Is the Dark Side Stronger in Star Wars?
Light Vs Dark in Star Wars
For decades, in of history and my own personal life, Star Wars has mystified us with its epic conflicts, intense fight sequences, and breath-taking worlds. Within this wondrous universe, an energy force called, well, the Force, binds all living organisms together in mysterious ways.
We do know that Jedi use the Light Side of the Force while Sith use the dark. Watching the films, it may seem that the dark side offers greater power. After all, (spoilers) Luke Skywalker only beats Vader when Vader infuriates him, and Anakin Skywalker conquers Count Dooku after being provoked. But is the Dark Side really superior?
While its unique Force powers may suggest so, many pieces of evidence suggest otherwise. Don't believe me? Here are three reasons why the Light is at least as strong as the Dark in Star Wars!
1. Only the Light Side Offers Eternal Life
Near the climax of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, Yoda battles Darth Sidious. These two represent light and dark themselves, the pinnacles of Jedi and Sith. The fight ends in a sort-of-tie, sort-of-Sidious wins manner. So, doesn't this suggest that the Dark Side prevails?
Not exactly. The novel of Episode 3 (which I highly recommend) includes a conversation between Yoda and Qui-Gon's Force spirit that the movie doesn't highlight—a shame, since their words reveal why evil triumphed that day.
Becoming a Force Ghost
Yoda admits the reason the Sith won is because they adapted and evolved throughout the last millennium; contrastingly, the Jedi grew stagnant in their outdated traditions. Qui-Gon's spirit reassures Yoda that eternal life, what Sith seek, is ironically only within a Light user's grasp.
Remember Obi-Wan's death in Episode 4 and Yoda's in Episode 6. Their bodies disappear; they join together with the Force. That's because Qui-Gon's spirit taught Yoda, and Yoda taught Obi-Wan. Even Darth Vader learns this technique; when he killed Obi-Wan, he realized what had happened to his old master's body, and trains himself to do the same when his time comes.
Despite his years of tyranny, Vader's final sacrifice reveals the Light Side within him, letting him utilize the power and appear alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda to Luke during the celebration on Endor.
2. Emotion (Not the Dark Side) Offers Power
In the prequel movies, we see Jedi are taught to restrict their emotions. They are forbidden to marry, and part of their code states, "There is no emotion, there is peace." This is limiting. As Yoda discovers at the end of Episode 3, full access to the Light Side comes not from rejecting emotion, but embracing it. It makes sense; emotions are a part of life, and life stems from the Force. The catch is that if you don't tame your anger, you'll fall into blind fury. Regardless, part of why the Sith could triumph in the prequels is because they have access to the power of feeling.
In the Expanded Universe novels set after the original movies (in the alternative Legends timeline), Luke Skywalker establishes a new Jedi Order, making some welcome improvements. He allows Jedi to marry, even taking a wife himself, encourages expressions of love and emotion, and accepts students of older ages.This enables his Jedi Order to become far more diverse and powerful than the one seen in the prequels.
A better version of the previously mentioned Jedi Code reads "Emotion, yet peace." This iteration allows for feeling, but warns against the perils of wrath.
3. Yoda's Answer to Luke
Our last and simplest clue comes from Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. About halfway through the film, Yoda instructs Luke in the ways of the Jedi, and mentions how Darth Vader was seduced the by the Dark.
Luke asks: "Is the dark side stronger?"
Yoda responds: "No, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.."
There you have it, straight from the mouth of perhaps the wisest Jedi of all time. Remember, at this point, Yoda had realized the old Jedi Order's failings and was ready to help build it anew, stronger than ever before.
Do you believe the Light or Dark Side is stronger?
Is the Dark Side Always Evil?
The Star Wars films generally portray dark as purely evil and light as purely good, but things aren't always so clear-cut; we've encountered Sith acting selflessly and Jedi pursuing their own agendas.
My favorite discussions regarding the true nature of the Force occur in the Legacy of the Force novels and Knights of the Old Republic 2 video game, which both feature complex Force-users whose status as hero or villain changes depending on your perspective. But regardless of your beliefs, both halves of the Force are balanced in power. But for now, share your thoughts on the Dark Side and I'll see you at our next Star Wars exploration!
© 2015 Jeremy Gill