Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- "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
- There is no emotion, there is peace.
- There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
- There is no passion, there is serenity.
- There is no chaos, there is harmony.
- There is no death, there is the Force.
- —The Jedi Code (Based on the meditations of Odan-Urr)
Origins 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 thousands of years 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. It is known, however, that the brightest and best philosophers, priests, and warriors came together on a single world long ago to discuss their discoveries involving the enigmatic, mystical Force, and that the concentration of these efforts eventually led to the development of the Jedi Order.
Initially the Jedi was a contemplative order. Over time, however, 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.
To become a Jedi, it required the most profound commitment and astute mind. 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.
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 are similiar to some real-world religions like the Shinto religion of Japan and certain Celtic, druidic concepts, and it bears a close similarity to the Chinese notion of qigong and the Talmudic concepts of yetzer hara and yetzer hatov. 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: The Phantom Menace, Jedi get their ability to understand the Force from symbiotic organisms within their bodies called midi-chlorians (an obvious play on mitochondrion and chloroplast). Also known as "the messengers of life," these organisms allow a Jedi to "hear the Force," and it is said that "without them life could not exist" (this statement is later shown to be untrue, as the Yuuzhan Vong are completely separate from the Force). The higher the midi-chlorian count in their cells, the stronger the Force is with the particular individual, though the correlation between midi-chlorian count and Force strength may not be as direct as believed. Their presence could be somehow sensed by other Jedi, and measured by electronic devices. Anakin Skywalker had a reading of over 20,000 which was even higher than Master Yoda's, leading many, most notably Qui-Gon Jinn, into believing Anakin to be the prophesied "Chosen One."
Stucture of the Order
Members of the Council progressed through four basic levels of rank.
- Youngling - an unofficial title, this refers to a child with Force potential. At a very young age, they leave their homes and are assigned to a group for training.
- Padawan - an apprentice who undergoes intensive training under a Jedi Knight. If a youngling is not chosen by any Jedi Knight to be their Padawan by 13 years of age, the youngling is placed into another, lesser role in the Jedi Service Corps. Depending on where the student's talents lie, this may be the Agricultural Corps , the Medical Corps , or the Exploration Corps .
- Jedi Knight - a disciplined Padawan may become a fully trained Jedi once they have completed "the trials."
- Jedi Master - a Jedi Knight who manages to instruct a Padawan and successfully train him or her to the level of a Jedi Knight. This title can also be achieved through the performance of extraordinary deeds or self-proclamation, though the latter is extremely rare.
- Jedi Spirit - a speculative sixth level, following a Jedi Master's "becoming one with the Force." Few in the Jedi Order's history have achieved this. It should be noted that a Jedi is not absolutely required to attain the rank of Master to become a Force spirit.
A Jedi may have only one apprentice at a time, and is required to promote the current apprentice before taking another. Master Yoda was seen training several younglings in Attack of the Clones, but they were receiving generic Jedi teachings from him rather than being trained as Padawans.
There are three unofficial types of Jedi, the Jedi Guardian, the Jedi Sentinel, and the Jedi Consular. These titles are not used in the Star Wars Universe, but given in the Roleplaying Game and Video-games to define the distinctive roles a Jedi can have. Selection of a Jedi's type takes place at the transition to Padawan. Certain lightsaber colors are keyed to the different types, but this is not always followed.
- 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. Notable guardians include Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kyle Katarn, Mace Windu, and Anakin Skywalker.
- Jedi Consulars are the type who possess great knowledge of the Force but rarely enter combat. Consulars are the primary scholars and diplomats of the Order. They often became members of the Jedi Council or teachers to younger Jedi. Some of the most famous Consulars are Yoda, Luke Skywalker, and after her training Leia Organa-Solo becomes a Consular.
- 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. Bastila Shan and Visas Marr are examples of Jedi Sentinels.
The Three Pillars of Jedi Strength
Eventually the Jedi formed a central political entity called the Jedi Council which acted as a governing body for the order and an advisory board for the Old Republican Senate. The Jedi Council could only have 12 members at a time.
Among other tasks, the Jedi were eventually 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 used 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 those that are armed with ranged weapons. A common task for the Jedi is to construct their own lightsaber, after collecting special crystals which would form the core of the lightsaber.
The Dark Side of the Force
The power of the Force does not come without a price, for with these abilities come great temptation to misuse them, and emotions such as hate, anger, and fear can cause a Jedi to be overcome by the dark side of the Force. The dark side is the easier path and at first can seem more powerful. In the words of Yoda, it is not actually more powerful, but only quicker and more seductive. It can also be taxing to the body, as 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 are normally referred to as Dark Jedi. Some Dark Jedi also become members of the Sith Order.
