Star Wars has represented a shockingly small percentage of its gargantuan overall history, choosing to describe many of its biggest events in opaque terms. Despite the big gaps, learning about everyone’s favorite galaxy far, far away still holds tons of interesting ideas that may never make it to the big or small screen.
Jedi or an equivalent have been among the protagonists of every major Star Wars project since the series began in 1977. Unfortunately, there was a split in the narrative when Disney bought the brand in 2012. This means that most of the deeper lore, everything outside of movies, shows, and modern games, has been declared non-canon. Some of this information colloquially referred to as the legends Continuity may eventually get into proper canon, but some of it will likely go away, as it has already.
The history of the Jedi is long and winding, especially with the possibility that everything is out the window with the upcoming projects. Finding the first Jedi must first raise the obvious question; What is a Jedi Knight? While the term is the most familiar throughout the galaxy, and many denizens would apply it to any Jedi, it does have a specific meaning. Basically, a Jedi Knight is a full member of the Jedi Order. They have served their time at the Academy, served as a padawan under an established mentor, and completed the Jedi exams. Jedi Knights begin work to keep the peace and enforce justice at the behest of the council. It is this specification that makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who the first Jedi Knight is.
That legends Continuity tells the story of the original formation of the Jedi Religion and the resulting Jedi Order. It evolved from another religious order that preached balance between the light and dark sides of power. Those who followed the darkness broke off, as did those who followed the light. The latter, through several new developments, became the Jedi that fans know today. Jedi Knight terminology evolved when Jedi were brought into the herd of the Galactic Republic as peacekeeping agents. This loose band had little rule or order, following the will of a single Jedi Master who acted as leader. Upon completion of her assigned task, the Master would appoint her a Jedi Knight. The first person to reach this rank will not be given a name, which remains an open question.
Video game 2011 Star Wars The Old Republic offered a sort of answer to the central question, offering not one but four First Jedi Knights. A mission in the MMO will lead the player to investigate the Jedi homeworld of Tython, where they will find an ancient hologram depicting the early characters. Cala Brin, Garon Jard, Ters Sendon and Rajivari are the four founders of the Jedi Order and logically the four first Jedi Knights. Each represented a key aspect of belief and practice. Brin preached putting aside emotions to better pursue justice. Jard spoke of pacifism and believed that violence should always be the last resort. Sendon was a writer who believed in carefully maintaining the group’s history. Eventually, Rajivari founded the Jedi Archive, but later became the first Jedi to turn to the dark side. This group formed the order, but the franchise barely represented them before they were declared non-canon, probably the following year.
The new Disney canon deviates somewhat from that explanation, but it might still address it. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi introduces a new starting point for the Jedi Order, the Temple on Ahch-To. Fans would recognize Ahch-To as the waterlogged planet where Rey finds Luke Skywalker after his long exile. The porgs’ home planet is also home to an intricate stone monument that offers a clue to the new answer to the question. Inside the original Jedi Temple is a memorial later described as the “Prime Jedi”. The new continuity refers to this Prime Jedi as a unique being rather than the quartet that the game dictates. The identity of the Prime Jedi is unknown, but as the source of the Order, they would certainly claim the role of the first Jedi Knight.
The Tao-inspired symbolism comes closest in modern continuity to a first Jedi Knight. The Prime Jedi can be a metaphorical scroll or a single symbol that applies to multiple people, perhaps even the four of the previous story. Star Wars hasn’t represented anything quite as far as the series’ past, but this Prime Jedi might finally be the answer to that question. Despite the franchise’s focus on the Order, there’s still so much about Jedi history that fans will have to wait to find out.
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