As depicted in the franchise's canon, Jedi knights study, serve and use a mystical power called the Force, in order to serve and protect the Galactic Republic and the galaxy at large from conflict or political instability. As sanctioned guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, they mediated negotiations among planets and rival factions and, if necessary, use their formidable martial art skills, agility and wisdom to quickly end unrest or neutralize dangerous individuals or threats. The Jedi are governed by a Council, consisting of twelve of the wisest and most powerful "force-sensitive" members of the Jedi Order. They are bound to a code of ethics, morality, principles and justice. The Jedi are trained to use the Force through passive meditation, practicing selflessness, and commitment to justice while at the same time rejecting emotions such as passion, fear, anger and hate. Their traditional weapon is the lightsaber, a device which emits a blade-like controlled plasma flow. Their way of life contrasts with their archenemies, the Sith, another monastic organization who use the dark side of the Force to achieve their goal of ruling the galaxy.
- 1 Background and origins
- 2 Dark Jedi and the Sith
- 3 In popular culture
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Background and origins
The Jedi are first introduced in the 1977 motion picture Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as an order of warrior monks who serve as "the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy" and embrace the mystical Force. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) explains that the Galactic Empire had all but exterminated the Jedi some twenty years before the events of the film, and seeks to train Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to be the Order's last hope. Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) is also established as the Jedi's main enemy. By the end of the film, Luke is on the path to becoming a Jedi. In the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke receives extensive Jedi training from the elderly (and only surviving) Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz), even as he learns that Vader is in fact his father, former Jedi Anakin Skywalker. The third film in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, ends with Luke redeeming Vader and helping to destroy the Empire, thus fulfilling his destiny as a Jedi.
The prequel films depict the Jedi in their prime, dealing with the rising presence of the dark side of the Force and determined to fight their mortal enemies, the Sith. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) discovers nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), whom he believes to be the "Chosen One" of a Jedi prophecy who is destined to bring balance to the Force; the boy is eventually paired with Qui-Gon's apprentice, the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), who promises to train him. The sequel, Attack of the Clones, establishes that the Jedi forswear all emotional attachments, including romantic love, which proves problematic when Anakin, now a young adult (Hayden Christensen), falls in love with Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), whom Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi had served ten years before. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is later revealed to be the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, manipulates Anakin's love for Padmé and distrust of the Jedi in order to turn him to the dark side and become his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. Once corrupted, Vader helps Palpatine hunt down and destroy nearly all of the Jedi, leaving very few left, such as Jedi Master Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Jedi's history before and after the timeline of the films is established within several novels, comic books and video games in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars media.
In the Star Wars saga, the Jedi Temple is located in the capital planet of Coruscant. It is the official headquarters/school/monastery of the Jedi Order.
In Revenge of the Sith, the temple is attacked. Even though the temple was severely damaged and most of the Jedi perished, it was not completely destroyed, and is visible in the celebrations on Coruscant at the end of Return of the Jedi over twenty years later. The New Jedi Order indicates that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant is no longer standing but it is rebuilt as a gift to Jedi for their services and achievements during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. The new temple is in the form of a massive pyramid made from stone and transparisteel that is designed to fit into the new look of Coruscant, though internally it is identical to the design seen in Revenge of the Sith.
Architects Journal rated the temple third on its top-ten architecture of Star Wars list behind the second Death Star and Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine, and ahead of Coruscant, capital city of the Old Republic. The temple is described in the article as adapting "the robust typology of Mayan temples, with durasteel cladding specified for the external stone walls for improved defensive strength" and said to be a ziggurat that "is built above a Force-nexus and has ample room for training facilities, accommodation and the Jedi Archive." The temple has five towers, the tallest is Tranquillity Spire, that are stylistically similar to the minarets surrounding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Star Wars Insider listed it as the one hundredth greatest thing about Star Wars in its one hundredth issue special.
Ranks of Jedi
Members of the Order progress through four tiers of rank, at times referred to as levels:
- Jedi Youngling: A Youngling is a child, a Jedi-in-training, learning to control the Force and wield a lightsaber. The title of "Youngling" is the first part of Jedi training. Younglings were seen training under Jedi Master Yoda in a scene on Attack of the Clones and hiding during the assault on the Jedi Temple in Revenge of the Sith.
