Largely set during the Star Wars prequel trilogy era, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi reveals that the Jedi Order, tragically, could have prevented the death of Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon is popularly seen as one of the greatest and most progressive members of the old Jedi Order, but his infamous death at the end of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace tragically cut his career short. The prequel-era Jedi Order is a flawed institution, making them particularly vulnerable to Palpatine’s machinations and potentially causing the death of one of their greatest Jedi Masters.
The fourth episode of Tales of the Jedi, “The Sith Lord,” reveals that the Jedi Order is skeptical at best of Qui-Gon’s conclusion that his dark side attacker on Tatooine is a Sith Lord. While Qui-Gon is, of course, correct in his assessment, most Jedi reacted to it like Jocasta Nu, believing that Jinn was simply imagining the Sith Order’s return, Yaddle, on the other hand, did not doubt the claim, but simply urged caution. Had the Jedi taken more decisive action in response to the apparent return of the Sith, more Jedi may have accompanied Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to Naboo, ensuring Maul’s defeat (and perhaps death) without any casualties of their own.
Why The Jedi Refused To Believe The Sith Had Returned
The Sith were seemingly destroyed a thousand years before the events of The Phantom Menace, allowing the Jedi and Republic to enjoy relative peace for a time. In actuality, the Sith went into hiding and significantly adjusted their tactics, allowing them to plot and execute their revenge by undermining the Jedi and the Republic themselves. The Jedi grew complacent following the Sith Order’s seeming destruction, becoming overconfident and too closely tied to Republic politics until they became a shadow of their former incarnations.
The Jedi’s Failings Made Palpatine’s Plan A Lot Easier
The Jedi Order’s complacency, along with their growing arrogance and even corruption, made the Sith Lords’ revenge far easier. While the Jedi narrowed their collective minds, the Sith evolved, trading their direct tactics for subterfuge as they operated in complete secrecy. The Sith infiltrated the Republic and putrefied it, planting the seeds of autocracy for years right under the Jedi Order’s nose. While the Sith may have succeeded in their plans even if the Jedi Order had avoided such pitfalls, their overconfidence and unbalanced connection to the Force made Palpatine’s job incredibly easy.
Qui-Gon Jinn was known as something of a maverick Jedi Master, following the will of the Force rather than the Jedi Code, but this ultimately made him one of the Order’s greatest members. Had he lived, Qui-Gon could have gradually led the Jedi Order to improve itself, or at least inspire younger Jedi to implement such reforms. Unfortunately, as shown in Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, it was the Jedi Order’s closed-mindedness that likely resulted in Jinn’s untimely death, sealing their collective fate.