In the events of ‘Star Wars: Rebels,’ we met Ezra Bridger, a troublemaking kid who hated the Empire’s presence on his homeworld of Lothal. But when he crossed paths with Kanan Jarrus and the Spectres, he eventually joined them as Kanan wanted to train him to become a Jedi because he was strong in the Force. But how and why was Ezra even a Jedi Padawan even though the Jedi Order was already gone?
Ezra Bridger was a Jedi because a Jedi survivor trained him to become a Jedi. The destruction of the Jedi Order doesn’t mean that the Jedi no longer existed. In fact, the Jedi Order still lived with the Jedi survivors all over the galaxy. As such, Ezra was a Jedi even though he was never formally inducted into the defunct Jedi Order.
The destruction of the Jedi Order didn’t necessarily mean that the Jedi Order was dead and gone. The teachings of the Jedi lived on within the Jedi who survived Order 66, which means that the concept of the Jedi Order still lived within those Jedi. So, the young boy became a Jedi Padawan when Kanan took Ezra in as his apprentice. Now, let’s discuss this topic in greater detail.
Jedi can still be trained without the Jedi Order
Back in the time of the Jedi Order, the Jedi did things by the book. They scoured the galaxy for children with the ability to use the Force so that they could increase their numbers and train a new generation of Jedi. As early as a child’s third birthday, the Jedi ask their parents if they could take them to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant so that they could become Jedi Knights.
From there, the Jedi younglings undergo basic training and instruction under the tutelage of Yoda and some of the other instructors in the Jedi Temple. Only when they graduate from their position as Jedi initiates can they become Jedi Padawans. They are assigned to Jedi Knights and Masters, who will now be in charge of their on-field training so that they would be able to experience what being a Jedi truly is all about.
Then again, we know that the Jedi Order was destroyed when Emperor Palpatine initiated Order 66 and basically jumpstarted the entire Jedi purge. As far as the Empire was concerned, the Jedi Order’s destruction and the Jedi Temple’s downfall prevented the Jedi from reorganizing. The Jedi were all but destroyed, even though some of them survived Order 66 and went on to live during the time of the Empire.
But the fact that the Jedi Order was destroyed did not mean that the Jedi could no longer operate. As long as a Jedi was alive, they could still train new Jedi with or without the Jedi Temple or the Jedi Council. In fact, this concept was prevalent in Star Wars, as we saw the likes of Luke Skywalker getting trained in the ways of the Force and becoming a Jedi without the presence of a formal Jedi Order.
The fact that there were still Jedi left in the galaxy meant that the Jedi Order and the teachings of the Jedi lived within them. They could always pass on whatever they learned to a new generation of Jedi so that the galaxy would always have peacekeepers. Kanan Jarrus did that when he trained Ezra Bridger by taking him in as his Jedi Padawan after discovering his strong connection to the Force.
Ezra was born on Empire Day, just after the destruction of the Jedi Order. Nevertheless, when he was 14 years old, he became a Jedi Padawan under the tutelage of Kanan Jarrus, who was still very much a Jedi because he survived the Jedi purge.
Ezra and the other Jedi who never trained in the Jedi Temple and were trained in the wild are those whom Baylan Skoll called in the ‘Ahsoka’ series Bokken Jedi. And while these Jedi were never trained in the Jedi Temple, they were still Jedi as far as their beliefs and training were concerned.
So, regardless of whether or not a Jedi Temple or a Jedi Order existed, Ezra was still trained to become a Jedi by a person who knew what it was like to be a Jedi and what the Jedi were supposed to do. Kanan may not have been the most qualified mentor, but he did his best to make sure that Ezra turned into the best kind of Jedi possible—a heroic one who would always put the needs of others before his own well-being.
Did Ezra ever become a Jedi?
While Kanan did indeed take Ezra under his wing so that he could train him as his Jedi Padawan, the thing is that Ezra never actually became a Jedi Knight. Kanan died before deciding whether his Padawan was ready to carry the title of a Jedi Knight. Of course, there was no Jedi Council that could decide whether or not Ezra was deserving of this rank.
As a result, Ezra stayed a Jedi Padawan his entire life up until the events of the ‘Ahsoka’ series, where he was seen living amongst the nomadic Noti people of Peridea. He disappeared at the end of ‘Rebels,’ when he sacrificed himself to take Grand Admiral Thrawn to an entirely different galaxy, hoping that doing so would save his friends and his homeworld. As a result, Ezra never completed his training.
Ezra, of course, is just one of the many different Jedi who never completed their training but were still true Jedi in terms of where their hearts are. For example, Ahsoka never completed her training before meeting Anakin again in the World Between Worlds. Even Kanan couldn’t complete his training before the spirit of the Grand Inquisitor knighted him in a vision that he had in the Lothal Jedi Temple. Then, in ‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,’ Cal Kestis operated as a Jedi Padawan before Cere Junda conferred the title of Jedi Knight on him.
So, while Ezra was never a Jedi Knight, he was every bit of a Jedi that his master was because he was willing to put his life on the line to make sure that everyone he cared about got to live free from the oppression of the Empire. And in our books, that was what any real Jedi would do.
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