- "First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight."
- ―Journal of the Whills, 7:477
The Jedi Order was an ancient monastic peacekeeping organization unified by its belief in and observance of the Force, specifically the light side. The Jedi were guardians of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic for thousands of years before the Clone Wars. While well known as diplomats, the Jedi carried lightsabers, the symbol and weapon of choice of the Order. Led by the Jedi High Council, Jedi Masters would instruct young Padawans on the ways of the Force and the Jedi Code, training them until they had achieved full status as Jedi Knights. Centered in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, the Jedi used the Temple as a base of operations from which they would be sent out on missions, or stay to study and learn from the vast Jedi Archives.
Thousands of years before the Battle of Yavin, the Jedi faced wars against their mortal enemy, the Sith, who they believed to have defeated. The Jedi Order thereafter served as a strictly peacekeeping organization, maintaining law and order during a thousand years of peace under the rule of the Galactic Senate. During the Battle of Geonosis, however, the Jedi took on the responsibility of the Republic army, and became military leaders to fight the Confederacy of Independent Systems in the Clone Wars. Unbeknownst to them, the conflict had been engineered in order to destroy them by Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who was secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
By the war's end, Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire and executed Order 66, a command given to all clone troopers of the Republic's Grand Army to kill the Jedi as traitors. The Jedi Order collapsed, with only a few survivors escaping the Sith plot. Anakin Skywalker, believed by the Jedi Order to be the Chosen One who would bring the Force into balance, fell to the dark side as the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. However, Vader's son, Luke Skywalker, would encounter Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Galactic Civil War and began learning about the Force. Later, under the guidance of the old Jedi Grand Master Yoda, Luke faced his father as a Jedi, turning him back to the light side as Anakin Skywalker, who in turn killed Darth Sidious. Anakin succumbed to his wounds and with both Sith dead, the ancient Jedi Order prophecy was fulfilled and the Force was brought into balance.
- "Ready are you? What know you? Ready? For 800 years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one, a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!"
- ―Master Yoda to Luke Skywalker
The Jedi Order was an ancient, monastic organization dedicated to the light side of the Force and opposed their foes, the Sith, who were practitioners of the dark side of the Force. The Jedi served as peacekeepers in the Galactic Republic and would carry out diplomatic missions or pursued and apprehended interplanetary criminals across the galaxy. Members of the Jedi Order were encouraged to follow a set of guidelines, including self-discipline, responsibility, and public service―a set of rules known as the Jedi Code.
As the Jedi were instructed in the ways of the Order and of the Force, each member progressed through several different ranks. Most prospective Jedi were identified a short time after birth to be Force-sensitive. They would undergo training as a Jedi youngling including passing through The Gathering, a ritual during which they would find a kyber crystal and construct their lightsaber, a distinctive and elegant weapon that attuned itself to them and whose crystal symbolized their connection to the Force. An Initiate would then become a Padawan learner under the tutelage of an older Jedi who would serve as their instructor on the Force and the Jedi Code. Per tradition, Padawans would wear a braid to distinguish them as such. Jedi could have only one apprentice at a time and a Padawan had to complete their training before another apprentice could be chosen.
Upon completing their training and successfully passing the Jedi Trials, a Padawan was granted the status of a full-fledged Jedi Knight. They would then undertake missions for the Republic while others, in turn, would take up the responsibility of training new Padawans. Those Knights who showed themselves to be knowledgeable and strong in the ways of the Force would be elevated to the rank of Jedi Master. Jedi Masters were held in high esteem for their knowledge, experience and abilities to train Padawans and guide younger Jedi Knights. From the Jedi Masters, twelve would be selected to sit on the High Council, the governing body of the Jedi Order. Among the Council, one would hold the title of Grand Master based on their experience and knowledge, and alongside the Master of the Order, would lead the Order.
- "I can't believe a Jedi would attack a place this sacred."
- ―Ahsoka Tano
The Jedi Temple located on the galactic capital planet of Coruscant served as its governmental center. Part school and part monastery, it was home to the largest active Jedi academy in the galaxy, held the great Jedi Archives, and was where the Jedi Council would meet to discuss the direction of the order. A symbol of the Order, the luxurious temple on the surface signified the Order's status on the planet, and while access to the Temple was not restricted to just the Jedi, Coruscanti who wished to serve the Jedi in the Temple had to go through great lengths and pass compulsory entry tests to gain access to the complex, often dedicating their whole life to the Order's service. Although the Jedi Temple was almost completely destroyed following the fall of the Republic, the corpse and its five skyscraping spires remained after the Temple was refitted into the Imperial Palace.
