- This article or section should include material from Jedi Sentinel
- There is no emotion; there is peace.
- There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
- There is no passion; there is serenity.
- There is no death; there is the Force.
- —The Jedi Code
- "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." — Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Jedi Knights are a fictional brotherhood and organization from the Star Wars series of films by George Lucas.
"The Force" is described as being an energy field that is generated by all living things and permeates the universe and all the things in it. Its principles resonate with those of some real world religions like the shinto religion of Japan and certain Celtic, druidic concepts. In truth, the Force is an amalgamation of religions and philosophies, intended as a metaphor for spirituality itself. Like in real world spirituality (as understood by George Lucas), there is the potential for a "Light" and a "Dark" side in each person, and in the universe itself. As explained in the movie Star Wars: Episode I, Jedi get their ability to understand the Force from symbiotic organisms within their bodies called midi-chlorians (an obvious play on mitochondria.) These organisms allow a Jedi to "hear the Force," and it is said that "without them life could not exist." The higher the midi-chlorian count in their cells, the stronger the Force is with the particular individual. Their presence could be somehow sensed by other Jedi, and measured by gadgets. Anakin Skywalker had a reading of over 20,000 which was even higher than master Yoda's. The concept of "midi-chlorians" was added to the Star Wars universe by George Lucas during planning for the fourth film produced, The Phantom Menace. Many fans have deplored his effort to "explain" the Force and many believe that midi-chlorians should be views as a blood factor indicative of power in the Force, and not as carriers or generators of the Force themselves.
Origins and structure of the order
The Jedi Knights were an order of individuals that had the ability to touch and use the Force. The Jedi followed the "light" side of the Force. The order began some "thousand generations" before the rise of the Galactic Empire. Many ancient and semi-legendary organizations have been proposed as the forerunners of the Jedi Order, such as the Order of Dai Bendu or the Chatos Academy, but no conclusive links have ever been shown. Likewise, the birth planet of the order is unknown. There are many candidates, including such known worlds as Coruscant, Ossus and Corellia, and mythic, lost planets such as Had Abbadon, Ondos and Utapau.
Initially the Jedi was a contemplative order, however over time the order took a more direct and active role in galactic affairs, eventually centralizing themselves on Coruscant in the aftermath of the catastrophic Battle of Ruusan.
The life of a Jedi was one of sacrifice. Those who showed an aptitude for the Force were taken at birth or soon after to train in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, where the order was headquartered. From the outset of their training they live a life of simplicity adhering to the Jedi Code which forbids having material possessions or emotional attachments. This training was initially done by a venerable, experienced Jedi until the individual was sufficient enough to start the journey of a Jedi. Exceptions were sometimes made, most notably in the case of Anakin Skywalker, but the Jedi found their traditional methods were most successful and were loathe to change.
Rank and type
Their members progressed through four basic levels of rank.
- First, children with Force potential were removed from their homes and assigned to groups of "younglings" for training.
- Later, recruits become Padawan, apprentice who begins serious training under a Jedi Knight. If the Jedi is not chosen by any Jedi Knight to be their Padawan by 13 years of age, they would have to leave the Jedi Order.
- Disciplined padawans may become Jedi Knights (fully trained Jedi who have completed 'the trials'),
- and some finally attain the level of Jedi Master (a Jedi Knight who manages to instructs a Padawan and train him or her successfully to the level of a Jedi Knight).
- A speculative fifth level also exists following a Jedi Master's passing over to The Force, therein becoming a Jedi Spirit.
A Jedi could have only one apprentice at a time, and was required to promote the current apprentice before taking another. Master Yoda's role seems to be of a slightly different character, wherein he trains multiple younglings at once. It is supposed that upon reaching a certain age, these young ones will become Padawans and be assigned to a Master for further training on the path to Knighthood.
There are three types of Jedi, the Jedi Guardian, the Jedi Sentinel, and the Jedi Consular. Selection of a Jedi's type takes place at the transition to Padawan.
- Jedi Guardians are the type of Jedi who focus more on martial training and combat. These, like all Jedi, are keepers of the peace, acting as a kind of special police force under the direct control of the Supreme Chancellor. Their distinctive lightsaber color is green.
- Jedi Consulars are the type who possess great knowledge of the force but rarely enter combat. They often became members of the Jedi Council or teachers to younger Jedi. Their distinctive lightsaber colors is purple.
- Jedi Sentinels try to strike a balance between the two other types and possess admirable combat skills with some extensive knowledge of the force. These are often dispatched to regions across the galaxy to work as ambassadors and investigators for unusual concentrations of the force. Their distinctive lightsaber color is yellow.
Note: red lightsabers are never used by Jedi save at great need, as their color symbolizes the Sith philosophy.
Eventually the Jedi formed a central political entity called the Jedi Council which acted as a governing body for the order and an advisor board for the Old Republican Senate.The Jedi Council could only have 12 members at a time.
Among other tasks, the Jedi eventually are responsible for law enforcement and peacekeeping in the Galactic Republic (though they would not be considered soldiers until the time of the Clone Wars) At the time of the Clone Wars, in the twilight years of the Galactic Republic, they would act as Generals, soldiers and advisors in the conflict. To that end, they use The Force and extensive training to become extremely formidable in battle. Their traditional weapon was the Lightsaber which in the hands of a skilled wielder, could be more than a match for most opponents even when they are armed with ranged weapons. A common task for the Jedi is to construct their own lightsaber.
The dark side
The power of the Force does not come without a price. The power comes with great temptation to misuse it, and emotions such as hate can cause the Jedi to be overcome by the "dark side" of the force. The dark side of the force is the easier path and at first can seem more powerful, but also is taxing to the body, as is evidenced by Palpatine's appearance by the time of Return of the Jedi. When one goes over to the "dark side", there is little hope of recovery.
The consequences of a Jedi falling to the Dark Side of the Force were quite high, not only for the fallen individual, but for many others as well. Such Jedi were normally referred to as Dark Jedi, some of whom were members of the Sith order.
The Sith order was said to have come into existence some 25,000 years before Palpatine became Supreme Chancellor. Begun by heretical Jedi, this sect embraced the Dark Side of the Force as a means to power, opposed to the philosophy of service and justice in the defense of the common good embraced by the Jedi Order. This caused a split with the Jedi Order and resulted in several galactic wars over the millennia, including the Great Hyperspace War and at least three Sith Wars. 1,000 years BBY, the Sith Order was believed to have finally been destroyed on Ruusan. One Lord, Darth Bane, survived, however, and reformed the Order, restarting the tradition apparently begun by Darth Revan of passing down the name "Darth" to his successors, naming both master and apprentice Dark Lords of the Sith, and beginning the "rule of two." This rule would allow the Sith to remain hidden from the Jedi and to prevent the kind of civil war within the Sith's own ranks which lead to the original Sith Empire's destruction and almost to that of the Order that was all but destroyed on Ruusan. For the next 1,000 years, the Sith order quietly continued on, biding their time until conditions were right in the galaxy for them to resurface.
Recent history of the Jedi
The Jedi-Sith conflict resumes
32 years before Yavin, the presence of the Sith again became known to the Jedi. Two Sith Lords, the Master Darth Sidious, and the apprentice Darth Maul supported the blockade of Naboo. After Darth Maul was killed, the Jedi knew that somewhere in the galaxy there was still one member of the Sith active, but they were unaware of the identity of Sidious. During the next 10 years, former Jedi Count Dooku fell to the dark side, and became the new apprentice Darth Tyrannus. Dooku and Sidious arranged the Clone Wars as a way of consolidating Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's hold on the galaxy.Actually, no one knew that Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious were the same person and it did not matter whether the Separatists or Old Republic won, as he was in charge of both groups.
Sometime at the end of the Clone Wars, once the Jedi found out that Palpatine was Darth Sidious, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side. He fell into a lava pit (but survived) and suffered grievous injuries during a battle with his master Obi-Wan Kenobi. After the fight, Anakin's body and some parts had to be replaced with mechanical implants and became Darth Vader, Sidious' third and final apprentice and thus the bloody Galactic Civil War began. The injuries he sustained required Vader to receive cybernetic implants and breathing apparatus to keep him alive.
The dark times, the Empire
At the onset of the Galactic Civil War, the Jedi were almost completely wiped out through the actions of followers of the Dark Side, led by the Sith lord and emperor Darth Sidious (Palpatine). Nearly all the Jedi were wiped out. The now corrupted Anakin Skywalker (who, as Darth Vader, initiated the Great Jedi Purge along with Emperor Palpatine), Obi Wan Kenobi (Anakin's own teacher), and Yoda were among the survivors featured in the original trilogy. The expanded universe novels indicate that a few other Jedi aside from those featured in the film also survived the purge.
The novels written after the original trilogy indicate that the Empire took steps to exterminate the Jedi and any family members. Corran Horn's grandfather was a Corellian Jedi named Nejaa Halcyon, who had died in the clone wars. Halcyon's friend Rostek Horn married Halcyon's wife, adopted Corran's father Valin "Hal" Horn, and altered the records concerning the Halcyon family. He did this to protect Hal and his mother from the Empire's Jedi hunters. Hal kept the knowledge of Corran's true grandfather from him, because revealing that knowledge would have made Corran a target as well. As a result, Corran only learned of his true heritage when Luke Skywalker discovered his past, and shared that discovery with Corran.
