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Do the Jedi Abide?

By Terrence Smith
The Big Lebowski in Jedi Academy.

Last fall, JKHub member The Royal We released a mod for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, converting the player’s character into Jeff Bridge’s character “The Dude” from the cult film The Big Lebowski. He comes complete with his sweater, as well as custom dialogue with lines from the film. What seems like a silly fan mod poses a more interesting question: how Dude are the Jedi? Do the Jedi abide? The short answer is yes, from a certain point of view.

The Jedi are worshipers of the Force, which surrounds them, permeates them, and binds the universe together. For the Dude, this Force is the rug, which ties his living room together. The Jedi also stress the importance of a calm mind through meditation. The Dude has his own regimen to keep his mind limber, including practicing Tai Chi on his rug while drinking a White Russian. Just as the Dude seeks to balance his beverage, the Jedi seek balance in the Force.

As far as adherence to the rules go, the Jedi are more like Walter, the Dude’s gun-toting friend and Vietnam veteran, who is not afraid of pulling out his piece when someone goes “over the line” at a lane at the bowling alley. The Jedi stick to a strict code, including avoidance of emotions such as anger and jealousy, as well as forbidding marriage. The Dude, on the other hand, is comfortable with himself. He gets angry sometimes, but he always comes back to Earth. As the Dude’s portrayer Jeff Bridges puts it in his and Bernie Glassman’s book, The Dude and the Zen Master, “He’s not trying to live up to some persona, he’s always the Dude.”

So maybe the Jedi Order isn’t one hundred percent Dude, but what about individual Jedi Knights?

We have seen traits of the Dude in several Jedi Masters, including Episode I’s Qui-Gon Jinn, who never had a taste for following the rules, and has openly butted heads with the Jedi Council. In fact, when offered a spot on the Jedi Council in Claudia Gray’s novel, Master and Apprentice, Qui-Gon turns them down, instead opting to just see where the Force takes him, or just go with the flow, as the Dude would likely do.

Obi-Wan has shown elements of an abiding attitude through his career, being nonchalant about the situations in which he finds himself, including his infamous greeting to General Grievous “Hello there.” One finds that his Dudeness has solidified in his old age, avoiding direct confrontation when possible, and admitting to Luke that what one often sees as true is based on one’s perspective, or in the Dude’s words, “just, you know, like, uh, your opinion, man.”

The ultimate pinnacle of Dudeism may be seen in Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, where viewers find him on a tiny island on the planet Ahch-To, fishing, drinking green milk, and overall, just taking it easy. This should not come as a surprise, since both The Big Lebowsk and The Last Jedi had the same production designer.

Far out, man!

Edited by Melody Friedenthal

Terrence J. Smith has contributed his writing to nonprofits and both print and digital publications. He enjoys all things technology, but remembers to meditate and appreciate the outside world.