People have been eagerly awaiting Star Wars: The Force Awakens for well over a year now, and in that time they have had to occupy themselves by over-analyzing set photos and trailers and creating their own fan theories to predict what will happen before they even get a chance to see the movie. This is apparently an enjoyable way to spend time.
One of the most prevalent predictions is that Luke Skywalker will go to the Dark Side. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that new villain Kylo Ren is actually Skywalker, despite another actor playing the part. Just another case of a J.J. Abrams’ bait-and-switch.
Some point out that it would make little sense for Luke to succumb to the Dark Side. But here’s what I propose: Luke could still be a villain without going to the Dark Side, because the Jedi aren’t any better than the Sith.
Now, I’m not trying to argue that the Sith or the Empire are actually the good guys, as countless click-bait articles would claim. The Sith are still pretty terrible. They are driven by a need for power and complete domination. They blew up an entire planet full of innocent people as an interrogation tactic. They are not nice people.
The Jedi, then, become the good guys by default. The Jedi and Sith are spoken of as two sides of the same coin, so if the Sith are awful genocidal monsters, then the Jedi have to be heroes. The problem is, just because you fight a bad guy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good. After all, Stalin fought Hitler, but that didn’t stop him from being terrible – and possibly worse – in his own right. The Jedi are the Space Stalins to the Sith’s Interstellar Hitlers.
Let’s look at how both sides use the Force. The Sith let their anger flow through them and they draw their power from it. This makes sense, both in terms of emotions being powerful things and the fact that if you let your emotions consume you, it can lead to regrettable actions. Just like that time you got drunk and read your ex’s Facebook feed while listening to Adele, got mad, and decided to bang the ham in your fridge to get back at her. We’ve all been there.
With all that being said, it makes sense that the Jedi would want to get a better handle on their emotions. But they went off in the opposite direction without letting up on the gas. They don’t just try to keep their emotions in check, they outright ban them.
The philosophy of the Jedi revolves around detaching yourself from your emotions, which is great if your goal is to breed psychopaths. Emotions are necessary in order to empathize with others. By cutting themselves off from emotions completely, they lose the ability to empathize, which is a tell-tale sign of psychopathy. This leads to an indifference to moral beliefs and to no longer being concerned about the wellbeing of others as long as it serves your goals (which may be why it is the Jedi we see taking away the free will of others with mind tricks).
It also explains why the Jedi seem so incompetent in the prequels. Without emotion, they cannot relate to the universe around them. Their anti-social tendencies and inability to read others is probably a big reason why Palpatine was able to execute his coup right under their goddamn noses.
It also explains why pretty much everything Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father in A New Hope is a lie. He is manipulating Luke into beginning his journey to defeating Darth Vader without any concern for Luke’s emotional wellbeing because that is how the Jedi trained him to be. All Obi-Wan cares about is “restoring balance to the Force” and he couldn’t give two shits how Luke feels about it because Obi-Wan has no empathy. He was trained not to.
Luke wouldn’t need to become a Sith to be a villain. All he needs to do is have good intentions that do not take the lives of those around him – or entire planets – into consideration. He could go all Ozymandis and do something he genuinely thinks would help the galaxy even as it is detrimental to a portion of it, and he would still be a Jedi while doing it.
Will that actually be what goes down in The Force Awakens? Who knows. I don’t personally think that is what would happen. But if it does, let’s not be too surprised. As soon as he became a Jedi, Luke was already halfway there.