High in their tower and high on themselves, the members of the Jedi Council in the galaxy far, far away are not what we always dreamed they would be. We initially met this roundabout review board in the first Star Wars prequel, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and then we said a semi-permanent farewell to almost all of them in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Some of them have sense, but for the most part, this is an antiquated circle of helplessness.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars helps us in terms of getting to know some of these council members a little bit better. We never hear the great Plo Koon speak in the movies, but he is a major character in the animated series (played by James Arnold Taylor) and is full of wisdom. He is one of the few Jedi Masters who sits on this council for the entirety of the prequel era, the others being Yoda, Mace Windu, Saesee Tiin, and ... Ki-Adi Mundi.
Since we're so close to the events of Revenge of the Sith in the final episodes of The Clone Wars, we're going to look at the council members as they appeared in that film and rank them. Harshly. Because they deserve it.
There will be one exception here: Anakin Skywalker takes a seat on the council in the movie, presumably filling the seat of Oppo Rancisis. It would be weird to include Anakin on this list, so we'll be going with Rancisis.
It's not exactly an all-star lineup when we get to this particular bunch. Prior iterations of the Council had some duds (Jocasta "It doesn't exist" Nu sat on the council many years prior) and some standouts (Depa Billaba, the master of Caleb Dume, aka Kanan Jarrus). We'd also pay good money for a Yaddle show, but she (one of Yoda's still-unnamed species) only appeared in the first prequel film. There's definitely more to be discovered there.
But this ranking, which is listed from worst to best, will just focus on the Episode III-era Council. Again, this isn't entirely fair — we get so much more time with Yoda than with Stass Allie, who we barely meet. Still, screen time (or lack of it) matters, as does what actions they take in that screentime, if any. Some of these Jedi are heroes who tried their best and eventually got their kriff together — others just slithered around doing nothing. And some? Some are the very model of Jedi hubris.
Enjoy the journey. Begun ... the ranking of the Jedi Council has.
Some of us have a personal grudge against this Cerean Jedi Master, but let's forget about that.
Forget about how he flat-out refuses to believe that Count Dooku could be a murderer. Forget about how he definitely voted against Ahsoka Tano in her trial. And forget about how he generally struts around like he has more Oscar nominations than John Williams.
He's the worst on the Council because of one, single line:
"What about the droid attack on the Wookiees?"
Thanks for that, man! Windu and Kenobi jump on this quickly, but Mundi is the mandi who brought it up. The resulting conversation leads to Yoda going to Kashyyyk, which means that he is not present when Anakin finds out that Palpatine is a Sith. If Yoda had been on Coruscant and Anakin had been able to confide in him instead of Windu? Everything would have shaken out very differently.
It was not to be, however. What about the droid attack on the Wookiees indeed, and what about getting shot in the back on Mygeeto? This big-headed Jedi (literally) has had it coming since day one, with his smug attitude and smug voice that makes him sound like a member of the smug Tarkin family.
Anakin may have been the shatter point through which the Jedi almost crumbled into dust, but Ki-Adi Mundi threw the rock at the windshield. Well done, you pointy-faced, pony-tailed spiff. Put a robe on.
What does this slippery worm-person add to the proceedings? Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, nothing. Nothing!
He's a Thisspiasian, and according to StarWars.com he's a "tactical mastermind." Okay, sure. Tactically speaking, how did you help anyone or anything in your time on the Jedi Council, Mr. Rancisis? Leaving a trail of muck wherever you slither around doesn't count.
We never hear this guy talk, we only see him squatting on his coiled up body. He does look cool and it's a really fun design — the actor playing him isn't to blame. We're not judging how the filmmakers brought any of these characters to life, we're judging the characters themselves and their actions. With Rancisis, there are no actions to speak of. Rather damning indeed.
Anakin either replaces Rancisis, or the equally useless Coleman Kcaj (WHO?) when he is appointed to the Council. He turns to the Dark side and butchers younglings soon after, but when he was good, he was damn good. He was better and wiser than Rancisis, and unlike Rancisis, he actually DID stuff.
