As depicted in the franchise's canon, Jedi knights study, serve and use a mystical power called the Force, and their traditional weapon is the lightsaber, which emit a controlled plasma flow in the shape of a sword, in order to serve and protect the Galactic Republic and the galaxy at large from conflict or governmental instability. As guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, they mediate peace negotiations among planets and other factions and, if necessary, use their formidable fighting skills, agility and wisdom to quickly end unrest or neutralize dangerous individuals or threats. The Jedi are governed by a Council, consisting of twelve of the most powerful and wise members of the Jedi Order. They are bound to a code of ethics, morality, principles and justice. The Jedi are trained to use the Force through passive meditation, practicing selflessness, and commitment to justice while at the same time rejecting emotions such as passion, fear, anger and hate. Their way of life contrasts with their archenemies, the Sith, another monastic organization who use the dark side of the Force to achieve their goal of ruling the galaxy.
Background and originsEdit
The Jedi are first introduced in the 1977 motion picture Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as an order of warrior monks who serve as "the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy" and embrace the mystical Force. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) explains that the Galactic Empire had all but exterminated the Jedi some twenty years before the events of the film, and seeks to train Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to be the Order's last hope. Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) is also established as the Jedi's main enemy. By the end of the film, Luke is on the path to becoming a Jedi. In the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke receives extensive Jedi training from the elderly (and only surviving) Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz), even as he learns that Vader is in fact his father, former Jedi Anakin Skywalker. The third film in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, ends with Luke redeeming Vader and helping to destroy the Empire, thus fulfilling his destiny as a Jedi.
The prequel films depict the Jedi in their prime, dealing with the rising presence of the dark side of the Force and determined to fight their mortal enemies, the Sith. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) discovers nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), whom he believes to be the "Chosen One" of a Jedi prophecy who is destined to bring balance to the Force; the boy is eventually paired with Qui-Gon's apprentice, the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), who promises to train him. The sequel, Attack of the Clones, establishes that the Jedi forswear all emotional attachments, including romantic love, which proves problematic when Anakin, now a young adult (Hayden Christensen), falls in love with Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), whom Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi had served ten years before. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is later revealed to be the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, manipulates Anakin's love for Padmé and distrust of the Jedi in order to turn him to the dark side and become his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. Once corrupted, Vader helps Palpatine hunt down and destroy nearly all of the Jedi, leaving very few left, such as Jedi Master Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Jedi's history before and after the timeline of the films is established within several novels, comic books and video games in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars media.
Ranks of JediEdit
Members of the Order progress through four tiers of rank, at times referred to as levels:
- Youngling: A Jedi Youngling is a child, a Jedi-in-training, learning to control the Force and wield a lightsaber. The title of "Youngling" is the first part of Jedi training. Younglings were seen training under Jedi Master Yoda in a scene on Attack of the Clones and hiding during the assault on the Jedi Temple in Revenge of the Sith.
- Padawan: A Youngling who successfully completes training then undergoes Padawan training under the tutelage of a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master. They are also called "Apprentices" and "Padawan learners". As a rite of passage and the final test before the trials to knighthood, Padawans must build their own lightsabers. In the Old Republic, Padawans usually wore a hair braid on the right side of their head which was removed with a lightsaber upon attaining knighthood. They also served as Commanders in the Clone Wars. The term Padawan appears to originate in Sanskrit and can be understood as “learner," both in Sanskrit and by contemporary native speakers of Sanskrit-based languages.
- Jedi Knight: Disciplined and experienced, Jedi Knights become so only when they have completed "the trials" (final tests). This, the most common rank, is interchangeably referred to as "Jedi", "Jedi Knight" and "Master Jedi" (although the latter are only used by Younglings and Padawans when addressing Jedi Knights or above). The five tests are usually known as Trial of Skill, the Trial of Courage, the Trial of the Flesh, the Trial of Spirit, and the Trial of Insight or Knowledge. In Return of the Jedi, Master Yoda gives his apprentice, Luke Skywalker, the trial of confronting Darth Vader for a second time so he might become a full-fledged Knight. Occasionally, performing an extraordinary (usually heroic) act can earn a Padawan learner Jedi status, such as when Obi-Wan Kenobi defeats the Sith Lord Darth Maul. By the time of the movies distinct battle classes were not necessary as the Republic had not seen war in over a thousand years, and the title of Knight was simply a rank once again.