The Emperor also trained a number of "Hands," or those who had the potential to use the Force as his personal agents. Through the Force, he was able to relay orders to his agents. Mara Jade was one of his agents. She had been discovered to be Force sensitive at a young age, and was taken by the Emperor for training.
The actions of Luke Skywalker and his relationship with the Force were a principle plot device in the films. As a sign of how desperate things had become, Luke was taken into the Jedi fold as a young adult instead of during infancy, or even childhood (as Anakin had been).
After the Galactic Civil War
In the novels set after the Galactic Civil War, Luke's main task was to reestablish the Jedi order by training a new generation of Jedi Knights. It was not an easy task. Because the Emperor wished to completely destroy the order, just about all the information on the Jedi was destroyed. Only a few histories remained, and they were propaganda pieces used to paint the Jedi in an unfavorable light. Almost all the material on instructing Jedi was eliminated, save a few documents on how to turn potential Jedi to the dark side of the force.
Four years after the death of the Emperor at Endor, Luke had discovered the wreck of the Chu'unthor on the planet Dathomir. The Chu'unthor was a starship that had served as a mobile Jedi academy, which had crashed on Dathomir. Dathomir was the home of Force sensitive "Witches," who were the descendants of a fallen Jedi banished to that world. Master Yoda had left the instruction materials from the ship behind with the rest of the ship. 400 years later, after defeating Witches that had fallen to the Dark Side, one of the natives gave Luke the instruction materials that she had kept safely since the time of the crash.
Due to Luke's lack of knowledge with the old ways of the Jedi order the new generation of Jedi were very unorthodox. He established an academy for teaching many students the way of the Jedi which is much different to the "one student, one master" way used by the old order. The academy was established in the old temples on Yavin 4 that the Rebels once used as a base until the Battle of Yavin. He allowed his students to have personal possessions and had no rule against a Jedi having emotional attachments to friends and family, which was forbidden by the old order. Also, students were taken in at a much older age than previously. Most members were already well in to adulthood before they began training.
What Luke didn't know was that Yavin 4 had been a base for the Sith Lord Exar Kun during the Great Sith War. He wasn't aware that Kun's spirit had been trapped in the temples all that time. As a result, Kun was able to influence one of Luke's students. This student, Kyp Durron, eventually fell to the dark side for a time while under Kun's influence. Durron destroyed several star systems in the Sun Crusher. Meanwhile, the students at the academy were able to finally destroy Kun's spirit. Freed of Kun's influence, Durron surrendered. Durron returned to the light side of the force, and became one of the first new Jedi.
Luke eventually turned the academy into a center that would provide basic training for potential Jedi. He began pairing Jedi who had gone through that training with a more experienced Jedi, much like the master / apprentice system used in the old order.
The New Jedi Order
This new order grew slowly but steadily. Some Jedi from the first class Luke taught - such as Kyp Durron - became Jedi Masters. The order eventually become large enough that Luke Skywalker considered reinstating the Jedi Council. Suddenly, an extragalactic Force-dead alien species, the Yuuzhan Vong, declared war on the galaxy. Many Jedi died fighting this new threat, but the order did survive the war and continues to grow in strength. One of the Jedi casualties of this war was Anakin Solo, the youngest son of Han Solo and Leia Organa-Solo. Before his death, it was widely felt that Anakin would eventually become one of the greatest Jedi of his generation, and that he would eventually take Luke's place. Since Anakin's death, it has been assumed that Luke Skywalker's son, Ben Skywalker, has the most force potential of any living being.
After the war with the Yuuzhan Vong was over, Luke realized that the order would have to further adapt in order to survive. His experiences had led him to believe that the Force was rigidly divided into a light and a dark side. Strong emotions, including anger, were not intrinsically evil - instead it was the intentions of the Force user that mattered most. Luke came to believe that nearly everyone, regardless of their heritage, had some ability to touch and use the Force. He also felt that individual Jedi (and other Force users) would need to discover their own paths: that some could be called to contemplative life, while others would feel a need to take a more active role in galactic affairs, like the old-style Jedi. Because the Jedi had no single goal, he felt the Jedi order as a whole should remain careful aloof its allegiance to the Galactic Alliance or any succeeding government.
Pre-Ruusan Old Republic Jedi
Post-Ruusan Old Republic Jedi
The New Jedi Order
- Census 2001, "390,000 Jedis There Are (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=297&Pos=&ColRank=2&Rank=1000); But did hoax campaign boost response in teens and 20s?". United Kingdom
- "The Jedi Order (http://www.starwars.com/databank/organization/thejediorder/index.html)". Databank > organization, starwars.com.
- The Jedi Encyclopedia (http://www.thejediencyclopedia.com)