Though the Star Wars fandom is notoriously hard on the prequel series, there are plenty of redeeming qualities that these movies possess that fans would do well to remember. They include epic lightsaber duels, amazing battle sequences between huge armies, and of course, a plethora of new heroes and villains.
Among them all, the most important character in the Star Wars canon is arguably Obi-Wan Kenobi’s master Qui-Gon Jinn. His choices and actions have such a profound impact on the Star Wars universe that they quite literally shape the story to this very day.
This makes him not only the most important character of the prequels, but also one of the most important Jedi of all time. With a calm, fatherly demeanor and a deep understanding of the way of The Force, he is in many ways the perfect Jedi Master. As a Jedi who does not adhere to strict ideology, his life is that of a maverick who has the introspection and confidence to lead with his instincts. Additionally, he always works for the greater good.
His story and characteristics go far deeper than what the sole movie that he was in shows. He has a backstory that ranks among the best in the series. Qui-Gon’s life focused on thrilling adventure-- he was an unwavering spirit with amazing leadership skills.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About Star Wars' Qui-Gon Jinn.
15 He Mastered The Secrets Of Life Before Yoda
One of the most prominent accomplishments of Qui-Gon Jinn happened after his death, as he became the first Jedi in modern history to utilize the Force Ghost technique. The ability focuses on the manifestation of one’s force-sensitive spirit after death, and hadn’t been known to exist outside of legend since the days of The Old Republic.
There are different "levels" of the technique, from a formless mass of energy to a full manifestation of a Jedi's former physical appearance. Qui-Gon Jinn had studied the secrets of life during his years as a Master, and his studies took him to The Wellspring of Life, a nameless planet that was a nexus of power for the light side of The Force.
Qui-Gon completed his mastery after death, and it was he who guided Yoda to Dagobah as a spirit in order to show him the path, which Yoda himself would go on to master. It’s no surprise that a Jedi who lived as a maverick was the first to go against the typical adage “death is a natural part of life” and rediscover a long lost Jedi ability.
14 He Was Count Dooku's Padawan
One of the ancient traditions of the Jedi Order is having a Padawan or apprentice. When a youngling reaches adolescence, they are paired up with a Jedi Knight or Master for one-on-one training, often going on important missions.
A young Qui-Gon Jinn was apprenticed to a Jedi who would go on to be one of the most feared men in the galaxy: Count Dooku. Though Qui-Gon always had an independent mindset, it was very likely strengthened during his time as a Padawan, as Dooku himself was sometimes at odds with the Jedi Council.
Training as a Padawan under Master Yoda, Dooku was powerful enough to impress the revered master, and his mastery of The Force was topped by only a select few Jedi. Dooku and Qui-Gon were an excellent match together not just because of their shared traits, but also because Qui-Gon’s empathy complemented Dooku’s darker side-- this can be seen when Qui-Gon convinced him to spare the life of his former Padawan, Lorian Nod.
They had a strong bond, and it was Qui-Gon’s death on Naboo that pushed Dooku over the edge and made him embrace the mantle of Darth Tyrannus.
13 He Was Not Above Breaking The Jedi Code
Few Jedi in history have resumés quite as impressive as Master Qui-Gon, and many fans have wondered why he was never a member of the Jedi Council. However, the answer is simple: he was a man who followed his instincts over his philosophy. This type of Jedi is known as a Gray Jedi.
Sometimes thought to be Force users who weave between light and dark, Gray Jedi are actually users who mostly follow the Jedi code but distance themselves from the Council’s rigid traditions and indecision. Qui-Gon had a history of defiance, but always had a strong sense of right and wrong.
Some examples of were when he pledged himself to Tahl, as the Jedi code requires no attachments of any kind. He also used the force to cheat at dice in The Phantom Menace, and defies Yoda by deciding to train Anakin Skywalker.
His actions are never about petty rebellion, though, because every decision he makes is mediated upon. His attitude is impressed upon Obi-Wan, who follows in his Master’s footsteps in many ways, which leads to the rise and fall of the entire Galactic Republic.
