Star Wars 101: The Jedi

New to Star Wars? Get up to speed with this primer on some of the greatest lightsaber-wielding, mind-tricking guardians of peace and justice.

Taking your first steps into Star Wars with The Force Awakens? Eager to learn more about the galaxy far, far away? The Star Wars 101 blog series will be your own Jedi Archives with all you need to know.

“For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice.”
– Obi-Wan Kenobi (A New Hope)

An ancient order of Force users committed to serving the light and preserving peace above all (even if a lightsaber is required to do it), the Jedi are the most prominent good guys of the Star Wars saga. While there have been many Jedi featured in Star Wars films and television shows throughout the years, these are the most notable.

Yoda
“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
The Empire Strikes Back

yoda

Even if The Force Awakens was your first Star Wars movie, you’ve surely heard of everyone’s favorite little green friend. One of the most powerful Jedi throughout all Star Wars stories, Yoda served as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order for many years. Later, he teaches Luke Skywalker (and moviegoers the world over) about the philosophy, power, and promise of the Force in the swamps of the planet Dagobah.

Notable Appearances
• The Empire Strikes Back
• Revenge of the Sith
“Ambush” (The Clone Wars)
“Destiny” (The Clone Wars)

Qui-Gon Jinn
“Your focus determines your reality.”
The Phantom Menace

Qui-Gon Jinn

He’s the Jedi on the list with the fewest appearances, but with his maverick tendencies he certainly leaves an impression. Qui-Gon Jinn was Master to Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi responsible for bringing Anakin Skywalker into the Order. An advocate of what he called “the living Force,” Qui-Gon believed that all life had value, and that living in the moment was crucial to understanding the ways of the mystical energy field holding the galaxy together.

Notable Appearances
The Phantom Menace
“Ghosts of Mortis” (The Clone Wars)

Obi-Wan Kenobi
“If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
– A New Hope

A New Hope - Ben Kenobi in the Mos Eisley Cantina

The quintessential Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi embodies all that is good and noble about the servants of the Force. Continuously putting his personal feelings aside for the greater good of the galaxy (at great cost to himself), he balanced the nonconformist methods of his Master with a more by-the-book approach.

Notable Appearances
Revenge of the Sith
• A New Hope
“The Lawless” (The Clone Wars)
“Spark of Rebellion” (Star Wars Rebels)

Anakin Skywalker
“I will be the most powerful Jedi ever. I promise you.”
– Attack of the Clones

anakin-speeder

When you’re referred to as the “The Chosen One” of a prophecy that results in you bringing “balance to the Force,” you better be able to back it up. And Anakin Skywalker certainly did. Champion podracer, hero of the Clone Wars, devastating warrior, supernaturally skilled pilot, Anakin was these things and more. Combining Qui-Gon’s radical philosophies and Obi-Wan’s strategic brilliance with fierce loyalty to those he cared about, Anakin is perhaps the most unique Jedi in all of Star Wars. And while a terrible destiny awaited him, he left behind a legacy that continues exert tremendous influence on the galaxy.

Notable Appearances
• Revenge of the Sith
• Return of the Jedi
“Duel of the Droids” (The Clone Wars)
“Ghosts of Mortis” (The Clone Wars)

Ahsoka Tano
“The values of the Jedi are sacred to me.”
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “The Wrong Jedi”

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 - Ashoka

Look up the term “fan favorite” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of this much-loved Jedi next to it. While Ahsoka Tano didn’t begin that way, the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker (yeah, she’s the Chosen One’s apprentice) grew from an impudent, impulsive kid into a compelling, commanding character whose ultimate fate continues to fuel speculation across the Internet (if she’s not in the original Star Wars trilogy, what happens to her?). Whatever her future, Ahsoka has emerged as one of the strongest characters in Star Wars history, and a relevant hero for the modern era.

Notable Appearances
The Clone Wars Theatrical Release
• “The Wrong Jedi” (The Clone Wars)
• “The Siege of Lothal” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “The Future of the Force” (Star Wars Rebels)

Kanan Jarrus
“I have nothing left to fear.”
Star Wars Rebels, “Fire Across the Galaxy”

Star Wars Rebels - Kanan

The newest addition to Star Wars‘ Jedi pantheon, Kanan Jarrus is a bit of an anomaly on this list, as his formal training was never completed (the Jedi being wiped out while you’re learning makes graduating difficult). But as the Empire tightens its grip and the spark of rebellion ignites, Kanan has again taken up his lightsaber in pursuit of the ideals of the Jedi. Along with his apprentice, Ezra Bridger, Kanan fights to overthrow the Empire and return peace and justice to the galaxy with the help of the crew of the Ghost.

Notable Appearances
• “Spark of Rebellion” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “Rise of the Old Masters” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “Fire Across the Galaxy” (Star Wars Rebels)
• “The Future of the Force” (Star Wars Rebels)

Luke Skywalker
“I am a Jedi. Like my father before me.”
– Return of the Jedi

luke-skywalker

Farm boy, Jedi, myth. Luke Skywalker is Star Wars‘ most iconic hero, and the catalyst for the events of The Force Awakens. A call to adventure took him from the sands of Tatooine to the new worlds and his destiny, and he has become the stuff of pop culture legend. He destroyed a Death Star (no computer needed, thank you), defeated Darth Vader, and (perhaps most impressively) refused the siren call of the dark side, choosing to throw down his weapon rather than allow himself to be corrupted as his father was.

Now another call to adventure beckons in the form of Rey…

Notable Appearances
• A New Hope
• The Empire Strikes Back
• Return of the Jedi
• The Force Awakens

Justin Bolger writes about pop culture at his blog, ApexFan.com and is the host of the podcast Star Wars with FriendsFollow and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.

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