As Obi Wan Tells Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope, the Jedi have been the guardians of peace and justice for thousands of years. An ancient peacekeeping order, the Jedi devoted their lives to the service of others and the destruction of evil everywhere. While the Jedi are central to the story of the Star Wars saga, even passionate fans know very little about the Order’s inner workings and history. Further complicating the history of the Jedi, the “reset” of the Star Wars canon and the creation of Star Wars Legends means that many parts of the the origins and future of the Jedi are unknown. No doubt many of these mysteries will be solved as the upcoming films and supporting media reveal new information. The new trailer for the upcoming season of Star Wars Rebels makes it seem like fans may not need to wait for some of the answers that they want.
While the Sith and other Force users are discussed in this article, its primary focus is the Jedi Order and characters who are a part of the Jedi Order.
This article utilizes the Star Wars canon, including the films (some Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers ahead, although Oscar Isaac says they’re okay now), the television shows, the comics, and other canon source materials. The information included in this article is Star Wars canon unless specified otherwise.
10. “Jedi” and “Padawan” Trace Back to Earth
Linguistically, both the word “Jedi” and “Padawan” have their roots on the planet Earth. “Jedi” is a shortening of the Japanese word jidaigeki, a genre of film in Japan that refers, roughly, to period dramas. More often than not, jidaigeki are samurai movies which feature sword fights and warriors, like the films of legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s works were deeply influential for George Lucas and helped him to create Star Wars.
Padawan comes from the other side of the world. Originally the Sanskrit for “learner,” the word was adopted to be used as the term for a Jedi pupil who has been assigned to learn from a single Jedi teacher.
9. The Jedi are Rare
After seeing how massive and influential the Jedi Order seemed to be in the prequel trilogy, fans were surprised that during the lifetime of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), the Jedi became myths. Both Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in A New Hope and Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in The Force Awakens assume that the Jedi are nothing more than legend. But a part of the reason why people quickly believed that the Jedi were only myths was because at their zenith during the Clone Wars, there were only 10,000 Jedi.
While Star Wars fans are in a unique position, watching stories that focus on the Jedi and other Force users, the Jedi were not necessarily well-known throughout the galaxy, and the average person probably never crossed paths with a Jedi in their lifetime. Additionally, after Order 66, the Emperor worked to encourage these rumors and turn the Jedi into myth in order to erase their history.
8. Not All Light Side Force Users are Jedi
The Jedi are an order, like the Sith. Just as not all users of the dark side of the Force are Sith, not all users of the light side of the Force are Jedi. The word Jedi is not synonymous with “Force user,” because the Jedi are a very specific kind of Force user. Even without using examples from Star Wars Legends, there are a number of users of the light side who are not Jedi: Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) is a former Jedi who leaves the order; Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) was never trained as a Jedi, but is skilled in the ways of the Force; Rey (Daisy Ridley) is not a Jedi – or at least, not yet. While Luke is referred to as “the last Jedi,” he is not necessarily the last Force practitioner who embraces the light side of the Force.
Additionally, not everyone who trains to be a Jedi actually becomes a Jedi. Initiates have to pass a series of tests in order to become padawans, and many fail and are reassigned to work for the Jedi order in other roles. As Ahsoka notes, only the top of the class goes to the Gathering to get their kyber crystal from the caves of Ilum, which is one of the early steps on the path to becoming a Jedi.
The creation of lightsabers, along with the significance and source of their color, changed in the new canon. The process and product were explored in Star Wars Clone Wars. At their Gathering ceremony on the planet Ilum, Jedi initiates bond with a kyber crystal. Before the crystal bonds with the young Jedi, it is colorless. Afterwards, it changes to a color, usually blue or green, although it has been known to change into a different shade, such as yellow, purple, or even white. The color no longer denotes the class or type of Jedi that wields it. The Jedi padawan then constructs their own lightsaber, constructed around a kyber crystal under the supervision of Huyang at the Crucible.
There are seven recognized forms of lightsaber combat that the Jedi utilize: Form I (Shii-Cho, a rudimentary form), Form II (Makashi, a dueling form), Form III (Soresu, a close-combat form), Form IV (Ataru, an acrobatic form), Form V (Djem So, a blaster-reflecting form), Form VI (Niman, a form that incorporates Force pushes and pulls), and Form VII (Juyo, an aggressive form).
6. The Jedi Archives and Holocrons
The true power of the Jedi Order was its knowledge. The Jedi Archives housed the most extensive records in the galaxy, including maps, zoological and botanical information, and technological advancements. It also contained a detailed history of the Jedi, the Sith, and how the Force had been used throughout history. While Jedi had access to much of this knowledge, some of it was only available to Jedi Masters or Council members. For instance, holocrons, cubes that are able to display holographic projections that contain sensitive information, were only available to the twelve masters of the High Jedi Council. One holocron can contain a wealth of information, as shown by the holocron which the bounty hunter Cad Bane (Corey Burton) steals from the Holocron Vault for Emperor Palpatine in The Clone Wars – that single holocron contained the names and information on every Force-sensitive child in the galaxy.
Jedi Master Jocasta Nu (Alethea McGrath) was the keeper of the Jedi Archives during the time of the Clone Wars. After the Clones Wars, much of the information in the Jedi Archives was taken into possession by the Emperor. Some of it, however, scattered throughout the galaxy. The holocrons end up playing a vital role in keeping Jedi knowledge alive after Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge, including the holocrons that Grakkus the Hutt collected along with other Jedi memorabilia.
5. The Jedi Temples
The Jedi Temple on Coruscant was the seat of the current Jedi order during the Clone Wars. Founded by four Jedi Masters, the Temple had four spires around the central tower; each spire held the meeting place of one of the four Jedi councils, including the High Council which is featured in the prequel trilogy. After Order 66 and the destruction of the Jedi, the Jedi Temple of Coruscant was turned into the Imperial Palace for Emperor Palpatine.
While very little is known about the Jedi activity before the Temple on Coruscant, the ancient Jedi temple on Ahch-To where Luke Skywalker is in The Force Awakens proves that the Jedi Order predates the Coruscant Temple. Fans have noted the similarities between the planet Ahch-To and the Star Wars Legends planet Tython, where the Jedi Order found its origins.
4. The Lost Twenty
Before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader and assisted Palpatine in the destruction of the Jedi Order, there were the Lost Twenty. Each of the Lost Twenty were different Jedi Masters who decided to leave the Jedi Order. Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), the Sith apprentice to Palpatine prior to Darth Vader, was the final of the twenty to leave the Jedi Order.
While many padawans and initiates leave the Order for a variety of reasons, the Lost Twenty each became full members of the Order before leaving, and their choice, therefore, was due to an ideological disagreement with the Jedi teachings. In Star Wars Legends, some members of the Lost Twenty go onto create the Sith Order, as fallen warriors who chose to create another Order in opposition to the Jedi.
3. Jedi Force Spirits
In the new canon, Force spirits are a relatively new skill developed by the Jedi. The first known Jedi to return as a Force ghost is Obi-Wan’s mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, who learned how to manifest himself through the Force by the Force priestesses on a Force-sensitive planet that is nameless and does not appear on any maps in the galaxy. Jinn, in turn, taught the skill to Yoda and Obi-Wan – Anakin Skywalker at some time must have also learned the skill, although it is unclear when. Only Jedi with a deep connection to the light side of the Force have ever returned as a Force spirit. Ironically, the Sith, who long for immortality and the power that it would bring, are unable to manifest themselves as a Force spirit as far as we know.
2. Luke’s Jedi Training Took Years
In contrast to Rey’s speedy development, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) trained for years before he became Master Yoda’s padawan. Many fans do not account for the three years between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, during which time Luke practiced and tested his relationship with the Force, training daily. While Luke is by-and-large a self-taught Jedi, other than the brief periods of time when he was able to train with Obi-Wan and Yoda, he still developed his skills and knowledge of the Jedi Order over years.
In the Marvel Star Wars comics, Luke discovered a number of holocrons that contain information about the Jedi Order adventures between Episodes IV and V, now in the possession of a Hutt named Grakkus. Luke not only trained physically and practically to be a Jedi – during his development, he also learned about the history and philosophy of the Jedi Order. Even though Luke was self-trained, his training is in the Jedi Order, and not merely in the Force.
1. Jedi Also Exists In Our Galaxy (sort of)
The Jedi census phenomenon is a term that is used to describe people on planet Earth who record their religion as “Jedi” or “Jediism”. There are different reasons why this is the case, but it is usually understood that the people are joking, and some are even protesting the inclusion of religion on the census form. Some maintain that Jediism is a serious religion and must be treated as such. The efforts to have Jediism recognized as a religion have increased over the years in a number of countries, most notably the United Kingdom.
In 2015, students at Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey responded to a number of mosques built on their campus with a campaign for a Jedi Temple to be built. Thousands of students signed a petition encouraging the administration to build a Jedi Temple on campus.
Did we miss any facts about the Jedi? Are there any questions about the Jedi that you want answered? Share them in the comments!