If you blinked during Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, you probably would have missed Master Yaddle. I know I did. I saw Yoda, Mace Windu, and “the guy with the crazy-long neck,” but no Yaddle.
Regardless, she made her debut in cinema’s first introduction to the prequel Star Wars trilogy before Darth Vader went to the dark side. In the larger world of Star Wars lore, however, her character is more developed. Like most Jedi Council members, Yaddle reveals what the Jedi were like before their extermination and why they could be blinded by Darth Sidious. Remember, Senator Palpatine was able to hide within the plain sight of Master Yoda as one of the “good guys.”
Bottomline on Yaddle
Yaddle was a female Jedi master. She was of the same species as Yoda. Master Yaddle was killed before the Great Purge of Order 66.
- Full Name: While Yaddle didn’t have a surname, she was also referred to as The One Below.
- Species: Unnamed
- Birthplace: Unknown
- Birthdate: 509 BBY
- Death: 32 BBY, at The Works in Imperium City on Coruscant
- Jedi Master
- Jedi Councilor
- Jedi Archivist
- Vernestra Rwoh
- Stellan Gios
- Qui-Gon Jinn
- Count Dooku
- The Jedi Order
Yaddle’s life spanned nearly five centuries and two eras. It began during the Republic Era and ended during the New Republic Era.
Was Yaddle hatched or was Yaddle born? Nobody knows with that crazy species, which happens to be the identical species as that famous, green, pointy-eared, Jedi muppet, aka Master, Yoda!
What we do know is that this force-sensitive being came into existence during 509 BBY. As a consequence of being of Yoda ilk, the female Jedi had a very long natural lifespan.
Her force-sensitive nature was discovered at an early age, and she was raised by the Jedi as a youngling. When she reached the rank of Jedi Master, Yaddle took a position on the Jedi High Council. She then taught many younglings and took many Padawans over the centuries. One of her most successful Padawans was Thisspiasian Oppo Rancisis, who also eventually took a comfy cushion on the Jedi High Council.
Master Yaddle, while a capable combatant, preferred to dedicate her service to scholarly pursuits. Her inclinations fashioned her into an excellent caretaker of the Jedi archives.
The Vision of Vernestra Rwoh
Around 232 BBY, Yaddle had a meeting with the female Mirialan Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh. Yaddle remembered teaching Rwoh when he was a youngling and could see that the Jedi Knight before her was deeply troubled.
Rwoh explained to the esteemed Jedi mentor that she had a hyperspace vision while on planet Tiikae. The vision involves a desert, a mysterious box, and a battle with the Nihil. Yaddle comforted Rwoh and referred the Mirialan to Master Stellan Gios.
An Ancient Enemy
Fast forward about 200 years to 32 BBY, and the galaxy was in big trouble once again. Naboo had been invaded by the (CIS) Confederation of Independent Systems, and Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn arrived at the Jedi Council with some even worse news.
The Sith are back!
Jinn was arriving after a recent clash on Tatooine with a mysterious Zabrak, whom we would all eventually know was Darth Maul. For centuries, the Sith had been thought to be extinct or at least out of the galaxy. Many Jedi didn’t believe in Jinn’s bombshell. Some Jedi chose to believe only what they wanted to believe.
Before becoming a Jedi knight, Jinn had been a Padawan to Count Dooku, just as Dooku had been to Yoda. Therefore, the Count was very close to Jinn and was very interested in what his former Padawan had to say about the possible resurgence of the Sith. In fact, Dooku had suspected that the Sith might return and wanted Jinn to be heard because he knew that his Padawan would validate the Count’s own warnings to the Jedi High Council.
Yaddle overruled Dooku, however. She addressed the Council and, using her seniority, explained that there was “no cause for undue alarm.” The Council did not doubt Jinn’s honesty regarding the duel. They simply cast doubt on whether the mysterious Zabrak was actually a Sith Lord.
Privately, Dooku met with Yaddle and pressed her on the issue. She confessed to Dooku that she had actually agreed with him and Jinn that the Sith had returned. However, she felt that the Council had a startegy of using caution until they had sufficient information. Although Dooku strongly disagreed with her decision, he respected Yaddle’s logic. The Sith should absolutely be handled with the utmost caution.
Before returning to Naboo, Jinn interrupted the two Jedi Masters to say goodbye. As the turbolift took Jinn away, Dooku was deeply troubled. When asked, he told confided to The One Below that he was worried about Jinn’s safety. Yaddle’s attitude was one of nonchalance, similar to Yoda’s.
“The Force will protect him… Becoming one with the Force is a good thing… Blah, blah, blah.”
