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In the Rogue One trailer, we see a scene on Jedha, with a gigantic statue fallen down to the ground, half covered in sand.

Statue in Sand

Who did the statue represent? Why was the statue originally sculpted, and why was it taken down? Was the character a member of the Jedi Order, or another Force cult? Was the statue destroyed prior to the establishment of the Empire and Order 66, or later? Who was it destroyed by?

In the comic book Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 8: The Dying Light Part 2, Master Jocasta Nu returned to the former Jedi Temple on Coruscant to rescue a holocron. She entered the Archives through a secret passage within a smaller version of the similar-looking statue.

Statue in Archives

Additionally, the same figure was repeated on the door of the passage.

Statue on Door

This event occurred around 19 BBY, which reveals us, the Jedi Order had transferred at least one of the statues from Jedha to Coruscant – assuming they were of the same origin. It also tells us, that they had left the bigger one lying on Jedha for a reason, since it was still on the moon in 0 BBY (and got destroyed). The condition of the smaller statue indicates it may have been as old as the big one still on Jedha, even though the Archives had gone through some serious devastation by the Empire and the Inquisitorius.

There were statues just alike on Ilum, too, as seen in the episode The Gathering of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.

Statue on Ilum

Thinking about what Ilum and Jedha had in common leads us to the Kyber crystals. Might that be a clue?

Also, in the second issue of The Rise of Kylo Ren comic book series, Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo, and Lor San Tekka visited a Jedi outpost on Elphrona. A couple of similar statues were standing in front of the site.

Jedi outpost on Elphrona

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    I seem to recall seeing this in the movie when I saw it in theaters. It simply looks like a Jedi, and it fell, likely due to age (possibly aided by Imperial forces or Imperial-leaning citizenry).
    – Jeff
    Jan 7, 2017 at 22:33
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    The novelisation doesn't have much to say "His captors stayed close around him, so close he couldn’t see much of the wasteland: just pale and freezing sun, low mountains that formed the borders of the valley, and the occasional crumbling monolith of one of Jedha’s great statues—a stern humanoid head with lips worn smooth over millennia, or a pair of broken legs embedded in the cracked and rusty valley floor. When the wind rose, loose wisps of long, dark hair drifted before his eyes."
    – Valorum
    Jan 7, 2017 at 23:04
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    Millennia seems to be the important word there. So a longer time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
    – Paulie_D
    Jan 7, 2017 at 23:37
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    If I remember, Bodhi Rook meets Saw's people next to this statue in the theatrical cut, but it's facing the opposite direction in that scene (left side is buried in the ground).
    – user33616
    Jan 7, 2017 at 23:54
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    Related: What is this a statue of?
    – TARS
    Oct 23, 2018 at 11:49

3 Answers 3

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According to the new canon book:

Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills

This is likely one of a group of statues called "The Three Faces" (at least by former Guardians) which are old monuments related to the Jedi / various Force religion activity on Jedha.

Baze and Chirrut are taken into the Jedha wilderness and come across them

"What do you see?" he asked Baze

"The old monuments", Baze said. "The Three Faces."

"Tell me about them."

Baze grunted. "The desert has eaten at their features. One is a man, I think human. Another, I cannot tell, but from what remains of the body, perhaps a woman. The other species I do not know. Perhaps Duros, once upon a time, before the sand and the wind did their duty."

"Do they face us?"

"They surround us."

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It is the remnants of an old Jedi temple that most likely fell to the ravages of time and looting long before the empire existed. This is exactly why the empire was there, to loot the old Jedi temples for kyber crystals to power the death stars weapon. They do show that exact fallen statue in rogue one it's just not as close up. I'm not sure if the statue represents a particular Jedi but I'm guessing it stood outside the temple as a symbolic guard probably with another one on the opposite side mirroring it.

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This is addressed in the canon audio drama The Battle of Jedha set during the period of the High Republic, 380 years before the events of Rogue One.

The fallen statue is 'The Protector', the foremost of a group of statues of ancient Jedi.

MESOOK: Right! Come along. I want to show you the ancient statue that stands guard over the city.

SILANDRA: The Protector! I can’t wait.

FX: They start walking away, toward the crowds, under:

MESOOK: The statue is one of the oldest images of a Jedi anywhere in the galaxy. If not the oldest. It is a sight to behold. It’s a symbol to the people of Jedha. An ever-vigilant guardian. A reminder that they’re always protected.

It was damaged in a battle between two factions on Jedha; the Eiram and the E'roni. Eiram droid ships targeting Jedi forces (who'd unexpectedly joined the battle on the side of the E'roni) inadvertantly destroyed the base of the statue and it toppled over.

CREIGHTON: While the troops continue to march on the central square. And each other. We need to get over there. Rendezvous with Aida. Stop the battle before it turns into any more of a massacre.

FX: There’s a low, deep, rumble, like the ground itself is heaving—like a groundquake.

MESOOK: What the—

FX: The wail of rending stone, like the sky itself is cracking. The sound blocks out everything else.

CREIGHTON: Over there. The statue.

(Beat, then AWED)

By the Light…No…

FX: A massive thud that shakes the entire city. The immense statue of a Jedi—the Protector—has come crashing down outside the city walls. A sudden hush comes over the city.

MESOOK: (APPALLED) The Protector…

CREIGHTON: (SHAKEN, WITH DISBELIEF) It’s fallen. The Protector has fallen.

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    "I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone, Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command..." Ozymandias; Percy Bysshe Shelley. A poem about hubris!
    – bob1
    Feb 16, 2023 at 1:00
  • @bob1 - I've often thought it ironic that that's the only part of the poem that people remember...
    – Valorum
    Feb 16, 2023 at 7:05
  • Oh, I remember the rest too (more or less, I couldn't fully recite it I found out) , but that's a convenient place to cut it off, being the transition between traveller and sculptor in voice.
    – bob1
    Feb 16, 2023 at 7:34

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