Rancisis only appeared on The Clone Wars in Season 6. He was probably a complicated character asset to create, but still — they didn't bother doing it earlier because this fleshy Slip 'N Slide alien likely did not warrant it. Was there a reason that the great Tera Sinube was not on the Council instead of this forgotten extra from the set of Dune?
Feel free to help out WHENEVER YOU WOULD LIKE, Mr. Rancisis. We're in the middle of a war, in case you didn't notice. DO SOMETHING, you sentient tongue with hair, DO something!
Agen Kolar and Stass Allie
These two have the honor of replacing other Jedi Council members who look a lot like them — Stass Allie replaces Adi Gallia, and Agen Kolar replaces Eeth Koth. How did they rise so fast and end up on the Council? No idea.
We actually do see Adi Gallia perish at the hands of Savage Opress in The Clone Wars, but we've yet to truly meet Stass Allie. All we know is that she gets gunned down on a speeder while on the planet Saleucami.
When last we looked, Eeth Koth was still alive. Grievous kicked him around on The Clone Wars, but how he was replaced on the Council by Kolar is still up in the air. We have no idea where Kolar even came from — he just popped up. He then popped down, because like Tiin, Palpatine has him spit-roasted in seconds.
We don't even know who these people are. They aren't even getting their own entries, they are getting lumped in together. We want to get to know them, is the thing. We definitely want to know how Stass Allie took Adi Gallia's place, or how Agen Kolar (possibly) took over for a defeated Eeth Koth. These two members of the council are ripe for more stories, and if we ever get it then perhaps we'll feel bad about their placement.
You can't just say you're gonna make Stass Allie and Agen Kolar happen and expect us to blindly go along with it like some kind of Saesee Tiin. That's not how the Force works!
He doesn't really do or say anything, so who knows what this guy personifies. He's on the council for all three prequels and looks cool. He says nothing, and even when he shows up on The Clone Wars he barely speaks. He's known as a great pilot, and he does get to show off this skill. Perhaps he should have taken a starship to go and face Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith because he's instant toast without one.
We don't dislike Master Tiin, we just wish we had more reasons to like him other than him looking cool when he sits in a chair. What might he have said in closed sessions of the Jedi Council? We'll never know, but he obviously didn't contribute anything that helped anyone in any way.
We can't spin this Tiin. Spinning is a good trick, but it won't save him.
"I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi."
Really? No s**t, Windu!
The judgment will now commence because we're getting to the Council members who either did nothing, screwed up completely, or were relegated to being scenery.
Mace Windu is guilty of the first two for sure. He senses something being off in Attack of the Clones, and then continues to sense it in Revenge of the Sith. He does nothing. Let's also not forget how he starts the prequel trilogy in The Phantom Menace: "I do not believe the Sith could have returned without us knowing."
Yeah, they returned, and you didn't know Jack, Windoofus. When it comes to Anakin? He treats the poor kid horribly from moment one, and he also (almost certainly) voted against Ahsoka Tano during her trial.
This is tough because we love Mace. A lot of it probably has to do with him being played by Samuel L. Jackson, as well as him having some jaw-dropping action moments in the movies as well as in The Clone Wars.
The hubris runs deep in him, though. When he says, very late in the prequels, that he senses a plot to destroy the Jedi? He says it like he's telling people that rain is made of water. He thinks himself untouchable and may carve little statues of himself in his spare time.
He treated little orphan Ani like garbage. Little orphan Ani chops his arm off, and then came the lightning. As much as we love Mace, in many ways he is the decline of the Jedi personified.
Another instance where The Clone Wars helps a great deal — without Fisto's appearances there, we'd get a handful of cool action shots and one killer smile in the prequels. What a smile, though! That alone would rank him high, which shows how low the bar is.
Fisto isn't just a Nautolan action Jedi to the max, who can swim laps around any droid or shark-man. He dispenses good words of wisdom, too. When he reunites with his former Padawan Nahdar Vebb on The Clone Wars, he realizes very quickly that Vebb has gone nuts with power. It's too late to do anything about this, though, as Vebb gets himself killed by Grievous pretty quickly.
