If you’re unfamiliar with Star Wars, The Jedi are an Order whose origins span back for more than a thousand generations. They are Force-sensitive beings of all races, shapes and sizes found throughout the entirety of the known galaxy and who have vowed to uphold peace and justice within the Galactic Republic.
From a very young age, those who are Force-sensitive are found by the Order in order to begin their training to become Jedi themselves one day. But while they focus on the light side of the Force, their usual enemies, the Sith, embrace the dark side, and they are often in conflict with each other. By the time of the Clone Wars, there were about 10,000 Jedi in the Galaxy, but after the infamous Order 66 they were all but wiped out.
10. Qui-Gon Jinn
“Life does not treat you fairly or unfairly, it merely is. It is up to each of us to be fair, or unfair.” – Qui-Gon
Even though Qui-Gon Jinn died at the end of the first prequel movie at the hands of Darth Maul, he was one of the most powerful Jedi of his age. And to be fair, the Jedi didn’t have to deal with the Sith for a thousand years, believing them to be gone. Nevertheless, Qui-Gon was one of the best swordsmen of the Jedi Order, using the Ataru style of combat to near perfection. This fighting style was highly aggressive, with powerful two-handed attacks. Its drawbacks, however, were its weak defense in cramped spaces, and fatigue – especially at an older age, something which Darth Maul knew and took advantage of. Qui-Gon was admitted to the Jedi Order at a very young age due to his strong affinity with the Force, and became the Padawan (a trainee to a Jedi Knight or Master) to Count Dooku. When Qui-Gon was ready to become a Jedi Knight, Dooku told him of his only weakness – Qui-Gon’s compassion towards all life. Dooku told him of the inevitability of betrayal, always coming from a friend.
This compassion was what drove him to save both Jar-Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker from their fates in the first place, and it stemmed from Qui-Gon’s attunement to the Living Force. This view of the force was what made him such a good Jedi, by allowing Qui-Gon to sense what others around him were feeling. The Living Force was a method through which he could focus more on the moment and deal with various situations as they developed. Following this form of the Force, Qui-Gon was seen as a Gray Jedi, a rogue who didn’t always follow the rules or directions to the letter. This is the reason for why Qui-Gon was never part of the Jedi Council, even though they all saw great knowledge and wisdom in him. The Living Force was what gave Qui-Gon the abilities of mind control, as well as the power to turn into a Force Ghost after his death – the first Jedi ever to achieve this. In this ghost form, he was able to guide both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in their future quests, as well as to teach them this ability.
9. Lord Hoth
“To drive the darkness away, it seems, the light will have to perish with it!” – Lord Hoth
The reason for the Sith’s disappearance for one thousand years before the events taking place in the movies is due in large part to Hoth, a Jedi Lord. This was an unofficial title given to Jedi Knights who had taken it upon themselves to defend various planets and systems from Sith attacks. This was a period when the Galactic Republic was weakest, and only the central-most planetary systems were effectively defended. Ever since he was a young boy, he fantasized about one day, singlehandedly defeating the Sith and making the Galaxy a better place. His real name was Rohlan, but later became known as Hoth after defeating a ring of Sith pirates on the ice planet with the same name, and then freeing up the Corellian Trade Spine that connected most of the Galaxy. With this victory, he also became a Jedi Master and the Order’s Battlemaster – the lightsaber instructor for the Jedi Academy.
He later became the Army of Light’s general, fighting against the Brotherhood of Darkness under the Sith Lord Skere Kaan. Even though the Army of Light was assembled out of desperation in face of the growing Sith threat, with very little equipment and training, it nevertheless saw great triumph under Lord Hoth. He was able to motivate them in their hour of need against the darkness and defeat all the Sith, with the exception of Darth Bane. During the Seventh Battle of Ruusan, Hoth and the Jedi faced off against Kaan and his remaining Sith, where they would defeat them, thus bringing an end to the so-called New Sith Wars and the subsequent reformation of the Galactic Republic. But in doing so, both Hoth and the Jedi were killed after Lord Kaan detonated the infamous Thought Bomb. This was a weapon of great power and fueled by the dark side of the Force, capable of killing anyone Force-sensitive in its blast radius; the Sith included. Darth Bane was the only one who survived this conflict, by being far away when the bomb detonated. Bane went into hiding, created the Sith Rule of Two, and founded the new Order of the Sith Lords, which would only resurface a thousand years later with Senator Palpatine.
8. Galen Marek (aka Starkiller)
NOTE: Before we start talking about this character, you should know that he is the protagonist in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I & II video games, and this description is filled with spoilers.
