker and easier” option during conflicts until they lose sight of who they once were.

    Although I admit this has become a cliche in Star Wars. Like it’s obligatory for every main Jedi character to go through this kind of arc where they’re at risk of falling to the dark side.

    1. Zaxares says:

      Yeah, I always saw it more as a “the stakes are way, WAY higher for a Force user” situation, and it ties back into why the Jedi renounce emotional entanglements and kind of train you to be this stoic, emotionless monk/peacekeeper. The trouble is that when you allow emotions, both negative (like anger and hatred) and positive (affection and love) to influence you, the temptation to use the Force to make your desires come true can be irresistible for a lot of people. It could be something as simple as using the Force to shove somebody who cut in line in front of you, or something more sinister like using the Force to mind control otherwise unwilling partners into your bed. In real life, the combination of emotional/familiar attachments coupled with some kind of temporal power usually leads to a dynastic-style consolidation of power in the hands of an elite group linked by blood/marriage. For all we know this is exactly what happened in the early days of the Star Wars universe before they decided this couldn’t continue and thus the Jedi Order was formed.

      As for Yoda’s little refrain, I think that’s an offshoot from the X-Men adage of “People fear what they don’t understand.” What people fear, they usually either try to control or destroy, which is where the “anger” comes in. Over time, you stop seeing the other side as just “people with different views”, and more as an enemy that has to be eliminated, which leads to hatred, and so on.

      1. Liessa says:

        I always saw it that way as well. I view the Dark Side as being a bit like a severe drug addiction – the more you give in to that temptation, the more you come to crave the sense of power it gives you. Gradually it becomes an obsession; you stop caring about anything or anyone else. And then one day, you find you can’t stop even if you want to.

        When written well – as in, not “lose your temper once or twice and you instantly turn evil” – I think the Dark Side makes the Jedi more interesting, because of the extreme trade-off it implies. You have access to this incredible source of power, but at tremendous cost: having to be constantly vigilant with your actions and emotions, and give up many aspects of a normal life. The ‘Grey Jedi’ thing popular with fanfic writers really annoys me, because it removes the trade-off and just gives them all the kool superpowerz with none of the downsides.

  4. Chad Miller says:

    I honestly found the poncho so off-putting, and customizing the lightsaber you can barely see so underwhelming, that it put me off of going back to collect anything at all. And I do mean at all; I didn’t even go back for the extra stims.

  5. Daimbert says:

    One of my main philosophical interests revolves around emotions, and I’m Stoic leaning which means I’m very suspicious of emotion in general. So a couple of points here:

    1) We can control our emotions more than we think. It just takes effort and thought. The Stoics advocated conditioning oneself by imaging the situations until the emotional response was at least muted, and we do similar sorts of immersions for phobias (at least at certain points). If we can reduce or eliminate phobias, we can do the same for other emotions as well. Also, learning to avoid situations where you get unwanted emotions is ALSO a way to control and cope with them, so if you know that, say, being frustrated in a game makes you more angry than you’d like you can always avoid games that do that.

    2) Even with this, though, emotions can happen that we can’t or can’t easily control. I’m in line with the Roman Stoic Seneca who claims that simply having those feelings isn’t bad in and of itself, as long as you don’t give in to it, in line with what you argued there. Emotions contain both a feeling and a judgement, but you never have to accept the judgement your emotions are advocating for there.

    3) Still, we want to limit the emotions we have because emotions, especially strong ones, are INSISTENT. It’s very difficult to feel a strong emotion and then reject the judgement it’s making and the action it’s advocating for. So limiting the cases where we have to is a good thing, even if we can’t eliminate them all completely.

    So for Luke’s case, it would have been better if he hadn’t exploded in a blind rage and had to be stopped only when he saw that he was turning himself into the target of his anger. Stopping himself there, at least, was a good thing, but he was pretty close to doing something really bad and destroying himself. That’s not really desirable.

    The same thing can be said for Cere. BEING angry in that case isn’t unreasonable, but using that anger to power her powers IS, because unless she stops herself in the future her anger will encourage her to do worse things. Maybe the only reason she isn’t killing Vader is because she doesn’t believe she can. If she thought she could, her anger would almost certainly push her to do so, and probably in a horrific and punishing manner. And later targets might be far less worthy of such things than Vader, and anger especially is known for not making such judgements reasonably.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Thank you, as someone who is currently delving more and more into stoic philosophy, it was nice to see a number of actual observations and interpretations of stoicism (as the Greeks kicked off and the Romans improved on) be formulated, rather than the stoicism = no emotion short hand that’s stuck in popular consciousness*. I did not find the motivation to write this up myself, but you are spot on with the examples you cite. Thanks.

      *no judgement of course. As counterproductive as judgement is, it would also be hypocritical considering I did not know better for at least 30 years myself.

  6. John says:

    Jedi are neither Vulcans nor droids, do not aspire to be such, and are never depicted as such. I do not know why the notion that they do not or are not supposed to feel emotions seems to be so widespread. Even the most casual viewer of the prequel trilogy should have noticed Obi-Wan Kenobi experiencing and expressing a wide variety of emotions. The films treat this as perfectly normal. There is no suggestion that he is struggling with or being tempted by the Dark Side, not even in the climax of Revenge of the Sith. If Star Wars has anything to say about emotions, Jedi, and the Force, then I think it is very definitely not “emotions are bad, don’t have them” and quite clearly “don’t let an intense emotional experience make you forget your purpose and values”.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      People think the Jedi are supposed to be Vulcans because George Lucas says so in the commentary on Attack of the Clones. Obi-Wan is supposed to be a bad Jedi. Jedi having emotional attachments mean that they cannot be in their zen-like state of balance, which is what allows them to do their job as peacekeepers. Emotions prevent them from following the will of the force, only -and this is what makes emotions the path to the dark side. Emotion dampens out the will of the Force, and substitutes the desires of the Jedi.

      This commentary is during the car chase, and was so stupid I turned the movie off. And it’s been over a decade so I may be misremembering the details.

      But people aren’t making it up. Lucas really thinks this.

      1. John says:

        I am not about to go dig up the commentary track, so I suppose I’ll have to take your word for it. However, given how often I’ve seen Star Wars fans misconstrue things said by the characters in the films, I can’t help but wonder if they are not also misconstruing whatever it was that Lucas said.

  7. GargamelLeNoir says:

    The Jedi are heavily inspired by eastern philosophies where control of your emotion is paramount. Through decades of meditation and training they aim at being less slaves of their own emotions until they get rid of all attachments (which for them bring suffering) and reach illumination/contentment.
    The way I see the Force is that the closer a jedi is to illumination the more they let the Force flow through them freely, only subtly shifting its wave and flow in the desired direction. This is very very powerful but the fact that they forego attachments and strong emotions (positive and negative) makes them aloof and unlikeable. Also it is very hard to reach perfect emotional balance, and it is also hard to maintain.
    The other way is to use the strength of your emotions to push the force towards what you want it to do. In theory any strong emotions can do the trick (and grey jedi try to use positive emotions as well as negative ones), but it’s easier to draw from anger, fear or spite, especially in a tight spot. And since a lot of these negative emotions, especially anger, can be addictive even when you don’t have the Force, it can get from bad to worse.
    I guess Cere, despite being helping the good guys’ side, was drawing from her rage to push back Vader. In Cal’s place however I would have kept my mouth shut until being back at the ship and then recommended a few weeks of intense meditations and mental exercices to Cere so she can find her balance again.

    1. John says:

      Where do all these Grey Jedi that I keep hearing about come from, and why haven’t I ever actually seen one of them? I’m not convinced they’re real. Are they from novels? Cartoons? Tabletop RPG splatbooks? Fanfiction?

      1. Asdasd says:

        Jolee Bindo?

        1. John says:

          What’s so Grey about Jolee? He’s an Obi-Wan Kenobi retread with slightly unconventional views on Jedi marriage. There’s nothing to suggest that his views on emotion are substantially different from the Jedi norm otherwise.

          1. Asdasd says:

            What’s so Grey about Jolee?

            his beard

            1. BlueHorus says:

              He didn’t tear his clothes in misery and bewail the fact that his wife turned Sith. He didn’t try to hunt her down and kill her. In fact, he seemed kind of resigned and accepting of what had happened, and even seemed to enjoy the good side of the emotional connections he’d had.
              He maybe, even, rejected some of the doctrines of the orthodox Jedi, in a VERY different way to the Jedi in the prequels.

              Is that the same as the Grey Jedi that apparently appeared in the EU? No idea, never heard of them outside of this forum.

              Also his beard.
              And some of his robes, if memory servers…

              1. John says:

                He didn’t tear his clothes in misery and bewail the fact that his wife turned Sith.

                Perhaps not literally. That’s not to say he handled it well though. After the war, he confessed everything to the Jedi council. When the council offered him compassion instead of punishment, he couldn’t deal with it. He had a little freakout and went and marooned himself on wookie-world.

      2. Nixorbo says:

        There are a ton in r/swrpg.

        1. John says:

          I have no idea what that is, but I’m guessing it’s fanfiction.

          1. Vernal_ancient says:

            By the name, I’d say the Reddit forum for a Star Wars tabletop RPG. Depending whether Grey Jedi are explicitly part of the rules or just something a lot of players homebrew in, fanfiction could still be the correct guess

          2. Liessa says:

            Fanfiction, yeah. (Possibly some of the novels as well, which are basically paid fanfiction.)

      3. The Puzzler says:

        From Wookiepedia:

        The term “Gray Jedi” was first used to describe the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Republic: The Stark Hyperspace War, although the source did not confirm that Jinn was a Gray Jedi and did not provide an exact definition of the term. Jolee Bindo was later introduced in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game as a self-described Gray Jedi. In the game, Bindo’s “Force alignment” was an even balance between the light and dark sides of the Force. However, an item called “Gray Jedi Robe” appeared in the game’s sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which gave a definition for Gray Jedi that did not require a “balanced” Force alignment and instead focused on Jedi who operated independently of the Jedi Council without fully embracing the dark side.

        Later sources conflicted with each other over the defining characteristic of a Gray Jedi. Star Wars: Legacy 0, the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force gave definitions that focused on separation from the Jedi High Council. Also, the Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight novel introduced a group of renegade Jedi called the “Gray Paladins” that was portrayed as removed from the Order yet devoid of dark side influences or practices. However, Star Wars: Legacy 0½ and the Jedi Academy Training Manual claimed that the term was used to describe those who dabbled in the dark side without becoming corrupted by it.

        A definition for “true Gray Jedi” that appeared in the Jedi Academy Training Manual described them as those who did not belong to any Force-based organization and who explored both the light and the dark sides of the Force without becoming corrupted by the dark side. Despite this, it was also stated in the Jedi Academy Training Manual that the New Jedi Order considered the entire Force tradition of the Jensaarai to be Gray. Additionally, the Imperial Knights were confirmed to have been considered as Gray by the New Jedi Order in Star Wars: Legacy 0 and Star Wars: Legacy 0½, and the Voss Mystics were verified to have been Gray in the “Creating Worlds” developer blog for the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game.

        1. John says:


          Almost all of that is news to me, but I’ve played KotOR enough times to know that the statement about Jolee Bindo simply isn’t true. Jolee may not have maxed out his Paragon points (so to speak) but his morality meter definitely tilts Light Side. Heck, unlike Juhani, he doesn’t even know any Dark Side powers when he joins the party.

          1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

            He’s only grey in the sense that he’s not aiming at emotional detachment anymore, but he’s an ambiguously good guy. Grey jedi doesn’t have to mean morally neutral.

