Talk about creating a buzz. Recently, The Holy Filoni (hallowed be thy name), created a stir in the Star Wars community when he publicly declared who the greatest Jedi was.
Filoni, in a featurette for Ahsoka, reminded the audience that she was “trained by the greatest Jedi of all time..” He was referring, of course, to Anakin Skywalker who went on to become Darth Vader, a Sith Lord.
His take can be seen as a matter of opinion, but it’s a view not shared by many in the fan base. So, let’s try to make a pros and cons list about why Anakin could be the greatest Jedi, and towards the end of the article, I’ll tell you who I consider the greatest Jedi. Because, for the longest time I have an idea of who I thought was the greatest, and it wasn’t Anakin.
Why Anakin could be the greatest
As the chosen one, Anakin was to bring balance to the force. Which he did, through his children. Two dark side, he and Papa Palps. Two light side, Luke and Leia.
He didn’t always go along with the Jedi Order. The Jedi would tell him to go right, but if he felt that the end was best served by going left, he went that way. Anakin’s’ strong sense of justice would not allow him to stand by and watch the little guy be wronged or walked over just because it fit the Jedi or Republics’ needs.
Anakin was arguably the most potent force user with seemingly limitless power. This is also why the Jedi feared him. It’s why the Jedi didn’t fully trust Anakin either. Mace and Yoda, clearly were scared of his power as shown in the prequel trilogies and the Clone Wars animated series.
As a teacher, Anakin did a masterful job with Ahsoka. The Tales of the Jedi miniseries, along with the Clone Wars animated series demonstrate that he not only taught her the living force but also taught her how to use her sense of free will. He taught her how to show love, compassion, and mercy to those who needed it. But, he also taught her how to fight and protect herself and the ones she fought alongside the Clones.
Why Anakin could not be the greatest
It’s simple really, he gave into the path of the dark side. He chose the easy way and gave in to his fears, allowing Palpatine to finish manipulating him and create his Sith Apprentice.
Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Vader was cruel and vindictive in his hunt for Jedi, and willing to destroy any that stood in his way. Anakin forsake all the teachings of the Jedi when he became the apprentice of the Sith Lord. He was no longer a Jedi.
Although it can be hard for me to adequately make an argument for someone being the greatest at something when he stops being that thing and becomes the polar opposite in violent opposition of that thing.
Who is the greatest Jedi, then?
Honestly, the pros still outweigh the cons for Anakin in this argument. Anakin was a very skilled Jedi and a cunning warrior during his time in the Jedi Order, not to mention powerful. So, the Holy Filoni (hallowed be the name), may be pretty close to the mark here.
There’s undoubtedly shock value when you hear that someone makes an argument for Anakin in this discussion. But, it’s not baseless or without merit.
We can make arguments for Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, or Obi-Wan Kenobi in this space. Each has its pros and cons.
Qui-gon was a powerful and insightful Jedi who taught Obi-Wan. He should have been a member of the Jedi Council, but he routinely bumped heads with them about what to do and what not to do. This, like with Anakin is both a plus and a minus. Free will, almost to the point of impairment. But his good deeds certainly overshadow any shortcomings that Qui-Gon may have had.
Obi-Wan was a kind and generous teacher, wise in the ways of the force. And, had he given in to his feelings for Duchess Satine Kryze, he could have gone the way of Anakin. But he avoided attachment and kept his mind focused on the missions at hand. But, he loses points for turning a blind eye to the relationship between Anakin and Padme, allowing that to fester to the point where it was uncontrollable.
Yoda was a whole lot of Jedi in a fun-sized container. Judge him by his size, do you? If so, then you failed. Powerful, wise, and shrewd student of the living force, Yoda proved over and over again why he was the head of the Jedi council. But, at the same time, he was blinded to the power of the dark side and couldn’t see the Sith directly in front of him that whole time. His inability to see Palpatine’s movements and how the dark side was stacking things against the Jedi throughout the Clone Wars era, certainly plays against him.
The long and the short of it is this. You can make arguments for and against every single Jedi. Why? They were imperfect beings like you and I, just with some way cooler abilities. So was Filoni wrong in his assessment? Maybe. But that’s an argument for Filoni to have with the creator himself, George Lucas.
As for me, I agree with Filoni. It took some time and thought, because the initial reaction is just, No! It does take some time and some thought to fully understand where Filoni is coming from in this argument. But it’s there. Originally, I would have said Obi-Wan Kenobi, and to be fair, it’s a neck-to-neck race for me between Obi-Wan and Anakin. They all have their strengths and shortcomings. But sometimes you have to just go with the “Chosen One”, right up until he becomes the Jedi hunting murder bot we all came to know and somehow still love.