‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ will expand the Force beyond the Jedi and the Sith

In 1977, the world was introduced to the hokey religion and ancient weapons of the Jedi Order in Star Wars. Through Luke Skywalker, audiences learned that in a galaxy far, far away certain people could work wonders by tapping into the mysterious force that binds everything together. Those who used those powers for good were called the Jedi. If the Force-user chose a darker path, they became a Sith Lord. A black-and-white way of looking at the world, to be sure. But one that fit in with spaghetti-western-in-space feel of A New Hope.

The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi would both muddy the waters a little on whether going to the Dark Side was an irredeemable act. The prequel trilogy would make everyone question the wisdom of blindly following ancient prophecies. The Clone Wars cartoon would open the door to the concept that the Jedi and the Sith were two sides of the same coin and bringing ‘balance to the Force” was a merger, not an eradication of the Sith. An idea that is now blossoming on Star Wars Rebels. So it makes sense that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would continue the theme that the Jedi and the Sith aren”t the only viewpoints in the galaxy.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards revealed a Force ‘Holy Land” will be central to the plot of his A New Hope prequel.

“[Jedha is] a place where people who believe in the Force would go on a pilgrimage. It was essentially taken over by the Empire. It”s an occupied territory… for reasons we probably can”t reveal […] In a wider level, there must be loads of people who just believe in the Jedi and believe in the Force and have been affected by it. If it”s a really ancient religion, as Obi-Wan Kenobi said, it”s got to exist in thousands or millions of people in the galaxy.”

That the planet is called Jedha – a derivative of Jedi – does not escape notice. While Edwards declined to say what the Empire so desperately wants from the planet, it”s likely tied to Force. It could be as simple as a planet-wide cache of kyber crystals (the stones which power both lightsabers and more massive weapons of Force-origin). Or it could be something more…elusive. The idea of a planet called Jedha raises the question, “Did the Jedi name a planet after themselves or are the Jedi named for the planet?” If the latter, it”s possible Jedha is the Jedi homeworld where the Order first appeared before spreading throughout the galaxy.

What kind of secrets would such a place contain? How powerful would the Jedi Temple(s) on the planet be? Is it possible Jedha is THE original Force planet, and the Sith homeworld of Moraband only a later off-shoot as the Order broke down into Light and Dark? After all, as Yoda discovered in the final season of The Clone Wars, there is far more to the Force than either the Jedi nor the Sith comprehend.

Just one more reason to look forward to Rogue One arriving in theaters this December!