In addition to its headquarters on Coruscant, the Jedi Order had small outposts and temples spread throughout the galaxy. Some of these outposts would allow Jedi Masters to test their Padawans and see if they were ready to be Jedi, such as the Jedi Temple on Lothal. Access to these temples was only possible if both the Master-Padawan was present. If a Padawan was successful in their task, then both Master and apprentice could leave the Temple; if not, both would remain trapped in the Temple and die. The antechambers of the temples were often filled with the skeletons of Masters whose Padawans had not returned from their tasks. Other important enclaves of the Jedi Order included the Temple of Eedit on Devaron, the Temple of Vrogas Vas, and the Jedi Temple on the crystal world of Ilum, considered to be the most sacred world to the Jedi Order. There, the Gathering―an ancient ritual through which Initiates obtained kyber crystals to construct their lightsabers―took place. Beyond the temples throughout the galaxy, the planet Jedha was considered a spiritual home of the Jedi.
- "For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire."
- ―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi
- "This lightsaber was stolen from your Jedi Temple by my ancestors during the fall of the Old Republic."
- ―Pre Vizsla, to Obi-Wan Kenobi, regarding the Darksaber
At the dawn of the Jedi Order, a noble order of protectors unified by their ability to tap into the power of the Force, the Jedi came into possession of Ilum, an ice world which possessed caves littered with kyber crystals, the heart of the Jedi lightsaber. Considered the most sacred world to the Jedi Order, its ancient Temple would eventually host the Gathering, a tradition that would continue up until the fall of the Order. As the Jedi were spread throughout the galaxy, they acquired a vessel called the Crucible that would ferry students to Ilum so that they could perform the Gathering. It would become the base of the architect droid, Professor Huyang, for over a thousand years as he instructed on lightsaber designs and kept records of every single Jedi weapon created.
During the Hundred-Year Darkness, the Sith were born. Once brothers in the Force, the Sith Order was founded by a rogue Jedi who had come to the understanding that the true power of the Force lay not in contemplation and passivity, and instead sought abandon and strength through the dark side of the Force. The Jedi Council at the time balked at this new direction, and the dark Jedi was outcast, but he eventually gained followers to his new order. The power-hungry Sith sought to control the galaxy and opposed the Jedi, against whom they waged a series of wars which brought destruction to many worlds—including the Sith homeworld of Moraband, which the Sith were eventually forced to abandon. On another occasion, the Jedi Order and the Sith fought a battle on the planet Takodana. These wars also saw the construction of ancient superweapons powered by giant kyber crystals which possessed the power to destroy entire planets. These weapons, along with the crystals, were destroyed and a thousand years later believed by many Jedi to be merely legends.
About five-thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, the Order eventually came to be headquartered at Coruscant, wherein they built a Temple that would pose as their main hub for thousands of generations. Underneath the structure lay buried an ancient Sith shrine, the inherent power of which was believed by the contemporary Jedi to have been neutralized and successfully capped. In truth, that power had seeped upward and outward since its entombment, infiltrating the hallways and rooms above, and weakening the Jedi Order for millennia without their knowledge.
It was during this time that the Jedi Order came into the service of what would be later called the Old Republic. Promising to uphold its ideals, the Jedi fought to maintain peace and freedom. When the Old Republic outlawed slavery, the Jedi set about to free those held, notably under the Zygerrian Slave Empire. The Jedi declared war on Zygerrians, whose economic success had resulted from enslaving beings from all corners of the galaxy before selling them at auctions. The Jedi Order managed to put an end to their practices, destroying their empire and exiling them to their homeworld, Zygerria. The Zygerrians developed a fierce hatred for the Jedi as a result.
Conflicts also arose between the Jedi and the inhabitants of the world of Mandalore who had rapidly developed into a warlike culture in which strength was valued above all else. Their beliefs of continual warfare went contrary to the Jedi's mission of protecting the weak, they quickly mobilized to stop the destructive Mandalorians from expanding in the galaxy. The constant warfare was a strain and, as the Old Republic crumbled, the Mandalorian warriors sacked the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, an event during which Pre Vizsla's ancestors stole the Darksaber.
Even as the Old Republic collapsed, the Jedi emerged victorious from their wars with the Sith. In their constant thirst for power, the Sith had weakened themselves through infighting until only one Dark Lord of the Sith remained: Darth Bane. Setting out a new guiding principle for the Sith called the Rule of Two, Darth Bane declared that there could be no more than two Sith in existence: a master and an apprentice, to prevent the infighting of the past from ever destroying the Sith again. Despite discovering his principles, when he was defeated, the Jedi believed in their hubris that, with Darth Bane dead, the Sith were extinct from the galaxy.