  8. T-Boy says:

    Oh, man, do I feel you about the whole thing about Jedi and emotions. It was one of my long-standing issues with the Expanded Universe, too, and when the EU decided that the Potentium interpretation of the Force was basically Evil and Bad, I took a long hard look at how the metaphysics of the Star Wars Universe was like, and decided, “screw this, I’m done,” and just walked away from the whole mess.

    It also helped that I realized that really, the only reason why I loved Star Wars was for its laser swords and space dogfights, and having the equivalent of methadone for my laser swords addiction has certainly helped.

    In many ways I welcomed Lucas handing off the reins of Star Wars canon to Disney, because by that point I basically thought his vision of the Force, and the underlying moral metaphysics of Star Wars was so toxic that I just couldn’t get myself involved with it any more.

    I mean… Lucas says his understanding of Jedi philosophy comes from ideas like Taoism and Buddhism? Yeah, well, that’s cute, but as anyone who’s ever done any kind of mindfulness-based therapy or practice knows, or was raised in those belief systems would tell you, it’s not that you repress the emotions that come out from you, you figure out better ways to manage them. As you quite rightly note with how Luke managed it in RoTJ, you allow those emotions to happen, but you also allow them to pass you, and not let them rule you. That would have led to more functional Jedi, but that’s not how Lucas and many of the writers that work on Star Wars have portrayed it.

    In many ways, the way the Force is portrayed within Star Wars remains a sore point for me — you really have two choices within the Star Wars Universe, if you’re Force-Sensitive: you either belong to a emotionally-crippled, paramilitary, colonizing (note that indigenous Force-sensitive orders flourished post Order 66, if only because there were no more Jedi scooping up infants to indoctrinate) hegemon with an endemic mental health problem (most Dark Side users in the GFFA were Dark Jedi, not Sith, who were a distinct tradition, which makes you wonder about the Jedi Order’s human resource management, honestly), or the Force makes you a vicious idiot.

    There were few and far counter-examples for this — the one that probably works the best would probably be Jedi Master Mace Windu, who was dark and did struggle with his emotions, and did glory in battle like a Sith Lord, but he had figured out a way to use his darkness and emotions to the service of the Light — a feat that no other damn Jedi apparently figured out (or if they tried, then they ended up ‘roiding up on the Dark Side). They tried it with the (now non-canon) son of Han Solo and Leia, Jacen Solo and the person who apparently corrupted him, Lumiya, but oh, apparently that’s all lies then, we’re still stuck in this stupid dichotomy, which isn’t even a proper dichotomy in the first place (having to choose between two kinds of toxic behavior is not a choice).

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Lucas’s views on the Force make a great deal more sense when you remember that he describes himself as a “Buddhist Methodist,” which are two religions I don’t think you can really mix that way. Methodists having been revivalist, the emphasis on the hearing the will of the Spirit -er, Force -combined with Eastern meditative traditions results in pretty much this.

      I think the Jedi Knights make far more sense as just straight Calvinists, you’d even get to keep most of the asceticism.

      1. T-Boy says:

        Buddhist Methodist

        Now there’s your problem, aaaargh! It explains a lot, thanks.

        (sotto voce) Goddamn inheritors of theosophists, ruining everything everything not part of the Western hegemon…

        1. Sartharina says:

          He’s an American artist. He’s allowed to write an Americanized fiction based on exotic beliefs, and it’s not like the Eastern cultures don’t do the same. I hear Final Fantasy is pretty popular.

          1. hewhosaysfish says:

            So, Jedi Knights resemble Buddhist monks the same way that the Maesters of Yevon resemble Catholic cardinals?

            No joke, that is a really helpful analogy.

  9. Michael Anderson says:

    Yeah, as some others have mentioned, you are basically completely wrong in your assessment of the whole Jedi emotion thing. It is absolutely NOT “just smile more”, but rather that years of learning techniques to understand themselves, to channel the natural emotions that ALL of us have, and to master those emotions rather than the inverse. Abandoned reading at that point … if your core assessment of the Force is wrong, why bother, right?

    (and I am older than you, paying my own money in 1977 to see Star Wars more than a dozen times)

    1. Shamus says:

      I shared a very personal story about WHY I interpreted the movies the way I did, and you threw a little temper tantrum because I disagree with you on how the space magic works?”

      Maybe you really ARE older than me, but you’re certainly not more mature. Off you go then.

    2. Crimson Dragoon says:

      Well that’s a fairly condescending take. This is a story. The way we consume and interpret it is up to the individual and you can’t say that Shamus doesn’t explain his interpretation well. From how I’m reading it (I can’t speak for him, obviously), he doesn’t like the way the prequels and other material have expanded the scope and explanation of the Force, and has chosen to focus on what information of it we’re given in the original trilogy. And I can see where he comes from with that context. I don’t share Shamus’ interpretation of the Force either, and while I’m younger than either of you, I was also a Star Wars fan before the prequels came out. But I’m not going to completely dismiss someone’s opinion, especially when I’m on their blog, just because it doesn’t align with mine.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      I like that you disagreed with the author about space magic in a fantasy story, stopped reading…and still bothered to shitpost.


    4. Dotec says:

      You seem like a delight.

    5. Dreadjaws says:

      Abandoned reading at that point

      So, you’ve been reading the series until now and stopped because you happened to disagree with his interpretation in what’s a very small part of this analysis? Or did you start with this entry for whatever inexplicable reason?

      In any case, you are aware that there’s no person in the entire planet that will agree with you on everything, right? Surely constantly disagreeing with someone is a good reason to stop following them, but one small thing? That’s kinda preposterous. Yet more and more people like you show up in comments section, claiming stuff like “This guy says something I disagree with, therefore every one of his opinions about everything are completely invalid!”. Do you people not realize how ridiculous this sounds?

    6. T-Boy says:

      Never mind that you were old enough to watch Star Wars on its first showing in 1977, but dismissing someone’s personal experience and dismissing someone’s critique of a consequential but minor point of a story’s metaphysics by gatekeeping?

      What are you, fourteen?

      1. Mousazz says:

        Some of the fourteen year olds would probably think that it’s almost exclusively a trait of the elderly to be close-minded and narcissistic, hence they would respond with the “ok boomer” meme.

  10. wizzy says:

    I think your interpretation of what is happening is wrong. Vader was going to defeat Cere whether she used the light side or the dark but to feed from her hatred was the path to the dark side in Jedi reasoning. You can of course disagree and take your consequentialist logic but that is not the logic of the Jedi or the Sith canonically.

    As others have mentioned the Jedi take eastern elements should as the Buddhist “freedom from desire” idea. But arguably you could say the prequels showed this doesn’t work or was heartless. But then of course a non-Buddhist would say that.

    1. T-Boy says:

      Criticisms of ideas that may originate from Buddhism — or, more accurately, come from an American’s understanding of what Buddhism was supposed to be — is not restricted to non-Buddhists alone. There are ethical questions that can be explored about the concepts of removing one’s attachments, and not all Buddhists are in accord in all aspects. Heck, even ideas like karma, anatta, dukkha, the duality of light and dark — those aren’t even necessarily exclusively Buddhist ideas, but are spread out across Hindu, Taoist, Jainist and indigenous thought.

      Not singling you out on this, because I see it in other comments too — just because the Jedi are “inspired” by “Eastern” belief systems doesn’t mean that they’re representative to the lived experiences of people who have those traditions and practice those beliefs today. Lucas might have been trying to honor those ideas when he tried to create those stories, but that doesn’t mean he 1) understood those ideas in their entirety or 2) communicated those ideas very well or 3) thought about the ethical and political consequences of those ideas in depth.

  11. Smilodon says:

    I don’t think your gripes with the dark side is a prequel thing. Return of the Jedi’s throne room scene, with Palpatine legitimately believing that getting Luke to kill Vader will result in Luke begrudgingly becoming his new apprentice, only makes sense if the following are true:

    A) A Jedi killing someone while angry, even if that person is the right hand man of Space Hitler who is swinging a deathstick at you and threatening your sister, is a Dark Side action
    B) The Dark Side is magic mind control that will make you a different person if you use it

    B has to be the case, because otherwise there’s no reason why a hypothetical Dark Luke wouldn’t just use his new evil powers to try to kill Palpatine, a guy he has every reason to not like. The combination of A and B has to be the case because otherwise there’s no reason why Luke killing Vader, regardless of how he felt when he did it, would have any significant impact on who he is in short order (since if Luke’s conversion doesn’t happen very quickly, Luke just suicides into force lightning. Or he gets captured but then we’re in that awkward “tortured into Sith” territory where you don’t have to even do anything remotely wrong to be turned into an Evil Dude). And Palpatine presumably knows how the Dark Side works pretty well, so the fact that he seriously expects Luke to just join up upon killing his father means it pretty much has to work that way. So it’s definitely been a thing since the original that the Dark Side is something you tap into any time aggressive emotions are in play, and that using it will fundamentally change who you are in very short order.

    1. John says:

      There’s a difference between killing someone while you are angry and killing someone because you are angry. I think it’s the because that determines whether something is of the Dark Side or not.

      The Dark Side may or may not be mind-altering. Certainly both Yoda and the Emperor speak as if it is. The Emperor’s statements during the climax of Return of the Jedi are very obviously self-serving, however, and should not be taken entirely seriously. If the Dark Side is mind control, it is clearly not very effective mind control or Vader would not have killed the Emperor.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      This seems like the most relevant already-existing discussion to throw my two cents in…
      …partly because the idea of the Dark Side being Magic Mind Control makes me laugh. “You have done Evil, now YOU are Evil, come join the Evil team*!”

      To me it’s more – in the tradition of Virtue Ethics – about the effects of power on the user. When someone’s got space magic and a laser sword, they can ‘solve’ a hell of a lot of problems with a single swing or a telekinetic choke – the temptation is always there.
      A Sith will do it all the time – even enjoy it – and a Jedi would try and avoid it, in a similar way to a good cop might wait for evidence before arresting someone, or just refrain from pulling out his gun and shooting people.
      It’s not about the specific powers used as much as ‘What kind of person would do this’ or ‘What would doing this say about me?’

      Thus Luke fighting Vader with the Force isn’t ba;, it’s Luke about to Kill Vader after having already won that is the issue. I’ll agree that there’s no good reason why Luke wouldn’t just look up from Vader’s corpse and immediately turn on the Emperor, but I’d argue that Palpy’s just there as a manifestation of Luke’s anger and fear, driving him to do something.

      Also related: that quote of Yoda’s, about emotions leading to one another is awful.This poster has a far better iteration of that kind of logic.

      *We Have Cookies!

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        In his commentaries, Lucas says that the Dark Side comes from using the force under the influence of strong emotions, and that it has addictive properties. So, Luke killing Vader while angry would give him a rush of addictive dark sideness, and he would either 1.) accept Vader’s place under Palpatine in order to get that rush again, or 2.) kill and replace Palpatine. Either way, the Sith win.

        I do not like this interpretation of the events on the screen and think the strong emotion of love for his father is as much responsible for why Luke doesn’t kill Vader as any kind of meditative release from anger.

        Though I did like Matt Corbett’s line on this “being a Jedi requires one to be inhuman. Fine -in Star Wars, many of them aren’t human.”

      2. etheric42 says:

        I like the comparison to police.

        If you “know” someone is a criminal/evil but can’t prove it, a good cop has to let them go. A bad cop fabricates evidence.

        Falls apart when you hit the whole “but there really is evil in Star Wars” and “even the good guys cut up conscripts and grunts without caring” aspect. But then again it seems pretty hard to tell a morality story in a war zone, unless you’re willing to go some dark places.

