- "People say killing Jedi is hard. It's not, you just have to be smart about it. No blasters, no getting close to them, no attacking them directly when you can gun down their allies instead."
- ―Atton Rand
Jedi hunter referred to a being or droid who specialized in killing Jedi. It could also specify Jedi who were specializing in hunting.
- "Jedi! You are surrounded, your army is decimated. Make peace with the Force now…for this is your final hour. But know that I, General Grievous, am not completely without mercy. I will grant you a warrior's death. Prepare!"
- ―Grievous, to Ki-Adi-Mundi and several other Jedi during the Battle of Hypori
No specific background was common among Jedi hunters; they came from diverse upbringings and species.
Some hunters were Force-sensitives themselves. Most Force-using Jedi hunters were members of Dark Side cults and groups that were traditional enemies of the Jedi, the most notorious of these being the Sith. Others were former Jedi driven to the Dark Side by unfortunate, traumatic events, and, believing their former mentors responsible, decided to pursue a homicidal grudge against the Order. Examples of such beings included Asajj Ventress, Aurra Sing, or the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Some Jedi hunters were ordinary beings with bodies heavily augmented by cybernetic enhancements that allowed them to compete with the Jedi on the physical level, however in turn, if the being was naturally Force-sensitive, then the lack of flesh would prevent the use of certain Force powers, such as Force lightning, which required organic hands to manipulate. The most prevalent example was the CIS military leader General Grievous. Grievous was equipped with computers slaved to his brain that increased his reflexes and precision to superhuman levels, and a largely mechanical body that provided him with superhuman speed, strength and stamina. Arguably, Darth Vader could be considered an example of a cyborg Jedi hunter, as his armored body suit provided him with limited resistance to lightsaber blows, and his prosthetic limbs provided him with vastly augmented strength. Another example was the Gen'Dai bounty hunter Durge, who originally received cybernetic implants to combat the Mandalorians, but found them to be equally effective against Jedi.
There was also whole series of droids created specifically to assassinate and hunt down the Jedi, as droids could not be sensed through the Force due to their inorganic nature, and due to the speed of machines, they could demonstrate the speed and reflex necessary to compete with the Jedi. Examples of such droids included the IG-100 MagnaGuards, HK-50 series assassin droids, or the Droideka, though the latter were not originally designed with Jedi hunting in mind.
Most disturbingly, however, some creatures were specifically bred, and developed to hunt Jedi, such as the voxyn and terentatek. These creatures often had their aggressive tendencies greatly enhanced by brain modification and conditioning, and their bodies specifically developed to allow incredible speed or strength. Some, such as the terentatek, were genetically engineered to develop heavy armor plates that provided limited protection against lightsabers.
However, many hunters were not Force-users, heavily augmented cyborgs, droids, or genetically created/altered creatures, but were instead ordinary people. These hunters instead relied on skill and tact as opposed to sheer power to bring down Jedi. Skilled hunters realized that Jedi were very deadly against enemies using standard weapons and tactics designed to kill normal beings, so many of their tactics revolved around non-standard weapons and equipment. Slugthrowers were useful against Jedi, since bullets could not be deflected by a lightsaber, as they simply vaporized on contact with the blade. Flamethrowers also worked well, as they couldn't be blocked by lightsabers, though they could be deflected by the Force, but this took considerable effort. Sonic weapons shattered concentration, making use of Force powers impossible. Use of proper mental techniques to cloud one's intentions made ambush an option. Quality poisoned darts were silent and worked too quickly for Jedi to counter. These weapons were of limited use on a large-scale battlefield, but deadly against Jedi. HK-47 believed that the best weapons for killing Jedi were either sonic based weapons or high explosives, while poison gas was effective but to a lesser degree. Energy shields were also effective, as lightsabers were not particularly effective at penetrating most military issue energy shields. Jedi hunters like Revan and HK-47 also developed techniques that enabled Force-insensitive individuals to deal with Jedi Force abilities. Targeting the allies of a Jedi, or even just random bystanders, was a favorite among such Jedi hunters as most Jedi were willing to put themselves in harms way to protect others. Sniping and using cover were also useful, as many Force abilities decrease substantially in effectiveness without a direct line of sight to the target. HK-47 also believed that it was critical not to over-plan the assassination of a Jedi, as it seemed that such planning often backfired due to Jedi precognition. In addition, it was possible for a Force-insensitive individual to learn how to "hide their minds" from Jedi by broadcasting strong emotions while thinking about something unrelated. This made Force-insensitive assassins in particular very difficult for Jedi to detect with the Force. Psychological warfare was also extremely effective against Jedi, as a Jedi's connection to the Force was largely based on their emotional state.