Keepers of the peaceEdit
- "I do not believe the Sith could have returned without us knowing."
"Ah, hard to see, the dark side is."
- ―Mace Windu and Yoda
It was after these events that the Galactic Republic was formed and ushered in a new era of democracy, peace, and prosperity under the Galactic Senate and its elected leader, the Supreme Chancellor. Due to the Galactic Republic's demilitarization, the Jedi Order fully embraced their responsibilities as peacekeepers and rejected their roles as soldiers. Assisted by the Republic Judicials, the Jedi were responsible for maintaining law and order, namely by mediating conflicts to bring about peaceful solutions between various rival factions and planets, as well as serving as interplanetary law enforcement by pursuing wanted and dangerous criminals, pirates, and smugglers. While they ultimately collapsed, the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order were able to preside over a thousand years of peace sustained without major warfare.
However, as the Republic reached its zenith and disputes became more common between the Republic's member worlds, tensions arose between Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and the rest of the High Council. Foreseeing an upcoming full-scale conflict, he started advocating for the creation of an army for the Republic. His fellow councilors deemed his ideas too extreme and Sifo-Dyas was removed from his position. Even though the other Jedi had rejected his project, he found a way to carry it out without their consent. Sifo-Dyas contacted the Kaminoans, who were reputed for their clone hatcheries, and secretly commissioned them to grow a clone army for the Republic, which he pretended was a request of the Senate. Unbeknownst to Sifo-Dyas, the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, plotted a conspiracy with the Prime Minister of Kamino, Lama Su, to implant a control chip in all clones so that they would turn against the Jedi and bring about the destruction of the Jedi Order when the time was right.
To silence Sifo-Dyas, Jedi Master Count Dooku, who had fallen to the dark side and had become one of Sidious' apprentices under the name of Tyranus, paid the Pyke Syndicate to kill Sifo-Dyas on his mission to Oba Diah as assigned by Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum. When Sifo-Dyas was assigned to a mission on Felucia and his negotiations with the Pykes were postponed, he and Aide Silman left Oba-Diah for Felucia. Subsequently, the Pykes shot down their shuttle over the moon. Although the crash killed Sifo-Dyas, Silman survived; captured by the Pykes, they kept his survival a secret in case they needed leverage. The Pykes turned over Sifo-Dyas's corpse to Dooku, who brought the body to Felucia. There, the tribal inhabitants cremated his body. The Jedi Council, being led to believe that Sifo-Dyas had been killed by the Felucians, closed the case.
Invasion of NabooEdit
- "At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge."
- ―Darth Maul
Thirty-two years before the Battle of Yavin, the Jedi Order was requested by Chancellor Valorum to assist in negotiating a dispute between the planet Naboo and the Trade Federation that had resulted in a blockade of the world. The Council dispatched Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with the Trade Federation. However, Darth Sidious, whose public persona was Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo, insisted that the Trade Federation, which was under his sway, initiated an invasion of Naboo and overwhelmed the Royal Naboo Security Forces. Circumventing a trap by the Federation, Jinn and Kenobi were able to escape to Naboo and arrive in Theed in time to rescue the Naboo Queen, Padmé Amidala, who was being held captive by Federation forces. Together with the Queen's Handmaidens and her close security detail, the Jedi fled the planet but their ship was damaged in the escape, causing them to land on the desert planet of Tatooine.
While stranded on Tatooine, the two Jedi discovered a young slave named Anakin Skywalker, whom Jinn believed to be the Chosen One. While betting on the boy winning the Boonta Eve Classic, Jinn was able to secure both Skywalker's freedom and the needed parts to repair the Queen's ship to reach Coruscant. It was after this that Jinn was attacked by Darth Maul, apprentice to Darth Sidious, who had dispatched Maul to kill the Jedi. As the Sith had been believed by the Jedi to be extinct, Jinn was at first unsure of who Maul was except that he had been trained in lightsaber combat. Arriving at the Jedi Temple on the Coruscant, the Council refused to accept Skywalker for being too old according to the Code, and sent Jinn and Kenobi to keep protecting Queen Amidala on her return to Theed. At the same time, Amidala called for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum, which would eventually end in the election of Palpatine to the chancellorship. Jinn and Kenobi then assisted Amidala and her forces during the ensuing battle against the Trade Federation, when Maul killed Jinn in combat, only for the Sith to be defeated by Kenobi. Given the status of Jedi Knight afterwards, Kenobi took Skywalker as his apprentice, despite Yoda's reluctance, and the Jedi Order was left in the dark as to what the Sith's actions were for ten years.