The Sith Order was said to have come into existence nearly 25,000 years BBY. Begun by a heretical Jedi called Xendor, this sect embraced the dark side of the Force as a means to power, and was opposed to the philosophy embraced by the Jedi: a philosophy of service and justice in the defense of the common good. 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. One thousand years BBY, the Sith Order was believed to have finally been destroyed at the Battle of Ruusan. One Dark 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 as a Dark Lord of the Sith and beginning the "rule of two." This rule would allow the Sith to remain hidden from the Jedi and would help prevent the kind of civil war within the Sith's own ranks that had led to the original Sith Empire's destruction and almost to that of the Order. For the next 1,000 years, the Sith Order carried on in concealment from the Jedi, biding their time until conditions in the galaxy were right for them to resurface.
Recent history of the Jedi
The Jedi-Sith conflict resumes
In 32 BBY, the presence of the Sith once 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 ten years, former Jedi Count Dooku fell to the dark side and became the new apprentice Darth Tyranus. Tyranus and Sidious arranged the Clone Wars as a way of consolidating Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's hold on the galaxy.
At approximately the same time toward the end of the Clone Wars, the Jedi found out that Palpatine was in fact Darth Sidious, and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker submitted to the Dark Side. During a battle with his master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin suffered grievous injuries. After the fight, the majority of Anakin's body had to be replaced with mechanical implants, including a breathing apparatus to keep him alive. Anakin became known as Darth Vader, Sidious's final apprentice, and thus the bloody Galactic Civil War began.
The Dark Times and 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 Sidious (now Emperor Palpatine) and Vader. Vader led the Great Jedi Purge, wiping out nearly all of his former fellow Jedi. 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 films also survived the purge. Other survivors include Empatojayos Brand and Vima-Da-Boda, neither of whom are referenced in the movies.
The novels written after the original trilogy indicate that the Empire took steps to exterminate the Jedi family members and supporters as well as the Jedi themselves. 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 these 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 as opposed to 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 had wished to completely destroy the order, almost all information concerning the Jedi had been 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 also 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. 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. Four hundred years later, after defeating the 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 in order to teach the way of the Jedi to others. The academy was established in the old temples on Yavin 4, which the Rebels had used as a base until after the Battle of Yavin. This new academy used a system very different from the "one student, one master" system used by the old order. The new order also differed from the old in that Luke allowed his students to have personal possessions and had no rule against a Jedi having emotional attachments to friends and family, which had been forbidden by the old order. Accepted students were also taken into the order at a much older age than had been the case previously. Most members were already well into adulthood before they began training.
What Luke did not know was that Yavin 4 had once been a base for the Sith Lord Exar Kun during the Great Sith War. He was unaware 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. Kyp's actions resulted with the destruction of several star systems by the Sun Crusher. Eventually, the students at the academy were able to destroy Kun's spirit. Freed of Kun's influence, Kyp surrendered, returned to the Light Side of the Force, and became one of the first new Jedi Masters.
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
The New Jedi Order grew slowly but steadily. Some Jedi from the first class Luke taught - such as Kyp Durron - became Jedi Masters. The order eventually became large enough that Luke Skywalker considered reinstating the Jedi Council. However, an extragalactic Force-dead alien species, the Yuuzhan Vong, declared war on the galaxy. Many Jedi fell while fighting this new threat, but the order did survive the war and continued 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 not 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 the 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 carefully aloof of its allegiance to the Galactic Alliance or any succeeding government.
Pre-Ruusan Old Republic Jedi
Post-Ruusan Old Republic Jedi
- Aayla Secura
- Adi Gallia
- Agen Kolar
- Eeth Koth
- Even Piell
- Kit Fisto
- Lumas Etima
- Mace Windu
- Jocasta Nu
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Plo Koon
- Qui-Gon Jinn
- Anakin Skywalker
- Shaak Ti
- Siri Tachi
- Stass Allie
- Quinlan Vos
The New Jedi Order
- Anakin Solo
- Corran Horn
- Dorsk 81
- Ganner Rhysode
- Jacen Solo
- Jaina Solo
- Kam Solusar
- Kyle Katarn
- Kyp Durron
- Leia Organa Solo
- Luke Skywalker
- Mara Jade Skywalker
- Miko Reglia
- Nairb Oicruc
- Tenel Ka
- Wurth Skidder
- Census 2001, "390,000 Jedis There Are; But did hoax campaign boost response in teens and 20s?". United Kingdom
- "The Jedi Order". Databank > organization, starwars.com.
- The Jedi Encyclopedia
- Article describing similarities between Jedi and Buddhism. hackwriters.com
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