In many Star Wars stories, we see master and apprentice relationships. The great thing about these relationships is they are almost never the same. From Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to Rey Skywalker and Leia Organa, the master and apprentice dynamic has been taken in many different directions. Most times they serve the themes and messages of the story. I’ll be taking a look at some master and apprentice duos and what they add to the Star Wars story.
After Anakin Skywalker became a Jedi Knight he was assigned a Padawan named Ahsoka Tano. As a team, Anakin and Ahsoka went on many missions together and fought side by side eventually growing a strong relationship, almost like siblings. Because of Anakin’s very unorthodox perspective and teaching style, Ahsoka is able to gain a unique outlook on the Jedi Order and the world around her. Anakin wasn’t someone who conformed to the dogmatic ways that the order had succumbed to. Unlike Anakin, Ahsoka decided to take a different path with this different view of the Jedi Order and decided to serve the people. Not the Republic which was corrupt at the time. In the end, I think the relationship that Anakin and Ahsoka formed is a great example of the student growing beyond the master.
Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger were two broken people before they met. Kanan, also known as Caleb Dume in his younger years, was an Order 66 survivor and one of the few remaining Jedi. The scars of the war and seeing his master die affected him in his adult life. Ezra was an orphan on the streets of Lothal fighting for scraps and keeping others at a distance. When they met and Kanan saw potential in the young boy he decided to train Ezra in the ways of the Force. Through this, they began to heal and the scars of the past soon faded. Kanan finally completes his training and stops blaming himself for his master’s death. Ezra learns to open up and finds family in the Ghost crew after struggling with the loss of his parents for so long. Through each other Kanan and Ezra grew stronger.
After the events of Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker started his own Jedi temple and began training the next generation of Jedi. One of these students was his nephew, Ben Solo, who struggled with his darker tendencies which Luke had noticed during his training. Luke looked inside Ben’s mind and had a premonition. He saw the young man destroy everything Luke loved and cared about. As he described, it was beyond what he ever imagined and out of fear and instinct, he pulled out his saber but stopped himself realizing he was falling into the same trap he fell into when he confronted his father on the second Death Star. As this was happening Ben awoke from his sleep, pulled out his lightsaber in defense, and destroyed the hut before Luke could explain what had happened. Luke hadn’t just failed Ben. He also failed Leia, Han, all of his other students, and the galaxy at large. Because of this, the Jedi Master had become disillusioned with the Order he had devoted his life to.
Years later a young woman named Rey came to Luke to ask for help. After visiting an old friend Luke agrees to train Rey in the ways of the force but wants to make her understand him. Over the course of their time together Rey shows Luke why his legend is so important. She reminds him of how he used to be. He even considered leaving with her until he saw her connecting with his nephew. This culminated in Luke confronting his nephew, forgiving himself, and giving hope to his sister and the galaxy after one final lesson from his old master. Later, Luke returns the favor to Rey by giving her the strength she needed to face her fears like she helped him face his fear of failing again. In this situation, the master was ultimately the student with Rey reminding him why the legend of Luke Skywalker is so important.
Through these great masters and students, we can see that bonds like these simply don’t conform to a single dynamic. Many times the teacher passes on lessons to the student. Maybe the teacher and student grow and learn because of each other or the student teaches the teacher a valuable lesson. Whatever the case may be, these interesting relationships between characters serve to tell extremely grand but human stories.