A Force-sensitive, Ilena Xan received training in the ways of the Force by the Jedi Order, attaining the rank of Jedi Master by the time of the Separatist Crisis. A colleague of fellow Master Jai Maruk, Xan was appointed as an instructor of unarmed combat, which she taught at the Coruscant Jedi Temple.
During her tenure at the academy, Master Xan acquired the nickname "Iron Hand", referencing her rough teaching skills when it came to hand-to-hand combat. When the Clone Wars erupted between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Master Xan remained at the Temple instead of fighting on the front lines, continuing to train students in order to keep the Order's supply of Knights steady. Hosting the academy's annual Apprentice tournaments, Master Xan insured that the students remained civil and disciplined during the competition.
- Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (First appearance)