It's Qui-Gon Jinn week, so let's kick it off! Woohoo!
Alright, to get things going I'm going to ponder a possible "alternative scenario." What if Qui-Gon killed Darth Maul and he went on to train Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, and through the Clone Wars they were a three man team? What sort of significant impacts would that have had?
I ask this because the idea struck me the other day, and I wondered if Qui-Gon survived might he have saved Anakin from falling to the dark side? As things turned out, Obi-Wan was like a brother to Anakin, but Qui-Gon would have been like a father. With both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon pulling for him to return to the light, it certainly would have been more persuasive and harder to resist their reasoning.
In the short time Qui-Gon was around, he made some pretty big leaps in the Force, most notably being able to preserve his identity in the Force, ie. become one with the Force. Given another ten years, Qui-Gon could have achieved some great things, and could have passed that down to his apprentices.
But with that aside, the biggest strength I saw with Qui-Gon was that he was an element of change. He was different from the rest of the Jedi leadership, and for that reason he was not a member of the Council. Qui-Gon was not afraid of change, of striking out boldly in new directions. I think Qui-Gon was the key in keeping the Chosen One on the right path. If he had lived, I think he could have helped teach Anakin in a way that would allowed him more room to be who he was. The harsh strictness of the Jedi Order did not mix well with Anakin, and it led him to his rebellion. I think Qui-Gon would have prevented that. Furthermore, I think Qui-Gon could have changed the entire Jedi Order in such a way, that it would not have fell victim to its corruption.
The Jedi Order was definitely corrupted. Not in the idea that they were taking bribes or hiding murders, but that they had strayed away from the principles of the Living and Unifying Force, the very things that make people compassionate and empathetic. There are a lot of things that could be used to argue the point, but I'm only going to mention one: the Jedi policy of taking younglings away from their parents.
First off, it's not that the Jedi didn't have some ground to stand on with the whole "kidnapping" argument. A strong, Force-sensitive youngling could accidentally use the Force to hurt someone, and could fall to the dark side and cause a lot of destruction. However, the Jedi messed up by adhering to their idea of no attachments. Instead of simply taking the child so they could teach them the proper ways of the Force, the Jedi took the child away from their parents and denied them parents. The parents did not get to come and visit their children when ever they wanted. There were no breaks from Jedi school to visit home. Instead, the children were completely taken away and denied the childhood they normally would have got. The Jedi Order kept the children from living any degree of a normal life.
Now look back at Qui-Gon. He was willing to train Anakin even though he was older than typical younglings. He was also willing to train him despite the sheer power and potential that Anakin had. I say this, because it is somewhat hinted that Yoda and Mace did not want to train Anakin because he had too much potential, too much power, and that could be a dangerous thing. Or perhaps it was because they feared the change he would bring. Either way, their argument that he was too old seemed very weak, and they were quick to hold to it. Yet Qui-Gon was open to change. Had he lived and had he taken a place on the Council, perhaps with Anakin and Obi-Wan by his side thus edging out the old by-the-rules-Order, a positive change could have been brought to the Order as a whole, and maybe the strict lines of attachment could have been loosened.
"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood