All of the Jedi Ranks: Youngling to Grand Master
Jedi ranks range from youngling to Grand Master, Jedi High Council member and Master of the Order in Star Wars. Typically selected for training from an early age, the Jedi are the keepers of peace within the galaxy. Prior to selection, a prospective Jedi exhibits some raw Force abilities. Once selected for training, the path of any Jedi through the ranking system encompasses a lifetime of dedicated training, exploration, and growth. Let’s explore all of the Jedi ranks and titles including subcategories, specializations and leadership appointments.
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The first of the Jedi ranks, Jedi younglings, sometimes called Jedi initiates, are Force-sensitive children undertaking their earliest stage of training. The Jedi Order seeks and selects younglings from around the galaxy, typically recruiting the Force-sensitive children from a very young age. Once the child becomes mature enough to start formal training, the Jedi Order recognizes the child as an initiate an organizes initiates into small groups called youngling clans. Clans typically consist of 10 individuals who train as cohorts until members ascend to the rank of Padawan.
During these early stages of training, a youngling typically spends most time at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Early study includes an initiate’s introduction to lightsaber combat techniques. An initiate wields a training lightsaber, a specialized low-powered lightsaber, against a training droid. Grand Master Yoda trains all younglings at some point. As an initiate nears the next phase of training, the individual participates in a rite of passage known as The Gathering. During The Gathering an initiate journeys off world to Illum in search of a suitable kyber crystal for constructing their lightsaber. A youngling must also successfully complete a series of tests called Initiate Trials before becoming a Padawan.
Once a youngling successfully completes the Initiate Trials, the individual becomes the Jedi Padawan of a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master. A padawan receives one-on-one training with their master, accompanying and assisting their master on missions. Although
a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master typically selects an individual as a Padawan, the Jedi Council assigns Padawans to Jedi during the Clone Wars.
Padawans spend much of their time meditating and undertaking intensive combat training. Padawans also gain practical real world experience–learning by doing–under the guidance of their master, particularly during off world missions. During this phase of training, an apprentice will commonly wear a Padawan braid to denote their rank. Additionally, during the Clone Wars many Padawans serve as Jedi Commanders of the Grand Army of the Republic.
In order to ascend to the rank of Jedi Knight, a Padawan must successfully complete the Jedi Trials. The trials consist of nine steps: teamwork, isolation, fear, anger, betrayal, focus, instinct, forgiveness, and protection. Trials do no operate in a fixed manner from Padawan to Padawan. The trials may consist of a master assigning tasks to the student. The master may also determine that the student has proven themselves due to other circumstances. Upon completion of the Jedi Trials, a Padawan becomes a full fledged Jedi Knight.
3. Jedi Knight
A Jedi commonly becomes a Knight after the culmination of many years of hard work training, meditating, testing, and developing “boots on the ground” life experience. A Jedi Knights strives to maintain peace within the Galactic Republic and takes on missions from the Jedi Order. A Knight may select a Padawan in order to share their experience with up and coming Jedi and also to continue their own growth as a leader, mentor and Jedi within the Jedi Order. Additionally, during the Clone Wars many Jedi with the rank of at least Knight serve as Jedi Generals of the Grand Army of the Republic.
In Star Wars Legends, a Jedi Knight may follow one of three schools of thought: Jedi Guardian, Jedi Consular, and Jedi Sentinel.
A Guardian emphasizes combat and martial arts training. A Guardian may further specialize and hone their skill in one of four subcategories: Lightsaber Instructor, Jedi Ace (skilled pilots), Jedi Peacekeeper (keepers of order around the galaxy), and Exotic Weapons Specialist.
A Consular emphasizes diplomacy, meditation, mental refinement and sometimes academic specialization. A Consular only utilizes a lightsaber as a last resort. Consulars may specialize in several categories. Jedi Ambassador and Jedi Diplomat work closely with the Republic and may mediate talks among parties and factions. Lore Keeper operates and maintains the Jedi Archives. Jedi Researcher pursues cutting-edge studies in math, science, and archeology. Jedi Seer uses the Force to catch glimpses of things to come and also things that have already transpired. A Jedi Healer uses the Force to help expedite treatment of healing ill and injured individuals.
A Sentinel blends together aspects of both the Guardian and Consular path. Sentinels hone additional non-Force skills and may take missions not suited to the other two branches. In some circumstances a Sentinel may be required to reside in one location for an extended period of time. Some Sentinel specializations include: Jedi Artisan, Jedi Investigator (spy/tracker) and Jedi Shadow (an even more secretive investigator), Jedi Recruiter (seeking new possible initiates), and Jedi Temple Guard (security force of protectors of the Coruscant Jedi Temple), and Jedi Watchman (overseer of peace in a specified region).
4. Jedi Master
Not all Jedi Knights ascend to the rank of master. A Knight on track to become a Master spends years honing their knowledge, experience, and typically leadership skills as well. Eventually the Jedi Order may choose to promote a Knight to Master. Following a promotion to Master, the Jedi High Council expects a Jedi to pursue their own studies in the Force on their own terms.
Generally, a Jedi must ascend to the rank of Jedi Master before qualifying to join the Jedi High Council, the governing body of the Jedi Order.
5. Grand Master
Only the oldest and wisest Jedi Masters attain the selective rank of Grand Master. Both Yoda and Luke Skywalker are famous examples of Grand Masters. A Grand Master’s duty and responsibility is to oversee the entire Jedi Order. At times, multiple Jedi may serves as Grand Masters simultaneously. Grand Master is the highest of all the Jedi ranks.
6. Jedi High Council Member (Leadership Appointment)
The Jedi High Council is a governing body of 12 wise and powerful Jedi. Council members are almost always Jedi Masters. Primary responsibilities of Jedi Council members include both overseeing the operations of the Jedi Order and advising the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Each new Council member is appointed and approved unanimously by all existing Council members.
Anakin Skywalker’s Unusual Jedi Council Appointment
Anakin Skywalker’s appointment to the Jedi Council in unusual for several reasons. Due to a loophole from a Clone Wars era war-time amendment, Chancellor Palpatine appoints Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight at the time, to the Jedi Council. The Jedi Council ordinarily appoints their own members and selected members are typically Jedi Masters. The Council nevertheless accepts the unorthodox appointment. Since the Council is growing increasingly suspicious of Palpatine’s behavior and motives, members ask Skywalker to report back to them with the activities of the Chancellor.
7. Master of the Order (Leadership Appointment)
The Master of the Order is the elected leader of the Jedi High Council. Current Council members must unanimously select the Master of the Order. Although the position is different from the rank of Grand Master, an individual may simultaneously share the title Master of the Order along with the rank Grand Master.