“Lord Vader was a broken shadow of his former self… I knew that one day you would replace him.” – Palpatine, to Marek
Galen Marek was a Force-sensitive boy, born on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk from two Jedi Knights who deserted the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. After his mother’s death, his father was killed by Darth Vader, who was searching the galaxy for the remainder of the Jedi. Before killing his father, however, Vader asked him where his master was. Vader was sensing someone very powerful with the Force nearby, who was actually Galen himself. He then took the orphaned boy in order to train him as his apprentice in the ways of the Sith. Now, even though the Sith Rule of Two clearly stated that there will only be two Sith at any given time, Darth Vader trained Galen in secret in order to use him one day to overthrow Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious. With his memories suppressed and his childhood all but forgotten, Galen would become a formidable Sith assassin who would do his master’s bidding. His powers were so great that he was even able to kill several fugitive Jedi Masters and former High Council members who escaped Order 66.
Also known as Starkiller, Galen Marek became a powerful fighter, due in large part to Vader’s brutal training regime. Vader would teach Galen to always fight at a disadvantage, with either his bones broken or being almost starved to death. The other reason for his awesome power came from his use of the Force. At the mere age of 17, he had the abilities of Force Push, Force Lightning, or Force Repulse. Galen was even able to survive a near fatal lightsaber stab wound, and then the vacuum of space. He also survived falling from orbit onto a planet’s surface without even breaking a sweat. Another notable feat was when he pulled a Star Destroyer from orbit and made it crash to the ground.
But for all his powers and Force sensitivity, he was trained to be used only as a tool in Vader’s plans and never did become more knowledgeable as a Force-user beyond his combat skills. After he was betrayed not once, but twice by Vader, he slowly turned to the light side of the Force, mostly on his own. In fact, it was Vader, with the aid of Starkiller, who ignited the Rebel Alliance in the first place as a way to distract the attention of the Emperor. But in the end, Galen gave his life at the hands of Palpatine and became a martyr for the rebels. These rebels would then use the Marek family crest as the symbol for the Alliance.
7. Plo Koon
“You always were the most humble, polite, stubborn, and difficult Padawan, Plo.” – Master Tyvokka
Plo Koon was a member of the Kel Dor species of aliens that developed on a planet with little to no oxygen. This was the reason for his mask and goggles when he was off world, as oxygen was poisonous to his species. He became a powerful and well respected Jedi Master who served on the High Council until his death following the events of Order 66. Plo Koon was good friends with Qui-Gon Jinn and shared his concern towards all forms of life. He was the one who discovered Ahsoka Tano, who would later become Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan. Plo Koon was tutored by Tyvokka, a Wookiee Jedi Master. Like many members of his species, Koon made a clear distinction between right and wrong, sometimes even bordering on vigilantism, with little regard for the outcome of the situation. This, combined with his general attitude and sarcastic wit, often times pushed his Wookiee master’s fine limits.
When it came to his lightsaber abilities, he was almost unmatched among the Jedi. Darth Maul considered him to be the greatest Jedi warrior, even though they never dueled. Plo Koon was a master of the fifth form of lightsaber combat, called Shien, which involved power-attacks, defense and quick counter-attacks. Master Plo also excelled in telekinesis, being able to move objects without even looking at them. He also mastered the Force technique known as Electric Judgment, similar to the Sith Force Lightning, but without channeling any anger or fear in it. Knowledgeable in physics, he often used the Force to change the environment to his advantage, by creating small whirlwinds, fog, freezing water, or raising the temperature to suit his purpose. Among other things, he was a renowned space pilot, some calling him the third best Jedi pilot after Anakin and Saesee Tiin, another High Council member. It was in the air where Plo Koon died, leading his Clone Troopers who attacked and killed him under the Order 66.
6. Kit Fisto
“Those who have power should restrain themselves from using it.” – Kit Fisto
Kit Fisto was among the many Jedi who fought in the Battle of Geonosis, the conflict that ignited the Clone Wars, and was among the very few who survived. He then became a Jedi General during the war, leading the Clone Troopers on various missions throughout the conflict. He almost defeated General Grievous in a lightsaber duel, severing several of his mechanical limbs before Grievous managed to escape to a control room. He was the only one to survive that particular ambush mission, where his former Padawan, Nahdar Vebb, was killed by Grievous in a lightsaber duel. Kit Fisto was also present when Mace Windu, alongside two other Jedi Masters, tried to arrest Chancellor Palpatine after learning of him being the missing Sith Lord. He was, however, struck down by the Chancellor soon after the fighting commenced.
