Ahsoka: What is a Bokken Jedi?

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Like many Ahsoka watchers during Episode 6, you may have heard Baylan Skoll talk to Shin Hati about Bokken Jedi. Bokken is a new word in the Star Wars universe with no attachment to anything previously in canon or Legends. According to Baylan Skoll, a Bokken Jedi has been trained away from the Jedi temple structure, in the wild so to speak.

But where does the word Bokken come from, and how does it apply to the Jedi who were not trained at the temple before the execution of Order 66? Let’s find out together.

History of the word Bokken

Bokken is a Japanese word that describes a wooden carved training sword when people learn or practice Kenjutsu—usually made from hardwoods such as red or white oak and shaped into Katanas and Tantos.

Bokken swords can be lavish in their build or simple and effective for their purpose. Although designed for training, a wooden Bokken sword is an effective and deadly weapon in the right hands.

Bokken swords are designed to look and feel like the real thing, although they are just replicas of the original, perhaps even seen as less-than-desirable swords by some.

Bokken Jedi tie-in

Baylan Skoll used the term Bokken to describe all Jedi after Order 66, not because he saw them as equals, but because perhaps he saw them as something lesser. Baylan seems to look down on Bokken Jedi, such as Luke Skywalker, Ezra Bridger, and Rey Skywalker. If you look at the expression on his face as he talked with Shin Hati about these “other” Jedi, it could be interpreted that they were not equals in his mind.

Although Skoll left and separated himself from the Jedi Order, it’s clear that he still adheres to some portion of it and still values the structure of the training at the Temple. Interestingly, his apprentice, Shin Hati, quickly notices that she, too, would be considered a Bokken Jedi. Baylan tries to quickly correct the situation by reassuring Shin that he is training her to be “something more” than just a Jedi. This is one of the scenes where we may see the beginning of fractures between Master and Apprentice—something to keep a watch on for sure in the future of Shin Hati.

We also see Sabine Wren in Episode 3 training with wooden swords against Huyang and with Ahsoka during the masked scene. These are Bokken swords—a temple-trained Jedi training a Bokken Jedi using a Bokken sword.

The Lucas Effect

Using a word like Bokken in the training of Sabine Wren and to describe Jedi trained after Order 66 is a lovely subtle nod to the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas. Much of the mythos and structure of who and what the Jedi are is famously built on Samurai legend, Japanese culture, and Akira Kurosawa films.

Although Lucas has claimed that he wasn’t mentoring anyone to take over Star Wars, it is clear that Dave Filoni was closely studying at the feet of Lucas, Master, and Padawan style ever since the prequel era.

That impact shows up in the little details, like using the Japanese word Bokken and tying it to Jedi Lore. Having these little Easter eggs pop up in the Ahsoka show and other recent Star Wars works shows why having someone at the helm who loves the universe is so important. We all benefit in the long run.

It’s also clear that the use of this word Bokken was to call out that Sabine Wren will be a Jedi after this series. A Bokken Jedi, trained in the wild by her Master Ahsoka. After all, according to the Nightsisters on Peridea, she reeks of Jedi.

Stay tuned to the Dork Side of the Force for more Star Wars news and the latest show updates.