Way back in Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, fans got a teaser trailer for Rogue One. Not much was presented in the way of detail, but we did get a glimpse of the Death Star in the atmosphere of a jungle planet. If you haven’t seen this teaser, you can see it here. What struck me as odd back then was the fact that the teaser opened with the famous Obi Wan Kenobi quote from A New Hope:
For more than a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the gaurdians of peace and justice for the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.
As a brief aside, the amount of time “a thousand generations” seems odd. Why not give the time in terms of years? This quote is most likely a reference to the biblical verse Deuteronomy 7:9, which reads
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations…”
This quote in this trailer seemed strange to me for two reasons. First, because it makes reference to the Jedi in a teaser for a movie in which there are no Jedi. Second, it made reference to a time long before the events of Rogue One. The saving grace is the last part “Before the Empire” when the Death Star comes to view.
However, when we started to see elements of the history of the Jedi in subsequent trailers, it started to give me the impression that this quote could be even more poignant. We got this huge Jedi Statue in the latest trailer, in sort of a blink-and-you-miss-it moment that most people I’ve talked to missed it the first time they saw it. Here is a lightened version in case you missed it:
The other key point was an interview with Donnie Yen talking about the fact that his character is from Jedha. According to Donnie Yen, the moon Jedha is where they made the first light saber:
— ExtraTV (@extratv) July 17, 2016
OK, so he says this is the place where the use resources to build, make light saber. I take this he is saying it is where they made the first lightsaber. Otherwise, why mention it? Coupled with the name as obviously similar to Jedi, it is clear that this moon is the location of the origin of the Jedi in the new canon.
If we look at the old canon, there is a planet called Tython from which the Je’daii order originated in the comic book Dawn of the Jedi.In the comic book the concepts of the Ashla and Bogan were introduced, which have only recently been reused in Rebels as names for the Light and Dark sides of the Force. The Je’daii originated about 26,000 BBY, which explain the “a thousand generations” part because you might say a generation is about 26 years (depending on how you define it). It’s possible that Tython has now been changed to Jedha in the new canon. On the planet Tython were 9 pyramids that were actually space ships that collected Force-sensitives from planets throughout the galaxy.
It is clear that they won’t go down this road in Rogue One in any sort of backstory, because parts of it don’t seem to translate well to the big screen. I could see the pyramids that are space ships working, but in the comic, they sort of flew around the galaxy collecting Force sensitives, which just wouldn’t fit with my head canon view of how they would play this out on the big screen. However i believe we can expect to see more of the Legends stories as partially canon especially as we go further and further back in time. We know that whatever the battle was the ended on Jakku 1000 years previous marks the change from the “Old Republic” to the PT era Republic. Based on this we can also speculate that the Jedi’s role in the republic was changed and many of their old base of operations were abandoned. This leads to Ahch-to being lost and Jedha becoming a mecca instead of home for the Jedi.
The big question is, how much backstory of the Jedi will we get? Will they actually go into describing how the Jedi came to be in this film? I would say that there will be many opportunities to do so. Gareth Edwards described Jedha is the Jedi’s Mecca. If we see this fact portrayed on film, we might get to see some of the followers of the Force (Church of the Force?) discuss the origins of the Jedi on this moon. Chirut Imwe is from the moon, so he could certainly say something about the history of the Jedi, perhaps to Baze.
The other thing that would be a fantastic opportunity is to connect to The Force Awakens and Episode VIII. This is because Luke is searching for the First Jedi Temple. There is a good chance that the beehive huts on Ahch-To are in fact this temple. So there is a fantastic opportunity to make mention about the first Jedi on Jedha leaving that moon to go to Ahch-To to build this temple. They could even only mention it in general terms like “the ancient Jedi left Jedha a far corner of the galaxy to build a temple…” or something like that to keep it general.
Going back to the statue, the question is, why was it knocked down and buried? At first, I might think this is because of the Empire tearing things down and removing any memory of the Jedi. This is possible, but look at how deep the statue is in the sand. Perhaps the impact of being knocked down pushed it into the sand, causing it to be partially buried. The other possibility is because this statue being on the ground is from a time much much older than the Empire. Which is it? I think it must be the first situation. I think the statue was in fact built in more recent times as a monument to the Jedi, on this moon the “Mecca” of the Jedi. This is because it just doesn’t make sense that the first Jedi would build this huge statue before they would build their first temple! That is mixed-up priorities! Furthermore, such a huge statue doesn’t seem like something the Jedi, let alone the first Jedi, would do. It is too bombastic. Therefore, I think this statue was built much later by followers of the Force on Jedha. I suspect it may be from the “Old Republic” time era and was knocked down during the conflict that destroyed Jakku and the Sith 1000 years before.
We may not get the detail we are talking about here but I do expect that we will get some of the history of the Jedi and this planet. As we’ve discussed before History matters in the new canon whether its places, groups, or the nature of the Force and Rogue One was introduced to us with a hint of that history. It won’t be focus obviously but the location of Jedha is not by accident and fits with every other piece of new canon. Until next week May the Force be with you.