He was a Nautolan, making him able to live both on the surface, as well as in water, and his large eyes were particularly adapted for low-light vision. The long tentacles on his head gave him the ability to sense pheromone-based expressions of emotion from those around him. Fisto was a practitioner and master of the first form of lightsaber combat, known as Shii-Cho, or the Determination Form. This fighting form aimed more at disarming the opponent rather than killing him and was particularly advantageous when fighting many opponents at once. His green lightsaber contained two crystals, allowing it to work underwater; an environment where Fisto would truly shine as a swordsman. He was also able to channel the Force in order to manipulate water currents, as well as to generate a Force Orb, an ability used underwater to create a giant ball of air and direct it at an opponent. He had a positive outlook on life and a developed sense of humility to go with it, and he almost always sported a smile on his face… even after his death, when Anakin found his smiling head on the Chancellor’s desk.
5. Nomi Sunrider
“…Nomi Sunrider. One of the greatest of all Jedi Knights.” – Tionne Solusar
Not much is known about Nomi Sunrider prior to her marring Andur Sunrider, a Jedi Knight in training, who was killed before her eyes by a band of mercenaries. She would then take up her husband’s Jedi mantle, so to speak, by training under Jedi Master Thon, among others. Why she wasn’t taken on by the Jedi when she was still a child is unknown. Nevertheless, Nomi then faced a series of challenges very few others had before, or since. She was a valiant warrior during the Naddist Uprising and the Great Sith War, during which she faced some of the most powerful Sith Lords of all time: Exar Kun and his apprentice, Qel-Droma. She was in large part responsible for uniting the Jedi together in defeating the Sith. After the victory in this war, nearly a quarter of all the planets in the galaxy were left devastated and the remainder of the Sith went into hiding. Nomi Sunrider would then rise among the Jedi ranks to achieve the title of Master, and then Grand Master of the Jedi Order, some 4,000 years before the events in the Star Wars movies.
Nomi Sunrider was exceptionally good with the lightsaber, even though she initially refused to use it after witnessing her husband’s death. During the Naddist Uprising she singlehandedly defeated an overwhelming number of opponents. Nomi even had the rare ability to separate a Force-sensitive being from their powers. By channeling her emotions, she was able to rip the Sith Lord Qel-Droma from the Force permanently, and he was never again able to use his powers. Even thousands of years after her death, she is still often mentioned and given as an example among the Jedi.
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Obi-Wan is a great mentor; as wise as Master Yoda, and as powerful as Master Windu.” – Anakin Skywalker
For all his later great deeds as a Jedi Master, Obi-Wan almost didn’t become a Jedi in the first place. While he was taken on to become one from infancy, those young trainees who would not be chosen by a Master as their Padawan until they turned 13 were sent to serve in the Jedi Service Corps. Kenobi was assigned to work for the Agricultural Corps, but as fate would have it, Qui-Gon Jinn was sent on a mission to the same planet, and the two would work together to survive it. The mission was, in fact, a trap for Qui-Gon put in place by his former Padawan turned Dark Jedi, Xanatos. From that moment on, Qui-Gon took Obi-Wan as his apprentice. By avenging his Master’s death and being the first Jedi to defeat a Sith in over one thousand years, Obi-Wan was made a Jedi Knight without needing to pass any more trials; something unheard of in the Order. And even though Yoda told him that he sensed Qui-Gon’s disobedience in him, Kenobi was quite orthodox in his views and actions. His soft-spoken demeanor and humble nature helped him resolve many disputes without the use of violence, earning him the nickname of ‘The Negotiator’.
But despite his preference for diplomacy, he was one of the best lightsaber duelists in Jedi history. As Mace Windu put it, Obi-Wan wasn’t just a master of Soresu, but the master of Soresu. This was the third form of lightsaber form of combat known for its defensive nature and was considered the ultimate expression of the non-aggressive Jedi way. During the Clone Wars, Kenobi was able to glide through blaster fire with ease and was even able to parry as many as 18 lightsaber strikes per second coming from General Grievous, who he even defeated. His Force abilities were quite extensive, from Animal Bond to Dominate Mind and Force Push to Force Deflection, Force Repulse and Force Crush; all powers very difficult to master. He even learned to become a Force Ghost from his former Master while in this form, with which he guided Luke Skywalker after his own death.
