Spoilers for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ follow.
There seems to be a pattern with Jedi. Take Yoda, for instance. The little guy has a long career as a top Jedi Master then faces a challenge to his leadership with the rise of Emperor Palpatine. He puts up a fight in the form of a CG-filled lightsaber duel, then throws in the towel. No rematch, no nothing. Mirroring this, we have Obi-wan Kenobi. He’s a Jedi with his whole future ahead of him until he faces a considerable setback. His trainee goes bad and kills a bunch of children. This is disconcerting to be sure, as must have been the resulting battle with his old Padawan, but at least he won the fight. Then, when the Galaxy was falling prey to the Dark Side, Obi-wan starts a new life as “Old Ben,” the hermit. I understand the motivation. Obi-wan saw it was his responsibility to watch over the new Sith-Lord’s son, Luke. But it really wasn’t. No one else wanted Luke to learn the Force due to concerns that he too would turn and make things worse. Obi-wan gambled while spending his prime on the bench.
Both Yoda and Obi-wan didn’t act when everyone needed them. Eventually, after the Empire solidified its grip on the Galaxy, Obi-wan got back into the game and faced off against Darth Vader. There is no reason to think Kenobi didn’t have a shot at taking down Vader right there in the Death Star. Last they met he literally chopped Vader to bits. Instead, Kenobi opted on giving up this mortal coil to become “more powerful than Vader could imagine”…which really just meant passing on a few tips to Luke from the grave. Tips he could have passed on from a radio had he survived.
Which brings me to Luke. We don’t see much of him in the new movie so the most we can say about his most recent exploits come from exposition. Here’s the story: Luke set up a Jedi school that admitted his sister’s kid Ben Solo. The kid proceeded to turn to the Dark Side and kill the other students, as they do. That’s pretty much the story. Like the failures of Yoda and Obi-wan, I’m sure this was hard to take. And so, like them, he essentially gives up. We don’t know for sure what he’s been doing, but it certainly seems like he has been meditating while the villain he partially created has been wrecking havoc on the Galaxy. Even worse, given Luke’s closeness to the Force, he probably sensed both the death of his buddy Han Solo and the deaths of multiple planets worth of life at the hands of said villain. Through all that, Luke remained on a freaking island. The hero from the holy trilogy sleeps while the Force awakens.
Jedi are not heroes. We wouldn’t be okay with Superman turning his back on Metropolis after losing a fight. The last couple generations of Jedi are, at best, quitters. I say “at best” because I recognize that so far I’ve referenced just three examples. These are the best of what we have. The others tend to turn evil. I love Rey, but how long until she faces a major disappointment and opens a used droid shop? I’ll give her about three movies.