12 His First padawan Was Not Obi-Wan Kenobi
Qui-Gon Jinn’s belief in trusting his instincts shouldn’t be confused with acting rashly. He always thought on his decisions, and when he became a full fledged Jedi Knight, he refused the suggestion that he should take on a Padawan immediately.
Taking solo missions for a few years, he eventually discovered a force sensitive human named Feemor. Despite being a little too old to begin Jedi training, he was allowed to try it out and, after completing the training, Qui-Gon took him as his first apprentice. Their partnership was very successful, and Feemor eventually rose to rank of Jedi Knight, which in turn allowed Qui-Gon to be granted the rank of Master.
Qui-Gon then took another apprentice named Xanatos, though this apprenticeship would end much differently. At one point, Qui-Gon enacted a training duel against both his former and current Padawan at the same time, and while Feemor couldn’t hope to match his Master’s ability, Qui-Gon nonetheless admired Feemor’s growth as a fighter and force user. Only later did he take on Obi-Wan as his Padawan.
11 He Was The First Jedi To Fight A Sith Lord In Over A Millennium
The Sith Empire used to be an army, with various ranks and some soldiers who were not force sensitives. This changed after Darth Bane, one of the strongest Sith in history, rose to power. He saw one main problem: the philosophy of the Sith focused on an inherent, chaotic struggle for power, which occasionally even went against their own interests.
Over a thousand years before the Clone Wars, the Sith Empire was betrayed by Bane and destroyed by the Jedi, leaving him as its only survivor. Reflecting on the downfall, Bane reformed the Sith and created the Rule of Two, where there would only be two Sith at any point-- a master and an apprentice.
This tradition continued for a thousand years, with the Sith hiding in the shadows. When Darth Maul attacked Qui-Gon on Tatooine, it was the first encounter between the two sides in a thousand years. Qui-Gon returned to the Council to report that he was attacked by a Sith Lord, but the Jedi dismissed his claim.
10 Had He Lived Longer, There May Never Have Been A Darth Vader
The butterfly effect of Qui-Gon’s decisions is well known, but had he lived past The Phantom Menace, things would have been extremely different in the Star Wars universe. A world where Qui-Gon trained Anakin would have looked nothing like the world we saw in the series, where Obi-Wan was forced to take over as Master for the Padawan.
For example, Obi-Wan was a calm and relaxed teacher, and though he didn't approve of Anakin’s attitude, he didn’t do much to curb it. Qui-Gon, on the other hand, would have been much stricter, and probably would have told Anakin to never give into his emotions.
Additionally, Qui-Gon had experience with Padawans, having had three already, and thus might have been able to pick up signs in Anakin far sooner. He would have a chance to rectify his biggest failure by guiding Anakin properly and mitigating his dark tendencies.
Anakin’s personality developed in earnest during the Clone Wars, and by the end of it, his powers were well beyond any Jedi control. However, Qui-Gon learned the ways of the Force from Dooku, and Yoda before him. He could have guided Anakin on a different path, completely changing the course of Star Wars history.
9 He Was A Jedi Consular
The ranks of the Jedi Knights were divided into four schools of specialty, depending on their strengths. These schools are almost always reflected by their lightsaber color. For example, green was the color of the Consulars.
The Consulars are well versed in matters of diplomacy, education, and meditation. They would resort to fighting only when absolutely necessary, so it took a certain type of individual to walk this path. Qui-Gon was perfectly suited for it, however, as he had a calmer, more reflective nature than other Jedi.
This by no means takes away from the fighting ability of Consulars, though, as other powerful Jedi, such as Yoda, Shaak-Ti, and Kit Fisto, were also Consulars. Consulars were often sent on diplomatic missions, and many scholars, healers, teachers, and other like-minded Jedi subscribed to the Consular’s way of thinking.
Consulars, including Qui-Gon, were personally requested by governments and heads of state whenever they called upon the Jedi Council for help, and their prestigious reputation followed them around until the fall of the Jedi Order.
