We see Luke teaching Rey about the Force and the history of the Jedi in The Last Jedi and those moments of, “passing on what you have learned” is (to say the least) intense. Luke tells Rey, “and this is the lesson. That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity-can’t you see that?” Yeah, if that wasn’t a real eye-opener to the audience as much as it was to Rey, then perhaps we should do some homework.
In The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata meets Rey for the first time and is captivated by her presence within that mystical energy field known as the Force. It is Maz who introduces Rey to the Force by telling her that the Force, through the Skywalker saber is calling to her and that the light has always been there. Well, Rey is in total shock after her so-called Force Back and is trying to come to terms with it, but fighting it all the way. And so, she runs. But, the Force cannot be turned off, so to speak, it leaves traces, and in one way or another, it will catch up with you.
Unfortunately for Rey, it does and in the form of Kylo Ren. Darkness rises and light to meet it, balance? Perhaps we are made to think this is so. Let’s remember, Obi-Wan Kenobi once told Luke, “you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.” This lesson is something we should keep in the back of our minds as we continue our exploration of the Force and what it means to find balance.
Recently Charles Soule, the author of the second volume of Marvels comic series Darth Vader, which expounded upon Darth Vader’s coming to grips (pun intended) with his new identity, the loss of Padme and his former self, Anakin Skywalker. Soule achieved this by forging a “balance” between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader through the use of a portal to access what Vader is meant to believe can bring back or resurrect Padme from the dead. Now remember, Dave Filoni, executive producer of Star Wars Rebels planted the seeds of such possibilities with his episode known as “The World Between Worlds,” which allowed young Ezra Bridger to walk between time, the past, present, and the future. Again, without finding peace or calmness within one’s self, access to such realms cannot be attained. Now, apply Yoda’s words to Luke from The Empire Strikes Back, “You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace.” and this logic makes total sense. Although, when you think about it, good and bad, light and dark, what’s in the middle? Balance.
Yes, “self-balance.” Soule is a genius in his own right with this last and final issue of Darth Vader, volume 2. We, the fan, finally get a closer look at the rise and fall of the one who started it all, the very core of the Skywalker Saga, the Hero with no Fear; Anakin Skywalker. This final issue walks us through what one could perceive as a trip down memory lane via the first-person point of view.
Vader sheds his skin, literally and figuratively, and the Force allows him passage through the portal and gifts him with Force imbued limbs. Once he crosses the threshold, Anakin emerges. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking display of self-reflection as his tormented mind revisits the past, the present he longs for, and what will be. See, the Force is a tricky thing-it’s not black and white. Hence Yoda, “difficult to see. Always in motion is the future…”
In other words, what the Force shows us at one point can change or become altered by our choices and possibly, emotions too. Again, think back to Return of the Jedi and Kenobi’s advice to Luke before he ventures off to confront Vader for the second time. Kenobi says, “bury your feelings down deep, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the Emperor.” That said, think how this played out for Anakin and now, Rey. Still, keeping perspective, what one sees as a weakness can, in turn, become a strength. In the end, unconditional love for Anakin Skywalker perceived to be his greatest weakness by his Master, Darth Sidious ultimately became his greatest strength. Once again, a balance.
Drawing upon that, the perception of weakness versus strength reminds me of the conversation Rey and Luke have in The Last Jedi as she discovers the Force within herself. Luke asks her to stretch out with her feelings. He prompts her to describe what she sees, Rey tells him, “The island. Life, death, and decay that feeds new life. Warmth. Cold. Peace. Violence.” After which Luke asks, “And between it all?” Balance and energy, a Force is Rey’s answer. So, like the cycle of life, the balance within the Force is cyclical. Life and death, creation and destruction, and in between is a balance.
I know it seems like a lot, but let’s take this all the way back to the beginning. Is it plausible to think, taking into consideration what we just discussed that perhaps, Yoda knew since meeting Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace that he is at his purest form as the boy from Tatooine? Yoda sizes up the boy and considers him and says no to training him as a Jedi. Why? Perhaps, Yoda’s so-called perception based off of Anakin’s fear was the Force striking back. Anakin Skywalker, untrained and pure, is a beacon, a vergence in the Force. Simply put, in the eyes of the Jedi Order and their dogmatic views, only the known is safe.
Still, hubris aside, training Anakin made him a weapon, it didn’t matter what side he was on, Jedi or the Sith. Again, confirming what we already know to be true, a Jedi Master is responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader. Can the same be said for Kylo Ren? Possibly. Yes.
All in all, the Force does not belong to the Jedi. It doesn’t belong to any faction that fosters it. Essentially, the living force is a cyclical nature of the struggle between the light and dark, and unfortunately, the galaxy pays a massive toll with each cycle. But, between it all, pure and untrained, neither light nor darkness, a vergence. Balance and energy. A Force.