- "I will not let this republic that has stood for a thousand years be split in two. My negotiations will not fail."
"If they do, you must realize that there aren't enough Jedi to protect the Republic. We're keepers of the peace, not soldiers."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Mace Windu
Having broken all ties to the Jedi Order, secretly replacing Maul as Sidious' apprentice, Dooku was believed to be a mere "political idealist" by his peers at the Jedi Order. For eight years, Dooku was scarcely heard about until he staged a theatrical return to public life by delivering a rousing speech that condemned the Republic and essentially set the stage for the Separatist Crisis. At the same time, he fomented political turmoil in many worlds, including Ryloth, Kashyyyk, Sullust, and Onderon, or tried to convince their leaders to leave the Republic, as in Eriadu's case. Soon enough, Dooku became the face of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, convincing several thousand systems to leave the Republic.
As the Jedi Order was overwhelmed, whose limited numbers made it difficult for them to maintain peace and order in the increasingly volatile galaxy, the Republic's Senate debated a Military Creation Act to form a standing army for the Republic's protection against the Separatist threat. As the vote to decide for the Republic became imminent, assassination attempts on Senator Padmé Amidala―who opposed the army's creation―soon led Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi to trace bounty hunter Jango Fett to Kamino, where he discovered the clone army's creation at the request of Sifo-Dyas, and reported it to the High Council. After a small confrontation, Kenobi followed Fett to Geonosis, where his capture and intel on a Separatist droid army prompted the Senate (with the High Council's approval) to give Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers so as to raise the Grand Army of the Republic. Soon enough, a Jedi task force and a contingent of clones troopers, led by Mace Windu and Yoda respectively, arrived to participate in the Battle of Geonosis against the Confederacy's army, marking the beginning of a galaxy-wide conflict known as the Clone Wars.
The Clone WarsEdit
- "Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has."
- ―Grand Master Yoda after the Battle of Geonosis
With the Republic now at war with the Separatists for control over the galaxy, the Jedi Masters and Knights were dispatched as Generals, and their Padawans as Commanders, leading the armies from the front. During the Clone Wars, the Jedi were victorious in battlefields such as Christophsis, Ryloth, Umbara, and Geonosis.
By the last year of the war, many Jedi had been killed, and several had turned to the dark side, such as Pong Krell and Barriss Offee, who arranged a bombing at the Jedi Temple, believing the Jedi had deviated from their course as peacekeepers, and framed fellow Padawan Ahsoka Tano. She, in turn, left the Jedi Order unable to trust the Council after turning its back on her during her trial. Eventually, the High Council came to be aware of Dooku's hand in the creation of the clone army, and of the lies and mistrust that surrounded them, both inside the Temple and the Senate. Grand Master Yoda even foresaw that the Jedi would not win the Clone Wars, just as public support for the Jedi weakened due to their management of the conflict.
The war would come to an end after three years, following the rescue of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and the death of Count Dooku aboard the Invisible Hand in the Battle of Coruscant, and the death of General Grievous in the Battle of Utapau, as carried by the Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Skywalker's turmoil clouded his judgement. Though he informed Windu of his discovery of Palpatine's identity as Darth Sidious, allowing Windu to assemble a team composed of himself, Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin, to arrest Palpatine, the young Jedi Knight intervened in their duel against the Dark Lord of the Sith. Skywalker chose to save Sidious, leading to Windu's death, and became his apprentice as "Darth Vader" to save his secret wife, Padmé Amidala.
- "The time has come. Execute Order 66."
- ―Darth Sidious
Branding Windu's actions as "treason", Palpatine declared the Jedi to be enemies of the Republic and sent Vader to kill the ones who still were in the Jedi Temple, including the Initiates, and later to eliminate the Separatist Council on the Mustafar system. Palpatine soon personally contacted clone commanders and told them to execute Order 66, causing them to turn on their Jedi Generals and execute them on the spot. Throughout the galaxy, thousands of Jedi were killed by the obedient clones within minutes, including Ki-Adi-Mundi on Mygeeto, Aayla Secura on Felucia, Plo Koon on Cato Neimoidia, Stass Allie on Saleucami, and Depa Billaba on Kaller.
