There’s a strong case that can be made for the Jedi to be the coolest characters in all of fiction. They have elegant laser swords, they can move things with their mind, and they can control other living beings with their thoughts. If a Jedi is powerful enough, there’s basically nothing they can’t do. So why not rank them? Agreed? Great! Because that’s exactly what I did.
First of all, a few disclaimers: Not every Force user is a Jedi, nor is every Dark Side user a Sith. This is for Jedi specifically, since a ranking of every Force user ever depicted would be a tremendous undertaking. This means no Darth Sidious or Darth Maul. For Force users who were on both sides of the fence, only their Jedi adventures will count towards their final placement. I will not always be explicitly writing in which movie or cartoon the events mentioned happened, for it would make the text too heavy. Everything written here happened in canon material, not in the old Expanded Universe.
This ranking isn’t about who the official Disney literature tells us is the strongest. This is about which Jedi exemplified everything that the Order stood for: the best ones proved their strength on screen, used their abilities for good, and showed that being a Jedi was as much about being smart as it was about wielding a lightsaber. In short, we are looking for the total package.
This ranking could obviously change as more movies are released and more Jedi are confirmed to exist. For example, once she finishes her training, Rey will certainly be a force (Ha ha ha!) to be reckoned with. Her appearance in Episode IX, for all we know, could echo Luke’s own path to becoming a Jedi Master on his own.
Agen Kolar is the guy who gets slaughtered first by Emperor Palpatine when a whole bunch of Jedi are sent to arrest him. Out of four supposedly powerful and lethal Force users, he is the one who just looks at the Emperor while he pulls out his lightsaber and waits patiently to be skewered. He did prove his ability as a teacher by having a Padawan of his own at one point, but his student got dispatched in front of him because he was unable to provide adequate protection. Hey, he went to Geonosis and survived, so good job, Agen Kolar!
There you go! Also present in the top 25 Jedi of all time is Saesee Tiin, the other guy who gets eliminated quickly by Palpatine, barely defending himself. The Clone Wars as well as several canon books tell us that he was a formidable fighter, but you wouldn’t know that from his movie appearances. Sure, he helped during the Battle of Geonosis, but that’s basically what he did for most of the time: Tiin can usually be found standing in the background and helping at the best of his abilities, without making much of a difference.
The path of Barriss Offee is a tragic one: She was a promising Padawan who fought in the Clone Wars, often being at the forefront of important missions. The continuing war, and the events she witnessed made her lose her faith in the Jedi Order, something which manifested in the worst way possible: she organized an explosion at a Jedi Temple.
She then tried to get someone else framed, failed at it, and was taken away to prison never to be seen again. Like an NHL rookie who couldn’t get over her sophomore slump, Offee showed potential but won’t make it into the history books.
He can be seen in Episode I and II during Jedi Council scenes, but he is best remembered for failing to escape after being captured during the Clone Wars, despite having both Anakin and Obi-Wan being sent to rescue him. He at least showed some cunning by making sure that his mission would be successful despite his personal failure. He makes it out of the bottom of the barrel because he at least fought a little bit and showed some personality, unlike the glorified extras and the one-punch knockouts sent to arrest Palpatine.
This Jedi participated in the famous Geonosis fight of Episode II, and then… not much happened, actually! She made a name for herself by appearing in a few Clone Wars episodes, but she lost a duel to Asajj Ventress and had to be saved by other, more experienced Jedi. She wasn’t even taken out during Order 66, she was merely captured.
She was executed in prison later, and her remains were used to lure other Jedi to their doom. I don’t think that “Force-sensitive fly trap” is the kind of legacy that shoots you to the top of these rankings.
Though Aayla Secura is pretty popular in the Star Wars community, she actually did not do much beside appear in Episode III and a handful of Clone Wars episodes. Her appearances usually portrayed her as a general, which shows that she was at least a capable warrior. She most famously perishes on the incredibly colorful planet of Felucia, being shot in the back by her own troopers during Order 66. Her demise, though obscured by the planet’s vegetation, was one of the most brutal of the Jedi purge.
