8

In Episode I, when Queen Amidala returns to Naboo and is comming up with a plan to attack the Trade Federation, Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan that they cannot use their power to help her:

OBI-WAN: Do you think the Queen's idea will work?
QUI-GON: The Gungans will not easily be swayed, and we cannot use our power to help her.

What did he mean by that?

In what way could they use their power to help her? And why couldn't they do it?

8

It sounds like he's referring to the Jedi Mind Trick. He knows that the Gungans are sensitive to it, since he used it on Boss Nass earlier, but to use it in order to convince the Gungans to go to war would be grossly unethical. They have to rely on Amidala's powers of negotiation to form an alliance without interference.

7

The official novelisation offers a very slightly different version of events as well as some more information about Qui-Gon's reticence to help. In short, because her plan involves recruiting the Gungans to fight in a war against the Trade Federation, the Jedi can't give the impression of being on one side or another:

Obi-Wan understood. Who could say? Perhaps this time Qui-Gon was right. Perhaps Anakin Skywalker’s training was a cause worth fighting for.

“I’ve been thinking,” Qui-Gon announced suddenly, keeping his voice low, his eyes directed toward the others. “We are treading on dangerous ground. If the Queen intends to fight a war, we cannot become involved. Not even in her efforts to persuade the Gungans to join with the Naboo against the Federation, if that is what she intends by coming here. The Jedi have no authority to take sides.”

“But we do have authority to protect the Queen,” Obi-Wan pointed out.

Qui-Gon’s eyes shifted to find his. “It is a fine line we walk, then.”


There is of course the option of using their Jedi mind control techniques to influence Boss Nass' decision in the favour of the Queen.

The Jedi Path Manual describes the ability to affect the minds of others (mind control) as one of the most dangerous of Jedi abilities and one that should only be used sparingly and to accomplish the "greater good". Tricking a largely peaceful people into fighting a war certainly doesn't meet that criteria:

Affect mind, commonly referred to as the "Jedi mind trick," can override the impulses of an undisciplined brain. This ability should be a temporary means to accomplish a greater good. It should never be used for profit or gain.

  • 1
    Note that because the novel is slightly than the film, those specific elements are considered "not canon". – Valorum Feb 6 '15 at 20:03
  • This is kind of backed up in the movie when he tells the Queen: ...and I can only protect you. I cannot fight a war for you. – LcSalazar Feb 6 '15 at 20:03
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    @LcSalazar - Precisely. And contrasts nicely with the later stance that the Jedi take, becoming soldiers. And look how that ends up for them. – Valorum Feb 6 '15 at 23:26
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    "I cannot influence your thoughts", said Qui-Gonn, "...but Republic credits will be fine." – Omegacron Feb 9 '15 at 20:57
  • @Omegacron - In fairness, Watto refuses to take republic credits because he's being bloody-minded, not because he's being offered something worthless. – Valorum Dec 4 '15 at 9:41

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