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I've seen, in the movies and The Clone Wars, some reactions from "normal" citizens to the Jedi, but I'm wondering how they were seen overall by most people in the Republic (or New Republic, as well).

Do people see them as some kind of legendary beings, as rescuers, or are they like the police, where some respect them and others see them as "The Man," and resent their interference?

Or are they so far removed from most people that they know more about them from rumors and speculation?

Is there anything in the Extended Universe about how any different groups or populations perceive the Jedi or anything showing a "prevailing" view that seems to pervade larger groups?

I know there's one a "one size fits all" answer, but it seems to me so much of Star Wars is shown to us through the eyes of the Jedi, that I'm wondering what the SW universe and what the Jedi seem like to those outside that group, even if it's just the view of a few other groups.

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    Too big to answer well. This varied between worlds, periods, etc... there were whole books in EU built around the topic. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 16 '12 at 0:55
  • @DVK: It's Star Wars -- Everything's bigger than life! (Okay, point taken - editing now.) – Tango Jan 16 '12 at 1:17
  • You should really specify which groups. Otherwise it can easily be a list answer. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 16 '12 at 8:36
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    There is a video out there that presents good evidence, via "The Clone Wars" TV shows and through subtext from the movies, that the Jedi were not nearly as well perceived in the Core worlds by the time of RotS than the Jedi would like to believe. Consider this: Would the Senate (and the public as a whole) actually have bought Palatine's assertion that the Jedi had attempted a coup to take absolute power if the Jedi were truly seen as inherently good by the general public in the Core worlds? – DBPriGuy Nov 16 '16 at 4:59
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    Based on the known population of the Skyriver Galaxy and the known population of Jedi, there are less than one Jedi for every tens of billion citizens. There might not even be a single Jedi in an entire planetary cluster – Valorum Jun 28 at 19:23
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Going purely by the three prequels, there appear to be two basic reactions:

  1. The same reaction we would have toward a plain-clothes police inspector. In the better neighborhoods of planets like Coruscant, Jedi would walk into bars and order drinks with hardly anybody paying any attention to them (even though their robes were readily identifiable). During street chases, pedestrians would simply get out of the way, stare for a while and then go about their business. Although in places like the Coruscant undercity, I suppose certain characters would start running at the sight of Jedi.

  2. In the outer planets, where Jedi are rarely seen, they seem to be part of the local lore. Young Anakin is fascinated by them while Watto asks Qui-Gon 'Who do you think you are, some sort of Jedi?' The Trade Federation knows of Jedi powers, but ends up seriously underestimating them. They're seen as formidable--either in a positive or negative light--but rarely as a defender of justice or some such. Shmi herself was not all that impressed to meet a Jedi.

In summary, it seems that they're almost universally seen as powerful; and in parts where they frequent, as law enforcers. But that the Jedi are the honorable guardians of peace and justice--true that it may be--appears to be largely a self-perception of the Jedi themselves.

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    Basic fireman's fallacy. You don't see firemen as following an essencial role to society, until there's a fire. Or for an even better analogy, a sysadmin fallacy. You don't see the use of a good sysadmin since the evidence of such is LACK of bad stuff happening. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 16 '12 at 8:34
  • Also, it doesn't help that they've been around for over a thousand generations (what is that? 25,000 years?). If that doesn't take away the glamour, I don't know what will! – HNL Jan 16 '12 at 9:53
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The Jedi are basically highly respected and seen as protectors of the peace, meditators and problem solvers of society. They handle jobs that politicians and others can't handle, especially when it comes to sticky negotiations between various species, or are called in to assist in delicate negotiations either because things are not going well, or because of their discipline, force sensitivities, calming influence and their general negotiation skills, something that all Jedi are taught at the temple as padawans.

Jedi are among some of the most highly educated people in the galaxy, so they are skilled in scores of disciplines other than just lightsaber combat and force skills. They also learn everything from political science to medicine, from various languages to galactic history, various police tactics, knowledge and skills, investigative techniques, technology and computers, piloting, covert tactics and so much more.

Because of this Jedi were very often held in very high esteem by the majority of the galaxy. Even in the first Star Wars movie, Luke noticed that Obi-Wan being given a respectful amount of space at the bar in Mos Eisley, even before cutting down those two troublemakers.

Later on when Luke began to go about missions around the galaxy, he also experienced this same general repsect from everyone he encountered. Even as the insane Jedi Master clone Jorus C'Boath had tried to deceive Luke into thinking that the Jedi were destroyed because they were hated by the entire galaxy for their knowledge, power and skills. Luke told him "I've experienced no such hatred".

  • But how did anyone know Obi-Wan was a Jedi before he pulled his lightsaber? At that point, the Jedi were gone. – Tango Nov 19 '13 at 18:54
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    Remember that Obi-Wan was known locally as "That crazy old Wizard". So while they might not have known that he was a former Jedi, he was known to have some abilities, to be a hermit, a recluse and overall, someone to be respected. I was basically answering the general question of how the Jedi were perceived by citizens of the republic. But there were also some that suspected that Obi might once have been a former Jedi, but most, like Owen, simply knew him as that crazy old wizard and that he was to be left alone. – JediWitness Nov 23 '13 at 8:52
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How the Jedi were perceived would largely depend on whom you ask.

Ask a Republic loyalist and the Jedi are courageous, selfless knights devoted to democracy.

Ask a criminal warlord and the Jedi are meddlesome troublemakers.

Ask somebody from a Separatist world and the Jedi are enforcers of a corrupt Republic.

Ask somebody from the far Outer Rim and the Jedi are near mythological monks of extraordinary abilities.

Ask a Senator or high ranking official who has interacted with several Jedi and the Jedi are individuals, each with their own views and abilities.

0

I would probably most closely relate them to agents of the executive branch of the federal government (FBI/CIA) as they had jurisdiction over a large part of the galaxy and left regional work to the local police and security forces. They would intervene in large scale peacekeeping matters, and carried weapons to defend themselves and enforce the laws. Since their main function was as peacekeepers through necessary force, I equate them as that because that is exactly the function of a police officer.

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    This answer makes two different comparisons, to the federal government and local police, but makes no attempt to differentiate between or reconcile the two comparisons. – Bellatrix Aug 20 '17 at 18:42
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    Note that the question was not how you perceive the Jedi, but how citizens of the Republic perceived them. You need to show what makes you think they had this view, – Blackwood Aug 20 '17 at 19:25

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