Jedi trials have always been a great aspect of the Star Wars franchise, but in the Legends continuity, certain initiation rituals were completely absurd. Since Luke Skywalker’s training with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, new Star Wars movies and TV shows have continued expanding on what it takes to become a Jedi, and the old Expanded Universe took things a step further. The books allowed authors to create all kinds of initiation rituals, both for the Jedi of old and for the new Jedi Order after Return of the Jedi. However, while many of these rituals were unique, others were just plain bizarre.
Compelling initiation rituals are crucial for any Star Wars story about becoming a Jedi, so it’s important that they be taken seriously. The visual projects have always treated passing the Jedi trials as highly significant, testing candidates physically, spiritually, and, most importantly, forcing them to know who they really are. If a Jedi initiation ritual appears to be silly, then it’s hard to become invested in the training and the weight of the story could be undermined. Unfortunately, certain entries in Star Wars Legends contained the most absurd Jedi initiation rituals that have to be seen to be believed.
Luke Skywalker’s Bizarre Legends Teaching Strategies
Although Luke Skywalker became the Grand Master of the new Jedi Order in Star Wars Legends, some of his teaching strategies were pretty strange. One example was in the first book of the “Dark Nest” trilogy by Troy Denning, where Luke and his wife, Mara Jade Skywalker, explained the methods used by the new Jedi Order. These included “A five-day fast… a three-day swim in a warm bubble pool, and an all-night tickle where they’re forbidden to laugh.” Luke did acknowledge that these exercises seemed silly, but pointing out that something is absurd doesn’t make it any less so.
The problem isn’t just the exercises themselves, as some could be practical, but they’re also far less compelling than other Jedi trials. Luke had to truly test himself when training with Yoda, even entering a dark side cave to face his demons, so having him switch to such silly-sounding rituals is a bit odd. These training exercises may be for young Jedi Knights, but other Star Wars projects have challenged younglings in more interesting ways. Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5 showed a group of younglings undergo the Gathering, where they had to find their lightsabers’ powerful kyber crystals fast or be trapped inside a freezing temple.
Canon Jedi Training Rituals Aren’t Quite So Weird
Thankfully, most of the Jedi training rituals in Star Wars canon aren’t nearly as bizarre as some seen in Legends. Luke Skywalker agrees to teach Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and his training methods focus on connecting with the Force, understanding its nature, and how it exists inside the user. These methods may be simple, but they focus on the basics, implying that truly trusting the Force will guide someone on their path. Other stories have acknowledged problems with certain rituals, including Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, where Anakin Skywalker helps Ahsoka Tano survive Order 66 by switching to a test that actually prepares her for real combat.
Canon stories like these show what Jedi training rituals should be in Star Wars. Like Anakin told Ahsoka, Jedi training is a matter of life and death, so practical self-defense is crucial. Apart from physical training, initiation rituals can also challenge a Jedi in ways they never thought possible, having to look inside themselves for the strength to be a true Jedi Knight. Luke Skywalker was a great Jedi in Legends, but some of his bizarre training philosophies weren’t nearly as compelling as the trials can be. Future Star Wars stories would be wise to learn from the absurd Jedi initiation rituals in Legends to create something better in canon.
More: 11 Remarkable Force Powers Luke Skywalker Had In Legends (But Not Canon)