Qui-Gon is one of my favorite Jedi of all time. His willingness to let the force guide him (a willingness that also has him clashing heads with the Jedi council), his quiet, contemplative tone of voice, his “live in the now” philosophy and, of course, that majestic, flowing hair all put Qui-Gon at the top of my list when I sit down and think of my favorite characters in Star Wars.
But there isn’t always a noble side to Qui-Gon. One of his biggest follies, his “original sin”, is his seeming complicity with slavery in the Galaxy. It’s a folly he shares with the rest of the order. So while Qui-Gon may be butting heads over the dogmatic, stilted views of the council, he’s not exactly “ideal Jedi” incarnate, at least when it comes to fighting total injustice in the Galaxy.
Now, “Sure” you might say “Qui-Gon didn’t free the slaves on Tatooine, but he couldn’t! If he did so, he’d risk an all-out war with the Hutt cartel. Plus, one Jedi can’t free all of those slaves, regardless of how amazing their hair is or how stoic their voice is. It was better for him to just buy Anakin Skywalker and get out of there while he could.”
But to that point, I would like to posit another stoic, green-sabered Jedi who, while not having the same hair-care regiment as Qui-Gon, does achieve what Qui-Gon could not… that is, freeing the slaves. And if you couldn’t tell, this Jedi I’m talking about is, of course, Oppo Rancisis.
Obviously I’m talking about Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker’s son. The same Anakin who had a dream of returning to Tatooine and freeing the slaves, a dream that haunted him for his entire “Anakin” years before becoming Vader.
I remember when the speculation coals were still hot about the sequels, after The Last Jedi and the Reylo crowd began to feel more emboldened, there was a lot of discussion of how Rey and Kylo, in the final film of the Saga, could return to Tatooine and fulfill Anakin’s original wish, tying up every Skywalker loose end. And while we did get Kylo and Rey tying up a very big Skywalker loose end (multiple ones, in fact), the notion of “freeing the slaves” rang out to me more than anything else as something I would have liked to see.
And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that while Rey and Kylo did not free the slaves on Tatooine, it was because that loose end has already been tied up. Luke and Leia were the loose end tier…. uppers…. They Skywalker twins were the ones to actually achieve Anakin’s dream of freeing the slaves on Tatooine when they took down Jabba the Hutt.
Now it probably wasn’t “on purpose”, but rarely is Star Wars poetry ever so deliberate. By taking down the head of the Hutt cartel on Tatooine right before the fall of the Empire, no less, it stands to reason that perhaps the slaves had a fighting chance, that their masters were powerless and that the system that had kept them oppressed for countless centuries was finally flipped on it’s head, shaken up and, perhaps, dismantled.
Visiting Tatooine post-Return of the Jedi can offer some interesting clues to this as well… In the years that followed the end of the Galactic Civil War, The Mandalorian, Dyn Jarin visited Mos Eisley, even going so far as to offer patronage to the local cantina now staffed by droids. In fact, there seems to be a large population of droids and not-so-many meatbags hanging around since we last say the planet. Perhaps a hint towards the collapsed slave-labor economy that came with Jabba’s end.
I think, perhaps, the most compelling clue comes from a little town known as Mos Pelgo from the Aftermath trilogy. At some point after Return of the Jedi, it’s name was changed to “Freetown” and a sheriff by the name of Cobb Vanth patrolled it’s borders to keep law and order in the small town, wearing a certain, familiar, acid-scared Mandalorian armor… Why was Mos Pelgo renamed to Freetown in the first place, though? Just something to think about…
Thank you for coming to my Ewok Talk