As happens with that, sometimes I a random musing dislodges that I add to my own internal interpretation of the story (“head canon” as a good friend taught me to call it). Just such a thing happened today while I was mowing the lawn.
The Jedi in the prequels get suckered into leading a war that makes them betray every principle for which they supposedly stand. That’s a given. As The Clone Wars TV series revealed, and the new book Dark Disciple clearly lays out, the Jedi were acting more and more against their “founding principles” every day.
We also know from Attack of the Clones that their ability to use the Force had diminished. Clearly, they were still able to perform stunning feats of action and bravery; that’s clearly in the text of the films. Their ability to discern meaning beyond the surface, though, had become clouded.
Undoubtedly Sidious had something to do with that, as did Anakin’s march toward Darkness. The Force itself was arguably shifting as well, preparing to balance itself with a vengeance.
Today, surrounded by grass, weeds and insects (cut, kill, avoid!), I thought about Yoda hiding on Dagobah. Much has been made about that planet in the Expanded Universe and even the Clone Wars show, emphasizing how Yoda found himself surrounded there by unfiltered life. It masked him from those who would seek him and allowed him to commune deeply with the Force over the years. It was awash in what Qui-Gon called The Living Force.
It’s possible then that the Jedi’s placement on Coruscant made a difference in their ability to detect Palpatine’s true nature. Here were a group of people who were supposed to be communing with the basic energy of life itself, and they were sitting in a literal ivory tower on a planet that had been turned into one giant city.
Of course, their participation in the mechanics of government placed them there. It’s always worked as symbolism of their failure to remain true to themselves.
But consider that if they had been located on another planet, or even a moon like Endor, they could have sensed him more clearly. If their vision was clouded, why didn’t they try something like a Council Retreat where they could be in better communion with the Force and try to see things more clearly? Why not try anything to hit the “reset” button?
The obvious answer is that they were too busy conducting a war by that point. The idea never seems to occur to them, though.
I wonder if that would be worth pursuing for my own fanfic…featuring the first Jedi with male pattern baldness.