- Jedi Master: A Jedi Knight may become a Jedi Master after successfully training a Padawan learner to Knight status. Though this is the most common manner, there are other ways of attaining the rank.
- Jedi Grand Master: The Grand Master is usually the oldest, most experienced and best trained of all Jedi. A Grand Master is chosen by the Jedi Council to lead the entire Jedi Order, while the Master of the Order is elected by the council to chair its meetings and serve as the Grand Master's junior partner in charge of the day-to-day administration of the order. In Star Wars, Yoda is considered to be both the Grand Master and the Master of the Order, although neither office is ever mentioned in any of the six films of the saga. His position as the leader of the council is inexplicably acquired off-screen when Mace Windu, his predecessor and one-time pupil, ceases to hold the title of Master of the Order at some point in the period between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.
In the Star Wars saga, the Jedi Temple is located in the capital planet of Coruscant. It is the official headquarters/school/monastery of the Jedi Order.
In Revenge of the Sith, the temple is attacked. Even though the temple was severely damaged and most of the Jedi perished, it was not completely destroyed, and is visible in the celebrations on Coruscant at the end of Return of the Jedi over twenty years later. The New Jedi Order indicates that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant is no longer standing but it is rebuilt as a gift to Jedi for their services and achievements during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. The new temple is in the form of a massive pyramid made from stone and transparisteel that is designed to fit into the new look of Coruscant, though internally it is identical to the design seen in Revenge of the Sith.
Architects Journal rated the temple third on its top-ten architecture of Star Wars list behind the second Death Star and Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine, and ahead of Coruscant, capital city of the Old Republic. The temple is described in the article as adapting "the robust typology of Mayan temples, with durasteel cladding specified for the external stone walls for improved defensive strength" and said to be a ziggurat that "is built above a Force-nexus and has ample room for training facilities, accommodation and the Jedi Archive." The temple has five towers, the tallest is Tranquillity Spire, that are stylistically similar to the minarets surrounding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Star Wars Insider listed it as the one hundredth greatest thing about Star Wars in its one hundredth issue special.
Other forms of JediEdit
- Main article: Dark Jedi
Dark Jedi is the name given in the Star Wars universe to fictional characters attuned to the Force and adept in its dark side. They exist by that name only in the Expanded Universe, including video games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or Star Wars: The Old Republic and the Jedi Knight series.
Rogue Jedi is the term that refers to Jedi who don't always follow the Jedi Code or the decisions of the Jedi Council.
Within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are usually portrayed wearing simple robes and carrying specialized field gear for their missions. The most notable instrument wielded by a Jedi is the lightsaber.
Both Jedi and Sith use lightsabers as their main weapon. The Jedi's lightsabers emit blue or green blades (or purple, as seen in the case of Mace Windu), while the Sith emit red ones.
Lightsabers can be of many different colors depending on the crystal fixture. Although a Jedi class used to be defined by the color of the lightsaber, most Jedi choose to make his/her lightsaber any color they see fit. Most Jedi use naturally-formed crystals, whereas Sith tend to use synthetic crystals which are usually red in colour.
- Main article: Jediism
One of the enduring influences the Star Wars saga has had in popular culture is the idea of the fictional Jedi values being interpreted as a modern philosophical path or religion, spawning various movements such as the controversial Jediism (religious) and the Jedi census phenomenon.
In popular cultureEdit
The US Army had a group of officers in the early 1980s who promoted maneuver warfare tactics, and who were derisively known as Jedi by more conventional officers who were satisfied with attrition tactics and methods.
Jedi Knights have made their way into certain areas of pop culture, such as in: "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "The Saga Begins", a parody of "American Pie". The Jedi influence begins with the lyrics from "American Pie", This'll be the day that I die changed to Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi.
The 2009 film The Men Who Stare at Goats stars Ewan McGregor as a reporter named Bob Wilton who follows a former soldier (George Clooney) who claimed to be a "Jedi warrior", a nickname for psychic spies in the US military. McGregor previously starred as Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy.
- ↑ Klaus Glashoff. Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. Spokensanskrit.de. Retrieved on July 28, 2012.
- ↑ Klaus Glashoff. Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. Spokensanskrit.de. Retrieved on July 28, 2012.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pallister, James (15 June 2009). Top 10: The Architecture of Star Wars (pt II). Architectsjournal.co.uk.
- ↑ Woolley, Jamie. A New Religion. BBC News.
- The Jedi Order in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Jedi Temple in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Jedi on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
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