The Jedi are members of a fictional monastic order in the Star Wars galaxy, created by George Lucas. The Jedi Knights are known for two things: their observance of a spiritual awareness founded on The Force and their selection and admittance to the order, based upon specific talents that demonstrate that a person has a special link to such Force. They are primarily seen as the protagonists of the franchise.
In the universe, the Jedi have a number of roles, and are often seen as monks, warriors, handcrafters and philosophers. They live in a temple on the capital world of the Republic, Coruscant. Recruited at a very young age, the Jedi are devoted to a life of service. Their early life involves training in the use of The Force; this training's purpose is to allow the Jedi to understand the special link each of them has with The Force. This collection of Jedi is known as the Jedi Order.
Among other tasks, the Jedi were eventually responsible for law enforcement and peacekeeping in the Galactic Republic. They have also acted as generals, soldiers and advisers in various conflicts, such as the Clone Wars.
In the time of Episodes I-III there is a central political entity called the Jedi Council, a gathering of great minds which acts as a governing body for the order and an advisory board for the Old Republic Senate. The Jedi Council could only have twelve members at a time.
The Star Wars films chronicle the Jedi Order during a time when its existence is gravely threatened. The Jedi are a near-extinct entity in the original trilogy, while the prequel trilogy depicts the Order's downfall at the hands of its nemesis, the Sith.
In the novels set after the Star Wars films, Luke Skywalker re-establishes the Jedi Order by training a new generation of Jedi Knights. Due to Luke's lack of knowledge with the old ways of the Jedi Order, the new generation of Jedi develops in new ways. He established an academy in order to teach the way of the Jedi to others. Luke eventually turned the academy into a centre 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.
In recent novels, and to counter the behavior of the Council in his absence, Luke attempted to unite the Masters against him by saying he was taking direct control of the Order. This tactic later backfired and Skywalker was then forced to actually take control. Luke decreed that the Jedi Order had to come before any other commitments.
The Jedi Order has a nemesis in the Sith Order, an order much more simple in structure but just as old and just as rich in traditions as the Jedi Order. They are also "Force-driven beings", like the Jedi; however, the Sith are able to call on both the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, rendering them potentially more dangerous than the Jedi. They are characterized by their single-minded lust for power and disdain for sentient life. The Sith once ruled the Galaxy but were thrown out of power and exiled from the Galaxy by the Jedi Order.
Within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are portrayed usually as dressed in simple robes and carrying specialized field gear for their missions. The most notable instrument wielded by a Jedi is the Lightsaber. Lightsabers are used by both Jedi and Sith. Often the colour of the saber is an indicator of whether the wielder is a Jedi or a Sith: Red is a colour commonly associated with the Sith, whereas green and blue are considered Jedi colours.
Members of the order progressed through four to six tiers of rank, sometimes referred to as levels.
- Jedi Youngling : An unofficial title, this refers to a child with Force potential. (Also referred to as "Jedi Hopeful.") In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Yoda is shown training the children in small groups.
- Jedi Padawan: An apprentice that undergoes intensive one-on-one training under a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master after graduating from the academy.
- Jedi Knight: Disciplined, experienced Jedi may become full-fledged Jedi Knights once they have completed "the trials", which are usually intensified tests, physical and otherwise, of candidates' skills, knowledge and dedication. The known trials are, but aren't limited to: the Trial of Flesh, the Trial of Courage, the Trial of Skill and the Trial of Self (also known as "facing the mirror"). Master Yoda gave his apprentice Luke Skywalker the trial of confronting Darth Vader for a second time in order to become a full-fledged Jedi. Occasionally, performing an extraordinary (usually heroic) act can earn a Padawan learner Jedi Knight status, such as when Obi-Wan Kenobi, toward the end of his training, defeated the Sith Apprentice Darth Maul during the Battle of Naboo. Jedi Knight is the most common rank of Jedi, hence, the title is also used, mostly by non-Jedi, to refer to any member of the order that has at least met the compulsory requirements of the Jedi Council.
- Jedi Master: A Jedi Knight may become a Master after successfully training a Padawan learner to Knight status. Though this is the most common manner, it is not always the case. If the council sees that a Jedi Knight has become more powerful and has gained more knowledge and discipline in the Force, then they can be nominated by one or more council members to take the trials again.
- Jedi Council Member: When a Jedi Council Member vacates his or her seat, the council looks for an exceptional Jedi Master to fill the empty position. Presiding Council Members elect prospective candidates when openings become available. According to the Dorling Kindersley guide to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, some members were permanent, or lifetime, members, while the rest served limited terms, after which they stepped down and another member would be elected to the Jedi council.
- Jedi Grand Master: Formally "Grand Master of the Jedi Order," only the highest-ranking Jedi Masters took the title. The title of Grand Master/Supreme Master is merely a theoretical title given by Jedi Masters to a certain Master who has been most wise among other masters in the council, as with master Yoda. Also as observed in the New Jedi Order when they appointed Luke Skywalker a Jedi Grand Master as he was the last Jedi taught by Obi-wan Kenobi and Master Yoda, the last members of the Old Council. The Jedi Grand Master/Supreme Master does not enjoy any higher privilege than any council members because the council members also have a vote in any issues presented by the council. The Grand Master was apparently the "first among equals" of the Jedi High Council, or the later Masters' Council. Nomi Sunrider, Yoda, and Luke Skywalker were Grand Masters.
There are several major Jedi; divided into two categories listed below:
Jedi of the Old Republic
Jedi of the New Republic
One of the enduring influences the Star Wars saga has had on popular culture is the idea of the Jedi code being interpreted as a modern belief system or religion. Now, over half a million people throughout the world call themselves Jedi, and believe in 'the ways of the force'. Jedi Sanctuary, an online temple dedicated to Jediism
, has been accepted in to the Universal life Church - declaring it as an 'official' religion.