Adi Gallia is one of the most obscure names on this ranking, because she doesn’t get to do much in the movies. However, she does participate in the Clone Wars, and she gets a few opportunities to show what she is made of. She is instrumental to the rescue of a captured Jedi Master, and even gets to successfully fight General Grievous twice. It is Savage Oppress, who is both Darth Maul’s brother and the bad guy with the most on-the-nose name ever, who got the best of her in a duel.
Quinlan Vos had a really cool talent that I don’t remember seeing in many other Jedi: he could sense the history in an object simply by touching it. That made him an excellent hunter and investigator, skills that he used on different secret missions.
He eventually worked with Asajj Ventress to assassinate Count Dooku but failed. The pair developed a bit of a love connection during the ordeal, which is the one thing that kept him from falling to the Dark Side. His first appearance was on Mos Espa in Episode I, though he was not named at that point.
If you have only seen her sitting comfortably on the Jedi Council in Episode I, you’re missing a very interesting back story. Billaba’s origin was eventually explored in the comic series Kanan, which portrays the early days of Kanan Jarrus, who would become a main character on Star Wars Rebels. Depa Billaba appears in the comic because she was Kanan’s Jedi Master, showing him the ropes and being an all-around awesome teacher. Together, they survive many dangerous encounters with the Seperatists. She would eventually sacrifice herself during Order 66, taking on her battalion of Clone Troopers, to make sure that Kanan lived.
Shaak Ti was popular enough to be kept busy during the Clone Wars cartoon. She trained the clones on Kamino and was involved in most of the important missions and battles. Always portrayed as one of the wisest Jedi in the Order, she loses a few points because of Lucasfilm’s lack of respect. Despite appearing in both Episode II and III, she was not deemed important enough to prevent her final scene from being cut. You have to watch the deleted scenes section of the Revenge of the Sith DVD if you want to know how she met her end.
Appearing in every prequel movie, Ki-Adi Mundi was one of the more visually striking Jedi on-screen, with his long cranium and wispy beard. A capable general in the Jedi Order, he led the troops in multiple battles throughout Episode II and III as well as over 20 episodes of The Clone Wars. Always a skeptic, he was a formidable fighter, and one of the MVP of the Battle of Geonosis. This was obviously not enough to prevent his own Clone Troopers from shooting him in the gut and assassinating him.
Bridger’s training as a Jedi was not completed by the end of Star Wars Rebels, but he did learn some cool tricks that made him an impressive Force user. Even before he started his education, he could sense other Force-sensitive beings, experience visions, and jump crazy distances. His lightsaber skills were far from being top notch, as his duel against Darth Vader proved, but he kept improving to the point of being able to properly teach the art to other people. Not bad for someone who started even later than Anakin.
We mostly know him as the ultimate bad guy, but before he was Kylo Ren, Ben Solo was a regular Jedi apprentice under his uncle Luke. The only thing we see of him as an actual Jedi is that he was powerful enough to sense someone turning on their lightsaber even in his sleep.
Oh yeah, he could also collapse and entire building onto someone in the blink of an eye. He didn’t show much other than that before turning bad, but that’s still an impressive display of power. If he had stayed on the right path, he might be on par with Luke.
The Count was obviously a powerful Jedi during his years on the Light Side of the Force, being the master of Qui-Gon Jinn and instructing many younglings into the art of lightsaber dueling. However, he left the order to become a Sith way before he ever appeared on screen, and most of the cool things he did happened while he was a bad guy, and not officially a Jedi. Cutting Anakin’s hand would have placed him much higher, had their alignments been reversed. Still, he used to be a close friend of Yoda, and the green guy is selective when it comes to his acquaintances.
Most of her activities were done as a Sith, but we must remember the key things that made her a powerful Jedi. First, as a Padawan, she helped her Master protect her home planet for nearly a decade before succumbing to the Dark Side. Second, she went back to being a Jedi after being betrayed, and made up for her sins by sacrificing herself to save Quinlan Voss from the Dark Side. She was held in such high esteem in the end by the Jedi that they gave her the full honors of a fallen comrade.
Appearing in every prequel movie and being a regular on the Clone Wars cartoon, Plo Koon is more famous for finding Ahsoka Tano, who would become Anakin’s Padawan and a central point of the series. He spent his time on the show saving people and taking part in dangerous missions.