- Jedi Padawan: A Youngling who successfully completes training then undergoes Padawan training under the tutelage of a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master. They are also called "Apprentices" and "Padawan learners". As a rite of passage and the final test before the trials to knighthood, Padawans must build their own lightsabers. In the Old Republic, Padawans usually wore a hair braid on the right side of their head which was removed with a lightsaber upon attaining knighthood. They also served as Commanders in the Clone Wars. The term Padawan appears to originate in Sanskrit and can be understood as “learner," both in Sanskrit and by contemporary native speakers of Sanskrit-based languages.
- Jedi Knight: Disciplined and experienced, Jedi Knights become so only when they have completed "the trials" (final tests). This, the most common rank, is interchangeably referred to as "Jedi", "Jedi Knight" and "Master Jedi" (although the latter are only used by Younglings and Padawans when addressing Jedi Knights or above). The five tests are usually known as Trial of Skill, the Trial of Courage, the Trial of the Flesh, the Trial of Spirit, and the Trial of Insight or Knowledge. In Return of the Jedi, Master Yoda gives his apprentice, Luke Skywalker, the trial of confronting Darth Vader for a second time so he might become a full-fledged Knight. Occasionally, performing an extraordinary (usually heroic) act can earn a Padawan learner Jedi status, such as when Obi-Wan Kenobi defeats the Sith Lord Darth Maul. By the time of the movies distinct battle classes were not necessary as the Republic had not seen war in over a thousand years, and the title of Knight was simply a rank once again.
- Jedi Master: A Jedi Knight may become a Jedi Master after successfully training a Padawan learner to Knight status. Though this is the most common manner, there are other ways of attaining the rank.
There are two additional tiers exclusive to Jedi Masters who serve on the Jedi High Council:
- Jedi Master of the High Council: The Master of the High Council is elected by the Jedi High Council to chair its meetings and serve as the Grand Master's junior partner in charge of the day-to-day administration of the order.
- Jedi Grand Master of the Order: The Grand Master is usually the oldest, most experienced and best trained of all Jedi. A Grand Master is chosen by the Jedi High Council to provide direction and guidance to the entire Jedi Order.
Within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are usually portrayed wearing simple robes and carrying specialized field gear for their missions. The most notable instrument wielded by a Jedi is the lightsaber.
Both Jedi and Sith use lightsabers as their main weapon. The Jedi's lightsabers emit blue or green blades (or purple, as seen in the case of Mace Windu), while the Sith emit red ones.
Lightsabers can be of many different colors depending on the crystal fixture. Although a Jedi class used to be defined by the color of the lightsaber, most Jedi choose to make his/her lightsaber any color they see fit. Most Jedi use naturally-formed crystals, whereas Sith tend to use synthetic crystals which are usually red in colour.
Notable Jedi Masters
Qui-Gon Jinn is a wise and powerful Jedi Master and the teacher of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unlike other, more conservative Jedi, he values living in the moment as the best way to embrace the Force. While other Jedi respect him highly, they are frequently puzzled by his unorthodox beliefs and ultimately deny him a seat on the Jedi Council despite being among the most powerful of the Jedi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the one who initiates Luke Skywalker to the Jedi arts and serves as a central character during the events of the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan proved himself an adept strategist and spy, as his leadership style heavily favored subterfuge and misdirection while commanding clone troopers, or wielding the Lightsaber and The Force.
Luke Skywalker, padawan to the Jedi master Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, became an important figure in the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Galactic Empire. He is heir to a family deeply powerful in the Force, the twin brother of Rebellion leader Princess Leia of the planet Alderaan, and the son of former Queen of Naboo and Republic Senator Padmé Amidala and fallen Jedi turned Sith Lord Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker). A powerful Jedi Master and eventually the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order, the father of Ben Skywalker, the maternal uncle of Jacen Solo and the ancestor of Cade Skywalker.
