The path to becoming a Jedi is long at the best of times, and often full of conflict. In most eras, Jedi Knights or Masters would choose their Padawan, but we learned in The Clone Wars that Jedi are sometimes assigned a Padawan by the Jedi Council.
Padawans would undergo a series of trials, ending with a tournament to show off their lightsaber skills.
Jedi Masters and Knights would choose whichever Padawan that they either liked or were impressed by the most. Should a Padawan fail to be chosen by the age of thirteen, they were sent to be reassigned to the Jedi Service Corps.
How does one become a Padawan? What are the “pre” Padawans called and how did the Jedi find new members?
In this article, we find out about the future of these Jedi hopefuls and discover a tarnished piece of Jedi history.
Table of Contents
How Are Padawans Chosen?
This is a two-part question. How does one become a Padawan and how does a Padawan get chosen by a Jedi Knight or Master?
We’ll cover the second one further down, but for now, let’s focus on Younglings. Younglings are any Force-sensitive children.
Planets belonging to the Republic would test infants shortly after birth. If the baby had a high midi-chlorian count then the Jedi would take them back to the Order.
Many saw this as an honor and believed their children would have a better life as Jedi. However, this practice would cause serious backlash for the Jedi.
The Republic gave the Jedi the right to take infants and young children away from their parents. Once they had the child, all contact with the family was cut off.
This was because once a child’s mind was fully opened to the Force. They were too dangerous to be allowed to return to their homes and families.
The reason for this rule is because a Jedi must not have attachments, and by raising the Younglings from infancy, they could ensure that the Jedi code would be followed.
A Jedi’s way of life is hard and can seem strange to civilians. But the Order has its good side. They treat each other like a family.
A family that’s dedicated to the Force first, others second, and themselves last. Jedi are meant to find happiness in the service of the Force.
The oldest to be trained as Padawans were Anakin Skywalker at age nine and Rael Averross, who was five.
Younglings would be divided into groups of twenty, called clans, and were raised together under the watchful eyes of a Master Jedi. Between the ages of four and eight, Younglings began training with low-powered lightsabers, and various other Force abilities.
Once the Younglings mastered the basics they would be given a set of trials, (the exact ones varied during the eras), and if they were successful then they could become a Padawan.
The first trial was easy. They had to memorize the Jedi code and show that they understood it. After that, they would be taken to the ice planet Ilum and take part in The Gathering.
This involved the Younglings facing their fears, finding their kyber crystal, and learning how to make their first lightsaber. The third test involved doing a small mission without the help of their clan or a Jedi.
After that, the Younglings would train for a tournament that was held once a year. A Youngling could participate until they were chosen by a Jedi to train under, or until they turned thirteen.
At which point one of two things would happen.
- Leave the Order.
- Or, be reassigned to the Jedi Service Corps. Padawans who failed to become a Knight, or needed to be punished were also sent to one of four branches in the Service Corps.
There was one other way for a Youngling to be chosen. Sometimes a Consular, (who specialties in diplomacy), came to speak with the Jedi staff and selected a Youngling who showed promise in areas other than combat.
This ensured Younglings weren’t judged solely on their lightsaber skills. Though all Jedi had to be able to use a lightsaber in case of an attack.
Up until the clone wars, the Jedi High Council usually left the choosing of Padawans for the Knights or Masters to decide. This was a very personal thing that was left in part to the Force.
Typically, there would only be one Padawan per Knight. This was so the Padawan would have their master’s attention and be able to be fully trained without having to compete with a fellow student for their master’s time.
What Age Are Padawan Chosen?
There is no set age. A Youngling must be chosen before they turn thirteen. But beyond that, age isn’t very important when choosing a Padawan.
The one group of Younglings we’re introduced to in the films (the bear clan), are Ashla, J. K. Burtola, Liam, Mari Amithest, and Chian.
We don’t know their exact ages, but the human Younglings look between five and eight years old. Since none of them had a lightsaber, it’s safe to say that they weren’t yet ready for the Padawan trials.
As long as they knew the basics of using a lightsaber and made one, their age wouldn’t have been an issue to participate in the trials.
Nor would their age affect who took them on, as most Padawans spend around ten years with their Jedi Master or Knight.
This clan met its end at Anakin Skywalker’s hand during The Great Jedi Purge, some Younglings managed to survive, but none in the Bear Clan did.
We also get to see another clan undertake their Gathering, but we don’t know what their clan is called. This clan appeared to be made of slightly older Younglings (around ten years or so).
Grogu, (Baby Yoda/The Child), would have been around twenty during this time. Ahsoka Tano said that Grogu had been trained by many masters during this time.
She never said if Grogu was a part of a clan. This could have been due to his age and how his species matures.
How Were Padawans Paired With Their Masters?
With the clone wars came to change and the Jedi order was not immune. Yoda and the Council made the decision to have every Jedi, including Padawans regardless of their age, on the frontlines.
But they couldn’t send children to their deaths and they didn’t have time to wait for the Force to help guide a student to the right master. So, they started assigning Padawans instead (we don’t know how, but it’s a safe bet that Yoda wasn’t doing it blindly).
One of the rules of being a Jedi is that you can only train one Padawan at a time. But for some reason Meetra Surik and Arca Jeth were permitted to train multiple Padawans at once.
Luke Skywalker would do the same out of necessity in both canon and legends.
How Long Does It Take For A Padawan To Become A Jedi?
Traditionally, about 10 years. Depending on how old the Padawan is and how quickly they develop.
The youngest Jedi Knight was fifteen. Her name was Vernestra Rwoh.
Similar to when they were Younglings, Padawans must undergo another set of trials to become Knights. But these weren’t always under the Jedi’s control.
Becoming a Jedi is a brutal process and we may never know all of its secrets. But what we do know is that the bond between Master and Padawan is a sacred one.
Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.