He often did cool things like rescuing both Anakin and Mace Windu, or destroying General Grievous’ own space ship. He was always portrayed as a great pilot, and as a wise Jedi who kept cool under pressure.
First appearing in Episode II, Kit Fisto has an unfortunate name, but is extremely distinctive visually. This combo makes it hard to forget him. He started at the Battle of Geonosis, not only surviving but getting some solid screen time for a then-unnamed Jedi. He also nearly defeated General Grievous, only hindered by a run in from the General’s guards near the end of the fight. His demise at the hand of Palpatine at least made him look like less of a chump than Tiin and Kolar; he was able to block two or three shots before perishing.
He survived Order 66 as a Padawan, spending the following years hiding his Force sensitivity. He was a still ambivalent about his Jedi status when he met with Ezra Bridger, a Force-sensitive teenager that he took under his wing. Jarrus is great because he’s one of the few Jedi to become a Master after the Order was destroyed.
Yoda himself even came back from the afterlife to knight him. The fact that he was able to hold off an entire explosion with the Force to save his own Padawan and the person he loved proves he was the real deal.
Far from being the strongest, Qui-Gon was still a great Jedi because he concentrated on the mystical side of the Force. His intense meditation made him the first Jedi to discover how to let his spirit live after his body’s death. Portrayed on screen as a patient teacher and a cunning warrior. He still got beat fair and square by Darth Maul, and that’s the guy who stood mouth wide-open while Obi-Wan flipped over him and cut him in half. That’s the kind of thing that keeps someone out of the top 5.
For a Jedi that never made it to a live-action film, Ahsoka Tano had one heck of a career. She was Anakin’s Padawan and one of the main characters of The Clone Wars. She led many missions, and eventually left the Order on her own after she was falsely accused of working with the enemies. She resurfaced in Star Wars Rebels, set during the Civil War, where she helped Kanan Jarrus finish the training of Ezra Bridger. She then secretly helped the Rebels under the alias of Fulcrum, and even survived the Civil War, returning to her freed home world.
Despite being portrayed by a heavyweight like Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu did not do all that much during the prequels. He took out Jango Fett with a few blows and was thrown out of a window. It even took Vader and Palpatine tag teaming together to beat him, so that’s a pretty solid performance.
The Clone Wars series was much kinder to him, as we could see him lead his troops in a more effective way and using his lightsaber more aggressively. If the old Expanded Universe was still considered canon, he might actually place even higher.
Before his transformation into Darth Vader, Anakin was a promising Jedi who could have been quite something if he could only stop whining for a few minutes. His emotional side got him to make some terrible decisions, creating a snowball effect that led him directly to his doom. Very strong and sensitive with the Force, his downfall was letting his temper get him in bad situations, like getting his legs cut off for example. It took embracing the Dark Side to truly let him achieve his true potential, which is a bad lesson for young kids watching the movies.
If we only go from the movies, Yoda was a calm and surprisingly agile Jedi who used speed and wisdom despite his advanced age. Though he was defeated by Palpatine, he was powerful enough to become a Force ghost and help other Jedi (mainly Luke) despite being dead. Undoubtedly the wisest of all Jedi, the entire saga would have turned incredibly different if anyone bothered to listen to him every once in a while. Not only would Anakin never have been trained, but Luke never would have lost his hand either. The guy has lived for 800 years; maybe you should pay attention to his advice.
Not the most spectacular Jedi, but his calm and collected behavior could easily overcome his other weaknesses. That’s why even though Anakin is supposedly more powerful with the Force, Obi-Wan still could cut his legs off in a duel. Even years later, it took Kenobi voluntarily turning off his lightsaber for Vader to beat him.
His hit list does not stop with Anakin Skywalker’s various limbs. He single-handedly defeated Darth Maul and General Grievous, making him one of the most effective warriors in the saga.
Though he started his education well past the recommended date, Skywalker received training from both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Even by himself, he was able to improve to the point where he could perform Jedi mind tricks and best Darth Vader in a duel without succumbing to the Dark Side. More importantly, by the time The Last Jedi rolled around, Luke was now able to project his entire image across the galaxy and to make it tangible enough that everyone thought it was really him. That’s an incredible feat for any Jedi, one that propels him to the top of this ranking.