The Jedi Order has both risen and fallen multiple times in the history of the galaxy far, far away, but the Star Wars franchise continues to be dominated by these lightsaber-wielding warrior monks nonetheless. Virtually every Star Wars fan has a favorite Jedi and what would the series be without them?
But what actually makes a great Jedi? They might have a deep connection to the Force or are driven by a moral compass so pure that audiences simply have to root for them. Or they might just be brilliant swordsmen or pilots, facing insurmountable odds to save the day again and again. No matter why viewers relate to these characters, their adventures across the big screen, shows, books, comics, and games have continued to draw fans in for generations.
So we’ve decided to celebrate these classic Star Wars characters by picking our absolute favorites. The Jedi Knights featured here are from all corners of the universe, regardless of medium, and both from current Disney canon and the classic Legends continuity. A great character is a great character, after all.
But first, some housekeeping: While a special mention has to go to Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, who didn’t quite make the cut (we limited ourselves to 15 spots), it’s important to note why there might be some other notable absences. Anakin Skywalker, Ben Solo, and Revan weren’t considered since they all eventually fell to the dark side and committed some pretty terrible atrocities while in their villain eras. In other words, it just felt wrong to include them on a list of the very best Jedi. But we also want to acknowledge that plenty of fans love these characters, too. Like what you like!
Now that we got all that out of the way, here are the best Jedi in the galaxy far, far away:
15. Avar Kriss
The High Republic might be a relatively new era on the Star Wars timeline, but whether it’s the novels or the Marvel comic book series, Avar Kriss already stands out as one of the best additions to the Disney canon. A leading member of the Jedi Council, her knowledge of the Force is almost unparalleled in her era, viewing the power of life itself through the lens of music.
There’s a duality to Avar, though. Sometimes she gives into her frustrations, even allowing her rage to take over. Although the history books remember her as an exemplary Jedi Master, the books and comics show us that Avar’s not perfect. She’s still human, and that makes her all the more compelling. It’s no surprise, then, she’s one of the key protagonists of the High Republic that audiences are so fascinated with. Even through the myriad disasters plaguing the Jedi of the era, Avar is beacon of light for the Order.
14. Cal Kestis
Cal Kestis is another recent addition to the Jedi lineup, but one who has his fair share of supporters. Appearing in Jedi: Fallen Order, the video game tracks Cal’s history, from a young Padawan during the Clone Wars to a Knight of his own making in the dark times following Order 66. He might have spent years hiding from the dangers of the Imperials, but when the time comes to step up to protect future Force wielders, Cal chooses to become a hero.
Kestis knows that he may not be the man to take down the Empire, but he is using every resource available to him, alongside some worthy allies, to make life under Emperor Palpatine better for as many as possible. There’s something inspirational about that. He’s a hopeful fighter who won’t let go of the teachings of the Jedi, and keeps the peace as best he can. The sequel will surely expand on those beats, but fans of the character have also been petitioning for Cal to make the jump to live action, a testament to how popular the character has become since his debut in 2019.
13. Satele Shan
Hailing from Legends canon, Satale Shan is one of the key figures from that timeline’s Old Republic era. In the online multiplayer video game The Old Republic, Satele represents a familial legacy that she can’t escape from. You see, the Shan line plays a very important role in the history of the Jedi in Legends, but Satele is far different from her ancestors. While her grandmother Bastila might have struggled with her connection to the light and dark sides of the Force, Satele wholeheartedly defends the Jedi Order in one of its darkest periods.
During her era’s great war with the Sith, Satele plays a prominent role as the Grand Master of the Council. Those who play the online game Star Wars: The Old Republic know just what an incredible warrior she is, too, as she more than matches major antagonist Darth Malgus in numerous duels. She’s the best the Jedi Order of the Old Republic era has to offer.
12. Plo Koon
Plo Koon was merely a background character during the Prequel Trilogy, but his narrative has been fleshed out further in cartoons, books, and comics. This Jedi Council member had plenty of adventures on the page in Legends that built a core fan base, but it’s his return to canon that intrigued newcomers. His role in The Clone Wars animated series as a valiant leader and a valuable teacher to Ahsoka Tano immediately makes him a standout.
While his death during Order 66 is a tragic one, Plo Koon leaves behind an admirable legacy. A quick-witted strategist with a firm grasp of what it means to represent the Order, Koon is one of Yoda’s closest allies because of his commitment to the cause. A powerful warrior, who is just as wise, even enemies like Maul acknowledge Plo Koon’s abilities.