        But barring what we see “good” Jedi do all the time, the dark side does seem to be a “if you fake evidence to catch this one guy, who knows where you’ll stop next”.

        I like the gray area in Moore’s Battlestar Galactica: stealing the election is the wrong thing to do, but after choosing not to steal the election sure it seems like a significant percentage of humanity died. On the third hand… you don’t know what the world would have looked like if the election had been stolen. It may not have been any better.

    3. Syal says:

      There’s one other way it can go.

      1) Luke fights Vader, but Vader is too powerful for him.
      2) Luke taps into the Dark Side, which powers him up enough to kill Vader in single combat.
      3) Luke tries to use his newfound power against the Emperor, only to find the Emperor is still too powerful.
      4) The Emperor offers to teach Luke how to use the Dark Side to defeat everyone.
      5) Luke accepts out of fear and power-hunger.

      No magic mind control needed, just ordinary carrot-and-stick mind control.

      1. etheric42 says:

        The same carrot-and-stick that Vader suffered under for years….

      2. Fizban says:

        Exactly. Though I would go further and question the idea that Palpatine actually expects Luke to join him even if Luke does kill Vader. He might want him to, but Palpatine doesn’t actually need either of them. Pitting them against each other clearly amuses him, and he clearly has no fear of being defeated himself. But, if Luke does kill Vader, and gives in and becomes his new apprentice, well again that would just be entertaining. So he goads them on ’cause wouldn’t it just be awesome if it worked?

        Luke was there basically as an indulgence, because turning him would be valuable if it worked, sure, and it keeps the new development from swaying his current lieutenent, who while unnecessary is still quite useful. The big upset at the end is simply because Palpatine didn’t consider the possibility that Vader would turn on him, after so long, and with so little regard for his own life, that Vader could actually defeat him. Palpatine’s hubris allows an indulgence which turns out to be a mistake which causes his downfall.

        1. Alecw says:

          Thankyou for explaining it so succinctly.

    4. ChrisANG says:

      There’s also the “If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice” thing from Empire Strikes Back, which struck me as oddly absolutist even as a kid.

      (Also, in the throne room scene, Luke seems to agree with Palpatine that that’s what will happen if he kills Vader, and apparently decides that his options are 1) kill Vader and become Evil or 2) throw down his weapon and let the Emperor blast him (well, maybe he thought the Emperor was a harmless old man)).

      It really does seem to be the position of the OT that the Dark Side is easy to tap in to basically by accident and will rapidly turn you into a different person.

      (I’ve basically come to view Force morality as being completely different from regular morality in a way that is both self-consistent and deeply unsatisfying. It’s bad to use the Force while angry because that causes you to touch the Dark Side, and the Dark Side is this mind-destroying drug that will rapidly turn you into a murderous Dark Side addict)

      1. Fizban says:

        (Also, in the throne room scene, Luke seems to agree with Palpatine that that’s what will happen if he kills Vader, and apparently decides that his options are 1) kill Vader and become Evil or 2) throw down his weapon and let the Emperor blast him (well, maybe he thought the Emperor was a harmless old man)).

        It could also be that he recognized he would lose either way, and so chose the loss where he still retained that control.

        I think Luke’s journey there should actually be considered pretty unique. It had been shown that by leaving his training to follow his emotions he was following in the same footsteps as his father, becoming part machine, giving in to anger, and finally, actually considering doing what the Emperor said. When he’s standing over Vader he sees, just as the vision on Degobah, himself taking the next step and becoming exactly that. So he looks at his personal journey and decides no, I don’t want to do that, and stops fighting.

        Luke’s mirroring of his father who fell into darkness, is very specific: he has reason to believe based on the experience and consequences of his own actions, that if he kills Vader there (and/or if he struck down the Emperor), he actually will become the next Vader. He’s been doing so ever since he ignored the warning and ran off.

        This is not a journey that has to apply to all Jedi or the force in general, but apparently that’s where they decided to take it. Much more interesting if it’s more of a particular situation for Luke himself. Sure, the dark side might be “addictive,” but plenty of people do manage to drink alcohol in moderation- Luke’s family however, could have say a genetic predisposition towards addictive behaviors, in addition to his not having been taught since childhood, and it’s not until he’s in a bit of a drunk rage about to kill the father he wanted to save that he realizes he really needs to just stop flat out.

        1. Sartharina says:

          And as The Last Jedi shows, his conflict with the Dark Side is something that he has struggled with all his life. Frankly, I actually preferred that Luke Skywalker to the one we got in the Expanded Universe.

  12. Asdasd says:

    I think this article very neatly articulates a general problem I have with metroidvanias. I can handle mandatory backtracking, but when there’s also a lot of optional (but incentivised) backtracking, the game begins to feel time-wastey by design and I get fatigued.

    The other thing I dislike with these can-openables is that you’re either obliged to remember them, or else to write them down. Both options are taxing in their own way, with one invoking the mild anxiety that comes with the possibility of forgetting, and the other the stop-start interruption of alt-tabbing to a text editor or putting the controller down to pick up a pen.

    I suspect this is something that can be designed around though. Maybe you give the player a can detector at some point in the game (rewarding!), or mark unopened cans on your (hopefully robust) automapper for later attention.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      One recent solution, is the map-pins from Hollow Knight. While they were only added in an after-launch patch, they really helped you navigate this large world full of trinkets and locked doors. In addition to the ones you could place manually which had a few different symbols and colors, all the things that were totally stationary like shops would automatically get pinned for free without using up your other pins. :)

      1. Asdasd says:

        Good shout – I really loved map pins in Baldur’s Gate 2. Shame they didn’t become more widespread in games generally, but glad to hear they return in Hollow Knight as that’s a game I intend to get around to – one day…

      2. Syal says:

        Haven’t played Hollow Knight, so this is just a generic pin comment.

        Manual pins always run into the problem of “I can’t remember what I was pinning”; maybe it was a quest, maybe it was a mouseslip. The ability to label a manual pin would be a wonderful addition for them. Pin a spot and type in “Unclimbable rock”.

        1. Fizban says:

          Why is why Hollow Knight has a handful of different manual pin symbols, yes. Not quite as many as you might want, but enough to work with.

        2. Echo Tango says:

          All the auto-pins in Hollow Knight are pretty specific, and the ones you can place yourself come in four colors (image from StackExchange). No labels though, so you just need to come up with a scheme for yourself, like “black is a boss”, or “blue is for a grub I couldn’t reach yet”. :)

      3. PPX14 says:

        They were added in a patch?? Gosh I’m glad I came to the game a couple years late! They were essential!

  13. Joshua says:

    While I can see the appeal of cosmetics in games like MMOs where you’re going to be spending a LONG time playing the game, I never really got the appeal of focusing on that kind of thing on a 20-30 hour game. Just finish the game and move on to the next one.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Many RPGs, though, give you reasons to replay a game, including the possibility of different endings and being able to choose different options/attitudes or have different romances, and so in those sorts of games it can work pretty well if they carry over to the next play.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      Well, that implies that you’re the sort of person that treats games as food, and as soon as they’re done with a dish they forget about it no matter how satisfied they are.

      The reality is that a great portion of a game’s audience can and will come back to a game. Sometimes even starting a new playthrough right after they finished the first one. Those rewards are for that kind of people who, again, even if you don’t belong to that group, you have to recognize they’re a large part of the audience. Large enough to be considered by the developers for a major part of the gameplay, which implies they might be the majority.

    3. Thomas says:

      20-30 hours is a fairly long time. O can entertain myself with quite a few appearance changes then.

      Although as Shamus elegantly points out, the metroidvania design works against that here. By the time you’ve got the cosmetics, you’re done with the game.

      For me the ideal route for cosmetics is to make them easily attainable through a natural progression of the game so you can tweak your appearance as you go.

  14. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I don’t think it’s that “negative emotions are evil”, I think it’s supposed to be that “giving in to negative emotions leads to evil because anger is often unjustified and if you get used to hurting things whenever you get angry, you’re going to do it when you shouldn’t.” The Dark Side feeds on anger, so you shouldn’t feed it by acting in anger. If you’re going to kill the bad guy, that’s fine, but you should do it while you have a clear head so that you’re sure you’re doing it because you have to, and not because it feels good.

    I mean, Vader was pretty evil. And it’s not like he was going to stop being evil if Luke didn’t kill him there. Luke would have been 100% justified in killing him. He didn’t stop because killing Vader was wrong, he stopped because he was about to do it for the wrong reasons.

    And I think there’s some valid psychology behind that- people do what they train themselves to do. Doing something when you’re in a particular emotional state will train your brain to associate that behavior with that state. For the Prequel Jedi, the answer is “Well, just don’t ever be angry”, but that didn’t work out so well for them.

  15. Dreadjaws says:

    Well, a lot of people have already told you this, but I’ll add a bit to it. Yes, obviously you cannot compare Force users to regular people. No one will demand a license from you if you don’t own any guns, but they’ll expect you to have one if you suddenly decide to purchase a rifle. This is because now that you have power in your hands you’re expected to know how to handle it. So yeah, if you are powerful with the Force, keeping your emotions in check is important. You don’t want to suddenly explode in rage and blast everyone away, especially in the Star Wars universe, where safety rails are not an OSHA requirement.

    Going back to the gun license analogy, there’s a reason these things require background checks and you’re usually not provided one if you have a history of psychological issues.

    What I find interesting about all this, is that the Star Wars universe doesn’t seem to have any sort of Psychology trade. When Qui-Gon shows up with Anakin, the other Jedi are all “This kid’s an emotional wreck, we can’t train him” instead of “Take the kid to therapy for a few years and we’ll see”. The Jedi seem to use their own language to try to sort this. They go all “you have to control your emotions” but they don’t sit down with the other one to try to find the source of their issues and work through them. So they kind of have the right idea, is their procedure to deal with it that it’s a problem.

  16. lawgnome says:

    One of the books (“I, Jedi”, by Michael Stackpole) had a conversation with Mara Jade talking about switching to using the light side compared to the dark side. She said that it was like switching to a leaner, cleaner fuel – a little harder to access, but less likely to burn you out.

    I always liked this viewpoint. It is easy to get angry (or fearful, or any other negative emotion) and use that emotion to drive you to do something awful. Abject hatred for something, even for a moment, can lead to people ignoring limits they otherwise would have placed on themselves. “That dog just ate my phone! *kick!*” “That person just cut me off! *super aggressive driving!*”

    It isn’t (or wasn’t, anyway) about the dark side being inherently stronger, it was that it was easier to access in a fit of emotion, but if the only way you can use your super powers is to be angry all the time, that anger will burn you out. They have anger management therapy for a reason – no one goes to calm management classes.

    1. Syal says:

      no one goes to calm management classes.

      To be honest, they probably should. It’s nice to be able to shrug stuff off, until you’re shrugging off stuff like being able to pay rent.

    2. Shufflecat says:

      I’ve never read any of the books, but this meshes perfectly with how I always saw it.

      We see the OT how learning to use the force requires a zen “no-mind” approach. Light side reaches that by trying to empty their minds via pure mental discipline; like a buddhist monk. The dark side reaches that by letting a given emotion take over, shortcutting directly to a “NO THINK, ONLY SMASH” form of no-mind.

      This is much easier than learning to be that unselfconcious in a deliberate, philosophically mechanistic way. A Jedi has to consciously construct and maintain their no-mind, which is a bit of a paradox, so it’s precarious to maintain and difficult to advance. A Sith only has to find a powerful enough emotion, and lean in to it ’till the dam breaks. Sith discipline probably revolves more around how to how to turn it on and off, and how ride the wave without becoming a berserker, as opposed to Jedi discipline which focuses on the long road to achieving that state in the first place, and the balancing act of staying in it (wherein failure means you lose your signal to the Force and your powers stop working).

