What happened to Jedi who failed the Jedi Trials?

Rise of the Red Blade. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Rise of the Red Blade. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

In order to prove themselves and become Jedi Knights, Padawans must successfully pass the Jedi Trials. In The Phantom Menace, Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi says he is ready to face the Jedi Trials, and Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn also feels his apprentice is ready. After defeating the Sith Lord Darth Maul, the Jedi Council makes Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight.

In the case of Obi-Wan, his confrontation with Maul served as his Jedi Trials. This was a matter of circumstance where Obi-Wan proved himself, but the Jedi Trials were more often a planned challenge for a Jedi Padawan to prove that they were ready to become a Jedi Knight.

Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker, and other prominent Jedi throughout Star Wars passed their Jedi Trials. Not all Padawans pass, though, which begs the question of what happens to those who fail their Jedi Trials.

The answer is that Jedi who failed the trials could either return home to the planet they were originally from or they could remain in the Jedi Order and become part of the Jedi Service Corps.

Those who chose to join the Jedi Service Corps would still be part of the Jedi Order, with many working at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, but they couldn’t carry a lightsaber and would never attain the rank of Jedi Knight or Jedi Master.

The novel Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah Dawson explores this question further by showing what happened to two individuals who failed their Jedi Trials, with one character becoming a technician at the Jedi Temple, and another who chose to return to their home planet.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah Dawson.

Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade follows Iskat Akaris on her journey from Jedi to Inquisitor. Like many other Jedi during the Clone Wars, she is promoted to Jedi Knight, as the Republic’s need for more Jedi soldiers leads to accelerated promotions and forgoing the Jedi Trials.

Along the way, Iskat meets a technician at the Jedi Temple named Heezo. Iskat struggles to connect with many of her fellow Jedi, but she finds herself able to confide in Heezo, who she learns was once a Jedi Padawan. Heezo failed his Jedi Trials and afterward became a droid maintenance technician at the Jedi Temple, a role he held for over forty years.

While he seems like a true friend to Iskat and is the one individual she can confide in, he is actually a spy for Darth Sidious, which makes Iskat’s story even more tragic. It is by design that he encourages Iskat’s anger toward the Jedi Order. Heezo reports everything she shares with him to Darth Sidious himself, all while priming Iskat to ultimately betray the Jedi and join the Sith. After becoming an Inquisitor, Iskat kills Heezo for his betrayal, both getting revenge and refusing to let him be a weakness used against her.

The other character shown to have failed the Jedi Trials in Rise of the Red Blade is Iskat’s mother Feyra Akaris. Feyra returned to her home planet, Pkori, instead of joining the Jedi Service Corps. No longer part of the Jedi but also feeling like she no longer belonged on Pkori, Feyra felt like she belonged nowhere and struggled with depression.

Things got better when she gave birth to Iskat, whom she loved deeply. But when Iskat showed that she was Force-sensitive, Feyra knew her daughter belonged with the Jedi. She gave the child to Jedi Master Sember Vey, who promised to protect Iskat. After this loss and her earlier losses, Feyra’s struggle with depression intensified and led her to ultimately take her own life.

Through Heezo and Feyra, Rise of the Red Blade shows the devastating effects of failing the Jedi Trials. The children who become Jedi Knights are taken from their homes at a young age, with the Jedi Order becoming the only life and the only family they have ever known.

It is heartbreaking and cruel to imagine that these individuals, many of whom are just teenagers when they take on the Jedi Trials, could suddenly lose their identity, their purpose, and their family in one fell swoop, simply for failing a test.

Heezo and Feyra were forever damaged by failing the Jedi Trials and could never truly recover. Heezo was turned into a pawn for the Sith, and Feyra fell into deep depression that ended in tragedy. Like any institution, the Jedi Order has its flaws, but the way it discards those who fail the Jedi Trials is one of its greatest mistakes.