The Jedi Temple served as the headquarters of the Jedi Order for thousands of years, housing important training facilities as well as the chamber of the Jedi Council. It was located in the Temple Precinct on Coruscant, where it stood out among the low city blocks of its direct surroundings. The Jedi Temple was the home of the Jedi up until the execution of Order 66, when its occupants were wiped out by Darth Vader and the troopers of the 501st Legion. With the Declaration of a New Order, the Jedi Order was dissolved and all its assets were seized by the Galactic Empire. The Temple was transformed into the Imperial Palace and saw heavy reconstructions as a result, basically only leaving its characteristic spires intact. Today, we will look at some of the lesser known facts about the Jedi Temple and its origins. There is plenty to discover!
1. The Foundations of the Temple
The Jedi Temple has not always existed as know it. The original Temple was constructed over an ancient Sith shrine, which itself was built upon a very powerful Force nexus known as the “Sacred Spire.” This natural mountain peak was a sacred place to the native Coruscanti and was encased in a series of huge black stone walls that formed the basis of the first shrine.
When the Jedi Order came to Coruscant, they built several smaller meditative chapels on and within the mountain until the academy and the Jedi Temple was fully formed. Over time, the Temple grew into the characteristic ziggurat that stood during the days of the Old Republic. Going deeper into the Temple, however, will reveal a range of building styles from days long gone, making it possible to reconstruct earlier versions of the building.
2. The Four Masters
The Jedi Temple was founded 4,000 years before the fall of the Republic by four Jedi Masters known simply as “the Four Masters.” They constructed the Temple on Coruscant after the devastation of the original Temple on Ossus and built its main structure around the mountain peak. The Four Masters were eventually honored with bas-reliefs on massive pylons at the formal entrance of the complex. The stairs of Processional Way ended under these pylons, which were flanked by four huge statues of two Warrior Masters and two Sage Masters.
3. The Four Councils
Not one, but four councils formed the basis of the Jedi Order administration. While most people are familiar with the Jedi High Council (often referred to as just “Jedi Council”), there were in fact three more councils that each had their own task within the organization.
The Jedi High Council was composed of 12 members (five permanent, four long-term and three limited-term) that were led by the Master of the Order. It contemplated all aspects and formed the primary governing body of the Jedi Order. The Council of First Knowledge was composed of five members, led by the Caretaker of First Knowledge. It oversaw the academy and its curriculum, and maintained the Temple Archives. The Council of Reconciliation was composed of five members who were trained diplomats and negotiators. They dealt with the Galactic Senate and Diplomatic Corps to resolve diplomatic conflicts and political stalemates. The Council of Reassignment oversaw the operations of the Jedi Service Corps and its branch councils. It ensured the placement of Jedi Initiates who failed to train as Padawans.
Each of the four councils was seated in one of the four corner spires atop the ziggurat. A common misconception is that the Jedi High Council was seated in the central tower, also known as the Temple Spire or Tranquility Spire. This central tower formed the most sacred site, as it was built directly over the mountain peak. It was filled with tapestries and mosaics depicting the history of the Jedi Order, as well as huge memorial statues of its most revered members. It also housed a large number of meditation chambers and the Hall of Knighthood, where Padawans were elevated into Jedi Knights.
4. The Lost Twenty
The Lost Twenty, also known as The Lost, were the Jedi Masters that left the Jedi Order due to ideological conflicts or otherwise voluntarily resigned their commission with the Order. The first of them was the Umbaran Jedi Master Phanius, who would eventually become Darth Ruin. By the time of 990 BBY, 12 more had left the Order, with Count Dooku becoming the 20th around 32 BBY. Arguably the most famous of The Lost, Dooku left after developing a growing dissatisfaction with the Galactic Senate and its relations with the Jedi Order. The political idealist would eventually fall under the sway of Darth Sidious and agreed to train as Darth Tyranus.
Contrary to popular belief, the bronzium busts lining the Jedi Archives were not all members of the Lost Twenty. The statues represented those Jedi Masters that needed to be remembered, both the venerable and those that served as a reminder of the Council’s failure. Among the statues that did not belong to the Lost Twenty were busts of Master of the Order Yoda and Chon Actrion, who was considered the “Architect of Freedom.”
5. The Warning Beacon
In a central security area deep inside the Jedi Temple was a beacon capable of sending out a mass broadcast signal. The beacon served as a way to contact all Jedi throughout the galaxy, and was originally intended to be used as a means to summon all Jedi back to the temple in case of an emergency. After the execution of Order 66 and the raiding of the Jedi Temple during Operation Knightfall, Darth Vader used the beacon to broadcast the “return to Coruscant” signal in order to lure any surviving Jedi back to the Temple. He stationed several clone troopers inside, some of them disguised in Jedi robes.
Senator Bail Organa realized what had happened when he acquired a beacon from the ship of recently deceased Jedi Master, Saesee Tiin, and managed to warn Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. They both agreed to infiltrate the Jedi Temple in an attempt to deactivate the beacon and prevent any surviving Jedi from walking into the Emperor’s trap. When Obi-Wan made it to the central security station, he remembered a discussion he once had with a young Caleb Dume. The boy had suggested that the beacon could also be used to warn Jedi away from Coruscant, which Obi-Wan did in a heartfelt message that included a reminder that the Force would be with them, always.
After Emperor Palpatine seized the Jedi Temple and transformed it into the Imperial Palace, much of the temple’s history was wiped from its records. What remained intact is still unknown. Hopefully one day we will learn more about the secrets still hidden within it.
Kevin Beentjes (Wild Whiphid) is a molecular biologist working at the Dutch natural history museum. He is an editor for TeeKay-421, an administrator for Yodapedia, and fascinated with the myriad of alien lifeforms in that galaxy far, far away.