      Dark Side isn’t inherently “more powerful”, rather letting your emotions clear out your mind and do your communicating with the Force for you lets you establish a bigger clearer signal easier. In game terms, it’s an exploit that lets you use level 5 abilities at level 2.

      This means any strong emotion will do. Not just “negative” ones like anger or hate. But because the first step is deciding “it’s OK to completely let myself go with this”, you kind of sacrifice control over your own motivations in the process. If your conduit is anger, then pursuing anger is going to become your purpose in life. This is how dark side users fall: they inevitably become egocentric and “when all you have is a hammer” single-minded over time. It’s not like a normal person being motivated by emotion: a dark side user isn’t a dark side user because they were angry when they did a force thing, they’re a dark side user because being angry was how they did the force thing.

      For someone who already knows how to consciously access the force, this can be a slippery slope. If Luke lets himself kill Vader in a fit of “NO THINK, ONLY SMASH”, it doesn’t matter if he uses a lightsaber to do it instead of the Force. What matters is the precedent for allowing himself to lose control. If he’s willing to let the anger take over, it doesn’t matter what tool he uses, so next time it might be with the Force.

      Both the Jedi and the Sith are kind of borked in this regard. The Sith only care about MOAR POWAH, but give no shits about motive. They don’t care what one wants with power, only that one has the power to get it, so if the process of achieving that power changes what you want to do with it, that’s irrelevant to their mind. The Jedi don’t get that being motivated by an emotion doesn’t have to mean losing control of one’s priorities. Annakin didn’t fall because he loved Padme: he fell because none of his Jedi mentors ever counseled him about dealing with loss (which they had ample cause and opportunity to, given the situation with his mother). That’s arguably because they focused so hard on not feeling attachment in the the first place that the idea of loss being its own problem (as opposed to just the consiquences of a failure to not get attached in the first place) didn’t occur to them.

      1. Syal says:

        like a buddhist monk

        Oh man, I caught this while my eyes were blurred, and am chiming in to say that “like a bullshit monk” is a highly entertaining description.

      2. Nope! says:

        I think part of the Jedi’s failing comes from the line in Phantom Menace where they’re initially apprehensive about taking in Anakin because he’s too old. They’re not good at teaching Anakin to cope with loss because they’re usually instilling these values from a very young age where kids are far easier to ingrain teachings upon.

        1. Shufflecat says:

          Yup. And the corollary to that is that every one of them also had those values indoctrinated into them from a very young age. No one in that room has ever experienced a “raw” emotional loss, even if they’ve lost people, because they were all taught not to get emotionally attached long before they were even allowed outside the cult compound.

          They’re clueless about what Anakin went through, and how it effected his development. Because of their own upbringing, they can only contextualize what he’s experiencing as the consequences of failure. When he shows signs of trauma and grief, they berate him for the initial attachment, rather than trying to help him heal.

          So instead of healing, he bottles up his damage, and corks it with insecurity. Which is why he grows up volatile and narcissistic.

      3. Daniil Adamov says:

        I really love this explanation of how using the Force works, thank you.

    3. etheric42 says:

      They do have calm management classes. They’re just called self-actualization classes.

      Helping people with assertiveness is a common part of talk therapy / CBT.

      Now you might find more anger-management classes to be court-ordered and therefore have an industry for mass-processing them. Whereas “calm management” classes might come about as a result of finding the problem during couples therapy, addiction therapy, or just simple “I want my life to change” moments.

  17. Joe Informatico says:

    This is a franchise where so much ink and pixels were spilled over the morality of shooting someone who brandishes a pistol at you while threatening to kill you over money (a clear-cut case of self-defence if I ever saw one), so it’s really hard to take Light Side vs. Dark Side debates seriously. Even if original trilogy Yoda comes across a lot wiser than his warmongering prequel version, he’s still the guy who didn’t tell Luke about his parentage and basically said Luke should let his friends die and finish his training.

    I can empathize with Yoda’s reasoning: this kid is our last (well, second-last) best chance of taking down the Sith and I don’t want to send him out half-trained, but that’s really more of a pragmatic response than an idealistic one. (Much like I appreciate Jenny Nicholson’s take on Luke’s attempts to redeem his father: Vader kicked Luke’s ass in their first duel, so why not try to manipulate Vader’s paternal instincts and gain psychological leverage in their next confrontation?) So what does Light Side really mean, other than a Puritanical work ethic to achieve the same results the Sith do through short cuts and cruelty. You’re still killing your enemy, the main difference being through light-saber strikes or deflected blaster bolts instead of electrocution and asphyxiation. (I’m reminded of 1st edition D&D alignment: hacking an orc to pieces with a longsword is fine, but using a quick and deadly poison is an Evil act.)

  18. Crimson Dragoon says:

    I didn’t like the full ponchos either, but I did enjoy the shorter ones. The light green one in particular reminded me of the Rebel uniform they wore on Endor, which was always a look I really liked.

    Regarding collectibles though, lightsaber parts were also my favorite. Fun little fact on those, a lot of those parts are also used in the create your own lightsaber experience in the Disney parks. I know that’s a bit cheesy, but that interconnectiveness is one thing I do enjoy about the Disney era of Star Wars.

  19. DanMan says:

    For me, I always found it ironic that Anakin was supposed to “bring balance to the Force”. The word Balance meaning an even distribution. Yet they treat this as “he’s supposed to beat the Sith and make everything good”. Which I found hilarious because pre-Anikin, there are dozens if not hundreds of “good” Jedi and the Sith are borderline a myth that maybe don’t exist? So “balancing the force” would be bringing BACK the Dark Side, right? Isn’t that what Anakin did? He balanced the prevailing Light force users by killing all of them except Yoda and Obi Wan, making it 2 Light and 2 Dark. Balanced, right?

    Also, an idea that I liked from the EU was that it was actually Luke who was the “chosen one” and the interpretation of “balance” was that basically he could use both Light and Dark powers. The idea being like you said, anger isn’t evil, but it corrupts “good” acts. At the same time, pacifism is a great ideal, but when the space Nazis are kidnapping children, sometimes you need to take your laser sword and cut a fool. The idea that the prequel Jedi were set in their ways and definition of “Light” and “Good” as shown in the Empire Strikes Back. Yoda tells Luke to let his friends get hurt because he’s not ready to face Vader and save them. The “good” Yoda wants to allow suffering. Luke doesn’t listen, goes and saves his friends, resists Vader and the Dark Side, returns and Yoda basically knights him as a Jedi. It’s by casting off that old world hard binary of “Anger=Bad” and “Peace=Good” that Luke truly brings balance to the Force.

    1. Thomas says:

      It’s been interpreted differently in Star Wars spin-off materials, so I’d say anyone has a right to decide what ‘balanced’ means to them, but to Lucas the natural state of the force is balanced – calm, peaceful, evenly flowing, in equilibrium.

      And the dark side is wrenching the force out of equilibrium, violently twisting it to your ends, sending ripples through the force, leaving it unbalanced.

      The dark side wants to seize power without accepting the cost. A Jedi accepts that death is a natural process and in dying they ‘return to the force’. A Sith wants to live forever, never giving back what they’ve taken.

      So Lucas meant ‘balance’ as in preserving the natural order that the dark side seeks to subvert. The force is only balanced when the dark side doesn’t exist, and it’s Vader brought into balance with the death of the last Sith.

      The idea that balance is ‘a balance between dark and light’ is a later interpretation, some good Clone Wars episodes treat balance that way.

      1. Thomas says:

        Oh much simpler way of describing it. It’s balance as in when someone meditates to find their ‘inner-balance’.

  20. kikito says:

    Well you know this is going to be a forum about dark vs light in Starwars today so here’s my take.

    The thing that fully represents the Dark Side of the Force for me in Star Wars are not the massive “Obvious Bad Stuff” that the empire does in the original trilogy. It also isn’t Kilo’s rage attacks in the new trilogy.

    It’s what Obi-wan does.

    “These are not the droids you are looking for”

    Forget telekinesis, martial arts and visions. The capacity to insert your will inside the minds of others. That’s true power.

    It is also extremely tempting to use it for your own benefit.

    A lot of force users can *resist* mind tricks. Regular folk have no defense against it. That’s why jedi pick them young. Not because they need to train them to suppress their emotions. It’s just that their parents can’t handle them, physically (I’m already struggling with my non-force using 4yo sometimes!) but also mentally. You can’t get a moral framework from someone whose mind you have been manipulating since before you had memories. What you get is narcissistic egotistical pricks with superpowers. Jessica Jonnes’ Kilgrave with The Boys’ Compound V.

    The Dark Side is that little voice that tells you to do the easy, fast thing instead of the hard correct one.

    You don’t have to share the toy with Shannon, just Do The Thing and she will give all her toys to you willingly and happily.

    You don’t have to accept the will of the Senate, just throw a Civil War and they will fall in line.

    Obi Wan uses his mental powers to save his friends on the original trilogy. The alternative was incapacitating the two imperial guards or doing a long and dangerous car chase on a population center, so I guess he did a good choice there.

    But let’s also remember that on Episode II (I think) he casually rewrites some prick’s ROM on a bar, just because he annoyes him.

    It was a bit terrifying.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Right. I think what Shamus doesn’t seem to get here is that it’s not like the Dark Side is more powerful, but that it’s more tempting to use the power indiscriminately. The Jedi prefer to avoid battle while the Sith embrace it.

      It’s like the whole discussion with Batman and the Joker. Why won’t Batman kill the Joker when it would end up saving so many more lives? Well, is that Batman fears what he might become if he succumbs to the tentation. People think “Oh, just kill this one guy and be done. You don’t need to kill anyone else”, but in reality, it’s a stepping stone. The first guy is just the harder. Then the second one becomes easier to justify. Then the third one even easier. Then you start reasoning that smaller crimes should be punished harder. And so on until you become what you were fighting.

      Thing is, it’s always supposed to be easier to be evil than good. The Force might be an all-encompassing thing that treats everyone equally, but there’s a reason the Dark Side is called that. It’s simply more alluring. It might not be more powerful on its own, but suddenly you just don’t care about limiting the amount of power you’re using. “Unlimited Powah!” and all that.

    2. Syal says:

      Yeah, that one raises some flags when you think about it. Of course KOTOR 2 goes all in on “we’re just going to rip your mind apart and shove our idea in there.”

      Regular folk have no defense against it.

      This doesn’t have to follow. It’s said to affect the “weak minded”, and we see it used on two grunts who are used to following orders, and a kid who’s used to following short term impulses. Jabba shrugs it off; presumably all people who are calculating can recognize it as a foreign thought and shrug it off.

      1. Vernal_ancient says:

        To add some evidence to the “calculating characters are mind control resistant” pile, the other characters who come to mind that resisted are Watto the greedy shopkeeper from Phantom Menace(who also was a bit of a gambler) and Cad Bane from the Clone Wars, a bounty hunter who finished his jobs his way and regularly pulled off fairly complex plans. He notably resisted three Jedi giving him orders through the force at once in one episode

        1. John says:

          I don’t remember Watto’s exact line, but I believe he said that his entire species was immune to the Jedi mind trick. In his case at least it seems to be biology-based rather than psychology-based. Also, Watto is a compulsive gambler, not the cool, odds-calcualting kind.

          1. Philadelphus says:

            “What, you think you’re some kind of Jedi? I’m a Toydarian! Mind tricks don’t work on me!”

            I’m a little ashamed I could quote that instantly from memory, though I blame playing Star Wars: Episode I: Racer.

