Why is everyone in episodes 4-7 constantly exclaiming ‘I thought the Jedi were a myth!!11!!’ when confronted with a Force-user? I mean, weren’t the Jedi a major part of galactic life and politics for centuries? Isn’t it well within living memory that the Jedi had a fricking council?
Does everyone in that galaxy far, far away lack object permanence or something? Poor Obi-Wan Kenobi leaves a room for a minute and when he comes back in everyone’s like ‘WHOOOOOA it’s a real Jedi! I thought they were a myth!’ And he’s like ‘goddamn it, this shit again, I need a drink.’
OH MAN I THINK ABOUT THIS A TON OKAY like here is my thing:
There were like… 10,000 Jedi Knights at the height of their strength. I don’t remember where I’m getting that number, but it’s super firm in my mind. Like, definitely correct me if I’m wrong, but honestly it doesn’t even matter if it’s 10,000 or 100,000, or even 10,000,000 – because we’re looking at a galaxy of (conservatively) trillions of people. I mean, thousands of fully populated worlds? Look at the size of the fucking senate chamber, and each of those dudes is representing hundreds of millions, if not billions of people.
This setting is very bad at conveying its sheer scale, and not only fucks it up frequently – i.e. the declared canon number of clone soldiers created is barely enough to fight a ten-year war here on Earth – but by necessity gives us a very skewed perspective. There’s no way that, in a galaxy that size, even a fraction of a percent of the populace have seen a Jedi. They’re a tiny, weird cult that for some reason wielded tremendous governmental influence. It’s like… a very vague equivalent would be if the UN employed three dudes with a Ouija board, gave them diplomatic immunity and a fancy all-expenses-paid hotel room, and took their advice seriously. Like maybe if you actually ran into one of them they’d be able to truly put you in touch with your great-great-great-grandmother, but on the other hand what the fuck is this bullshit.
So post-Order 66, I imagine it was actually pretty astonishingly easy for Palpatine to arrange enough propaganda that people got walked down from “the Jedi are a respectable thing” to “this weird cult betrayed the Republic and tried to assassinate me.” Also it very quickly became political poison to talk about the Jedi at all, ever, like seriously don’t, so “were they ever a thing at all?” becomes an actual legitimate question, particularly for younger people.
Like even Vader’s powers are clearly mostly vague rumor for anyone not serving or looking to serve directly under him – “don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways” is not a thing you just up and say to a dude you even kinda-sorta believe can crush the life out of you with his brain. And Motti was a fucking admiral, not some boob lieutenant fresh out of Academy. Again, the Imperial military is huge, and Vader’s one dude… he’s just the one of the main characters, so we see a lot of him.
So I think it’s believable, you just have to look at the setting from a wildly different point of view than what we’re given in the movies.
so you’re saying that “the jedi are a myth” thing is true… from a certain point of view?