There is a scene in The Phantom Menace where the members of the Jedi Council tell Qui-Gon their decision about Anakin:

MACE WINDU : He is too old. There is already too much anger in him.

Did Mace Windu actually mean Anakin's biological age?

It is well known that Anakin was 10 years old at the time of The Phantom Menace. Is this age really too late to become a Jedi apprentice? As we now know Obi-Wan was even older (12 years old) when he became an apprentice.

Maybe, it was just an excuse to deny? Or..

Is it possible that he did actually mean something different?


2 Answers 2


Windu really meant that Anakin was too old to begin training.

You are confusing apprenticeship as a Padawan with Jedi Initiates. Obi-Wan became a Jedi Initiate shortly after his birth, but he did not begin his apprenticeship as a Padawan with Qui-Gon until he was an adolescent. Jedi Initiates receive training from a Jedi Master as group (as we see Yoda training a group of Initiates), but a Padawan receives one-on-one training with a Jedi Master.

The Jedi Initiates we see in the films look even younger than Anakin but had already started using lightsabers:

enter image description here

Anakin had received no training despite the fact that he was 10 years old, so he would have had to start at the beginning as an Initiate. Hence, Windu said he was too old.


I think there's some confusion between when a Jedi begins their training and when a Jedi becomes an apprentice. In the Phantom Menace, they are stating that he is told old to "begin the training", not that he was too old to become an apprentice. A Jedi typically begins their training as a Youngling. They learn the basic skills, including control of the force and their emotions from a very young age, often before 5 years old. A child (under 8ish) learns skills much more easily than a youth (8-teen) does.

For Jedi training, this ability to master skills and emotions as early as possible is critical to reduce the chances that later on their emotions may drive them to the dark side of the Force.

  • And as it turned out...Windu was right. Oh, sorry...spoiler alert.
    – tilley31
    Jun 30, 2015 at 18:01
  • 1
    Everybody knows when you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you and umption.
    – BBlake
    Jun 30, 2015 at 18:24
  • @tilley31: that’s why Obi Wan waited even longer before starting Luke’s training…
    – Holger
    May 24, 2016 at 9:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.