Star Wars is not known for its quantity of female characters — there are pretty much just three main female characters in Star Wars’ movies, although Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy seems set on changing this. But what it lacks in quantity Star Wars makes up for in quality, and the powerful female Jedi are some of the best characters in the franchise… though you may have to dig deep to find them.
But we’re going to save you the trouble! Here’s a list of the female Jedi characters in Star Wars, and a little bit about why they’re totally badass and deserve their place in history.
Of course, some of this is from the Expanded Universe. The EU allowed writers to really develop the female Jedi knights, as the only limit was their imagination. Star Wars’ female Jedi were some of the best characters and thankfully, some of them remained canon. But some, like Leia Organa, lost their status as Jedi once the EU reverted to non-canon. So let’s start with her.
Leia Organa: Powerful Jedi Knight
As Luke Skywalker revealed to her in Return Of The Jedi, Leia is strong in the Force. In the films, she just uses that power to sense the situation of those dear to her, but in the Expanded Universe she trained to become a Jedi, and a pretty badass one at that.
Leia has accomplished many amazing feats in her time — a senator at the tender age of fourteen, Leia later became a double agent for the Rebellion, leaking information and stealing plans. Her tenacity and bravery was essential to the eventual victory of the Rebel Alliance, and even without becoming a Jedi Knight she is one of Star Wars’ best female characters.
In the Expanded Universe, Leia wanted to harness her Force powers and trained with Luke to become a Jedi. She used her considerable powers and terrifying skill in lightsaber combat in the Second Galactic Civil War. Although she never took up this role in the films, Leia still ranks as one of the most powerful female Jedi characters in Star Wars.
Ahsoka Tano: Ex-Jedi
Ahsoka first appeared in the Disney animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and later returned in the ongoing Star Wars: Rebels. Trained by Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka was an outspoken member of the Jedi Order, eventually defecting just before Order 66 wiped out her fellow Jedi.
Ahsoka is one of the most popular female Jedi, thanks to her kind but contentious nature and considerable power. She’s definitely one of the best female characters in Star Wars, and her development throughout The Clone Wars is fascinating, as she goes from a young padawan eager to abide by the Jedi Council’s rules and prove her worth, to being unable to reconcile herself with their restrictions and hypocrisy.
Fans were delighted when she returned in Rebels, although she was slightly underused in Season 2. Her role in this show allowed the writers to follow up on her relationship with Anakin Skywalker, as Ahsoka hunted down the fearsome Sith Lord pursuing her and her Rebel friends. Of course, this turned out to be Darth Vader, leading to one of the most heartbreaking showdowns in Star Wars’ history.
Ahsoka is definitely one of the best female Jedi characters in Star Wars, and we’re hoping to see much more of her in Rebels Season 3.
Depa Billaba: Wise Jedi Master
First appearing in The Phantom Menace, Depa Billaba was a powerful female Jedi character who served on the Council. She was known for her compassion and wisdom as much as her skill in battle, and she trained Caleb Dume, who would later take up the name of Kanan to protect his identity after Order 66. Depa’s legacy continues in Rebels, as Kanan passes on her training to Ezra Bridger.
Depa was first introduced to the Jedi Order when Mace Windu saved her and her sister from space pirates. Impressed by his ability and mercy, Depa was inspired to become a Jedi herself, and Windu agreed to train her after the Council accepted her into the Order. She’s definitely one of the most powerful female Jedi characters in Star Wars, although we got to see tragically little of her in both the movies and the Expanded Universe.
Aayla Secura: Jedi General
Aayla Secura is an interesting female Jedi character, as initially she appeared in the comic Star Wars: Republic, and was later added to the films. George Lucas read the comic and was so impressed with her character that he decided to incorporate her into the Jedi battle on Geonosis at the end of Attack of the Clones.
Aayla was such a hit with fans that she was also included in Revenge of the Sith, making a cameo in the Order 66 scenes. We see her on an alien world, tragically shot down by her Clone Trooper guards. She was portrayed both times not by an actress, but the production assistant Amy Allen, as the crew thought she had the best look for the character.
Aayla also featured in the show The Clone Wars, serving as a Jedi General in the vicious battles. Aayla and Ahsoka worked closely together, building a respect for one another as they fought side by side. Favoring lightsaber combat over using the Force, Aayla was one of the most powerful female Jedi characters.
Bastilla Shan: Force Mage
Shan appeared in the popular game Knights of the Old Republic, and has already been voted by fans to be the most powerful female Jedi character in all of Star Wars’ history.
After saving Revan from death, she assisted in the fearsome Sith Lord’s mindwipe and reprogrammed him to serve the Jedi instead. She also trained him, and the two fell in love. Shan was one of the most powerful female Jedi because of her exceptional Force abilities. Most notably, Shan developed a technique known as “battle meditation”, an empathetic skill which increased the strength of her allies while weakening their opponents. This ability has not been matched by anyone else.
Shan was the leader of the strike team sent to capture Darth Revan, and succeeded in apprehending him where many others had failed. Although they started out as enemies, Revan developed a bond with Shan because she saved his life. Together they were some of the most powerful Jedi warriors of all time, but in her own right Shan really is one of the most powerful female Jedi characters.
Rey: The Galaxy’s New Hope
And of course, a list of the most powerful female Jedi characters in Star Wars would not be complete without The Force Awakens’ Rey.
Rey’s power in the Force is undeniable, as she used Kylo Ren’s torture against him, learning how to read minds using the Force. She later applied this knowledge to control the mind of her Stormtrooper guard (played by Daniel Craig), unknowingly using the Jedi mind trick. Later on, she channeled the Force in her battle with Kylo Ren, enhancing her already formidable abilities at staff combat to defeat her opponent. And she gave him that kick he deserved from the movie’s start.
The future of the galaxy rests on Rey, as she trains with Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi Knight. She’s a symbol of hope both within the Star Wars universe and without, as she’s arguably the first female Jedi character in the Star Wars movies. Roll on Episode VIII!