The Grey Jedi have always been a bit of an unexplored area within the Star Wars universe, but since the Disney take over the concept has been constantly cropping up. It’s an idea that I think (and hope) they will add in the next film. The evidence for this has certainly built up over the last two years. To start with, just in case you don’t already know, let me give a brief overview as to what the Grey Jedi actually are.
The term itself has two meanings. The first is to describe Force-users who walked the line between the light and the dark side of the force without surrendering to the dark side. The second was merely to describe Jedi who distanced themselves from the Jedi Council and operated outside of the Jedi Code. Some would put Qui Gon Jinn into this category, as he would often disobey the council to do what he felt was right. But, to be a true Grey Jedi, you would have to fall into both categories, and not belong to any force tradition. In more simple terms, they used both the light and the dark side and did what they wanted.
The first time this idea crops up in the new canon, is back in 2015 with the release of the Force Awakens. The novelisation of the film, written by Alan Dean Foster, begins with this passage from 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 the grey
Through refined Jedi sight.
The inclusion of this passage was certainly a deliberate move by Disney, hinting at the path the sequels may be taking. It’s clear that the idea of Grey Jedi will be important in the coming films, and it seems to be where Luke is headed.
At the end of the trailer for The Last Jedi, we hear Luke say: “I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end.” This very clearly shows us that the Jedi Order as we know it, is no longer going to exist. At the same time, we also see shots of Rey training, so although the old Order is ending, it’s possible that Luke intends to start a new Order, and Rey will be his first Padawan. Admittedly, the old Jedi Order is flawed. The forbidding of attachment is one of the main reasons that Anakin turned to the Dark Side, as he had to keep his marriage to Padme a secret. Plus, the Order worked in a way that made them elitist, with a High Council and the belief that they are better than others in society. Even Yoda himself admits that the Jedi had become far too arrogant. And they could never truly achieve balance, if they remained on only one side of the force. I think Luke realised these flaws after the failure of his new academy, which is why he was searching for an ancient Jedi temple, most likely in search of guidance. He may have learned of the Grey Jedi there, and decided that it was the path he wanted to take.
It’s not just the main saga that’s hinting at the Grey Jedi though, even the cartoon series Star Wars Rebels is moving in that direction, with some theorising that Kanan and Ezra will become Grey Jedi themselves. Plus, in the most recent series, we are introduced to the Bendu. He was in slumber on the planet Atollon until Kanan’s imbalance woke him. The Bendu claims to be the one in the middle, he is no Jedi or Sith, but he has a deep and powerful connection to the force. During the battle on Atollon, when Grand Admiral Thrawn invaded the rebel base there, Bendu refused to take part in the fighting, as he did not care for their petty battles. But, as the Empire began to take control of the planet, Bendu appeared in the skies, raining down lightning which destroyed both Imperial and Rebel craft. Although we see that these actions give the rebels a chance to escape, the Bendu did not care for either side. It’s interesting that even in this TV series we see reference to a balance in the middle, just like with the Grey Jedi.
To me, it seems like Disney are determined to explore and develop this idea, which I think will bring a fresh unique look to the new films, and allow for a new story to be told.