8 He Could Speak A Handful Of Different Languages
Unsurprising for a Jedi who specialized in diplomacy and negotiation, Qui-Gon Jinn was able to speak many languages. The schools of the Jedi start their training early, and those who follow the path of the Consular, like Qui-Gon, studied language from an early age.
The many different classes that aspiring Consulars had to take included linguistics, which would be essential for ambassadors and negotiators. There are also dozens, if not hundreds of different races among the Jedi on Coruscant, so he had many chances to practice.
Qui-Gon's years serving as a Padawan, Knight, and Master brought him to all different corners of the galaxy, where he was no doubt able further hone his skill. While there is a Jedi technique to understand languages, Qui-Gon never used it.
He was never shown speaking a language besides Basic in the movies, but he understood Huttese without a translator, and it is logical to conclude that he knew other common galactic languages, such as Durese and Rodese.
His past missions also imply that he spoke Mando’a, Kaminoan, High Galactic, and perhaps even some droid Binary, among other languages. Qui-Gon’s ability to transcend language barriers was, without a doubt, one of his best assets.
7 He Used An Aggressive Form Of Lightsaber Combat
The Jedi were feared for many reasons. One main reason was due to their use of lightsabers. This weapon was not a toy, and it took years of strict discipline to master. There were many different styles when it came to fighting with a lightsaber.
It might surprise some to learn that the diplomatic minded Qui-Gon used the 4th form, Ataru, which was one of the most aggressive. Using a fast-paced style that focused on pressuring the enemy, Ataru excelled in single combat, but was less effective in confined spaces or against blaster fire. Wide, powerful swings from multiple directions ensured that the practitioner of Ataru would dictate the pace of a fight.
Additionally, it was well suited for augmentations with the force, allowing particularly strong force users like Qui-Gon to employ all manner of superhuman acrobatics to keep their opponent fighting on all sides.
It was the prefered combat style against the Mandalorians during the Mandalorian Civil War. Perhaps the biggest weakness to this kind of fighting style was that it was very taxing on the body, making it ill-suited for prolonged combat. Ataru users would often withdraw if the fight wasn’t over quickly, and it was because of this that Qui-Gon eventually fell to the highly skilled Darth Maul.
6 One Of His Padawans Turned To The Dark Side
After his success with Feemor, Qui-Gon took on a young boy named Xanatos as his new Padawan, who he discovered on Telos IV. As the son of a Governor and the brother of a princess, Xanatos always carried a chip on his shoulder because of his heritage.
Although he was cautioned by his fellow Master and former lover Master Tahl about taking Xanatos on as a Padawan, Qui-Gon disregarded the warning and went ahead with it. Xanatos was adept in The Force and showed great swordsman, but he also possessed a number of negative traits, such as being manipulative, arrogant, and putting himself before others.
Master Yoda never thought Xanatos was the right fit for becoming a Jedi. As Xanatos' final test, Yoda sent him and Qui-Gon to Xanatos’ home planet to quell violence started by his father. The campaign was a failure, as his father and sister were killed and their deaths pushed Xanatos over the edge to the dark side.
At the end of the story, Xanatos committed suicide to avoid being captured by his old Master. In Qui-Gon’s eyes this was his biggest failure, and he never truly forgave himself for it.
5 He First Made A Name For Himself In A Tournament
Qui-Gon was highly talented from a young age. In fact, his first great feat happened when he was only 10 years old. The Jedi Order had put on a fighting tournament for the Younglings who were soon to graduate to the next level in order to give them a chance to display their skills, as well as to show the Masters in attendance who was worthy of taking on as a Padawan.
Qui-Gon bested every one of his fellow Younglings-- including his friend and future love Tahl-- so easily that he didn't even break a sweat. His abilities as a fighter and Force user greatly impressed Master Dooku, who immediately took him on as his Padawan.
This highlights the facts that Qui-Gon was one of the most dangerous fighters of his day. It also solidifies the fact that he was able to master both himself and his emotions, as he was able to follow the path of the Jedi Consular despite being among the best fighters. His fighting ability was not his most well known trait, but there is no doubt that Qui-Gon was a force to be reckoned wit.