Fisto realizes that something is off when it comes to the Jedi fighting in this war, and he realizes it before a lot of the others. He doesn't exactly know what is going on, but just this premonition is something at least. Also something? He lasts a few moments longer than Agen Kolar or Saesee Tiin in the attempted arrest of Palpatine. Good job!
She almost saved the day! In the big clone arc of The Clone Wars Season 6, this Togruta Jedi Master (who was posted on Kamino to oversee the training and production of clones) is smart enough to order that the scientific evidence gathered from Clone trooper Tup (in whom Order 66 got triggered too soon) go directly to the Jedi Temple, and not to the Chancellor.
This doesn't happen — the evidence goes to the Chancellor, he tampers with it, manipulates everything, and then squiggles out of this little hot pocket. Shaak Ti really should not have let the evidence (or Clone trooper Fives) out of her sight — she should have put them in a Force grip and personally taken them to Yoda's front porch.
She fails in the end, and doesn't even get the honor of a canonical death scene. Deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith have her dying by Grievous' hand, and The Force Unleashed video game has her surviving to a certain point before dying wearing a scanty beaded outfit.
The ending of The Clone Wars may manage to show us how this wise Jedi actually goes out, and it will likely break out hearts. She feels for the Clones, so we feel for her.
Completely silent in the prequels, the Kel Dor Jedi Master was fascinating all the same. When he was featured prominently on The Clone Wars, we became even more fascinated with him.
Without his many appearances on that animated show, he may not rank as high as he does... going by the films alone, he's just always there. He's on the council for the entire prequel trilogy, and he's high-ranking enough to sit in a prime spot. He doesn't say anything stupid in the films (unlike others), because he doesn't say anything at all.
This is not the case in animation, because it is there that Master Plo proves to be an inspiring voice of wisdom and a physical force to be reckoned with. He doesn't have much of the hubris that plagues other Council members, and he's someone you can count on.
He also does not see Order 66 coming and gets blown away in the clouds above Cato Neimoidia. Even before The Clone Wars made him a true legend, it hurt.
Like Yoda, we have so much Obi-Wan story to base this ranking on. It's unfair, but so was Ahsoka's trial. We know so much more about Obi-Wan's story thanks to the original trilogy, and we also get so much of him in the prequels and in The Clone Wars. He's a pivotal figure in Jedi business, but also Star Wars as a whole.
He's a true believer, and he has the benefit of having both the "question everything" attitude of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, as well as the "by the code" sense of the Council. He does his best to train Anakin, and by the time he's done, Anakin is a damn good Jedi Knight — he's good enough to be a masterful Master to Ahsoka Tano.
Obi-Wan tries to be a father ("He's like my father!") and then a brother to Anakin, though he ultimately fails at both. He too ends up in exile, but is another pivotal player in the survival of the Light. He's utterly selfless, has lived a life full of nothing but non-stop misery and beatdowns, and he just keeps getting up, giving a quip, and going on with his duty. He should have been born on that council.
Come on, we're not gonna throw hate at Yoda. He makes questionable decisions in the prequel trilogy — but all of the Jedi do. When the darkness falls, though, he steps up in a big way.
Even before all of the slaughter, Yoda does his best to be there for Anakin Skywalker. Other than Obi-Wan, he's the only one who even seems to care. His advice to him ("train yourself to let go of all you fear to lose") is supremely unhelpful, but he isn't necessarily wrong.
Order 66 has him springing to action, taking on Palpatine personally (and almost winning), before going into exile to save the Light for the next generation. Yoda dispenses with the dogma and goes back to basics, and thanks to him (and his Clone Wars journey of Force discovery), the new hope learned the ways of the Force. That new hope (Luke Skywalker) passed it on to Leia, and then to Rey.
Yoda made mistakes in his 900 years of life, but he more than made up for them. We love him, and that's that. No other Jedi comes close.