3. Mace Windu
“For the Order and the Republic, I will give anything and everything, including my life.” – Mace Windu
Mace Windu was seen as a living legend among his Jedi peers. He served as the Master of the Order (the elected leader) up until the Battle of Geonosis, when he gave it up in favor of Grand Master Yoda. His wisdom weighed heavily in the decisions of the Jedi Order and his power made him the champion of all the Jedi and the leading defender of the galaxy, second only to Yoda himself. By the age of 14, Mace consecutively achieved top of his class, surpassing even some Masters in the use of the Force as well as the blade. However, he didn’t construct his own lightsaber until he acquired the crystals needed via a worthy challenge. Thus, he was sent to the planet Hurikane on his own. There, he was first chased off by the beings who called that planet home, but after saving one of them, he was rewarded with the rare purple crystal for his future lightsaber. In his youth, he was described by Dooku as an “arrogant little Padawan,” which was in part true. He was confident in is abilities and slow to trust others. He was, nevertheless, respectful towards his superiors, mainly Yoda, as well as all Galactic civilians he served.
He strongly believed in the Republic as the ultimate tool for peace and civilization, and he went above and beyond to preserve it, even if it meant breaking the Jedi philosophy. This was what ultimately brought him down when he decided to execute the seemingly defenseless Palpatine, forcing Anakin to spring into action. Windu was trained as a Jedi Guardian, meaning that he mostly focused on mastering the lightsaber. He was a practitioner of the Seventh and final form of combat known as Juyo, or the Ferocity Form, even though he trained himself in all the other forms as well. This form required a great deal of concentration from its practitioners and was slowly restricted by the Jedi Order, believing it to lead to the dark side. Windu, however, came up with his own variant known as Vaapad, which channeled the rage of his opponent and used it against them. This is the reason why Windu was able to singlehandedly defeat Palpatine. The Jedi Master was also able to make use of the Force power of Shatterpoint. Rare and extremely hard to produce, this ability allowed the practitioner to see the weak points in objects or people and attack them there.
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Yoda was one of the most powerful and wise Jedi in galactic history. But even though he was so renowned, not only in the Star Wars universe, but in this reality as well, very little is known about his origins. For starters, nobody knows what his species is, or from what planet he originates. Many aren’t even completely sure about his gender. Nevertheless, the Grand Master of the Order was 900 years old when he died. He also had a hand in training almost all of the Jedi that came after him; around 20,000 in total. And even though he was the Order’s most skilled Force user, he considered the education of the other Jedi as a top priority.
Though old and needing a walking stick to get around, he was exceptionally nimble and acrobatic when he was using the Force. It was said that only Mace Windu, Count Dooku, and Senator Palpatine could face him in combat on equal footing. Yoda made use of Ataru as his preferred style of combat, because it made up for his small stature. He nevertheless was experienced in all but the last form of lightsaber dueling. When he used the ability of Force Valor, he increased the physical capabilities of both himself and his allies nearby. Similarly, he made use of another Force skill known as Battle Meditation. With it, Yoda was able to raise the morale of thousands of his troops and at the same time lower it in his enemies. He was an expert telekinetic, moving various objects with ease on numerous occasions. He could control the minds of strong-willed individuals and even alter their memories. Among numerous other Force abilities, Yoda also learned how to become a Force Ghost while in exile after the Clone Wars.
1. Luke Skywalker
“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” – Luke Skywalker
Even though Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, was the Chosen One, Luke actually lived up to his full potential of becoming the best Jedi that ever existed. The simple fact that he was able to singlehandedly defeat Darth Vader after only one year of training under Yoda should say something about his abilities. The only other Jedi to survive an encounter with Vader was Obi-Wan. In his younger years, and only after just discovering the Force, he joined the Rebel Alliance and would destroy the first Death Star. After the downfall of the Empire, Luke would restore the Jedi Order and scour the galaxy for the remaining Force-sensitive beings. And even though he was impatient and somewhat reckless when he was younger, after his first encounter with Vader he became more patient and seasoned. He did, however, put several of his missions in jeopardy for the sake of saving someone else’s life.
With only sporadic guidance from Obi-Wan and Yoda, Luke learned much about the Force by himself. He was able to mirror Darth Vader in their last duel, learning almost instantaneously. This feat utterly amazed the Emperor as he watched the duel commence before him. In his future battles, he was said to move like a blur, even wielding two lightsabers at once. In a sense, he took up his father’s mantle as the Chosen One, being blessed with a multitude of Force abilities, some of which no other Jedi ever had, or even heard about. His Force Push could bring down entire armies of soldiers and he could communicate with all other Jedi at once throughout the entire galaxy. He was even able to heal himself from serious wounds in mere hours. All in all, Luke became a sort of Jedi demigod, and without a doubt, the most powerful Jedi that ever existed.