          2. Sartharina says:

            I don’t think it’s biological. It came off as a matter of smug racial/cultural pride/supremacy to me. He’s a self-made small business owner who’s used to having all the power in his transactions. He wasn’t just going to give away his stock to someone trying to force a bad deal on him.

            That said, the same cannot be said of Nute Gunray. “Send in the battle droids and kill them” is the only way to handle negotiations with people who can bend your will to theirs. Jedi can be fine impartial mediators, but cannot be trusted as advocates.

      2. Nope! says:

        I always saw the mind trick as just exploiting conflict in what one wants to do and what they have to do. Like, the stormtroopers are tired, stuck on a dessert planet in big clunky suits, they’re stuck with the monotonous work of inspecting every vehicle and- Yeah, sure Sir, you’re not the droids we’re looking for. Just be on your way so I don’t have to bother, thanks.

        1. Shamus says:

          Ah, the old SEP* Field from Hitchhiker’s Guide the the Galaxy.

          * Somebody Else’s Problem

  21. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I agree that this interpretation of the Force is silly, but I want to rise in defense of the game. I think Fallen Order has done a far better job of making the case for “anger: not even once” than George Lucas did. Throughout the game, we’re given insight into what has happened to other people who gave in to powerful emotions with the Force, and the damage it does.

    On the small scale we see Trilla and the 9th Sister (Masana Tide), who were both once Jedi, and were turned to the Dark Side by a combination of pride, fear, and anger. On the large scale we see the Zeffo society, which was destroyed by its own Pride. In between we see Cal’s vision of the New Order and Merrin’s village on Dathomir.

    Earlier in the retrospective, I noted that the Zeffo fight with Trilla made her look like a drug addict, and I think that was a good metaphor. Trilla comments throughout the game about how good hate makes her feel, but she doesn’t look like a happy person. She is getting a rush off the hate, but the hate is slowly killing her. She’s one person, so we can see it happening quickly and how fast it’s going to take her down. Masana on Kashyyyk is so far gone she doesn’t care about literally losing an arm, so long as she gets the anger hit.

    The Zeffo have an implied arc from Cordova’s explorations and from the Force Echoes. At first they were on Zeffo, and they were a peaceful people. Then they expanded out to Kashyyyk where they experienced the wonders of the Force around the Origin Tree. They returned to Zeffo and created the First Tomb -which is a kind of memorial to their achievements. Then they created the second tomb, where they sacrificed workers, murdered dissenters, and buried a couple people alive. They then traveled to Dathomir to create the third tomb, which is a straight up locus of Dark Side energy (we know this because it acts like the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah) -and some time after this their civilization crumbled. Probably all the getting high on the dark side and murdering their people. The Bogano temple is their repentance.

    I think this is why Cordova asks BD-1 to find Cal and lead him through Cordova’s journey. It isn’t enough to give the holocron to a Jedi -it has to be given to a Jedi who will know what to do at the time the holocron comes to him. Cal has a great deal of anger, fear, and pride over the course of the story -but his confrontation with Jaro allows him to release his fears and anger, and he is humbled by his journey to Ilos.

    I am in the camp that thinks prequel Yoda is a fool -and his wisdom in the Original Trilogy is overstated (he wants Luke to kill Vader -redemption is not something Yoda considers), but he has nonetheless gained in wisdom over his exile. I think Yoda in the prequel era was high on his own authority and going through the motions -and so the children brought to Ilos to select their Kyber Crystals never really understood the point of the rituals (because Yoda didn’t either, and couldn’t teach them). But Cal does get it, the second time, because he has done the trials Cordova required.

    Assembling his own lightsaber using Cere’s and Jaro’s blades is a great symbol of him synthesizing his teachers into his own identity.

    And the lesson he learns from reflecting on Jaro’s death is to trust the Force, not his own abilities.

    In a lot of ways, this is a very Tolkien-esque story. Cal would attempt to use the holocron for good, but pride and hubris would be his downfall at this time. Cere would try to use the Force to kill Vader for good -but the pride and anger from it would become addictive, and she’d become like Trilla.

    Like the Zeffo did.

    Attempting to force the Force for good just creates evil. You must wait for the right time (which is Luke).

    1. etheric42 says:

      I like this thought.

      But how do you know when is the right time? Is this where the Christian influences come in? When is it okay to force-jump out of carbonite and when is it okay to let yourself be captured and be willing to be lightninged?

      When is it okay to let yourself be tortured to the dark side and when is it okay to pull on dark side powers to escape?

      I think this thread is most of the way there, the problem is we can see the “wrong decisions” being played out in Star Wars (using Star Wars logic), but it’s really hard to see what the “right decisions” were.

      1. Sartharina says:

        It’s definitely where the Christian influence comes in. “Trust in the Force and let it guide you”. The Force surrounds and is part of every living thing, and when that life dies, it becomes one with the Force.

        Listen to and follow-up the Force, and you’ll be fine. Torture can do nothing to you – the pain is temporary, you can survive with disfigurement, and death is a release. And if anyone truly needs you, you can be a Force Ghost to guide them.

  22. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    On an unrelated note -I played this on the XBox One, and Zeffo and Bogano played pretty well.

    But oh man did it suck on Dathomir. The ground didn’t load for the fight with the giant bat -so I kept falling through the floor and had to reload. The Order 66 vision -Jaro Topal kept popping in. So the Clone Troopers would turn and start shooting at nothing. And then one of them would die. And then Jaro would pop in between the doors. I was like “He has Merrin’s ability!”

    The cutscene after was a mess -audio and visual sync off by entire sentences. And when I did the “run to the Mantis” the ground kept not loading in, so none of the triggers hit. I got to the Mantis and it flew to Bogano.

    I flew to Ilos because I knew that was where I was supposed to go – but missed the entire trigger for the Cere giving Cal her lightsaber scene.

    But even better was returning to Dathomir, where I hit all the triggers in reverse, and thus played the “get the Mantis ready!” conversation backwards.

    I think the optimization for XBONE might have needed some work.

    Also, I may need to give up the ghost and finally upgrade my computer.

  23. RamblePak64 says:

    I had some thoughts on the matter of anger to weigh in on, but I felt like I was writing too much of my own personal blog. So I’ll try to summarize that I think it’s important to try and find calm for yourself when you get angry, but anger itself is a natural human response. It’s the difference between allowing yourself to indulge your rage and therefore become more angry, or to stop yourself from acting a certain way and seeking a method to calm oneself. Sadly, there is no universal method to find that calm. For some, all you need to do is take a walk. For me, that just gives me more time to think about why I’m angry and have fake arguments with people. Video games become difficult to focus on should I be angry enough. Sometimes, I just need a third party to vent to so that I have an outlet to release my emotions. When I had a punching bag, that was a phenomenal way of releasing my anger because it replaced it with much more pleasant endorphins.

    I think the biggest problem with anger is that everyone is going to suggest what works for them, and they’ll be absolutely certain you’re just “not doing it right” if the method fails to work for you.

    As for Light Side vs. Dark Side, honestly, the whole debate becomes silly or more ethically questionable if you never even leave the original film. The Jedi Mind Trick is supposedly a “good” ability, but… is it? The Light Side users certainly take advantage of it, but you’re effectively robbing someone of their agency and free will for your own gain or convenience. Obi Wan uses it without hesitation, and the audience marvels at the power of the Jedi. They even have the ability to manipulate the mind! Sure, Return of the Jedi introduces the notion that it won’t work on everyone after Luke tries to use it on Jabba. But no one ever doubts that the Jedi Mind Trick is a Light Side power, despite how mentally invasive it is. You are literally forcing someone to do what you want them to do regardless of their own will. That’s pretty messed up.

    So what happens? Rationalization. Die hard fans that have bought in wholesale to the D&D Alignment binary nature of force powers and force affiliation. So they’ll bend over backwards to explain how the Jedi Mind Trick is actually not ethically questionable.

    I also just had a discussion with my brother halfway through writing this where we observed the contradictions born from the end of the film. “Let go” and “trust your feelings” work in context of the trench battle, but does not work anywhere else in the trilogy. Not combined, at least. After all, Luke does let go in Return of the Jedi… but he let’s go of his anger. Trusting his feelings would, in that moment, mean trusting his anger. Of course, “trust your feelings” implies there is an emotional aspect to the Force at all, which means the stoicism the Prequel Jedi seek is contradictory to the nature of the force.

    The worst thing that could have happened to Star Wars was the obsessing over-thinking of its fans, its creator, and the expanded universe.

    Finally: I’ve discovered that a lot of Metroidvanias have that “save until near the end” aspect of exploration. Zelda games, too. It basically behooves the player to wait until they’re almost done before exploring and collecting everything, which means you don’t get to properly enjoy some abilities or upgrades until there’s barely any game left. A couple years ago I made a video on Metroid Prime: Echoes where I observed how Super Metroid actually allowed the player to loop back through an earlier area, now capable of exploring far more of it and obtaining a bunch of upgrades along the way. I feel like this ought to be used more often in Metroidvanias. Y’know where I’ve found that recently? Resident Evil VII. I’ve been playing it on stream the past week, and I just realized that I’m about to go back into a house with a new key that will allow me access to other areas. The Resident Evil Remake was also built in this manner, as was the Resident Evil 2 remake.

    It’s always been interesting to me how the earlier Resident Evil games were effectively Metroidvanias, but no one ever referred to them as such. Regardless, I do wish more Metroidvanias would have that sort of “spiral” or “loop-back” design to their world, where the player is encouraged to return to old areas so they can work on picking up upgrades along the way while also opening new paths. Even the Metroid franchise isn’t so hot at this beyond Super Metroid, and that’s also largely only the first half.

    What really spoiled Jedi: Fallen Order for me, however, was the small amount of shortcuts to make navigation easier, the lack of fast-travel (even Prime 3: Corruption had multiple docking stations on the different planets you visited), and the one-way direction of some of its roller coaster rides, particularly on Kashyyk. Combined with the lack of meaningful upgrades, it was the first Metroidvania I’ve played where I didn’t bother with the final collect-a-thon loop.

    1. John says:

      Just as there is no such thing as a Dark Side power, there is no such thing as a Light Side power. In fact, I’m not even sure that there’s such a thing as the Light Side, since I can’t recall anyone in the original or prequel trilogies ever using that phrase. (I do understand, though, why people felt the need to invent the phrase.) The Jedi mind trick isn’t a good, evil, Dark, or Light power. It’s an ethically questionable power, to be sure, but its morality and its metaphysical properties within the Star Wars universe depend on (a) who’s using it, (b) what they’re using it to do, (c) how they use it, (d) their intentions while using it, and (e) their emotional state while using it. It’s no different from any other Force power in those respects.

      1. Thomas says:

        I didn’t believe this could be true, but Wookiepedia confirmed it is. The term ‘light side’ is used in none of the first sixth films, although Wookiepedia said the concept already existed in the first drafts of the original Star Wars film and appeared in earlier scripts under the name ‘Ashla’.

        Now knowing it’s true I’m disappointed the sequel trilogies mention it. Although you can sort of infer it from the first 6 films, I really like the idea that ‘doing what is wrong’ is canonically known, but ‘doing what is right’ is up to interpretation.

        I also wish some early mainstream Star Wars media had included a dark use of mine control, because that would have ably demonstrated that ‘lightside powers’ aren’t a thing, and it’s all about how they’re used.

        Instead we’ve got that silly force lightning thing in Rise of Skywalker which almost implies that not only is lightning ‘dark’, it’s also _genetic_.

        1. Syal says:

          …thinking about it, it’s actually really weird that Darth Vader never tried the Jedi Mind Trick during interrogations.

