How The High Republic Jedi Handled Older Force-Sensitive Students
A Better Solution To The Problem
It is no secret that Force-sensitive children are eligible to undertake training to become Jedi only if it begins at a very young age, something which was highlighted in The Phantom Menace when Qui-Gon Jinn presented Anakin Skywalker to the Jedi Council as having immense potential. Despite Anakin eventually becoming an exception, the general rule was a strict one in the Galactic Republic era. However, in the age of the High Republic, the Jedi used to take an alternative approach towards such children. This topic was a central theme in Issues 1-5 of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, opening up the discussion of whether the Anakin's training predicament would have changed should his situation be normalized as in the High Republic.
For those who have yet to read Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1-5 - SPOILERS AHEAD.
"Overage" Training Of Children Strong With The Force During The High Republic Era
The story began with Zeen Mrala, a young member of the Elders of the Path, exhibiting her Force powers with Padawan Lula Talisola to protect a group of Padawans and Younglings unintentionally involved in a chaotic Nihil firefight during an aid mission to Trymant IV. Becoming an exile of the Elders due to her use of the Force albeit with good intentions, Zeen Mrala bonded with the young Jedi and attracted the attention of Master Yoda, who discussed with other Masters the possibility of training despite her relatively old age.
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Unlike what we have seen in The Phantom Menace, the discussion of Mrala's training intriguingly focused more on "what would be the best for her" rather than an outright rejection in light of the fear of a fall to the Dark Side due to, among other things, existing emotional attachments. Evidently, the Council ruled that despite her being too old to embark on the path of becoming a Jedi Knight, an informal arrangement was nonetheless permitted for her to be trained. She became the unofficial second apprentice of Master Kantam Sy alongside his Padawan Lula Talisola. This stood in stark contrast to Anakin's situation, in which despite recognizing his potential, the Jedi Council dogmatically refused permission of training. It was not until Qui-Gon’s untimely death that they swayed to Obi-Wan’s persuasion. Notably, Mrala was content with the arrangement as a "Force-sensitive trainee" while not technically being a Padawan.
Would Anakin Skywalker's Situation Have Changed If He Was Considered For The Alternative?
Anakin was taken into the Jedi Order and trained by Obi-Wan despite clear reluctance by the Council. In some way, the Council unnecessarily confined itself to a black and white choice dichotomy that led to no good solution. It would be foolish to neglect such strong potential in the Force, but it was also clearly not wise to approve his training. After all, he exhibited clear red flags of giving in to the Dark Side as evident in his emotional attachments and deeply-rooted anger.
Had the Jedi Council offered Anakin an alternative path similar to that of Zeen Mrala's, it is certainly possible that he would become a strong user of the Force for good. As he no longer needed to fully heed to the strict code in becoming a Jedi Knight, attachments may be treated more lightly, and he could be taught to manage and control his anger in a less by-the-book way which evidently does not suit his special circumstances.
At the very least, by not being able to ascend the ranks of the Jedi Order, Anakin would not play important roles in politics and war during the Clone Wars, thereby depriving Darth Sidious the opportunity to manipulate him into becoming his pawn and destroying the Jedi. The events of Star Wars and the fate of the galaxy would have turned out differently.
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Written By Geoff Lo
Syndicated From Culture Slate
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