Mara Jade Skywalker
Leia Organa Solo
Jaina Solo Fel
Jaina Solo Fel, wife of Jagged Fel, and the eldest child of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo. She is also the elder twin of Jacen by five minutes and the sister of Anakin Solo. She pursued a life separate from her twin brother and becomes Mara Jade Skywalker's apprentice. Jaina progressed quickly as a Jedi and a pilot, eventually joining Rogue Squadron. She briefly becomes the apprentice of fallen Jedi Kyp Durron. Jaina's understanding and manipulation of Yuuzhan Vong technology causes them to associate her with their "trickster goddess". In Legacy of the Force, she senses a growing darkness in her twin. In Betrayal, Jacen falls to the dark side of the Force, and Jaina realizes her duty as the "Sword of the Jedi" requires her to stop him. She turns to Boba Fett to train her. In Invincible, Jaina duels and kills Jacen.
Mace Windu, a Jedi Master of the High Council, is one of the last members of the order's upper echelons before the fall of the Galactic Republic. Windu was the most powerful Jedi and the greatest swordsman of his time, able to defeat Darth Sidious in lightsaber combat, a feat which even Yoda could not achieve. Windu had the unique talent of seeing "shatterpoints", or faultlines in the Force that could affect the destinies of certain individuals, and indeed the galaxy itself. Windu is the only known master of a style of Lightsaber-combat called Vaapad (Form VII), in which the combatant skirts the Dark Side — without giving into it — by actually enjoying the fight and the thrill of victory. (All others who attempted to master the form either gave in to the dark side or were unable to properly master the technique.) He is the Council's primary liaison but the Clone Wars caused him to question his firmest held beliefs.
Yoda, Jedi Grand Master of Order, was the oldest known Jedi (at least 900+ years) in existence, and considered the wisest and most powerful Jedi Master within the Star Wars universe. Yoda had mentored and/or trained almost every known Youngling, Padawan, and Jedi Master in the Jedi Temple throughout his years as a Jedi Grand Master, which includes: Count Dooku; Mace Windu; Obi-Wan Kenobi; Ki-Adi-Mundi; Kit Fisto; Oppo Rancisis; and Luke Skywalker.
Dark Jedi and the Sith
Dark Jedi is the unofficial name given in the Star Wars universe to antihero fictional characters attuned to the Force and adept in its dark side. The concept of "Dark Jedi" is not endorsed anywhere within the movie trilogies. They exist by that name only in the Expanded Universe, including video games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series; the term is never used in any of the six Star Wars films. Rogue Jedi is the term that refers to Jedi who don't follow the Jedi Code or the decisions of the Jedi Council, or who have defected from the Jedi Order. Fallen Jedi refers to former Jedi-turned-Sith whom were seduced by the Dark Side (such as Revan or Anakin Skywalker).
Dark Jedi and Rogue Jedi are a label to a specific archetype of characters in the Star Wars Expanded Universe defined as Force-attuned beings that meet two requirements:
- They do not hold themselves to the dogma of either the Jedi or the Sith.
- They use their Force abilities for less than virtuous pursuits. (Acts that are normally forbidden by the Jedi Order).
Dark Jedi in the Expanded Universe typically refer to pupils of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy who have fallen victim to the dark side. Dark Jedi are also extremely common in the Knights of the Old Republic series in league with the Sith Empire and are often fallen Jedi from the Mandalorian Wars. Dark Jedi also appear in the Jedi Knight series of Star Wars video games, where Kyle Katarn uncovers Imperial plots linked to Dark Jedi. In Jedi Outcast, Katarn faces an entire army of Dark Jedi, cloned and lightly trained force users who follow the main antagonist. Dark Jedi have distanced from Sith in more modern Star Wars media. They are not sworn enemies of the Jedi Order and do not consider destroying it a priority as Sith do. Dark Jedi do not always appear in pairs with a master and apprentice and often work alone.
Because the term Sith was never spoken in the original trilogy (although Darth Vader was described as "Lord of the Sith" in the published screenplay), early Expanded Universe products usually considered the "evil Jedi," those who joined the dark side of the Force, as "Dark Jedi." In his novel series The Thrawn Trilogy, author Timothy Zahn labeled Sith Lord Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine as Dark Jedi, and the term "Sith" was never mentioned in the series until later reprints of the novels.