Of an estimated number of ten-thousand Jedi, barely a few survived to see the proclamation of the New Order, marking the inception of the Galactic Empire and the rise of Palpatine as its Emperor. Survivors included Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Caleb Dume, Ahsoka Tano, and at least initially, Uvell, Luminara Unduli, and Shaak Ti. During their self-imposed exile, Kenobi and Yoda, along with Senator Bail Organa, hid Vader's newborn children, the Force-sensitive twins Luke and Leia, from the Sith, hoping that in time they would become the key to the Jedi Order's future.
In the matter of short five years since the Order had been eradicated, with the Empire's policy of silence about the Jedi, the extensive hunt by the Inquisitorius that followed Order 66, and the generalized destruction of their temples, the Jedi already seemed a distant memory. Educational studies concerning the Jedi were prohibited, with instructors who specialized in Jedi history (such as Sava Korin Pers of the University of Bar'leth) losing their positions. Any Jedi survivors were captured and brought to Mustafar for interrogation and execution, but also to the Spire on Stygeon Prime, wherein the body of Luminara Unduli was preserved to lure out any surviving Jedi. Among the last reservoirs of knowledge of the Order were Antron Bach's vault in an abandoned colony, created at Uvell's behest, and Grakkus the Hutt's private collection on Nar Shaddaa. Safeguarding holocrons, lightsabers, journals, archives, and other artifacts, they partially preserved the teachings of the fallen Order.
Fifteen years into the Imperial era, a number of inaccurate tales about the Jedi started to appear. For example, the bounty hunter duo Gowski and Fissol were under the impression that Jedi aged backward, were able to fly, and had unusually dense bones.
Legacy and attempted restorationEdit
- "A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights... Now the Jedi are all but extinct."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Luke Skywalker
For over nearly twenty years, the Empire was able to expand without opposition of a disbanded Jedi Order. A few of its former members, however, stayed true to their code of honor and continued to fight the Empire's injustice, albeit in different ways. Though former Padawan Ahsoka Tano had become disillusioned by the Council's actions, and no longer identified as a Jedi, she came into contact with Bail Organa from Alderaan, with whom she worked to coordinate the efforts of a rebellion under the codename "Fulcrum," fifteen years after the fall of the Republic. Under her advice, Hera Syndulla and former Padawan Kanan Jarrus operated in Lothal, where Jarrus met the Force-sensitive Ezra Bridger, whom he mentored to pass along the teachings of the Jedi Order. During a mission, they inspired not only the people of Lothal to fight the Empire, but also the Organa-Tano network to finally organize an operation to bring several Rebel cells together, paving the way for the Alliance to Restore the Republic. An underground faith known as the Church of the Force emerged in support of the Jedi and their ideals, believing that only their return could restore balance to the Force.
Nineteen years after the inception of the Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi emerged from his exile on Tatooine, not only to help deliver the plans of the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance as requested by Rebel leader Princess Leia Organa, but to begin training Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi Knight, in the hopes that Skywalker would be able to defeat both Vader and the Emperor. Through Skywalker, with Kenobi's guidance, the Rebel Alliance achieved a significant victory in the Battle of Yavin, which meant a turning point for the Alliance in the Galactic Civil War. Three years later, Skywalker received training from Yoda on Dagobah, allowing him to defeat and redeem his father, Darth Vader, and bring about the death of Emperor Palpatine during the Battle of Endor. Hailed as "the last of the Jedi," Skywalker was told by Yoda to pass on what he had learned, so that the legacy of the Jedi Order could go on.
Sometime after the Battle of Jakku, Skywalker acted on his plans to rebuild the Jedi Order. Establishing a new temple, he started to train a new generation of Jedi Knights, among them his own nephew, Ben Solo. However, Solo's obsession with his grandfather's legacy and the nefarious influence of Snoke eventually turned him to the dark side. Assuming the name "Kylo Ren" as a Knight of Ren, he ended Skywalker's hope of rebuilding the Order by killing all his fellow apprentices, and joined the First Order. Blaming himself, Skywalker went into exile and eventually disappeared—and those who knew him best believed he had gone in search of the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To, possibly seeking guidance from the ancient Jedi on how to rebuild the Order. At the same time, both the Resistance and the First Order sought Luke out; the first for the hope he represented, and the latter to end the threat he and the potential return of the Order represented.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Jedi Order first appeared in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. The lore of the Jedi Order and of the Force was greatly expanded upon during the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. The role of the Jedi Order in preserving the peace of the Republic and later the controversy of them stepping into the role of military leaders is a pivotal plot point that eventually leads to the Order's downfall in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Prior to that they had been mentioned indirectly as the Jedi in the original trilogy as Luke Skywalker encounters Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and later Master Yoda. In Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Yoda charges Luke with carrying on the lessons and legacy of the Jedi Order.