  24. Nope! says:

    It’s never been that anger is equal to evil, it’s the basic principal that letting anger lead your hand when engaging in mentally impactful acts is something that royally fucks with a person. Something like taking a life, even when in self defence or towards a total scumbag, sticks with a person and doing so with anger overtaking your ability to decide think clearly multiplies that effect. It’s a short term satisfaction that burns you in the long run, often leading to relinquishing more and more control of your most toxic emotions.

    Now, in Star Wars this becomes even worse because digging into those emotions taps into the addicting nature of the dark side and tempts you to use it’s seemingly more powerful techniques to solve your problems. The Dark Side isn’t simply a more villainous aesthetic for multi-purpose powers, it’s something that to use requires you to feed your darkest inclinations and rely on those inclinations alone. For example, Force Lighting isn’t fuelled by just you being a bit pissed off, it requires you to channel such pure and unadulterated hatred with the single need to cause pain. Every dark side technique revolves around in some way twisting or corrupting life. It’s not something you can just dip into when necessary and come out fine, just like one can’t just take a hit of their choice drug to feel better and come out just fine. So, tapping into the dark side, even when it’s understandable and justifiable, is going to leave a mark and hurt you even if the immediate results seem helpful. The more times you use it, the greater hold it has over you.

    Granted, Fallen Order doesn’t really present this well here. The only real indication of Cere tapping into it is Vader saying so, otherwise she’s just… Holding him back? Maybe if she had got off some force lightning and started to try torturing Vader.

    1. Syal says:

      The only real indication of Cere tapping into it is Vader saying so, otherwise she’s just… Holding him back?

      From her hand gestures in the cutscene, I got the clear impression she was trying to crush him, like he crushed the door earlier. The hold was a symptom of him resisting being crushed.

      1. etheric42 says:

        And this leads back into the problem… why is it okay to cut someone apart with a lightsaber but not crush them with the force?

        I’m starting to wonder if the whole “midichlorians are colonies of sentient beings that are manipulating the universe to increase their survival” conspiracy theory isn’t right.

        Kill a stormtrooper with 20 midichlorians. Yeah whatever. Maybe they can escape their colony in time. Kill a Jedi with 5,000, whoa, that’s horrible.

        Kill someone up close and personal with your blade. Maybe they have some way of escaping the colony to the killer’s colony. Kill someone at a distance with force powers, you’re not only making them kill their own but there’s no chance for them to escape.

        The Sith are offshoot colonies of midichlorians that work against the main strain? Or maybe they are humans(aliens) who have thrown off the midichlorian yoke?

        1. Syal says:

          And this leads back into the problem… why is it okay to cut someone apart with a lightsaber but not crush them with the force?

          Pretty sure it’s just the viscerality. Blasters and lightsabers are *clean* kills; the fight ends quickly, and wounds are cauterized. Bare fists or Force Crush are *messy*; it takes a while to kill someone, and they’ll get blood on the floor. The Light Side of the Force hates getting blood on the floor.

          1. Thomas says:

            There’s an implication that one way is aiming to cause suffering before death, rather than death alone.

            Palpatine’s use of lightning wasn’t the quickest way to kill someone, but he clearly enjoyed the pain it caused.

  25. The Rocketeer says:

    You neglected to mention if Cal had any Mother-of-Pearl ponchos. Earth tones, people!

    Not to get ahead of myself, but I’ve had a brief thought to share about this game since Part 9 of this series, which was posted in October of last year. It involves the ending to some extent, and I didn’t want to jump ahead. So the record-scratch ending fakeout got a good hearty laugh out of me.

    It’s fine, because I don’t remember what it was, nor do I remember playing the game months before this series even started. I think it had something to do with Jedi or a fallen order, or how this area used to be all orange groves back before your grandmother and I got married back during the Johnson administration.

  26. Shirdal says:

    [Edit] Spoilers for the original trilogy ahead, in case that still matters.

    In the original trilogy, Luke confronts Vader and the Emperor with the goal of saving his father. As the confrontation reaches its climax, Luke loses control and nearly kills Vader – his own father – in a fit of rage. Luke only stops when he sees Vader’s severed mechanical hand, just like his own, which symbolizes their similarities, and how they are possibly going down the same path. The Emperor even taunts Luke that this is exactly what’s happening, just in case we are confused.

    There’s layers to this confrontation. It is framed in a way that makes it immediately clear that Luke killing a defenseless and defeated Vader out of anger is a bad thing. Even if you ignore all the magical hullabaloo about the Dark Side of the force being a corrupting influence, even if you remove the Force from the equation entirely, that framing still works. Luke was the idealistic hero who wanted to redeem his father and ended up almost murdering him.

    I think as Star Wars became bigger and bigger, that theme got lost in translation. The framing of a young boy hoping to save his father from evil got lost. Suddenly, it’s all about the magical hullabaloo that the original scene didn’t even need in the first place to maintain its theme. Suddenly, it’s all about not giving in to your emotions, because the Dark Side will corrupt you and yadda yadda.

    Cere doesn’t have the same connection to Vader that Luke did. She is not Vader’s daughter. She does not believe Vader can be redeemed. She did not even beat Vader into a helpless state where she had total power over him. Vader was an impossible and impassable obstacle in front of her, utterly overpowering and practically invincible. The most evil thing in the galaxy save the Emperor himself. Why shouldn’t she use the Force to defeat Vader?

    Luke had several reasons not to strike Vader down. Cere shouldn’t do it only because of space magic. The theme might be the same, but the details are lost. Take out the Force and give everyone guns. Should Cere still not try and shoot Vader? Should Luke?

    1. etheric42 says:

      Did Luke try not to avoid killing anyone else previously? Or is it only (genetic) patricide that’s the problem?

      I mean I do like the mirror of Anakin was willing to sacrifice anyone to save Padme, whereas Luke was willing to sacrifice himself to save Vader.

      Unless you buy that Palpatine was using the force to control the battle, and Luke sacrificed himself to allow the fleet to destroy the Death Star

      1. Shirdal says:

        When Luke confronts Jabba the Hutt’s men early in Return of the Jedi, he tries to get Jabba to back down peacefully before it turns into a fight. In this, we see Luke adopt a more peaceful stance as he grows more “enlightened” in the ways of the Jedi. Yoda was supposed to be a “great warrior”, but that turned out to have a very different meaning from what Luke (and the audience) expected.

        The trilogy establishes that a Jedi is not a warrior in the traditional sense. They are not killers. Luke, in particular, holds to this ideal when he insists on saving Vader, even when everyone else – other Jedi included – argue that it is impossible.

        When I say Luke shouldn’t kill Vader, it’s because that would mean Luke would be betraying himself, his teachings, his ideals. That comes first, and it works with or without the Force, with or without Vader being his father. The patriarchal connection, the parallels drawn between Luke and Vader, and the Force itself only serve to emphasize those themes.

        Cere has none of this. She had no problem sending Cal to cut down legions of stormtroopers and other creatures. She had no problem killing people herself when she picks up a lightsaber again to attack the inquisitor base. Why stop at Vader, the penultimate evil in the galaxy? The only reason is that the Dark Side, the evil magic, would corrupt her. It’s purely external.

        I think it would have been different, and much more impactful, if Cere’s history with the Dark Side amounted to more than the one time she used evil magic to escape torture and certain death. What if that one time had led her to commit further acts of evil, to using the Dark Side of the Force in a way that led to the deaths of innocents, before realizing what she had become and shutting it off completely, much like an alcoholic or any type addict would. When she faces Darth Vader, suddenly it’s not just about the evil magic corrupting her, it’s about her own personal flaws and failings.

        This is what that the confrontation between Cere and Vader is missing, which I feel is endemic to much of Star Wars today. It’s more about the Force and less about the characters themselves.

    2. ivan says:

      Take out the Force and give everyone guns. Should Cere still not try and shoot Vader? Should Luke?

      Wow. Excellent, excellent way of putting it. Kudos.

  27. Henson says:

    I dunno, it seems that even back in the OT, Yoda was cautioning against anger as a path to the Dark Side.

    “A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger… fear… aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Maybe another layer to this is thinking about the nature of Yoda’s statement here. Now I’ve only seen The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi once, as a kid, but from everything people have said about them here it sounds like the OT Jedi are like Shamus describes them, mysterious battle-monks. The final sentence quoted there comes off to me less like a mathematically-precise statement (“IF (you start down the dark path) THEN (you will be dominated by the Dark Side in perpetuum“) and more like a proverb or a folk saying, which are stated in absolutes but are understood not to be interpreted that way: “IN GENERAL, people drawing on their negative emotions tend to get stuck in that—ultimately self-destructive—mode of living.” Like if Yoda told Luke “Lost, is he who hesitates”, we wouldn’t think that to mean that people should never think twice about decisions or do anything other than their first impulse—it’s a proverb, expressed in a universal tone, but which we know is not meant to be taken literally. It’s really saying that sometimes decisive action is necessary and waffling or indecisiveness can mean losing everything. And it can be opposed by “Look before you leap,” which advocates taking a second look at things and not acting on impulse. Both wise pieces of advice at times, seemingly diametrically opposed until it’s understood that they are meant to be applied in context rather than as absolutes.

      Basically, proverbs or sayings seem like exactly the kind of vehicle a reclusive mystical hermit-monk like Yoda would use to pass on wisdom, not necessarily precise, formulaic statements about direct cause and effect. Like, some people can try an addictive substance or act once and then go on to never use/do it again, but other people start down a slippery slope. Sure your pupil might be one of the ones who can resist, but it’s probably better to just blanket warn them off trying it even once.

  28. Donald Raygun says:

    Whether you’re a Jedi or not, I don’t think you have a lot of control over what emotions you’re feeling.

    I think that the ability to control one’s emotions is a key part of the Jedi power fantasy that isn’t touched upon often. The laser swords, super acrobatics and the telekinesis are what draw in the kids, but adults wish they were Jedi because Jedi are cool-headed and can resist temptation in a way that most people can’t.

  29. Thore says:

    Its been a while since i played this, but I interpreted Ceres Animation as being tempted to use the dark side. Like as if she got ready to let got and go berserk with lightning and rage.
    Not that it would have mattered, as soon as Vader entered the stage the shit already has hit the fan, as it should. (God I miss good villains these days…)

    And i agree with you on your take about the dark side. Letting these emotions dictate your behaviour, even revelling in them, thats what leads to the dark side. Luke wasnt suddenly not angry anymore in the throne room on the death star. He just realized, what he would lose, if he gave in to the anger.

  30. Luka Dreyer says:

    This is totally unrelated to this game itself, but I really appreciate how you articulate your reading of Luke’s fight with Vader in Return of the Jedi. As someone that has always struggled with channeling my emotional reactions (especially anger) to external stimulus, the message of accepting anger (or any emotion), but denying it complete control over your actions – which would lead you down the dark path and all that – was quite a formative, albeit simple, moral lesson that I’ve continued to build on as an adult in more nuanced ways. I also struggle to see how this scene could be misinterpreted to suggest that feeling anger itself is a sign of the dark side and am still a bit peeved that the light and dark sides of the force were made so reductive in subsequent Star Wars media. In any event, you are not alone in your interpretation of the scene and I think it’s all quite clearly telegraphed to the audience.

  31. Sniffnoy says:

    Wait wait wait… “fear leads to anger”, etc., is from the prequel trilogy and not the original trilogy?? There isn’t even a variant of it in the original trilogy??

    Man, it’s been so long since I saw these movies that I didn’t remember that at all…

      1. Henson says:

        God, I love that comic.

