- "Welcome to the Palace of the Jedi! Brave you must be, a great challenge have you."
- ―Yoda, greeting the recruit
Around 32 BBY, in the aftermath of the Battle of Naboo, a young new recruit was brought to the Jedi Temple on the planet Coruscant and placed under the responsibility of Jedi Master Yoda. The old Jedi assigned various tasks to the young recruit related to helping the planet Naboo return to a state of peace after the Trade Federation's invasion of the world, and to also keeping Anakin Skywalker, a rising star of the Jedi Order, content in his new role as a Jedi Padawan. Despite being very young and still untrained, the child proved very resourceful in completing difficult tasks such as terminating the remaining battle droids lurking in the Sacred Forest of Naboo, finding ancient statues in the Gungan Caves, and fixing the personal computer of Queen Amidala, ruler of Naboo. Under the watchful gaze of Yoda himself, the young recruit also recorded a collection of songs for Skywalker and programmed stories into the memory core of C-3PO, Skywalker's homemade protocol droid.
- "Six missions there are."
Around 32 BBY, the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi recruited a young Force-sensitive on behalf of the Jedi Order and sent the individual to be trained on the galactic capital planet of Coruscant. The child boarded a Consular-class space cruiser bound for the Jedi Temple and, upon arrival, was directed to Yoda, Grand Master of the Order. Yoda had recently returned from the planet Naboo after the funeral of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi's Master. The recent events of the Naboo crisis, in which the Trade Federation invaded Naboo with an army of battle droids, had left many scars.
Despite victory over the Trade Federation's troops and the possible discovery of the Chosen One—a being prophesied to restore balance to the Force—in the person of Anakin Skywalker, much remained to be done. Yoda thus commissioned the child to undertake six missions directly linked to the late crisis. It was rather unusual for a mere Jedi Initiate to be allowed to venture off-world, but the Grand Master placed exceptional trust in the recruit as he bestowed his blessing to leave the Temple.
Restoring peace on Naboo
- "A great victory the Republic won on Naboo. A celebration there is. Queen Amidala challenged Jar Jar Binks with a race between friends."
Yoda first tasked the young Jedi recruit with helping at the Victory Races of Naboo, which were organized to celebrate the friendly relations between the two peoples of the planet, the Naboo and the Gungans. Queen Padmé Amidala of the Naboo and Bombad General Jar Jar Binks of the Gungan Grand Army, both key actors in the recent reconciliation between the two peoples, were to participate in the races, each on a different species of mount—Binks on a kaadu, and Amidala on a tusk cat. Yoda tasked the young Jedi recruit with advising them on choosing from the available paths through the terrains that the race circuit covered, since each steed preferred different types of terrain. The youngling favored one of the competitors.
Despite the fact that the Federation's single Droid Control Ship had been destroyed, deactivating most of the B1-Series battle droids and droidekas stationed on Naboo, active battle droids were discovered pillaging the Sacred Forest of Naboo. The Jedi recruit helped Binks activate droid traps hidden throughout the woods, triggered by a drum-like mechanism. Different types of traps were involved, including hidden pits and booma-launching devices. To make them work properly, the recruit needed to reproduce a specific beat.
Due to a mistake by Binks, Amidala's personal computer on her royal starship had malfunctioned, and the fluke resulted in the loss of files of great importance to the queen. After resolving tangram puzzles, the recruit fixed the computer and restored valuable pictures related to the conflict on Naboo, in the process acquiring knowledge about the recent invasion. Among other subjects, the files included data and images of the Seraph-class urban landspeeder and the podracer that Anakin Skywalker had used to win the Boonta Eve Classic podrace.
At the request of the Gungans, the young recruit went to find four sacred statues inside the ancient Gungan Caves. Each relic was hidden behind a sealed door, and the youngling had to find ten jewels per door that, together, acted as keys to open the stone slab. The recruit explored a maze of tunnels filled with doors decorated with red spiders, colorful lizards, and mysterious carvings. The youth successfully discovered the jewels hidden in the cave system, relying on visual cues such as plants and rocks. Once the doors were opened, they finally revealed their treasures.
Missions on Tatooine
- "C-3PO, Anakin's droid. To him, knowledge of the Jedi you must bring."
Yoda tasked the Jedi recruit with traveling to the desert planet Tatooine, where the protocol droid C-3PO had been left unfinished by his creator, Anakin Skywalker. Yoda asked the young recruit to program stories into the droid's memory, and the young Jedi input tales and anecdotes related to Skywalker, Amidala, and the Jedi into C-3PO. These tales notably included a conversation between Skywalker and Amidala in which the boy confessed he missed his mother. Despite the new programming, the droid later claimed that he was never good at storytelling.
Skywalker had been forced to leave Tatooine and his mother in order to join the Jedi Order, and Yoda suggested to the recruit that they help put together a songbook to remind Skywalker of his home planet. The new recruit ventured to Akim's Munch, a street cafe located in Mos Espa. There, the youngling worked with a Bith band, the Jawa singer Tili Tili, and a Tiperoo to record thirty-one songs on a musical keyboard. These songs were Skywalker's favorites, and most of them directly referenced events from his life or from the Battle of Naboo. The musical pieces included "Growing up on Tatooine," "Ja Ja Jabba," "I Want to Go to Naboo," "Everybody's Got Something to Sell," and "Watto Steals You Blind."
Personality and traits
- "With you, I will always be."
- ―Master Yoda
While Jedi Initiates were usually attached to a clan under the training of an instructor and rarely left the Jedi Temple, Grand Master Yoda showed trust in the youngling and tasked the new recruit with missions that required travel off-world from Coruscant to remote planets such as Naboo and Tatooine. The young recruit showed bravery in navigating the underground passages on Naboo, and aptitude for music, problem solving, programming, and tangram puzzles. Yoda thought highly of the young recruit's courage and logical thinking, and he took great personal interest in following the completion of the child's tasks.
Behind the scenes
In 1998, Lucas Learning released the educational video game Star Wars: Yoda's Challenge Activity Center, in which the player assumes the role of a promising Jedi recruit. The game never specifies the recruit's name, species, or sex, simply describing the character as a "young new recruit," and allowing the player to give the character a name of his or her choosing. The game is targeted at children aged six to eight and includes six different puzzles. These puzzles can be played in any order; this article arranges them in the order they are presented on the in-game menu.
- Star Wars: Yoda's Challenge Activity Center (First appearance)