4 He Was Involved In The Mandalorian Civil War
The Mandalorians were a sect of humans who were feared throughout the galaxy for being unrepentantly violent. Going back thousands of years to The Old Republic, the Mandalorians were consistently the strongest and most dangerous opponents against anyone they faced, including the Jedi Order.
In the years prior to the Clone Wars, the Mandalorians were at a crossroads. A pacifist regime led by Duchess Satine Kryze came to power and dubbed themselves The New Mandalorians. However, this did not sit well with sizable portion of their society, as their warlike attitude and aggressive policies were at the core of the Mandalorian identity for thousands of years.
A civil war ensued on the planet Mandalore, and the council sent Master Qui-Gon and his Padawan Obi-Wan to protect the Duchess from hostile forces. The ensuing year of war was brutal, with the Jedi constantly fighting against Mandalorians and bounty hunters. The Jedi were even forced to flee at one point.
In the end, the New Mandalorians prevailed, and Duchess Kryze and Obi-Wan Kenobi fell in love.
3 He Crossed Paths With The Emperor’s Master
In Revenge of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine muses to Anakin Skywalker at one point about his old master, the legendary Darth Plagueis. Powerful enough to influence the direction of life itself, Plagueis had no equal, or at least not until he taught his apprentice everything he knew.
Years before the Clone Wars, Qui-Gon was sent on a mission to the planet Serrano, home world of his former Master Dooku. Accompanied by Master Sifo-Dyas and Dooku, the three held a meeting with a leader of the Banking Clan named Hego Damask, which was actually the public persona of Darth Plagueis.
The mission was diplomatic, as the Jedi were there to negotiate a deal between Plagueis’ finances and bank, which controlled large portions of the galaxy’s power via trade routes and backroom deals.
The debate went on for hours, with Qui-Gon accusing Plagueis of putting profit before peace and ignoring the Republic's safety. In the end, Qui-Gon’s skilled negotiation and reasoning earned the respect of the Sith Lord, and he later complemented Dooku on his former apprentice’s abilities.
2 He Learned Unknown Secrets After Death
Qui-Gon was able to learn the ancient Force Ghost technique, but this didn’t happen immediately. In the Netherworld Of The Force, which is where Force sensitive spirits dwell after death, he continued to study.
For Jedi, the ability to project their spirit has different forms. For example, Qui-Gon was able to project his voice before acquiring the more advanced forms of the technique. However, spirits can only project themselves into the world for so long before they must return to the Netherworld.
Qui-Gon’s ability was very limited at first. On screen, we can hear his voice yelling in despair after Anakin kills the Tusken Raiders who killed his mother, and we know that he had spoken to Anakin before this as well.
Off screen, he projected his voice again when guiding Master Yoda to where he too could learn about the secrets of life before he died. He also spoke with Obi-Wan, guiding his old Padawan when needed. This is one of his greatest accomplishments, and even the powerful Darth Plagueis didn’t believe such things were possible, dismissing ideas of life after death as fantasies of the weak.
1 1 . He Was Not Supposed To Appear In The Phantom Menace Until Much Later
Perhaps the most surprising fact about Qui-Gon Jinn was that he didn't exist until the pre-production of The Phantom Menace was underway. George Lucas’ original idea of the story had Obi-Wan as the main character throughout. In much of the concept art Obi-Wan appears alone in several scenes, but these were changed later to incorporate Qui-Gon.
Lucas originally thought about making Obi-Wan much older-- closer in age to how he appeared in A New Hope-- and making Qui-Gon his young apprentice. This young Qui-Gon would have his hair styled into a mohawk, which certainly would have clashed with the personality of the Qui-Gon we know and love today.
The direction of Star Wars would have been very different if these concepts had come into being, as it’s unlikely that the young apprentice would have discovered the secrets of the afterlife. Additionally, Qui-Gon's importance would have been reduced.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Star Wars' Qui-Gon Jinn? Let us know in the comment section!