Star Wars: What Are the Jedi Trials & How Many Are There?

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The Jedi Order has long been involved in the events of the Star Wars galaxy due to the fact that the Jedi and the Republic grew together in the thousands of years of their existence. Of course, the Jedi undergo strict training that would eventually turn a Jedi Padawan into a full-fledged Jedi Knight through a process called the Jedi Trials. But what exactly are the Jedi Trials, and how many are there?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The Jedi Trials are the formal tests that allow the Jedi High Council to determine whether or not a Padawan is ready to become a Jedi Knight.
  • While the canon has never been specific in relation to the Jedi Trials, there are five trials in the Legends.
  • However, a Jedi can be knighted on the field without having to undergo the Jedi Trials.

The Jedi Trials determine the readiness of a Padawan

One of the things that we know about the Jedi is that they are trained since childhood. In most cases, the Jedi start their training as early as five years old, as they are brought to the Jedi Temple to learn the basics of what it means to be Jedi. That means that some of the basics are drilled into the children before they graduate from being initiates into Jedi Padawans.

The Padawans are the ones who are given the task of working alongside Jedi Knights and Masters on the field as apprentices who have to learn the ins and outs of what a Jedi does. So, while the basics are drilled into the Jedi during their childhood years, they work on the job as apprentices or “squires” to true Jedi Knights and Masters for years so that they can eventually become ready to take on the Jedi Trials.

That means that the Jedi Trials were made to test whether or not a Padawan already had the necessary tools and training to become a true Jedi in everything that mattered, including skills, knowledge, wisdom, and discipline. Before the Clone Wars, most Padawans turned into Jedi during their 20s. However, because of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Order rushed the training of younglings and Padawans and allowed teenagers to become Jedi Knights.

The nature of the Jedi Trials

While we all know that the Jedi Trials were what allowed Padawans to prove themselves as true Jedi, one of the things that the canon side of Star Wars was never clear about was the nature of the Trials themselves. That’s because, as far as the canon is concerned, we have never seen what goes on in the actual Jedi Trials.

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However, from what we’ve seen in canon, the Jedi Trials could take the form of tasks that were assigned to the Padawan by their Master or the entire Jedi High Council. There are even cases wherein the Jedi Trials are simply metaphors for the tribulations that some of the Padawans were able to overcome during their training as they were now able to prove themselves worthy of being called Jedi Knights.

For instance, during the events of ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,’ Qui-Gon Jinn said that Obi-Wan Kenobi was now ready to take on the Jedi Trials. Obi-Wan was happy that his master believed that he was now ready for the Trials. However, Kenobi never went through any Trial because the Council decided to give him the rank of Jedi Knight, as it is possible that defeating Maul was already enough to prove that he was ready to become a Jedi.

Anakin Skywalker also never went through any formal Jedi Trial when he was elevated to the status of Jedi Knight. During the Clone Wars, he was knighted after the events involving Count Dooku and the First Battle of Geonosis. It is possible that he was knighted right away to make up for the losses of the Jedi on Geonosis.

In Ahsoka Tano’s case, she was never knighted, but the Jedi High Council believed that her Jedi Trials came in the form of the challenges that she went through when Barriss Offee framed her for the bombing of the Jedi Temple as going through such a tough time was already greater than even the Jedi Trials themselves.

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Basically speaking, there were never any clear explanations as to what the Jedi Trials were as far as the canon is concerned. Nevertheless, the Legends side of Star Wars is a lot more exact in terms of explaining what the Jedi Trials are. The thing is that the canon is yet to accept the Jedi Trials in the Legends part of Star Wars.

The different Jedi Trials in the Legends

Trial of Skill

The Trial of Skill is arguably the most important part of the Jedi Trials because a Padawan must already have all of the skills needed for them to become a Jedi Knight. This means that the Trial of Skill tests the Padawan’s readiness and training as they should already have mastered all of the basic forms that the Jedi should know.

Trial of Courage

Courage has always been an important part of being a Jedi, and that is why the Trial of Courage was one of the most important Trials for those who weren’t necessarily the best when it came to skills and combat. So, even if a Jedi wasn’t very skilled, they can still be called Jedi as long as they are able to prove that they are courageous enough to handle the responsibilities of a Jedi Knight.

Trial of the Flesh

Arguably the most difficult out of all of the Jedi Trials, the Trial of the Flesh is one that allows the Padawan to overcome great physical pain, hardship, and even loss to prove that they are worthy of becoming a Jedi Knight. In some cases, dismemberment happened due to the Trial of the Flesh. And this is why this is arguably the most gruesome and most challenging out of all of the Trials.

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Trial of the Spirit

Because Jedi Knights are called to understand how to look deep within their soul, the Trial of the Spirit was used to test whether or not the Padawan understood what it meant to discover oneself through true meditation and deep thinking. After all, the most dangerous enemy of a Jedi is the darkness within themselves, and that’s why the Trial of the Spirit tests whether or not the Jedi are able to overcome themselves.

Trial of Insight

The latest Trial added to the Jedi Trials is the Trial of Insight, which was installed after it became clear that some Jedi Knights could easily lose or die to thieves and common criminals if they didn’t know how to discern the things that were actually in front of them. As such, the Trial of Insight tests whether or not the Jedi knows how to see through illusions and how to see things for what they actually are. Insight has always been important for a Jedi because they should always know how to see a person’s true colors or understand what is happening around them.

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