Lightsaber collecting was also a fairly common practice among Jedi Hunters, as being unique to each Jedi, they provided proof of kill, and were kept as trophies. The bounty hunter Boba Fett and the Mandalorian raider Sherruk were known to collect lightsabers. Some hunters would also make personal use of their collected lightsabers, such as Grievous or Aurra Sing.
- "Poor Jedi, your kind will soon be extinct. And how fitting that one of their precious lightsabers brings an end to the Jedi delusion!"
At the end of the Hundred-Year Darkness, Jedi hunters helped defeat the Dark Jedi at the Battle of Corbos. During the First Jedi Purge, the Sith Lord Darth Sion achieved infamy as one of the greatest Jedi hunters of all time, along with his Master, Darth Nihilus. Nihilus however, did not hunt Jedi in a traditional manner or for traditional reasons. Rather, he sought to kill Jedi as a form of sustenance, using his unique variant of Force drain to consume their life and Force. While he could and did strip other lifeforms of their energy, sometimes on a planetary scale, Jedi were especially targeted by him as they provided more energy than most other beings. Sion, on the other hand, sought the extinction of the Jedi purely out of malice. In the Mandalorian Wars, Dungeon ships were developed to move and capture Jedi prisoners, and were later reused with Universal Energy Cages in the Great Jedi Purge. The assassin droid HK-47 also became a notorious Jedi hunter during this time period.
General Grievous was among the greatest and most feared Jedi hunters, personally killing numerous Jedi in lightsaber combat during the course of the Clone Wars. He was notable as a rare example of a non-Force sensitive being who nevertheless could hold his own against the Jedi in lightsaber combat.
Following the end of Clone Wars, the clone troopers of the 501st Legion were placed in the service of Darth Vader, a Jedi turned Sith, and the most infamous Jedi Hunter in galactic history. During Operation: Knightfall, Vader, alongside the 501st, sacked the Jedi temple and massacred hundreds of Jedi, from venerated Masters to Youngling. Vader would later go on to kill dozens more Jedi during the Purge until Palpatine called it off, believing the remaining few Jedi to be of no threat to his plans. Due to their role in the Great Jedi Purge, the 501st became vicious Jedi hunters in their own right, earning the nickname 'Vader's Fist'.
Following the fall of the Galactic Empire, the Jedi enjoyed a short time of peace, until the Yuuzhan Vong invaded. These extragalactic warriors swept through the galaxy taking entire worlds and waging war on the New Republic. Realizing that their biggest threat came from the Jedi themselves, and hating the fact that they controlled a mystical energy field called the Force, which the Yuuzhan Vong could not touch, and seemed to not even exist in, the invaders called for the extermination of the Jedi in exchange for an empty promise of peace. An entire faction of New Republic citizens caved, forming a group called the Peace Brigade, and began to hunt the Jedi, turning them over to the Yuuzhan Vong.
By the end of the Sith–Imperial War, many Jedi were surviving but scattered throughout the galaxy. The One Sith organization placed bounties on Jedi and for the next seven years, new Jedi hunters began snuffing out Jedi who weren't careful enough, nearly fulfilling the Sith's goal of the Jedi's extermination. Soon, all hunters had to keep their eyes out for the last Skywalker, whom the galaxy thought had ended at Ossus. The Sith Lord Darth Krayt wanted him because of his healing power.
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- Handbook 3: Dark Empire
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars Miniatures: Bounty Hunters
- "Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy"—Star Wars Insider 89
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force