11. Quinlan Vos
When you think of Jedi, Quinlan Vos probably isn’t the first Knight that comes to mind. But he’s one of the best because of his determination to get the job done, even if it means sacrificing himself. It’s rare for any Jedi to move away from the code, and while some like Obi-Wan flirt with testing the limits of Jedi doctrine, Vos is one of the few who pushes past that line to preserve his cover while on a secret mission during the Clone Wars.
Vos always uses his emotions in battle, learning how to harness the dark side of the Force without it ever overtaking him. Until Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+, Vos’ canon fate after Order 66 was left unanswered, but the fact that he’s still alive a decade later hints at the notion that he could one day return on screen. We can’t wait!
10. Luminara Unduli
Many fans have long developed a strong bond with Master Luminara Unduli, thanks to her Clone Wars-era adventures. Her mission to protect a sacred Jedi Temple from a droid army in the Genndy Tartakovsky micro-series from Legends is a particular highlight. And while her canon fate during the days of Order 66 might not be a just one, her heroic deeds are never forgotten by those Jedi who survive the Purge, and Luminara’s story lives on.
In The Clone Wars series, she remains strong even in the face of her own Padawan, Barriss Offee, turning her back on the Order and trying to destroy of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Luminara’s eternal kindness and understanding of the ramifications of the war around her sometimes allowed her to hold a perspective that those deep in the trenches couldn’t always see.
9. Kyle Katarn
The ambitious Dark Forces and Jedi Knight video games of the ’90s and early ’00s introduced Star Wars fans to Kyle Katarn, an unlikely rogue who learns to embrace the light side of the Force and becomes one of the most important Jedi in the years of the New Republic. A Rebel hero who fought the Empire during the height of the Galactic Civil War, his status currently remains firmly within the realm of Legends, but there’s no doubt his fans would love to finally see him make the jump to Disney canon.
Kyle’s story is one of redemption, after defecting from the Empire and slowly learning the ways of the Force. At one point faced with his father’s killer, a dark sider named Jerec, Kyle confronted the dark side within himself but ultimately chose the light. During Legends, he was a perfect point of view character who fans tracked all the way up to his appointment to the council of a New Jedi Order, years after the Empire’s defeat. The underdog had come a long way, and was one of the most influential Legends Jedi because of it.
8. Mace Windu
Despite his high-ranking status within the Jedi Council, Mace Windu was a rather unconventional Jedi, colder than some of his fellow masters and perhaps a bit more conservative. While the charisma of his initial portrayal in the Prequels certainly helped to establish him as a major figure in that era, it’s his purple lightsaber and strict rulings on everything from the Jedi code to the political debates of the Senate that makes him a standout Jedi on the big screen. He’s also an incredibly skilled swordsman, not only beheading Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones but also coming close to defeating Palpatine by himself.
Windu’s path might have been quite different in a time of peace, but in war he thrived because of his strong leadership. Yet, he continued to tow the line constantly, with a very clear sense of the light and the dark. He was the Republic’s last true defender, and in retrospect, fans have noticed he was right on every decision. He perished fighting Darth Sidious, but with his death never truly confirmed, there’s always a groundswell of hope that he could one day reappear.
7. Qui-Gon Jinn
Fans never got to see enough of Qui-Gon Jinn on screen, which is a great shame. The character reflected all the noble qualities of the Jedi, and parallels Master Yoda in many respects, including his teachings on patience. Qui-Gon has continued to be a worthy guide through the Force and was the Jedi to figure out how to become on with the Force, later teaching it to Obi-Wan and Yoda. Qui-Gon’s adventures in the comics, in both Legends and canon spoke to a sensitive soul, who played peacekeeper more than most and didn’t forget the purpose of the Jedi.
His calm demeanor was certainly refreshing, and it would have been very interesting to see how that would have been tested within the context of the Clone Wars. Nonetheless, Qui-Gon’s legacy is clear to see in the line of Jedi he inspired. All the best values of Obi-Wan Kenobi were in part influenced by his own master, which were later passed on to Luke Skywalker. There would have been no Return of the Jedi without Qui-Gon.
6. Mara Jade
Mara Jade’s own path began with the Empire, but her adventures with Luke Skywalker changed everything. Saving the galaxy with the rest of the Star Warriors, and eventually learning the ways of the Jedi, Mara was a powerful Force wielder who Legends readers were thrilled to follow in the decades after the Original Trilogy. She’s done everything from smuggling, to serving as a Hand to the Emperor, and even became an important figure in the New Jedi Order.
Those experiences have molded a character who understands the costs of her mistakes and is striving to make a significant difference in the galaxy. Her fate was to fall at the hands of family, fighting against the forces she once stood for in the Second Galactic Civil War. It was a cruel move by Lucasfilm, but one that also capped the life of one of the best characters the books ever produced. To this day, Mara Jade’s absence in Disney canon continues to be a point of major contention among those who miss what this complex hero brought to the table.
