By Christian Corah
Chirrut Îmwe is one of my favorite characters in one of my favorites movies – Rogue One. From the first time I saw the movie, I was just unusually drawn to him.
Perhaps it was because he was the most “Jedi like” character in the movie, but even after it was revealed that he was no Jedi, I didn’t lose any appreciation for him. I always had an idea of why I liked him, but it came very clear to me during my latest watch of the movie.
Even though he does not use the Force, every other part of him exudes true Jedi values.
And when I say “true Jedi values,” I mean what the Jedi have traditionally valued: not necessarily what they valued during the prequel trilogy. This is because, during this time, they drifted away from their true values.
In order to understand the values of the Jedi, it is insightful to examine their counterpart – the Sith. Instead of following the Will of the Force, the Sith control the Force for their own selfish gains.
Even though the Force seemingly has a “Will” (examining that could be a topic of an entirely different article), it can be manipulated to the Force user’s bidding. This is a major reason why the Sith have “flashier” Force powers, like with the Force lightning and choke. Instead of just using the Force for defense, they use it on the offense. They have a goal, that is usually centered on gaining power, and they use the Force to help them get to that goal.
Contrarily, the Jedi attempt to identify the Will of the Force (this is commonly done through meditation) and follow that path. They let go of what they believe to be consciously correct in favor of what the Force tells them. This at times does require a considerable amount of faith because what the Force wills does not always make sense.
We see this lack of faith by the Jedi in the prequels. The way of the Jedi had always been one of peace, but the thought that war was inevitable caused them to make the change from peacekeepers to warriors. They lost their way because everything in the world was telling them that keeping faith in the Force was not the answer and what they thought was best was the right way to go.
Chirrut is faced with similar decisions and always chooses to follow the Will of the Force, even when it doesn’t make sense and puts others’ needs before his own. We first see this when he comes to the aid of Jyn, Cassian, and K2-S0. Even though he is blind, he entered the fight stating that “I fear nothing because all is as the Force wills it.”
He was outgunned, outmanned, and outnumbered, so he had every human right to feel afraid, but he did not. The Force willed him to act and save our trio of heroes, and he didn’t hesitate. He could have died and he would have been OK with it because it was the Force’s will.
We see this in a very real way in his sacrifice near the end of the movie. The entire plan was dependent on someone being able to flip the switch. Seems easy enough, but the switch was located in the middle of a battlefield. It would be easy enough to get struck by a stray laser, and even more likely considering every Stormtrooper would be shooting at him (let’s ignore that they can’t aim here).
It was at this moment that the Force was willing him to walk out, defenseless, and flip that switch. The novel may have additional information on this, but because I haven’t read it, I will have to speculate. But it appeared that this was no easy decision for Chirrut. He understood the danger and what the outcome could be for him.
With an intense face, he strode forward muttering to himself that “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me” over and over. This was done because he was afraid. It was a reminder that there was something protecting, and it allowed him to continue. The result was that he did flip the switch which eventually allowed the mission to be a success, but it did cost Chirrut his life.
When the Force willed Chirrut to act, he did. Despite the fear that he had, he was courageous. Whether he knew it or not, he was acting out the ideals that make the Jedi the heroes they are meant to be.
We know that characters don’t need the label of Jedi to act in this way through Ahsoka and through Chirrut, we see this through someone who isn’t even Force-sensitive. He is one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars and I hope that you appreciate him as much as I do.