  32. Syal says:

    As predicted. But what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would I still have posted it if you hadn’t said anything?


    As an underachieving supervillain myself, there are definitely issues with the presentation in this cutscene. Even taking the concept at face value that using the Dark Side is evil, they’re fighting someone who is already maximum evil. Using the Dark Side to defeat Vader here is like taking out a loan to make your house payment; yeah, it’ll cause severe problems down the road, but the alternative is to cause those problems now. Especially since Cere has come back from this once, there’s no good reason to stop using it here.

    Unless they’re going with her being unable to reconnect after her realization, in which case we’re switching to a moral about doubt being a crippling weakness, which is much worse. Or maybe they were going with her being Dark Side from the opening when she got tossed into the pit, and calming down let her see the non-head-on options. But that doesn’t come across at all.

    (She’s trying to stop a malevolent enemy, and she’s not even trying to kill him!)

    No, she’s totally trying to kill him. That’s a “crush him like the tin can he is” stance.

  33. YouTuber esfelectra has a very interesting (and long) take on the Force from an Objectivist perspective.

    The Foundations of Star Wars

    In his view, the true purpose of the Jedi Order is to emotionally cripple Force-users so they can’t develop enough strong attachments to become Sith. Ideally, everyone is raised as a space Buddhist and kept in a monastery where everything is owned collectively. The Star Wars movies are about the time the Jedi missed enough Force-sensitives to hit critical mass and whoops, there goes Alderaan.

  34. Jabrwock says:

    “For me his “rejection of the Dark Side” wasn’t him deciding he wasn’t angry anymore, it was him deciding to not allow that anger to make decisions for him.”

    I had no idea people thought it meant anything else. I saw Luke rejecting the Emperor’s attempts to goad him into surrendering to his anger and letting it control him.

    I felt it was the same in the prequels. The way I interpreted Yoda’s comments in the prequel was that fear->anger->hate->loss of control. When you let things boil to the rage level, you’re more likely to let your emotions make the decision for you. It wasn’t the anger that was the problem, it was that you were letting your hate flow through you and guide your actions. “I hate them, they deserve this”. Yoda was concerned Anakin never dealt with his anger, and was only letting it seeth, becoming more and more bitter and jaded, until he lashed out (which he does repeatedly, becoming more uncontrolled and abusive, until it culminated in “the Jedi deserve this for what they did to me”).

  35. Ryan says:

    Alright! Time for rambling about my personal interpretation of the force and how it differs from Shamus’.

    So, I can’t even point to where I first got this idea, but at some point I decided on the actual meanings of the “Light” and “Dark” sides of the force. TL;DR Using any sort of emotion to help you connect to the force = “Dark”, using zen-like calm and focus = “Light”. Using the force for anything other than a direct attack on another person = “Not necessarily Dark”. Direct force-attacks like choking, lightning, or even just some kind of “hold-person” equivalent like what Cere uses here = “Shady, at least”.

    The Sith are all about emotion as a path to access the force, because that’s the actual basis of the Dark. There isn’t any difference in the force, the difference is how you access it. The Dark tends to be “stronger” because certain emotions, chiefly the negative ones like fear/anger/hate are easier to call up in dangerous situations than Zen Calm. The problem they run into is that plugging your emotions into the force doesn’t help you deal with them, and training yourself to go into a rage on cue because doing so lets you dodge plasma and throw lightning is not the path to a healthy emotional state long-term. Theoretically you could be a Sith who only ever touched the force via hope, love, and happiness but it’s so much easier to be angry at whoever is shooting at you.

    Palpatine gets away with being evil and loving it, because sadistic glee is it’s own emotion and at least on the surface it’s somewhat less likely to lead to terrible decision making.

    In that paradigm, Cere could be called Dark here provided her “Hold-Person” spell was being powered by hatred of Vader or concern for the kids or anger at this whole situation or whatever, as opposed to calm determination. I do not however, buy into Yoda’s “once you start down the dark path, forever will you be a professional puppy-kicker” line and I think canon is on my side here. She might need a good talk or some councilling after this, but she isn’t necessarily going to be the next Hand of the Emperor.

    1. John says:

      “Forever will it dominate your destiny” could mean “you will be dealing with the repercussions of your use of the Dark Side for the rest of your life” rather than “using the Dark Side even once will turn you evil forever”. I think the implication in the films is that Yoda leans towards the latter interpretation. At the very least, we are certainly meant to take the idea seriously during the climax of Return of the Jedi. That said, Yoda is not a beacon of clear and direct communication–no wizened old master ever is, for some reason–so there’s definitely some wiggle room.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Theoretically you could be a Sith who only ever touched the force via hope, love, and happiness

      I really wanna see Darth Pollyanna now.

      1. Jabrwock says:

        “Bless your heart… /forcelightning”

    3. Jabrwock says:

      “I do not however, buy into Yoda’s “once you start down the dark path, forever will you be a professional puppy-kicker” line”

      Luke himself rebukes Yoda, that whole Death Star confrontation was that he believed Anakin could be redeemed.

      Even Yoda can be wrong.

  36. Joshua says:

    Arguing about the exact details of how the Jedi philosophy works to me is like people arguing about what a Lawful Good person would do vs. a Neutral Good. They’re both flawed philosophical systems designed by people were decidedly not philosophy specialists.

  37. ivan says:

    In one of the EU books, there’s a lady Luke is in love with, who used to be able to use the Force, but now cannot. Except she can use the Dark Side for some reason, go figure. At a point at the end of this book about them I read, she fought someone, or was being attacked by someone, and intermittently resorted to tapping into the Dark Side, in order to NOT DIE.

    In order to continue being alive, and not just die uselessly and pointlessly, taking a moral stand of being stupid good to the end, she used the Dark Side, a bit. And Luke, elsewhere but able to sense this happenening, went off on this screaming fit of stuff like “No! It’s not worth it!” “Don’t do this to yourself!” – and similar stuff. (Not the actual quotes, but think along those lines.)

    I kinda disagreed with Luke at the time of reading, and still do, that a vague moral slip for fractions of a second a few times, to stay alive, and not just be dead, is not something to be screaming at someone about. To be pleading at them to stop.

    “Please, woman I love, stop trying to live and just let them kill you. It is for the best, because even a fraction of a second of the Dark Side used purely to protect yourself is worse than you just dying.”

    So, yeah, totally agree Shamus, that guff is weird and I don’t like it. It’s possible to be justifiably angry over things. When something or someone you love or care about, gets hurt/destroyed/killed/whatever, getting angry is a natural response. It shows that you care. Anger is one aspect of caring about things.

    Destroying a planet, like the non force sensitive commander man does completely dispassionately, completely without care, at the start of Star Wars – that is Evil. Getting angry over children (or your sister) being threatened with torture, subjugation, and death? Not evil.

  38. Nate says:

    I have a similar problem to Shamus with the Force as portrayed in the Prequels, but there’s one aspect of the original Force concept that I think hasn’t been covered here:

    The Force isn’t just a sort of abstract ethical philosophy or a neutral “super power”. It’s really a kind of “spirit summoning” technique, and as such, ideas from Spiritism/Spiritualism come into play more than Buddhist ideas.

    That is: the “Force” is actually a sea of intangible *beings* surrounding the physical world, and while many of those beings are healthy and good, some of them are not in a happy place. Think vengeful ghosts tied to the earth, sort of thing. So there’s really two separate “Forces”, two pools of beings. And they are sentient.

    A Force-sensitive is a medium. When they activate their connection to the Force, those beings respond, and the power the sensitive channels comes from those beings. And crucially, *what type of beings respond depends on your mental state and intention*, and those beings don’t just go away once you’ve channelled some of their power. They will hang around and influence your thoughts and actions afterwards.

    So your state of mind when you “reach out” becomes incredibly important. If you are seeking to defend, to save life, to minimise violence, you’ll get the good Force beings responding. However, if your intent is primarily to injure, you’ll get the bad (unhealthy, insane) beings on the line, and while those ones are powerful at doing immediate harm and might help you out in a fix, they are going to hang around and mess you up on the inside. Worst case, some random dead Sith will end up actually using you as a meat puppet. Best case, you get your value system subtly screwed up. If you want to use “the Dark Side” as a kind of rocket boost to take out a heavy hitter like Vader? Well since he’s channelling some nasty energy, you’ll have to reach out to some dead trash person who is much nastier. That’s not going to go well for you *even if* you win that encounter.

    Addiction is a reasonable metaphor. But spirit invocation is really the heart of the idea. (Possibly even clearer in the early drafts, where Lucas called it “the Force *of Others*).

    None of this has anything to do with “emotion”, and Lucas screwed up quite badly by making that the issue. It’s about *intention*.

  39. Ravens-Cry says:

    Not super relevant, but there’s German animated film called Felidae, based on a novel series*. The basic premise is Noir but with cats. Not cat anthro, actual cats. Smarter than the real thing, but otherwise more or less having the same capabilities. Anyway, the reason I bring it up, is their term for humans is ‘can openers’, and that is what came to mind when I saw the page title.
    *very much NOT for kids, despite the Disney esque animation style.

  40. Ramsus says:

    While like some others I don’t entirely share your views on how the Light/Dark side works or your interpretation of what is being presented in different cases, I feel that discussion has been well enough covered.

    What I’m more curious about is what you meant about the Fear > Anger > Hate > Suffering thing.
    Because to me that absolutely is the most logical ordering of those emotions. Anger very often does originate as a response to fear, Hate is almost impossible to feel without also feeling anger and certainly more mild anger can transform into more extreme hate, and prolonged feelings of hatred (which is the likely result as people tend not to reach a point of hatred for something and then swiftly change their minds about it) is certainly going to result in your and others’ suffering.
    The only item on that list that seems like it can break the chain is Suffering, but only because prolonged any of those feelings would lead to suffering. But hate is still the one that most likely causes the most suffering as it’s the one that’s usually the most extreme and prolonged for any given individual and is the one most likely to cause repeat incidents of people other than the person feeling that emotion to suffer.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Considering Star Wars (at least orignially) is World War II in space, I never really took issue with the logical chain there*. This chain maps perfectly to xenophobia + power => totalitarianism. Or in other words, the Empire. You can exchange fear of the other for a different kind of fear and as long as you can rationalize the transition of fear to anger (i.e. find something or someone you decided is the cause of your fear, whether justified or not), everything can still lead to the next part. Of course, where the dogma of the Jedi goes wrong is in denying or surpressing fear, rather than accepting that fear (or any emotion) is part of life and it’s about managing it.

      *I mention dogma, of course what I wouldn’t want to argue is that Fear > Anger > Hate > Suffering ALWAYS holds true in ANY context. That’s dogma again. Philadelphus above demonstrates perfectly why context is important for this. In fact, context is important with anything and something we like to forget here in the real world all the time too. But I skirted the politics line by describing fascist Germany in this post already, so let’s pin the rest of this.

  41. Dev Null says:

    “Jedi aren’t supposed to be Vulcans, are they?”

    I always felt like they were, which annoyed me. The whole bit in ESB where Yoda tells Luke off for giving in to his love for his friends and rushing off to save them instead of finishing his training made me feel like it wasn’t just _negative_ emotions that were verboten, but emotion of any sort. Which kind of pissed me off (mostly as an older re-viewer; can’t say it really bugged me much the first time around, when I was 10…) Between Vulcans, Jedi, and Sherlock Holmes, I get a bit tired of SF telling me “Emotion is BAD! Intellect = Power and Emotion destroys Intellect!” It feels a bit like the nerdy kids who had trouble relating to other people formed a club to glorify their failure to relate to other people. And I say that as one of the nerdy kids who had trouble relating to others; but I never tried to pretend that that was a good thing. And I’m also still a massive fan of the original trilogy, who didn’t hate the rest of them as much as some. Loved the movies, wanted a light saber, but never really thought the Jedi were that cool, and was happy when Luke outgrew them by the end of the third film.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Admittedly, there Yoda’s objections were more rooted in an argument that it was more important for Luke to finish his training than try to rescue his friends from an obvious trap. His final argument when Luke asks if he should just abandon them is “If you value what they fight for, yes”. Completing his training would do more to free the galaxy from the Empire than rescuing those people would (although you can argue that without them maybe the Rebels don’t manage to destroy the second Death Star).

