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Near the beginning of Season 3 of the 2D Clone Wars series, Anakin is knighted onscreen:

YODA: Step forward, Padawan.

Anakin Skywalker. By the right of the Council, by the will of the Force, dub thee I do—Jedi, Knight of the Republic.

Star Wars: Clone Wars — "Chapter 21"

This version of the knighting ceremony has since appeared in various Legends and Canon material, including Jedi: Fallen Order and The High Republic comics, and still uses the same phrasing and lightsaber movements.

I'm curious whether it had appeared in any Star Wars works before Clone Wars. Bonus points if any information exists about who came up with it out-of-universe—if it did originate with Clone Wars, was it purely devised by the writers, or did George Lucas weigh in?

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    It's neither here nor there, but your Jedi Knight class character in Star Wars: The Old Republic mmo. starts out a Padawan, saves a Knight and the temple on Tython, and then a partial council of 2 present and 2 by holo just 'proclaim' you a Knight. No ceremony, just prove yourself and shazaam (ok, ok, wrong universe), you're a Knight.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 11:03
  • and in Star Wars Galaxies, well, let's say I never made it to Knight before the foul corruption that was NGE. Non sequitur: my son, who at the time was what is now known as an influencer, was invited by the producers of SWG to Dallas for the unveiling of NGE, came home and told me it was awful, I'd hate it, but it was a "done deal"
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 11:05
  • @CGCampbell "Shazam" indeed! What nonsense! I'm pretty sure they say "Jedi knight, Jedi knights, Jedi knights, hooooooooo" Commented May 16, 2023 at 21:37
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    The traditional knighting ceremony of tapping a sword on the new knight's shoulders and head is a bit more dangerous when you do it with a light sabre... Commented May 17, 2023 at 13:28

3 Answers 3

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It's a little hard to demonstrate a negative, but so far as I can tell this was the first depiction of a formal knighting ceremony in any Star Wars media I'm aware of. By and large, on the relatively rare occasion when knighting was depicted in books, games, or comics prior to this, it was a decidedly informal, almost casual affair.

As for who specifically devised it: detailed behind the scenes info on the old 2D Clone Wars show is a little thin on the ground, and writing credits are spread between a number of different people besides Tartakovsky. That said; it's clearly based on actual real world European adoubement ceremonies dating back to at least the middle ages (or at least pop culture depictions thereof.) So the best one can say is that it was adapted to fit into a Star Wars context based on countless existing examples, both real and fictional.

As for George Lucas's involvement: the 'Creators Commentary' on the Vol 2 DVD does actually address this. According to Tartakovsky he asked George if he had any specific instructions about the Jedi Knighting given how important it seemed, to which he simply replied "No." So in that at least, Tartakovsky and his creative team were left to their own devises.

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  • Your linked video depicts a knighting done by Luke Skywalker, after episode VI in the timeline. Are you aware of prior examples of knightings before episode IV in the timeline?
    – Stef
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 17:59
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    @Stef The in-universe timeline isn't really relevant here. If we're talking about where this ceremony originated from a BtS creative standpoint, it only matters what was released first. But yes; off the top of my head there was Ulic "Knighting" Vima Sunrider in the old TotJ 'Redemption' comics set over 4000 years pre-EpIV. Again; he just says it. There was no ceremony to speak of.
    – Kris
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 19:16
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Based on The Jedi Path, probably not.

The Jedi Path, first published in 2010, contains a wealth of information about the various practices of Jedi and Force-sensitive groups gathered from across (then) Expanded Universe works. The author, Daniel Wallace, collected endnotes about these items and their sources, which range from other reference works to novels, comics, video games, and other works. For instance, part 4 contains extensive references to the sources for light and dark side organizations and Force techniques.

The Jedi Path does include the Knighting ceremony from Clone Wars, and this is referenced near the end of part 3 of the endnotes, but all that is said is

p. 106: The Knighting ceremony originates with Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars animated shorts. During the ceremony the Padawan braid is cut off with a lightsaber. The whole thing is satisfyingly Arthurian.

This doesn't prove that there was no precedent in Star Wars lore for the "Arthurian" knighting ceremony before Clone Wars, but it does strongly suggest that in the author's research, no other examples of it came up.

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  • These are both very good answers—I ended up accepting the other one for providing evidence from the show's creators themselves, but this is also a great find and unambiguous evidence from a secondary source.
    – Milo P
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 16:48
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It is hard to rule out completely that something similar might have previously appeared in another Star Wars expanded universe work. However, there does not seem to be any indication of such a ceremony in the core canonical media released before the Clone Wars cartoons. To the contrary, from what can be seen in the films prior to Star Wars: Clone Wars, Lucas's conception appears to have been that there was no official ceremony at all.

In Return of the Jedi, Yoda tells Luke Skywalker what Luke needs to do to be a true Jedi. However, the determination of when he has met the imposed condition is left entirely to Luke's judgement. Once Luke has defeated Darth Vader without succumbing to the Emperor's temptations, Luke knows—probably feeling it through the Force—that he has done what is required. He declares

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

and all three of the Force users present knows that he is speaking the truth. The Emperor mocks him, but he never questions that Luke has become a full-fledged Jedi—a happening that the Emperor and Yoda have (correctly) foreseen will (probably*) lead directly to the Emperor's final downfall. Conversely, Luke, although he is not expecting to survive, believes that his victory over Vader means that the attack on the Death Star is going to succeed; Yoda's prediction will come true, and Luke the Jedi has ensured the success of the Rebel attack by keeping Vader and the Emperor from participating in the Imperial defense.

It might be argued that, since there are no living Jedi Knights to confirm Luke's promotion, things had to work this way. However, what happens at the The Phantom Menace seems to be in agreement with Return of the Jedi's minimalist, unceremonious approach. Yoda's (announcement of the) promotion of Obi-Wan Kenobi lasts less than one sentence; by the second clause, he is already on to another topic (one which presupposes that Obi-Wan is a full Jedi):

Confer on you the level of Jedi Knight, the Council does. But agree with your taking this boy as your Padawan learner, I do not!

What's more, the standard battery of trials that Jedi must take to prove themselves, has been entirely skipped in Obi-Wan's case. Obi-Wan has already demonstrated he is ready by defeating Sith in combat, so there is no reason to go through the usual testing rigmarole. The message seems to be that the Jedi Knights are about getting things done, not imposing mystical rituals. A true Jedi needs no ceremonial confirmation of their status; that can come from the Force itself.

*"Always in motion is the future."

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