Everyone has a go-to complaint about the Star Wars prequels. Maybe it’s Jar Jar Binks, maybe it’s about podracing, maybe it’s that scene where C-3P0 gets his head stuck on a battle droid. And although we may be living in the prequel redemption era, they’re still not exempt from criticism.
One of the more obscure yet compelling critiques concerns something most Star Wars fans take for granted. Why do the Jedi, at the height of their power and influence, all dress like Ben Kenobi dressed while he was in hiding? It doesn’t make much sense for them to all look like a man trying to blend in with the Tatooine moisture famers. But there may be an explanation for this oddity, one that hammers home an oft-forgotten aspect of the Jedi.
Redditor Sidiousfancasting suggests this supposed plot hole is actually anything but. Instead of posing this like a lazy moment of extrapolating all the Republic-era Jedi from the one example we see in the original trilogy, this theory suggests it’s actually a firm stance of humility from the Jedi order.
Jedi are discouraged from attachment, and that doesn’t only mean attachment to people. Maybe the reason Jedi wear simple, drab robes is because poor people all around the galaxy wear them. Much like how some religious figures take vows of poverty, the Jedi council may have elected for a simple uniform to keep them humble. Conveniently, it turned out that Obi-Wan didn’t need to change his look when he went into hiding.
The Jedi didn’t always dress like this, however. Art from the High Republic era proves the Jedi used to be fashion forward, wearing white robes trimmed with gold. What made them change to little more than burlap sacks by the time Anakin comes along? It’s an interesting conundrum that we may get an answer to as the Star Wars TV shows focus more and more on the past.
This also brings new depth to Anakin’s costuming throughout the trilogy. As he starts to question the Jedi aversion to attachment, he begins to stray from the normal wardrobe. Eventually he pledges his loyalty to Emperor Palpatine, a man who was never afraid to enjoy the finer things in life.
What does this mean for the future of Star Wars? Well, there’s one less complaint to make about the prequels, even if it doesn’t count for much. It also suggests we should pay closer attention to how Jedi are depicted. When Luke starts his own hermitage and rejects attachment, he wears similar robes. What does this mean for Grogu’s little sack outfit? Was that chosen for him for the same reasons? Perhaps, like his adopted Mandalorian father, Grogu’s dress is more than just an outfit, but a way of life.