Mace Windu

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Mace Windu
Star Wars character
Mace Windu.png
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
First appearanceThe Phantom Menace (1999)
Created byGeorge Lucas
Portrayed bySamuel L. Jackson
Voiced by
In-universe information
  • Jedi (former)
  • Jedi Knight (former)
  • Jedi Master
  • Republic General (during the Clone Wars)
HomeworldHaruun Kal

Mace Windu is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed by actor Samuel L. Jackson in the prequel trilogy, who reprised his role in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, whilst Terrence C. Carson voiced the character in other projects, such as The Clone Wars television series.

Windu is a Jedi Master and member of the High Council during the final years of the Galactic Republic, who wields a unique purple-bladed lightsaber. Despite the Clone Wars causing him to question his most firmly held beliefs,[1] he is a staunch follower of the Jedi path and was distrustful of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker because he felt that he had dangerous potential. Towards the end of the Clone Wars, he learns from Anakin that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious and attempts to arrest him, only to be killed by the Sith Lord with the help of Anakin himself, who then becomes Darth Vader. Windu later appears as a disembodied voice, along with other past Jedi, during the final battle of The Rise of Skywalker (2019), empowering Rey to face the rejuvenated Palpatine.

Character conception and overview[edit]

Several early incarnations of the character who would become Mace Windu were developed in the original Star Wars drafts as the narrator, Princess Leia's brother and Luke Skywalker's friend.[2] Through the process of redrafting and copyediting, his character was removed from the original trilogy, but was reintroduced in 1994 when series creator George Lucas began writing the prequel trilogy.

The character's purple lightsaber was a way of making the character unique and easily distinguishable. Jackson's favorite color is purple, and he frequently requests that any character he plays must use an item of that color.[3] Although his weapon is not seen onscreen until Episode II – Attack of the Clones, action figures released for Episode I – The Phantom Menace pair Mace with a blue lightsaber.[4]



Mace Windu's Jedi robes from Episode III

The Phantom Menace[edit]

Introduced in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Windu appears as the Master of the Jedi Council.[1] The maverick Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn comes before the Council and offers to train Anakin Skywalker, believing that the boy is the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy. Windu and the other Council members decline, deeming Anakin too old and full of fear. After the corrupt Trade Federation is defeated and Obi-Wan Kenobi defeats Sith Lord Darth Maul, who also kills Qui-Gon, Windu realizes that the Sith have returned, and he and the Council reluctantly allow Obi-Wan to train Anakin in Qui-Gon's stead.[5]

Attack of the Clones[edit]

In Attack of the Clones, set ten years after the previous installment, Windu initially refuses to believe that the assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala on Coruscant was authorized by former Jedi master Count Dooku, the leader of a galactic Separatist movement. Having learned of Obi-Wan's whereabouts on Geonosis, Windu arrives to save Obi-Wan, Padmé and Anakin from being executed at Dooku's order. In the ensuing battle, Windu kills bounty hunter Jango Fett, the template for the Republic's army of clone troopers, and leads them and a cadre of Jedi to victory in a battle with Dooku's forces. At the end of the film, with the Clone Wars begun, Windu resolves to keep a closer eye on the increasingly corrupt Galactic Senate.[6]

Revenge of the Sith[edit]

In Revenge of the Sith, set three years after the beginning of the Clone Wars, Windu and the other members of the Jedi Council are concerned that the Republic's Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine, may not relinquish his emergency powers when the Clone Wars end. Their suspicions only grow when the Senate grants Palpatine a vote on the Jedi Council by appointing Anakin as his personal representative. The Council makes Anakin a member, but denies him the rank of Jedi Master and orders him to spy on Palpatine against the latter's will, causing Anakin's faith in the Jedi to diminish significantly. After Obi-Wan kills Separatist leader General Grievous, Anakin learns Palpatine's true identity and informs Windu that Palpatine is Sith Lord Darth Sidious, the mastermind of the war. Windu and three other Jedi Masters; Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin attempt to arrest Palpatine, but the Sith Lord easily has Windu left to duel alone. Windu gets the upper hand and subdues Palpatine by knocking away his lightsaber and deflecting the Sith Lord's Force lightning back at him, disfiguring Palpatine's body. Anakin, needing Palpatine for the power to prevent his wife Padmé's possible death arrives and pleads with Windu not to kill Palpatine, who possibly feigns helplessness to implore Anakin. Windu counters that Palpatine controls the Senate and the courts, and is therefore too dangerous to be kept alive. Just as Windu is about to finish Palpatine off, Anakin intervenes on Palpatine's behalf, betraying Windu by severing his right arm and disarming him. Palpatine then tortures and defenestrates Windu with another blast of Force lightning, supposedly killing him. Palpatine uses Windu's death to start Order 66 and murder the vast majority of the Jedi.[7]

The Clone Wars[edit]

Windu makes his final film appearance in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He plays a supporting role as a general in the Republic's clone forces. He is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, who portrayed the character in the live-action films.[8]

The Rise of Skywalker[edit]

Windu returns as a voice cameo in the final chapter of the Star Wars sequel trilogy The Rise of Skywalker. During the battle between Rey and his killer, Palpatine, Windu's voice is heard speaking to Rey, encouraging her to rise and fight back as all of the past Jedi are with her.

Animated series[edit]

The Clone Wars (2008)[edit]

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars (set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith), Mace Windu has a supporting role. As in the film, he is a general of the Republic's clone army. He is voiced by Terrence "T.C." Carson.