Dark Jedi use the Force for their own ends while attempting to utilize both sides of the Force, owing no allegiance. They do not exclusively bond themselves to either the light or dark sides of the Force. While a Dark Jedi can use Jedi and Sith Force arts with ease, they rarely obtain the mastery of either side. Palpatine trained many Force-sensitive beings in the ways of the dark side of the Force, but most were never initiated into the rites and secrets of the Sith. Force-sensitive individuals seem to arise spontaneously and may become adept at the Force without Jedi or Sith involvement. It is true, however, that many notable Dark Jedi have received at least some Jedi training.
Palpatine did not consider himself completely bound by Sith tradition (he had begun training his first apprentice, Darth Maul, prior to the death of his own Master, Darth Plagueis, which was a violation of Darth Bane's Rule of Two). It was believed by some that he planned to eventually do away with the Rule of Two entirely in order to have legions of Sith at his disposal.
It is also worthy to note that though a Dark Jedi may believe himself to be acting for a "greater good," the dark side of the Force is a path that ultimately leads to self-destruction (as was the case when Ulic Qel-Droma, Revan, and Anakin fell to the dark side of the Force), regardless of the motives or misguided morals of those who walk it. Mara Jade is another primary example of a Dark Jedi who served evil, but still mistakenly believed her actions to be just. Eventually, she turned from the dark side, but still carried the teachings of the Emperor with her, such as her lightsaber techniques. Contrary to the Jedi method of purging emotion and gaining power via meditation and training, Dark Jedi, like Sith, allow their emotions to empower them.
Mace Windu is a unique case and the only known exception. He created and mastered a style of Lightsaber-combat called Vaapad (Form VII), in which the combatant maintains meditation while simultaneously harnessing the Dark Side — without giving into it — by actually enjoying the fight and the thrill of victory. (All others who attempted to master the form either gave in to the dark side or were unable to properly master the technique.) This technically makes him a Dark Jedi, without "the Dark".
Known organized groups not affiliated with either Jedi or Sith.
Notable Dark Jedi
- Asajj Ventress
- Exar Kun — Fallen Jedi who establishes a dark side presence on Yavin IV
- Joruus C'Baoth
- Juhani — wanted to become a Jedi after Revan rescued her from slavery
- Revan — the Light and the Dark wage a constant war within him
- Depa Billaba
- Mara Jade
- Galen Marek — also known as Starkiller
- Komari Vosa — Dooku's former apprentice who was expelled from the order and became the leader of a cult named the Bando Gora. She was killed by Jango Fett as part of a test implemented by Tyranus in order to find a suitable person with which the Clone Army could be created.
- Jaden Korr — Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Savage Opress
- Darth Vader — Was a Jedi Knight then turned to the dark side. Before death he reverted again.
In popular culture
The US Army had a group of officers in the early 1980s who promoted maneuver warfare tactics, and who were derisively known as Jedi by more conventional officers who were satisfied with attrition tactics and methods.
Jedi Knights have made their way into certain areas of pop culture, such as in: "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "The Saga Begins", a parody of "American Pie". The Jedi influence begins with the lyrics from "American Pie", This'll be the day that I die changed to Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi.
The 2009 film The Men Who Stare at Goats stars Ewan McGregor as a reporter named Bob Wilton who follows a former soldier (George Clooney) who claimed to be a "Jedi warrior", a nickname for psychic spies in the US military. McGregor previously starred as Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy.
One of the enduring influences the Star Wars saga has had in popular culture is the idea of the fictional Jedi values being interpreted as a modern philosophical path or religion, spawning various movements such as the Jediism (religious) and the Jedi census phenomenon.
- Pallister, James (15 June 2009). "Top 10: The Architecture of Star Wars (pt II)". Architectsjournal.co.uk.
- Klaus Glashoff. "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". Spokensanskrit.de. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
- Klaus Glashoff. "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". Spokensanskrit.de. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 ("If you would just follow the Code, you would be on the Council.")
- In a 2005 interview with MTV News, Lucas confirmed: "Han and Leia did get married. They settled down. She became a senator, and they got a nice little house with a white picket fence. Han Solo is out there cooking burgers on the grill. Is that a movie? I don't think so."
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
- Woolley, Jamie. "A New Religion". BBC News.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jedi.|
|Look up Jedi in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- The Jedi Order in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Jedi Temple in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Jedi on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki