- "For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic."
- ―Ben Kenobi
A Jedi was a member of the Jedi Order, an ancient order of protectors united by their ability to harness the power of the Force. Adhering to a doctrine that favored the light side of the Force, the Jedi aspired to attain a state of inner tranquility through calmness and meditation while avoiding emotions affiliated with the dark side of the Force, such as anger and hatred. Nevertheless, Jedi philosophy did not forbid a Jedi from acting in self-defense or in the defense of others. To that end, the weapon of a Jedi was the lightsaber, a blade composed of pure energy and different colors such as blue, green, purple or yellow.
Before the time of the Galactic Empire, a Jedi was a guardian of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic. The Jedi's commitment to peace and democracy brought them into conflict with an order of dark side wielders known as the Sith, who sought power and dominion over the galaxy. Emerging victorious from their wars with the ancient Sith, the Jedi carried on in their duty as peacekeepers for over a millennium until the advent of the Clone Wars twenty-two years before the Battle of Yavin. Faced with a pan-galactic civil war between the Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Jedi adopted the mantle of generals and soldiers in the Grand Army of the Republic. After three years of conflict, the Jedi discovered that the war had been a ploy designed to restore the Sith to power. However, the Jedi were betrayed by one of their own—the Chosen One Anakin Skywalker, who had been seduced to the dark side and anointed Darth Vader by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Using the Jedi's own clone troopers to initiate a systematic purge of the Jedi Order, the Lords of the Sith all but eradicated the Jedi in one fell swoop, reducing the order from thousands of Jedi Knights to a handful of survivors who dispersed into exile across the galaxy.
The Sith ruled the galaxy through the Empire for a generation, but did not succeed in completely wiping out the Jedi Order. As a result, Ezra Bridger and Luke Skywalker were, in turn, trained as new Jedi by Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively. Skywalker, the son of Vader, was also taught the ways of the Jedi by Grand Master Yoda. On his deathbed, Yoda gave his final apprentice the mandate of passing on his lessons to a new generation of Jedi. Shortly afterward, Skywalker succeeded in redeeming his father, who killed his Sith Master at the cost of his own life, thereby destroying the Sith and fulfilling the prophecy of the Chosen One.
During the era of the New Republic, Skywalker worked to rebuild the Jedi Order by training a dozen apprentices, including his young but powerful nephew, Ben Solo. As before, the Jedi Order was once again betrayed from within. Solo turned to the dark side like his grandfather before him, killing half of his uncle's students and taking the rest with him into the service of Snoke, the Supreme Leader of the First Order. Skywalker survived the massacre, but blamed himself for the actions of his sister's son, who became Kylo Ren—Snoke's apprentice and master of the Knights of Ren. Forsaking the legacy of the Jedi, Skywalker exiled himself to the remote planet of Ahch-To, the birthplace of the Jedi Order, where he intended to live out his remaining days as a hermit before ultimately dying as the last Jedi. His isolation was interrupted by Rey, a Jakku scavenger who possessed raw strength in the Force like the former Ben Solo. Challenging Skywalker's views on the Jedi as symbols of failure and hubris, Rey believed that the Jedi Order had to be fully restored in order to return the galaxy to a state of peace and balance. Ultimately, Skywalker passed on the Jedi teachings to Rey and declared that he would not be the last Jedi moments before becoming one with the Force.
- "The Jedi are selfless. They only care about others."
- ―Anakin Skywalker to Chancellor Palpatine
The Jedi Knights focused on calmness and peace to channel their powers in the Force, using the light side of the Force to serve in the capacity of guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. Even so, the Jedi sought to preserve balance in the Force; the ancient prophecy of the Chosen One foretold of a being who would restore balance to the Force by destroying the Sith. In combat, whereas an enemy may grow impatient and rely on their overwhelming strength, a Jedi would meditate and find serenity in their mind to focus. A Jedi used their lightsaber only for defense, not for attack, and used the Force for defense and knowledge rather than use it to gain power over others. Because of this, some Jedi were capable of appearing after death as Force spirits. The Jedi fit themselves as peacekeepers during the time of the Galactic Republic, not soldiers. Knowledge, the Force, and self-discipline were considered the three pillars of Jedi strength.
- "For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to a young Luke Skywalker
Guardians of the Republic
The Jedi were an order of ancient origins, having been present in the galaxy for over one thousand generations. Originally established at the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To, they established numerous sites throughout the galaxy on Coruscant, Ossus, Tython, and Jedha. The Jedi eventually came to align with the democratic Galactic Republic and owed their allegiance to the Galactic Senate.
The Jedi Purge
There were ten thousand Jedi in the galaxy before the Clone Wars, the first pan-galactic war in over a millennium since the rise of the Galactic Republic and the alleged extinction of the Sith. At the end of the war, however, which had secretly been engineered by the long dormant Sith in a bid for power, they were all but destroyed by the Sith during and after the execution of Order 66, leaving very few Jedi survivors.
Nonetheless, a new age Jedi, Luke Skywalker, son of the fallen Anakin Skywalker, would be trained by Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda during the Galactic Civil War. Luke went on to redeem his father, who killed Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith and ruler of the Galactic Empire, and thus destroyed the Sith and brought balance to the Force. With his masters and father dead, however, Luke had become the last of the Jedi.
Skywalker worked to rebuild the Jedi Order in the years after the Galactic Civil War during the time of the New Republic, eventually gathering a group of Jedi students, among them his nephew, Ben Solo. the Quarren Hennix, and fellow humans Tai and Voe. However, Luke sensed a growing darkness in Ben and eventually went to confront his nephew in the night. When Luke peered into his nephew's mind while he slept, he saw the machinations of the mysterious dark side wielder Snoke and Ben's darkness, which would lead to death, destruction, and despair in the galaxy, and, in a moment of pure instinct, ignited his lightsaber. Luke, whose family had a history with the dark side, was quickly overcome by shame and regret, but before he could put away his blade, his nephew woke up, and, in the confusion of the moment, ignited his own lightsaber to clash with his uncle and brought down his hut on him.
After emerging from the wreckage, a confused and terrified Ben watched as a lightning storm destroyed Skywalker's Jedi Temple, presumably killing the other Jedi inside. Shortly later, Hennix, Tai, and Voe returned on their starship Verity. Sensing only Ben's presence, they confronted Ben, who told them Skywalker had tried to kill him. In response to Ben's evasive and confrontational behavior, they fought and pursued him. In despair and confusion, Ben turned to his friend Snoke. When Skywalker emerged from the rubble, he believed that Ben had razed his temple, slaughtered most of his student while taking the rest with him. Ben eventually joined the Knights of Ren and became Kylo Ren, a student of Snoke.
A ray of hope
Sometime later, as war erupted between the First Order and the Resistance for control of the galaxy, an orphaned scavenger named Rey approached Luke at the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To, seeking to be trained as a Jedi, having been sent by General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance, Luke's sister, and Kylo Ren's mother. Though Luke rejected her at first, he eventually agreed to train her. A Force bond that connected Kylo Ren and Rey brought her to the Supremacy, where Kylo turned her over to his master, Supreme Leader Snoke. However, Kylo killed his master, and fought with Rey against his Elite Praetorian Guard.
When Kylo usurped his master's power, Rey abandoned him and joined with the fleeing Resistance on Crait, where the Battle of Crait had erupted. As Rey helped the few Resistance survivors escape aboard the Millennium Falcon, Luke projected an image of himself on Crait to distract Kylo Ren and the First Order. He warned Kylo that he would not be the last Jedi, naming Rey his successor, before becoming one with the Force. Luke's tale went on to spread across the galaxy as a symbol of hope in a dark time as the First Order rose to power.
When Darth Sidious reemerged in the year following the battle at Crait, Rey, who had continued her Jedi training under Leia Organa, and her companions in the Resistance undertook a series of missions to find a way to safely navigate through space to Exegol, where Sidious's lair and his followers were located. After learning from Kylo Ren that Darth Sidious was her grandfather and that she was a Palpatine, Rey briefly considered exiling herself at the first Jedi Temple as her old master had, but the spirit of Skywalker appeared before Rey to encourage her to confront her fear, teaching his student that it was the destiny of all Jedi. Rey and a redeemed Kylo Ren, who renounced the dark side and reclaimed his birth identity Ben Solo, confronted Sidious during a battle at Exegol. Sidious used their bond as a dyad in the Force to rejuvenate himself, but Rey was restrengthened when she reached out to and heard the voices of the past Jedi, allowing her to stand and defeat Sidious. Rey was killed as a result of an explosion, but she was revived when Solo gave his life for hers. Although the Skywalker bloodline ended, their actions allowed the Jedi to prevail and end the Sith. Rey chose to adopt the surname "Skywalker" when she visited the Lars homestead on Tatooine and saw the spirits of Luke and Leia in the distance.
Members of the Jedi Order held various positions within the Order at times. These included:
- Jedi youngling: A young child who was Force-sensitive would be identified at birth and taken to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to be trained as a Jedi. They were to be put into classes of other Jedi younglings and trained together before being taken as an apprentice by a Jedi Knight. Younglings were not to be trained once they had reached a certain age, with the sole exception to this rule being Anakin Skywalker. Younglings would participate in the Gathering, which was the pilgrimage to the Ilum Temple to gain a kyber crystal for their lightsaber.
- Padawan: A youngling who had been chosen by a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master to train under their tutelage personally into becoming a fully fledged Jedi Knight. Their readiness was decided by the Initiate Trials. Padawans wore a braid.
- Jedi Knight: Once a Padawan has successfully passed the Jedi trials, they were be granted the rank of Jedi Knight and went out on missions of their own, no longer under the tutelage of a master.
- Jedi Master: A Jedi Knight was granted the rank of Jedi Master and offered a seat on the Jedi High Council when they had shown great skill, wisdom and devotion to the Force. When a Jedi Knight successfully led a Padawan to becoming a Jedi Knight themselves, they would also be granted the rank of Master.[source?]
- Grand Master: The leader of the Jedi High Council, the position of Grand Master was given to the oldest and considered to be the wisest member of the Jedi Order.
Some members of the Jedi Order had specific titles and roles within the Order. These included:
- Master of the Order: This position was assumed by the leader of the Jedi Order. He or she had to be voted unanimously into the position by the Jedi High Council.
- Jedi Temple Guard: Headed by Cin Drallig during the Clone Wars, these anonymous Jedi guarded the Jedi Temple with lightsaber pikes.
- Jedi investigator: Detectives aiding police with the use of the Force. They also used crime scene analysis droids.
- Consular Jedi: The ones who devoted themselves to the study of diplomacy or science, avoiding combat and warfare duties.
- Chief Librarian: The overseer of the Jedi Archives and Holocron Vault.
Jedi military ranks
At the onset of the Clone Wars, the Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic, were chosen by the Galactic Senate, whom the Jedi owed their allegiance to, to lead the new Grand Army of the Republic. They were thus given either of the respective ranks in the Republic Military:
- Jedi Commander: Granted to Padawans and Jedi Knights, who served as second-in-commands to Jedi Generals in the Grand Army of the Republic.
- Jedi General: Granted to Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters, who served as the highest ranking officers within the Grand Army of the Republic.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- ↑ Nexus of Power
- ↑ Doctor Aphra 2
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Fire Across the Galaxy"
- ↑ Bloodline
- ↑ Star Wars 9
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Star Wars Rebels – "DUME"
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- ↑ Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Path of the Jedi"
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 The Rise of Kylo Ren 1
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Gathering"
- ↑ Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- ↑ Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- ↑ Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Jedi on Wikipedia