In 2017, Marvel released Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu, a 5-issue series centered around Windu during the early days of the Clone Wars. He leads a small team of Jedi on a mission to the planet Hissrich, to find out what the Separatists are doing there. During the mission, Windu's faith in the Jedi path is tested by his interactions with two new characters: AD-W4, a mercenary droid with a thirst for murdering Jedi; and Prosset Dibs, a blind Jedi Master who becomes disillusioned with the Jedi Order and turns on Windu. Ultimately, Windu ends up besting both adversaries in single combat, respectively, and his faith in the Jedi way is strengthened by the experience.


Windu appears extensively in prequel-era Expanded Universe material. In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film were rebranded by Lucasfilm as "Legends" and declared non-canon to the franchise.[9][10]

Clone Wars (2003)[edit]

Mace Windu is a supporting character in Genndy Tartakovsky's Star Wars: Clone Wars micro-series, which is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The character's likeness in the series is based on that in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. In the first chapters, he defends the grasslands planet Dantooine against a large hovering "fortress", and over the course, he loses his lightsaber, forcing him to instead use a lethal form of unarmed combat powered by the Force. In final chapters, he and fellow Jedi Master Yoda help defend the planet Coruscant from an attack by General Grievous. In the midst of the battle, he realizes that the attack is a ruse to distract the Jedi from Grievous's true objective: to "kidnap" Palpatine. Despite being too late to save the Supreme Chancellor, the Jedi Master uses the Force to crush Grievous's chest, inflicting upon the cyborg general the wheezing, asthmatic cough heard in Revenge of the Sith.


The 1999 "Emissaries to Malastare" arc of the Dark Horse Comics' self-titled Star Wars series, set shortly after The Phantom Menace, mentions a Jedi exercise in which Windu had swapped his lightsaber with Eeth Koth. However, the lightsaber returned to him is blue, so this does not explain why his saber color changed to purple, as is sometimes claimed.[11]


Windu has appeared as a supporting character in Legends/Expanded Universe novels, such as Cloak of Deception, Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Rogue Planet, Outbound Flight, The Cestus Deception, Jedi Trial, Yoda: Dark Rendezvous and Labyrinth of Evil.

AuthorMatthew Stover
CountryUnited States
SeriesCanon C
SubjectStar Wars
GenreScience fiction
PublisherDel Rey & Random House Audio
Publication date
Hardcover: June 3, 2003
Paperback: April 23, 2004
PagesHardcover: 464

Paperback: 432

Audiobook: 3h 45m 17s
Preceded byBoba Fett: Hunted 
Followed byThe Cestus Deception 

Windu is the central character of Matthew Stover's 2004 novel Shatterpoint, taking place six months after Attack of the Clones. Stover based the novel on both Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, and its loose adaptation Apocalypse Now. George Lucas wrote the prologue to the novel, and Jonathan Davis reads the audiobook version.

Windu's former Padawan and fellow Jedi Master Depa Billaba has been sent to Windu's homeworld, Haruun Kal, to start a revolution against the Separatist-allied government. Evidence is discovered that Billaba has fallen to the dark side of the Force. Since Windu taught her a special lightsaber combat form, he alone is sent by the Jedi Council to find her. After a fight, he puts Billaba under arrest, and calls a Republic cruiser. It is attacked by Vulture droids and deploys gunships, which battle the droid starfighters with the assistance of clone troopers. Some of the landing craft make it to the surface, and the cruiser defeats the Separatists. Windu uses the gunships to destroy the droid fighters that followed them, then orders the clones to take out a nearby droid control station. The Separatists are forced to surrender to the Republic, and Billaba falls into a vegetative coma. A Republic force stays on the planet to police the unrestful local tribes.

The novel explores Windu's unique talent of sensing "shatterpoints", faultlines in the Force which allow him to exploit his enemies' weaknesses. It also explains that Windu is the creator and sole master of a style of lightsaber combat called Vaapad, in which the user skirts dangerously close to the dark side by enjoying the thrill of the fight. All others who attempted to master the form either gave in to the dark side or were unable to properly master the technique. Stover later referenced Windu's unique lightsaber-fighting abilities in his novelization of Revenge of the Sith.


A Mace Windu action figure was added to the Star Wars Transformers toy line in 2006. It was a remold of the toy first used for Obi-Wan Kenobi. He becomes an Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor starfighter with Astromech droid R4-M6.


IGN listed Mace Windu as the 27th top Star Wars character, stating that he is an important component of the series.[12]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sansweet, Stephen J.; Hidalgo, Pablo; Vitas, Bob (2008). The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. Los Angeles, California: LucasBooks. ISBN 978-0345477637.
  2. ^ Rinzler, J.W. (2007). The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film. London, England: Del Rey Books. ISBN 978-0345494764.
  3. ^ Giles, Jeff (July 1, 2013). "Samuel L. Jackson On The Hilarious Origins Of His Purple Lightsaber in 'Star Wars'". ScreenCrush. Greenwich, Connecticut: Townsquare Media. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Veekhoven, Tim (June 30, 2014). "The Beginning: Hasbro's Phantom Menace Toys". Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (DVD). Los Angeles, California: 20th Century Fox. 1999.
  6. ^ Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (DVD). Los Angeles, California: 20th Century Fox. 2002.
  7. ^ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DVD). Los Angeles, California: 20th Century Fox. 2005.
  8. ^ Star Wars: The Clone Wars (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2008.
  9. ^ McMilian, Graeme (April 25, 2014). "Lucasfilm Unveils New Plans for Star Wars Expanded Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Dela Cruz, Judith Anne (March 18, 2019). "Mace Windu's Original Lightsaber Color Revealed". Epicstream. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Star Wars Characters: 27: Mace Windu". IGN. Los Angeles, California: j2 Global. Archived from the original on August 16, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2018.

External links[edit]