In true Star Wars fashion, the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi left fans with a lot of questions. We finally see and hear Luke Skywalker after his brief appearance in The Force Awakens, and the years have not treated him kindly. He ends the trailer on an ominous note, saying he knows only one truth: “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” That leaves us wondering, is Rey the first Gray Jedi?
What are Gray Jedi?
The Gray Jedi are an idea that originated in Star Wars Legends. There are two basic ways of describing Gray Jedi. The first is that they are Force users who walk between light and dark. The second is that they can be Jedi who don’t believe religion is necessary to use the Force. In the days of the Jedi Order, they see no need to follow the will of the Jedi Council. To them, the only will that matters is the will of the Force. In Legends, some Jedi even believed that Qui-Gon Jinn was a Gray Jedi.
Are There Gray Jedi in The Last Jedi?
As Luke trains Rey, he asks her to look into the Force and tell him what she sees. She says she sees light, dark, and balance. We can assume that Luke doesn’t want the Jedi to end without being replaced, so could they be replaced with Gray Jedi? Fans seem to think so—after the trailer dropped, the Gray Jedi page became the #1 page on Wookieepedia.
If Rey is the first of a new kind of Force user, then it’s not unprecedented in this new era of Star Wars. Kylo Ren already represents something new too. According to The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary, Supreme Leader Snoke sees Kylo as the embodiment of a new kind of Force user, someone who represents the aims of the First Order but stands between light and dark. Snoke even encourages the struggle inside of his apprentice that we saw in The Force Awakens.
If Snoke represents one end of the spectrum setting up a new kind of Force user, then it’s a safe bet Luke might do the same thing in the vein of the Gray Jedi.
Have We Seen Hints Already?
Star Wars storytelling has already started setting up this idea in the last few years. In the third season of Star Wars Rebels, we were introduced to an ancient character known as the Bendu, who claimed to stand between the light side and the dark side. He saw the struggles of the Jedi and Sith as petty and uninteresting, something beneath his ancient power and wisdom.
The Force Awakens novelization also hinted towards a gray path being the endgame for the Jedi and for the balance of the Force. According to the Journal of the Whills:
“First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.”
―Journal of the Whills, 7:477
A year ago, it wasn’t entirely clear what this meant and why it was being referenced. But with The Last Jedi trailer, “the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight” starts to suggest that Luke has a new outlook on the Force and that he believes it is time for the Jedi to end and become something else. He’s too attached to the past to become the embodiment of that new idea, but perhaps he can train Rey to be something new.
All signs in Star Wars storytelling are starting to point to this idea. What do you think? Join the conversation on Wookieepedia!