  42. GM says:

    I think there are two types of jedi code and one is the damaged

    Damaged code
    There is no emotion, there is peace.
    There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
    There is no passion, there is serenity.
    There is no chaos, there is harmony.
    There is no death, there is the Force.

    Whole Code:
    Emotion, yet peace.
    Ignorance, yet knowledge.
    Passion, yet serenity.
    Chaos, yet harmony.
    Death, yet the Force

  43. TLN says:

    #TheJediHadItComing indeed. I think this is a large part of why, apart from the original trilogy where the jedi are a mysterious force that as a group don’t have much of a role to play anymore, the only times any Star Wars media has told a story involving the jedi that I’ve been really interested in is KOTOR2. It shows better than any other Star Wars thing I’ve ever seen (granted I have never cared about any of the books/comics/animated cartoons) how the Jedi are just kind of assholes a lot of the time, and that putting everything into “light side” or “dark side” boxes is for the most part not really a reasonable thing to do.

    1. GM says:

      group don’t have much of a role to play anymore, 

      Sidious pulled them into a role,they
      Werent prepared for but they used to be Jedi lords and stopped for some reason?

      1. TLN says:

        I mean in the original trilogy most of that is left vague. The two original jedi that are in there are both these noble/humble figures and there is not a lot about what the jedi as a whole were like. It’s only later that their role was expanded on and it’s how we ended up with the ones in the prequels where they exert influence over entire government and lead armies into battle etc. and are clearly quite comfortable with power.

  44. beleester says:

    I don’t think I agree with your interpretation. When Luke is about to give into his anger and kill Vader, that’s framed as some sort of irreversible moral choice, one that will cement Luke’s heel-face turn. “Strike him down and take your place by my side.” And sure, the consequences of that choice are pretty irreversible in that Vader will be dead and Luke will be sad about that, and it’s much better for Luke’s mental health if he doesn’t, but Luke being angry and sad doesn’t translate into Luke taking his place at Palpatine’s side.

    Seriously, there is no logical way for this to work. Luke knows that Palpatine is Literal Space Hitler, and that Palpatine is at that moment commanding the Death Star to fire on his friends and allies as they attack it. But Palpatine is pretty confident that he can say “Good job killing your father, want to take his job?” and Luke will respond with “Okay” rather than “lightsaber to the face.”

    (And Vader is pretty confident too – enough that he’s willing to let Luke kill him as part of this plan!)

    It only really makes sense if the Dark Side is actually corrupting and not just “the things you do when you’re angry and scared.” Anger and fear are passing emotions that will go away with time and emotional support, but “Falling to the Dark Side of the Force” is supposed to be something fundamental and irreversible.

  45. Vladius says:

    I don’t know why it’s so offensive or hard to understand for some people that the dark side means more than just negative emotions. When Yoda says “do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor” he’s not talking about force lightning. When Vader says that it’s “too late” for him and that he “must obey his master” he’s not saying that he thinks the Emperor is a great guy. The dark side controls behavior, and the Emperor, as a master of the dark side, clearly exerts some kind of influence that goes beyond just verbal goading and persuasion.

    I think reading the Empire as “nazis” or “Hitler” all the time is part of the problem. The throne room scene is not a military engagement and serves no military purpose; if the actual military plans succeed then it will be tactically meaningless anyway (“Soon I’ll be dead, and you with me.”) It’s the end of a spiritual quest.
    This is why it makes no sense to say things like “well if Luke shot Palpatine or Vader dead with a gun during a battle, would that be okay?” It just doesn’t matter, it’s an irrelevant question. The whole point of the scenario is confrontation, temptation, and redemption, concerning immortal souls more than physical beings.

    Without having seen the part where Cere uses the dark side against Vader, it sounds more like the problem is that Cere’s temptation by the dark side hasn’t really been set up enough for it to have any dramatic weight, not that the established mechanics of the Force are wrong. Using the Force in conjunction with negative emotions has its own supernatural qualities, as others have already pointed out.

  46. Gautsu says:

    I don’t know if this is the care, but I have always felt that the Force, both light and dark side, is a presence, if not sentient. Similar to saidin in the Wot. Dipping into the dark side doesn’t just happen because of emotions, it leaves you with a stain that subtly works to addict you. Making it easier to slide further each time you give in

  47. Christopher Wolf says:


    Dark side should not be stronger than the light for sure.

    Proper understanding and channeling of emotions, aka things people actually do with them, makes sense to me. I, random person on the internet, approve, Shamus’s take.

    I have a doctorate, but it is not relevant to anything that was brought up here making my opinion as expert as any random dude.

    Random dudes, dudettes, or those who don’t go either route who agree or disagree, or more likely, ignore me on the internet, I salute you.

  48. Those who follow the Dark Side or the Light Side are religious force fanatics.

    The Emperor (and Vader) crave more power, and if they meet one that actually defeat them then that is okay, under the Rule of Two the strong shall replace the weak/the master. While this does seem self-destructive not that both Vader and The Emperor are fully corrupted by the dark side.

    Which brings me to a misconception you and many others have about the dark side.
    Killing is not evil, doing evil things are not the dark side. Hate, anger, suffering, can lead to the dark side.

    A jedi won’t go dark unless they actually “tap into” the dark side (i.e. giving in to the dark side).
    The dark side are like tendrils that reach out, luring you with quick and easy power.

    Once he dark side gets it’s tendrils into your soul then it starts to corrupt you which in turns causes you to fall deeper into the dark side, draw even more on that power. The dark side is self-destructing, all consuming. If left unchecked it would encompass the entire galaxy like a dark void of destruction.
    The light side is the other extreeme. Grey Jedi IMO had the right idea, the star wars universe needs both the light and dark side, in balance as too much of either cause a galactic collapse. either way.

    Vader taunting Cere (both verbally but also unseen through the force at the same time) was to push her closer to the darkside, if she had drawn enough on the dark side to really hurt Vader, then Vader would have won as Cere would have fallen fully to the darkside and he would have had full control over her (because besides the Emperor no-one is stronger in the darks side than Vader).

    A lot of people make fun of how easily Anakin fall for the Darth Sidius’s words in the prequels, but I kinda wish we’d seen a manifestation of the dark side eminating from the Darth Sidius as tendrils digging into Anakin.
    When Anakin fully submits to Darth Sidius later you can sort of see that Anakin knows what has happened but is unable to prevent it.
    Kinda like how in Return of The Jedi when Luke tries to bring Anakin back and he replies “It’s to late for me son”, the dark side sustains him, gives him life, and the Emperor is far stronger so Vader can’t break free of servitude.

    Not being able to control the dark side fully kinda makes the sequel trilogy sort of make sense as to why the Emperor is doing all the stupid shit he does, at some point the only focus ends up on being to find ways to get new powers. The dark side is a self eating parasite in that regards.

    The dark side is a half-sentient force of nature. I say half-sentient as any manifestations are not the dark side itself directly. One could argue Vader became a manifestation of the Dark Side.

    Some force users became hermits and/or insane, even the light side can be damaging. Generally Dark Side users pulls the force into themselves, while Light Side users pulls the force out of themselves (as drawing it from that around you would be denying them the force). In some ways it’s tied into a being’s life force.

    PS! Those feathers might be white owl feathers, which symbolises the Light Side manifestation from Star Wars Rebels/Clone Wars/The Mandalorian etc.

    See Morai for a whole new rabbit hole of Star Wars lore.

  49. Purple Library Guy says:

    I think the movies, up to Lucas’ death at least, did always intend for the light side of the Force to be about being all Vulcany. Yes, this is ludicrous, untenable, silly, but that is because despite the massive popularity of the Star Wars movies George Lucas was never a brilliant philosopher or psychologist and he put an untenable premise in his movies. We deal.

    So yeah, you’re supposed to be able to use Zen-y Jedi training to become serene and all in harmony with the Tao, uh I mean Force. Yes, as Shamus says this is impossible, but it is nonetheless the premise. In fact, it’s not as obvious, but there’s a fairly strong implication that even POSITIVE emotions are against the rules–happiness or enjoyment or hilarity or even love are also not supposed to be what you’re doing. The Sith aren’t normally into the positive emotions either–be amusing if they tried using those as a “gateway drug”. Or if some third force came along who believed in using the Force while actually happy.
    When you’re using the force Jedi-style you’re supposed to be almost letting the Force use you. You are a conduit; your calm serenity allows the Force to wash through you and you become an instrument of the universe unfolding how it needs to. When you use the dark side you are basically relying on the strength of your ego to force the Force to do things. This makes your effects tend to the more overt and it looks strong. But as far as I can tell, the theory when it’s being remotely consistent is that using the dark side of the force limits you to that, the force of your personal ego. Using the light side of the Force Zen style, if you can get the serenity really going, gives you unlimited power because you’re tapping the whole universe. But it tends to unfold in a more passive zenny way.

    I read a book once with a related concept–that you’d do your best swordsmanship if you could calmly accept death. Two great swordsmen who are both viewpoint characters end up facing off, the young one and the old one. The young one is totally taking the fight–he’s young, he’s strong, he’s not arthritic, he’s driving the older guy back as he wills. The older one has been pondering his mortality for some time, whether there’s that much point to perfecting his swordsmanship and living until his body falls apart, whether spending all that effort becoming unmatched basically makes him a coward since none of the kids can touch him so he’s incapable of having a fair fight, and so on . . . and he sort of thinks, “Wow, this young man is really good; I know his teachers, they’d be proud; this is looking like the time I’m finally going to lose–well, it’s as good a time as any” and he just lets go of his fears, calmly accepts the prospect of death, gives himself to the dance of blades, and suddenly realizes he killed the guy.

    Of course making this work requires movie/game writers (usually American ones yet) to dig the concept of subtlety, so often what you end up with is the light side just looking weak, like by using the light side you’re abiding by some kind of arms control agreement, like not using chemical weapons because you’re a good guy even though it puts you at a disadvantage. I don’t think that’s originally the point at all . . . the point is that real power comes from letting the force flow through you, not impeding it with your emotions and egotistical will.

    (Midichlorians of course ruin most of this if you look at them with even half an eye)

  50. Alecw says:

    Thankyou for explaining it so succinctly.

  51. John says:

    Shamus, I get the impression you’d burst into actual flames if you found out in the old EU, Luke and other lightsiders figured out non-dark-side lightning

  52. Alex says:

    My interpretation isn’t that anger = evil, it’s that when you use active force powers (e.g. telekinesis and not precognition) your effect on the Force lasts longer than the observable effects of your Force use. Regular Jedi swordplay is fine because you’re just listening to the Force and going with the flow, but recklessly redirect the flow of the force to use it as a weapon and you will leave a psychic scar on the Force and your connection to it.

  53. Lex Icon says:

    I’m super late to the party, but random factoid for you: in Silent Hill 2 you have to acquire a literal can opener to proceed through one area in the final hotel. In true Silent Hill fashion, the can you open is full of lightbulbs, which you need to fix a flashlight so you can go through a dark area.

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