Star Wars has revealed Yoda was on the Jedi Council for longer than anyone ever realized – maybe he wasn’t to blame for the Jedi’s fall after all.
Star Wars has revealed Master Yoda was on the Jedi Council for longer than had previously been known. One of the greatest Jedi of all time, Yoda lived a long and fruitful life. By the time of his death in Return of the Jedi, he had been training Force-users for 800 years. It’s difficult to say how long Yoda served on the Jedi Council itself, but Star Wars: The High Republic Phase I revealed he was one of three Jedi Grandmaster 200 years before the prequel trilogy.
Star Wars: The High Republic Phase II has stepped even further back, with the newest releases set 350 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. George Mann’s excellent novel Quest for the Hidden City reveals Yoda was already a prominent member of the Jedi Council even then, and he is singled out with particular reverence, perhaps hinting he has already become one of the Grandmasters of that era. It really is impossible to overstate Yoda’s influence on the Jedi Order.
Yoda Was Better For The Jedi Than Has Often Been Realized
It’s easy to criticize Yoda as a failure, given viewers and readers know the end of his story – the Force out of balance, the Chosen One required, and the Jedi slaughtered. But this latest revelation suggests that is something of an overstatement, because Yoda also presided over some of the greatest moments in the history of the Jedi. He was already influential 350 years before the prequels, and under his watch the Jedi grew to become more effective than ever before. The High Republic Era was a time when the light of the Jedi blazed brightly across the entire galaxy, when the mere mention of Jedi became enough to inspire hope. The point is subtly made in Quest for the Hidden City itself, when a teenager stranded on a dangerous world hears of Jedi, and finally believes he might just survive.
Yoda Shouldn’t Be Blamed For The Fall Of The Jedi
The history of the Jedi – and their origin – is still shrouded in mystery. Quest for the Hidden City confirms that, even 350 years before the prequels, the Jedi had forgotten worlds they had settled on millennia ago; a group of Jedi exploring the doomed planet Gloam are astounded to stumble upon an ancient Jedi temple, proving they were not the first of their order to arrive there. Yoda’s long life meant he had a longer view of history than most of his fellows, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he was any more aware of the great tides of change that sweep across the galaxy. In a given moment, it is impossible to know how an event will change the future; indeed, Yoda ultimately concluded any attempts to do so were of the dark side. He argued the future should not be controlled, but instead it should be experienced.
No doubt the downfall of the Jedi was a gradual process, with their decline a result of a thousand small decisions that were all made with the very best intentions. Yoda would surely have become aware something was badly wrong, but it would have been difficult – perhaps even impossible – to unpick the precise reasons. That would be especially true given the Jedi believed the Sith extinct, unaware they were still working in the galaxy’s shadows. And so the fate of the Jedi, and the entire Star Wars saga, was sealed.