Movie Reviews

Qui-Gon's Phantom Menace Rebellion Makes So Much More Sense After The Latest Star Wars Reveals


  • The High Republic Era shed light on Jedi recruitment, showing older recruits were accepted, unlike in the prequel trilogy.
  • The change to targeting younger recruits was recent, explaining Qui-Gon’s rebellion in training Anakin in The Phantom Menace.
  • Qui-Gon’s possible older recruitment into the Jedi Order could have influenced his willingness to train older children.

Qui-Gon Jinn’s rebellious tendencies in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace make a lot more sense after recent reveals in the franchise. As the first Star Wars movie in chronological order, The Phantom Menace was once the furthest back in the franchise’s canon timeline that any story had explored. Since then, however, other productions by Lucasfilm have delved even further back in the timeline than Episode I, such as the transmedia story of Star Wars‘ High Republic Era.

While most stories of the High Republic are told in book or comic format, one upcoming Star Wars TV show – The Acolyte – will be set in this era. Ranging from 500–100 years before The Phantom Menace, the stories and characters of the vast High Republic have revealed a lot about some iconic Star Wars elements, one that has been a mainstay since the franchise’s inception: the Jedi Order. Via the reveals of The Acolyte and other High Republic stories, the Jedi Order has been recontextualized somewhat, making Qui-Gon Jinn’s rebellious ways in The Phantom Menace a lot more plausible.


Star Wars: Every Major Event Of The High Republic Era

The High Republic Era is full of significant events, both for the Jedi Order and the Republic it sought to protect long before the prequels.

The High Republic Jedi Accepted Older Recruits

The Acolyte Teases Older Children Joining The Jedi Order

Assembled High Republic Jedi With Igniting Lightsabers In The Acolyte Trailer

With The Acolyte premiering in June 2024, the marketing for the show has kicked into high gear. Several trailers, TV spots, and clips have been released teasing live-action Star Wars’ first step into the High Republic era. Through these various marketing techniques, some interesting reveals about The Acolyte‘s depiction of the Jedi Order have been pushed to the fore; The Jedi of the High Republic seemingly accepted older recruits than the more flawed Jedi Order of the prequel trilogy.

In some clips from the show, Sol – played by Lee Jung-jae in The Acolyte‘s ensemble cast – can be seen giving a lightsaber to a young Mae. Mae is the character played by Amandla Stenberg who used to be the Padawan of Sol before turning to the dark side. This clip shows that Mae is much older than infancy, the age group targeted for Jedi recruits in the prequels. Similarly, Dafne Keen plays Jecki Lon in The Acolyte, with the actor hinting that Jecki may have been older than prequel-era recruits when she joined the Jedi Order.

The Jedi Fear Of Older Recruits Was A Recent Change In The Prequels

The Jedi Change In Recruitment Age Explains Qui-Gon’s Hesitancy To Obey The Council

In the prequel era, it was made abundantly clear that the Jedi do not accept recruits unless they are infants. This was driven home by Anakin Skywalker’s storyline in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, with the Jedi Council refusing to allow Qui-Gon to train Anakin due to the latter’s older age. When contrasting this plot point to the reveals of The Acolyte and the High Republic Era, it is clear this change to targeting a younger recruitment age was somewhat recent at the time of the prequel trilogy.

Qui-Gon’s decision to disobey the Council and train Anakin anyway, as the Jedi Order of the High Republic would have, makes much more sense.

This change was likely implemented by the flawed, dogmatic Jedi Order of the prequels so that they could better mold children into what they assumed Jedi should be. One person who often disagreed with what the Council stood for in the prequel era was Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon was wiser than the Jedi Council, and thus much more open to his emotions than his peers. Due to this, he often disobeyed the Council as he thought it was going down the wrong path, choosing instead to put his faith in the will of the Force.

Qui-Gon’s viewpoint on the Jedi Council is more evident in extended Star Wars canon stories, from Tales of the Jedi to the 2024 novel The Living Force.

One of the primary ways Qui-Gon was shown to rebel against the Jedi Council was in The Phantom Menace when he trained Anakin Skywalker without their approval. With the added knowledge that the Jedi Order used to recruit younglings at older ages, this rebellion makes even more sense. Qui-Gon was likely aware that an age limit on Jedi recruitment was only recently imposed by a Council he did not completely trust. Knowing this, Qui-Gon’s decision to disobey the Council and train Anakin anyway, as the Jedi Order of the High Republic would have, makes much more sense.

We Don’t Even Know How Old Qui-Gon Was When He Joined The Jedi

Could Qui-Gon’s Own Recruitment Have Impacted His Views About Younglings?


Custom Image by Corey Larson

Aside from the revelations of the High Republic, one unknown element of Qui-Gon Jinn’s Star Wars story could explain why he was so insistent on training Anakin despite the latter’s age. Although Qui-Gon has appeared in many stories throughout Star Wars canon, it is yet to be revealed how and when he joined the Jedi Order himself. It could be the case that Qui-Gon Jinn joined the Jedi when he was older than an infant, explaining his desire to train Anakin.

Qui-Gon is arguably one of the quintessential Jedi in the franchise, living a selfless life dedicated to helping others by listening to the will of the Force. If he became so even after being recruited at an older age, it could explain why he is so open to training children beyond infancy. By adding an artificial cut-off point for training younglings, the Jedi are shutting off a lot of potential for goodness in the galaxy. Qui-Gon likely knows this, explaining – among the hints from The Acolyte – his rebellious outlook in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Star_Wars_Episode_I_The_Phantom_menace movie poster

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The beginning of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace sees young Anakin Skywalker put on his path to discovering his ability to influence the Force. While attempting to thwart the nefarious Trade Federation in their plans for the planet of Naboo, two Jedi discover an exceptionally-gifted slave with the ability to wield the Force. Little do they know, rescuing him is just the beginning of a saga that will span generations of the Skywalker family.  

Release Date
May 19, 1999

Ewan McGregor , Liam Neeson , Natalie Portman , Jake Lloyd , Ahmed Best , Ian McDiarmid , Anthony Daniels , Kenny Baker , Pernilla August , Frank Oz , Ray Park , Samuel L. Jackson

133 minutes

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