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The Jedi, the Empire, and what the hell they know on Tatooine?

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 (Edited)

So I’ve been thinking about Episode IV and how the details it gives us work when in the same universe as Episode III and the post-Order 66 Imperial understanding of the Jedi.

When Luke is talking to Obi-Wan, setting aside the things Kenobi says that are outright lies, he casually mentions having been a Jedi and having fought in the Clone Wars. Now, I could understand him telling Luke he fought in the Clone Wars, that could be super innocuous. But why would he casually throw out he was a Jedi? And that Luke’s dad had been? The Jedi were outlawed and declared traitors, even on the Outer Rim people knew that as early as 14 BBY, it makes no sense to me that Luke wouldn’t immediately be suspicious of Kenobi from that point, instead of treating him like a hero.

I was wondering if there is a canonical explanation for this, or if it is just an issue of one story coming later than another.

Similarly, how do the other Imperials know Darth Vader had been a Jedi?

PT: CoD/TAS/TCW/FotR(NCC)
OT: Reimagined/Revisited/…
ST: Starlight/Rekindled/Resurgence

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I really enjoy how Vader and Tarkin casually talk about Obi-Wan being Vader’s old master as if Vader’s identity was just common knowledge. Of course, at the time of writing it was, since he was “Darth Vader” on the light side as well…

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Presumably, Luke knows some galactic history and what clones looked like? If Ben isn’t a clone and he fought in the CW, he can’t be a Trade Federation guy either, as they were mostly non human.

Also, Ben is probably confident he knows Luke well enough to tell that he’s no Empire loving snitch. Even though Biggs only confided in Luke his plans to join the Rebellion, we don’t see evidence the local population likes the Empire all that much. Only one guy even bothered finding the nearest sand trooper after that little disturbance in the cantina.

Interestingly enough, there was speculation back in the 80’s that Obi Wan was a clone designation, possibly derived from OB1.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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 (Edited)

I think the best thing to keep in mind is people’s level of knowledge and attitude regarding the Jedi and the Force is probably very different relative to an individual’s age, social class, home world, etc. in the Star Wars galaxy.

Some people might not like the Empire, and be old enough to remember the legendary stories of the Jedi, so they could still hold reverence for them, like Lor San Tekka. Others might be young and brainwashed by the Empire and think the Jedi are dangerous and evil, like Del Meeko from Inferno Squad.

I think generally, after the initial time around the Jedi Purge and labeling them as traitors once the Jedi were almost completely wiped out, the Empire began a massive campaign to censor history and wipe the Jedi and the Force from the collective conscious of the galaxy. For example, in novel Lost Stars, recruits in Imperial Academy were educated that the Clone Wars were sparked by extremists interfering in a legal execution, not even mentioning the term “Jedi”. It seems some Imperials learned that Jedi were potential dangerous targets, but they likely didn’t know the context of their existence beyond them being religious extremists.

Like I said, the knowledge of common Galactic citizens was extremely varied, but I think for people who grew up in the Empire, like Luke, were likely not educated about the Jedi or the Force at all, unless family or friends shared stories about them. So Obi-Wan probably wasn’t worried about telling Luke he was a Jedi, because the Empire didn’t want to even teach the youth about the “traitorous” Jedi. They wanted to erase them from history.

Specifically for Luke, it is possible Obi-Wan knew he didn’t like the Empire, or he knew it is unlikely Owen and Beru would want to teach Luke about the Jedi at all, in fear of Luke’s curiosity leading him down a path they didn’t want. Also, clearly Obi-Wan wanted Luke to learn the ways of the Force, and would probably be willing to take the risk of revealing his identity as a Jedi in order to re-educate him, if it was a risk at all.

In regards to Tarkin knowing who Vader is, the canon novel Tarkin makes it pretty clear that he knows Vader is Anakin Skywalker. I believe he deduced that since he knew Anakin during the Clone Wars and could compare the two individuals enough to recognize them as one in the same. I imagine at some point, Vader realized Tarkin knew, and afterwards wasn’t concerned with trying to hide it from him. But I believe was one of the few people who knew this fact.

This is just my understanding, but I hope this was helpful!

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That’s helpful in regards to Luke, sorta. The imperial rewrite of history explains a lot, but I still have misgivings about how all this actually plays out.

Regarding Tarkin, it makes sense he would know, but I was referring to the other guy in the council room who tries to goad Vader about the Death Star being better than the Force and his “sad devotion to that ancient religion” This line implies that he considers Vader as somehow connected to the “Jedi”, if anything wouldn’t he think of Vader as Sith?

PT: CoD/TAS/TCW/FotR(NCC)
OT: Reimagined/Revisited/…
ST: Starlight/Rekindled/Resurgence

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I think Admiral Motti pissing off Vader was more of mocking his belief in the Force, not knowledge of Vader’s history.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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 (Edited)

It just strikes me as odd when Vader is not the only active DS force user working for the Empire, as late as 5-4 bby the Inquisitorius was working with other Imperial outfits to fight the Rebels.

And even before the PT happened, when I had only seen the OT, it always struck me as odd that any Imperial would have the gall to speak to Vader, who I presumed was known to be the Emperor’s second, so brazenly. I know a lot of things changed behind the scenes from Star Wars to ESB, but this has always irked me.

PT: CoD/TAS/TCW/FotR(NCC)
OT: Reimagined/Revisited/…
ST: Starlight/Rekindled/Resurgence

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Motti is a younger man, who like Han Solo doesn’t believe in a bunch of simple tricks and nonsense. Hokey religions are no match for a good superlaser.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?