35 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s the screentime of Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Even though his cinematic presence was cut short by Darth Maul’s crimson blade, it’s impossible to overlook how much Qui-Gon Jinn stands out among his peers.
His unshakeable belief in Anakin Skywalker as the Chosen One puts him on a collision course with the Jedi Council. This clash of ideal alone portrayed the rebellious nature of Qui-Gon Jinn who dares resist the edicts of his peers that are above his pay grade.
The Phantom Menace is a cinematic entry of the prequel trilogy. But from a certain point of view, The Phantom Menace is also a teaser into the true character of Qui-Gon.
My belief that Qui-Gon Jinn is the best Jedi that the galaxy could ask for stemmed from The Phantom Menace. However, it’s the stories of this renegade Jedi beyond the big screen that reinforced my fascination with Qui-Gon Jinn.
Let’s take a closer look at why Qui-Gon isn’t just the ideal Jedi, but also worthy of being in the cradle of The Living Force:
A Rebel With A Cause
It doesn’t take a lot to figure out that Qui-Gon Jinn exists on a different wavelength than his Jedi peers. Unlike his by-the-books Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn never hesitates to bend the rules to accomplish his mission.
Qui-Gon’s habit of doing things out of the box lies in his belief that the Jedi Order’s standard operating procedures are too rigid. He prefers to deal with the galaxy as it is rather than being confined by esoteric philosophies.
“What use are ideals if we cannot fit them to the universe as we find it? If our beliefs tell us one thing, and the needs of real people tell us another, can there be any question of which we should listen to?”Qui-Gon Jinn, Master and Apprentice
Due to his unorthodox nature, it’s not surprising to see a list of confrontations against the Jedi Order in Qui-Gon’s book. But none of those compares to perhaps his biggest show of defiance to the Jedi Council – declining a seat in the Council.
Even though it may seem like he’s living up to his rebellious reputation in this particular instance, his rationale comes from a pure heart. To Qui-Gon, instead of understanding the Force, the Jedi Order has demoted themselves to nothing more than the Republic’s police.
A Student Of The Living Force Instead Of The Jedi Code
Unlike the rest of the Jedi Masters, Qui-Gon Jinn is free of the dogmatic views of the Jedi Order. From the Council’s lens, Qui-Gon is the closest Jedi Master to a zealot among their ranks.
In reality, Qui-Gon is far wiser than they are. His rejection of the Jedi Council’s seat is a reflection of his philosophies to surrender to The Living Force and drifts in its current.
“MY RELATIONSHIP TO THE FORCE HAS CHANGED. I WISH TO BE SILENT FOR A WHILE. TO SURRENDER TO IT. TO ACCEPT WHATEVER THE FORCE BRINGS. JOINING THE COUNCIL WOULD TAKE ME FAR AWAY FROM THAT GOAL.”Qui-Gon Jinn, Master and Apprentice
A central contrast between the beliefs of the Jedi Order and Qui-Gon Jinn lies in their views of prophecies. Yoda eschews the study of prophecies. He believes that any attempt to control the future is a path to the Dark Side.
Qui-Gon Jinn, on the other hand, adopted a nuanced view of the prophecies. In his mind, faith in vague windows to the future as foretold by ancient Jedi mystics are parts and parcels of The Living Force.
Qui-Gon’s unshakeable faith in the prophecies allows him to see the Chosen One in the form of one Anakin Skywalker. His discovery of the Force prodigy sets forth a chain of events for the greater galaxy, for better or worse.
An Equal Respect For All Living Beings
Time and time again, we’ve seen how Qui-Gon Jinn holds everyone around him in high regards. The Phantom Menace showcases his unmatched empathy when he spares Jar Jar Binks from the wrath of Boss Nass and frees Anakin from slavery.
“There is nothing more valuable than a friend.”Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
In Master and Apprentice, we witnessed Qui-Gon Jinn at another shining moment when he defies the Jedi Council against the signing of a treaty between the Czerka Corporation and the Pijali royalty. The treaty will effectively legalise slavery on Pijal, which isn’t a course that Qui-Gon Jinn will allow on his consciousness.
An Awareness Of His Place In The Galaxy
The Galactic Republic and its peacekeeping Jedi Order effectively lost the Clone Wars the moment they participated in its first battle in Petranaki Arena. Instead of being faithful to their ‘peacekeepers’ label, the Jedi Order played into Darth Sidious’ hands and assumed the role of battlefield generals.
Qui-Gon Jinn, on the other hand, chooses to serve the galaxy from a place of humility. A student of The Living Force, he believes that the Jedi Order has lost its true purposes.
While the Jedi sees conflict as a means to restore balance, Qui-Gon is aware that violence sows the seeds of the dark side. A means beyond conflict is the only path to achieve balance.
“We are seen as soldiers. Servants of politicians. With little mention of the Force itself”Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars: Age of Republic – Qui-Gon Jinn
Alas, one can only imagine how significant a role Qui-Gon Jinn would play in undermining the Clone Wars if he’d survived the Battle of Naboo.
The First Jedi To Become One With The Force
It is widely regarded in the Jedi circle that Yoda wields the greatest mastery of the Force. However, even the revered Grand Master of the Jedi Order couldn’t match what is perhaps Qui-Gon’s greatest accomplishment.
For most deceased figures, the concept of their immortality is boxed in a metaphorical notion. A figure achieves immortality when her name stands the test of time beyond her passing.
Qui-Gon takes the concept out of the metaphorical box and shapes it into a literal concept. As a result, he succeeds in being the first Force-sensitive to speak beyond the grave.
“It is a matter of learning to both claim the physical world and detach one’s self from it. a matter of finding center, of calming one’s soul and giving one’s self over completely to the force.”Qui-Gon Jinn, Master and Apprentice, From A Certain Point Of View
This merit alone frames Qui-Gon Jinn as a visionary among his Jedi contemporaries. Even Yoda humbles himself before the spirit of Qui-Gon to learn the secrets of eternal consciousness.
Qui-Gon’s Force Spirit begets repercussions that go beyond the Clone Wars. Without his guidance to achieve afterlife consciousness to Yoda and Obi-Wan, who knows what would’ve become of the galaxy without enlightened Luke Skywalker and redeemed Anakin Skywalker?