5. Rey Skywalker
Rey was, of course, Disney’s first big original Jedi character, and the protagonist of the Sequel Trilogy. While she might not be as experienced as the many other great Jedi of all time, she had to learn fast to combat the First Order. She signifies the birth of a new age for the Jedi (and the franchise), and her journey has inspired a new generation of fans who are falling in love with the galaxy far, far away for the first time.
She was mentored by Leia and Luke Skywalker, but also learned the history and teachings of the Jedi from the Order’s most sacred texts. Her determination to bring back the Jedi to their height will likely define the future of the series, but it’s her morality even in the face of adversity that has made her such a fan favorite. Rey’s responsible for heralding a new age for the Republic and she’s the hero who finally put an end to Palpatine’s reign of terror. No other Jedi can make that claim.
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Disney+ series continued to add to the legacy of the wise mentor first introduced in 1977. Since his debut in A New Hope, Kenobi has lived so many lives: a Padawan at the height of the Republic, a Jedi Master during the Clone Wars, and as the old “wizard” living in the desert tasked with ushering in a new generation of Jedi. Through it all, Obi-Wan reveals himself to be one of the very best examples of what a Jedi Knight should be: selfless, kind, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect those in need.
Obi-Wan is not just a skilled warrior in his own right but has also inspired some of the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known, guiding Luke, mentoring Anakin and Ahsoka, and even putting his life on the line for Leia. Of all the Jedi in the franchise, his journey is perhaps the most-well documented, the narrative through line that binds the whole film saga together. His portrayal in animation and on the page has only further endeared him to audiences.
Whether it’s in The High Republic, Prequels, Sequels, or the Original Trilogy, Yoda has been a constant source of knowledge and wonder in almost every era explored in Star Wars. He may not look it but he’s a worthy opponent in both the use of a lightsaber and the Force. But that’s not why he has become such a mainstay on the big screen as well as the books and comics.
He’s a hero builder, pointing Rey (indirectly) and Luke on the right path. He has always fulfilled the trope of the wise old wizard, but has built up such expertise from years of experience. He’s always been a force for good, always trying to see the light in others, no matter how dark the shadows might be. That’s what fans respect most about the character, besides his way with words. Even when taking his age into account, there’s an innocence to Yoda, a consistent wonderment at the galaxy around him and an optimism that things will always get better.
2. Ahsoka Tano
When she was first introduced in The Clone Wars animated movie, viewers were taken aback by Ahsoka Tano. Introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s own Padawan, she was a surprising — and even divisive — addition to Star Wars lore that fans of all ages eventually grew to love. Today, the fact that Ahsoka has successfully made the jump to live action is not just a testament to what a well-written character she is but her massive popularity only a few years after her debut.
She might have begun her Jedi journey as a naive and willful child too eager to jump into the Clone Wars, but she learned from the great Jedi around her, picking up plenty of mentors along the way. She would leave the Jedi Order eventually, but despite all that, she was more of a Jedi than most within the Order could attest to. She represented the core values of the religion and has continued to pass it on to the next generation of Knights. Fans were thrilled by her live-action appearance in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, and her own spin-off Disney+ show is well deserved. Ultimately, she has one of the most detailed and exciting arcs in Disney canon.
1. Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker is the classic archetype for a hero in Star Wars. Every Jedi since has taken elements from this original model, Rey being perhaps the most notable example. The farm boy who dreamed of epic adventures in space is a what drew audiences in 1977. To be sure, Luke is the perfect point of view character, thrust into situations he doesn’t quite understand in new corners of the galaxy that are unknown to him, developing fantastical powers and coming to terms with a heritage he never knew. It’s wish fulfillment for children and adults in the audience from start to finish.
The character’s evolution from the Original Trilogy to the Sequels is certainly controversial, with the warrior giving up life as a Jedi after his own academy collapsed at the hands of Kylo Ren. But Luke rediscovering his faith in the Force is also a pivotal moment in the Sequel Trilogy, leading to one of the best Jedi scenes ever put on the big screen, a love letter to fans who have long waited for Mark Hamill’s return. Luke’s recent appearances in the Disney+ shows have only reinforced that nostalgia.
If you want an even better, more fully fleshed-out understanding of the character, check out his adventures in the Legends timeline, from his brief fall to the dark side as a resurgent Palpatine’s new apprentice, to his marriage and beginnings of a family, to becoming the leader of a New Jedi Order and beyond. All of these non-canon stories are well worth checking out for those who want to see different sides to the Jedi Master.