So I saw Rogue One last week, and I found it to be quite interesting. It wasn’t my favorite movie, but it was a good lead in to A New Hope. Once I got back home, I had to look up the crawl for A New Hope, which of course I did on TV tropes. Looking at the TV tropes page for A New Hope, there is this one section that I feel is somewhat out of place:
- Admiral Motti’s description of the Force as a “sad devotion to that ancient religion” seems downright bizarre, given that its existence was treated as common knowledge in the Prequel Trilogy, a timeframe in which Motti would likely have been alive (albeit very young). This is largely because when the film was written Lucas envisioned exact knowledge of the Force and Jedi powers to be something which only a select few had knowledge of, which was gradually contradicted by the Expanded Universe novels and comics, and then jettisoned altogether by The Phantom Menace. Some later novels, such as the Republic Commando novels, took some steps to try and square the two perspectives, but with limited success.
The “sad devotion to that ancient religion” actually seems like it could be a plausible thing for him to say, even though the bullet point goes on to say that this was contradicted with later works. Why would this work? Well, let’s do some basic math here and get some rough estimates of how many people there are.
First order of business: How many Jedi are there? The movies don’t say for certain, but the Jedi temple seems to be quite large. Making grand assumptions here, let’s also assume that it is large enough to fit every Jedi at once in it. Given that it seems to encompass an entire city block at least, let us say that the Jedi temple can fit 100,000 people. (According to scifi.stackexchange.com, there were about 10,000 Jedi at the time of Order 66). Regardless, 10,000 vs 100,000 Jedi will make no difference here in a moment.
Next question: How large is Coruscant? Assuming that it is the same size as Earth, and has a population density at least as high as the highest city on Earth(according to Wikipedia, that is Manila at 41,515 people/km²). According to Wolfram|Alpha, the Earth is 5.1×10^8 square kilometers. Now, multiplying these two numbers together we get a population of ~2.1×10^13. According to Wookieepedia, there is more than 1 trillion(1×10^12) people on Coruscant. If I am doing the math correctly here, my estimate for the number of people on Coruscant is (one order of magnitude * 2 ) from what Wookiepedia says.
Now that we have our numbers(both unofficial and estimated), let’s do some quick math here to figure out about how many Jedi there are per-person on Coruscant.
|Number of Jedi
||Population of Coruscant
Now, obviously these numbers are rather rough estimates. But at a minimum, there are ten million people on Coruscant per Jedi!
Now, back to the original question: Why is the statement “sad devotion to that ancient religion” completely plausible in my mind? Because given the ratio of people to Jedi on Coruscant alone, it is likely that you could go an entire lifetime without seeing a real Jedi. Don’t forget as well, there are more planets than just Coruscant. Basically, the number of Jedi for the population of the galaxy is laughably small. If you combine the lack of population with potentially a good PR campaign, it is completely plausible that a person could grow up in the galaxy and never see a Jedi, only hear about them, and then be convinced that Jedi are bad people who were controlling the fate of the galaxy in their hands and/or they were just pretending. Reportedly, there was a minister in Pakistan who fooled the entire government for 6 years that he wasn’t an actual minister(note: I can’t find any other sources to this from Western media, so I don’t know the veracity of this).
So, to conclude: It is reasonable to assume that because there were so few Jedi for the entire population of the galaxy, any effort to discredit them could be very effective at wiping their knowledge from the population’s memory.