Simu Liu’s journey to leading Marvel’s forthcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a delightful one. The up-and-coming actor tweeted years ago that he wanted to play the hero, and he ended up winning the role. Soon, that film will go back into production, but the actor is already putting his next big wish out into the universe. On a podcast, Simu Liu revealed he wants to play a Gray Jedi in a Star Wars movie. Though, like everything in Star Wars, the very concept of a Gray Jedi is controversial in the fandom. Still, Liu could very easily get his wish.
First, we know that Kevin Feige is producing an upcoming Star Wars film, a kind of “present” from the Disney brass. He loves the franchise and, given his success with Marvel, could be the kind of fresh eyes some believe Lucasfilm needs. If he ends up impressed with Liu’s performance as Shang-Chi, it’s possible he does get the chance to play a deeply conflicted Jedi.
Second, if Star Wars made anything clear over the past 40 years, it’s that the Jedi are problematic at best. There is a very intentional conflict between some Jedi, including those that go to the Dark Side of the Force, and the Jedi Order. All too often, fans mistakenly believe that “Jedi” is synonymous with the Light Side of the Force in the way that Sith are synonymous with the Dark Side. Ever since the games and comics introduced the concept of a Gray Jedi, fans flocked to the idea (and for a very specific reason). However, those in charge of Star Wars canon (including George Lucas) never agreed with them on what one actually is and if it is a desirable thing to be.
What Is a Gray Jedi?
A Gray Jedi is a concept created for The Knights of the Old Republic video game. This addition to the lore helped explain how the player character could use both Dark and Light Side Powers. It also gave squad characters, like Jolee Bindo or Juhani interesting narrative backstories. They felt the pull of the Light and the Dark Side, complicating their relationship with the Jedi Order. In the comics other Gray Jedi characters are said to flit between the Dark and the Light. However, in the Star Wars canon, “Gray Jedi” aren’t really a thing.
See, George Lucas threw everyone for a loop when he wrote the prophecy that the Chosen One in the Force will bring “balance” to it. Some folks naturally mean that this makes the Dark Side a necessary evil. Yet, that’s not so. In the clip above, you can listen to Lucas tell the writers of The Clone Wars that balance is the Light Side, and it’s the Dark Side that throws it off.
Other examples of Gray Jedi, that do appear in canon, are Ahsoka Tano and Qui-Gon Jinn. The term Gray Jedi is never used, but it doesn’t reflect their acceptance of some parts of the Dark Side. Rather, they are not bound by the will of the Jedi Council. They do their own thing, following the Living Force and, almost always, following the path of the Light. In the prequel era if anyone group of Jedi were “gray,” it was the Council and the Jedi who fought in the war.
Still, Simu Liu Could Play a Gray Jedi In a Star Wars Film Because It’s a Good Story
If by Gray Jedi, Simu Liu means he wants to play a Star Wars character that is conflicted between the Dark and the Light, that’s a good idea. It’s a story we’ve not really seen, save for maybe Ben Solo’s arc in the sequel films. The heroes and villains in Star Wars usually represent moral absolute (I know, I know, only Sith deal in those). In the films, the characters are either good or evil. However, in The Mandalorian our hero is a little more morally gray. He will kill for money, but he has a code and a good heart. It would be nice to see a Jedi character story about the struggle between good and evil where we don’t already know which way they are going to fall.
While Simu Liu could play the type of Gray Jedi in a Star Wars movie that merely bucks the council, that could be interesting, too. Yet, the rebel on the cause of the light is a story we’ve seen before and feels like the type of thing that a character like Ahsoka Tano is best used for. The more dramatically interesting story would be the tale of Jedi who feels the pull of the Dark Side and wants to cling to the Light.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will go back into production soon, still aiming for a 2021 release.
What do you think? Would you like to see Simu Liu play a Gray Jedi in a Star Wars film? Which type of Gray Jedi would you like to see? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.