Perhaps it was a premonition. Perhaps the Count had already been contemplating a journey into the dark side of the Force. Regardless, the Count would never see his Padawan again.
One Very Powerful Nine-Year-Old
Yaddle also served on the Jedi High Council when a nine-year-old Force-sensitive, human boy was presented before the masters. Erring on the side of caution, Yaddle supported Yoda’s decision not to admit the child into the Order.
As the ancient grandmaster said to the boy,
“I sense great fear in you.”
The Council later reversed its decision when that inconsequential Zabrak that Yaddle had been so dismissive of turned out to be a Sith Lord, just as Jinn and Dooku had claimed, and killed Jinn while his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, could only look on helplessly. Knowing that it was Jinn’s dying wish, Yaddle and the rest of the High Council accepted the adorable young boy into the Jedi Order.
Of course, this adorable young boy, Anakin Skywalker, would grow up to be Darth Vader, exterminate the Jedi Order, and bring about the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, but that’s another story.
Yaddle Finds Her Peace
Yaddle’s caution strategy has been working out great so far, right?
After the tragic death of Qui-Gon Jinn and the return of the Sith, Yaddle chose to resign from the Council. Maybe the diminutive Jedi Master decided that politics wasn’t her thing.
Not long after, Yaddle found herself face-to-face with Count Dooku in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. She was quite surprised and suspicious to learn that the Count would not show up at the funeral of his own Padawan. Like a ninja, she followed the count to The Works. There she spied her colleague plotting with an actual Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.
No cause for alarm yet!
Of course, most ninjas would consider this the perfect time to leave undetected. If she couldn’t leave, she could have always had a Force-Skype meeting with the other members of the Jedi Council the way Kylo Ren did with Rey in The Last Jedi. Within seconds, she could have warned Yoda, Mace Windu, the Council member with the crazy-long neck, and any other Jedi Master that didn’t have his or her Force settings on do not disturb/private mode.
But no, that was not the Yaddle way.
After centuries of Jedi training, this tactical genius had a better idea.
Why not reveal herself to both Dooku and Sidious and give the count just one more chance to return to the light?
What could possibly go wrong?
You might be shocked to find out that Yaddle’s plan did not work out so well.
The Count, eventually to be known as Darth Tyranus, made it clear that he was not going to be “unconverted.” The situation deteriorated into a lightsaber duel between Yaddle and Dooku while Sidious looked on, about as necessary as a third ear. Although Yaddle was not primarily a duelist, she wasn’t incompetent with a lightsaber either. Regardless, the Count was on another level. He would eventually beat both Kenobi and Skywalker simultaneously and fight Yoda to a draw.
Before penetrating the female Jedi with his lightsaber, however, he impaled her on his rapier wit during their repartee,
“I want to bring peace and order to the galaxy.”
“Already so many have died for what you call ‘order’.”
“Then let me bring you peace, Master Yaddle.”
And so, Yaddle finally found her peace at the point of the Count’s renowned curve-hilted lightsaber. After centuries of being a Jedi, she was finally one with the Force. Isn’t that awesome?
Even better, after the Great Jedi Purge of Order 66, nearly all Jedi had the opportunity to become one with the Force and share in all the awesomeness.
Don’t worry. The Jedi weren’t selfish.
Thanks to the brilliant tactical insights of the Jedi High Council, the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War were soon to follow, and millions and millions of people and sentient life forms, entire planets even, were allowed to partake of the awesomeness and become one with the Force.
All we are saying, is give peace a chance.
In 12 BBY, Darth went to the planet Mustafar to build a fortress and wound up meeting fierce resistance from the local population. Both his army and the army of Mustafar were destroyed.
Soon after the battle, Vader explored an ancient Sith cave in the hopes of gaining hidden knowledge and resurrecting his wife, Padme. There, Vader’s spirit left his body and entered the dark side of the Force itself.
The result involved a series of visions. Illusions of Jedi that Vader once knew when he was Anakin stood before him and dueled with him. Vader fought and overcame Jedi after Jedi. Each time, before slaying a Jedi illusion, Vader uttered the words, “Let the past die.”
Master Yaddle was one of those illusions, and Vader killed her illusion with his lightsaber like all the rest. Destroying these illusions, however, provided no solace for Lord Vader. Illusion or not, Padme’s spirit refused to be resurrected by Vader, for he was no longer Anakin. And so, the past really did die.
- Yaddle first appeared in the Republic Era and trained as a youngling within the Jedi Temple.
- Yaddle sat on the Jedi High Council in the years leading up to the fall of the Republic.
- Yaddle fell in single combat with a newly made Sith Lord, Darth Tyrannus, aka former Jedi Master Count Dooku.
“You are lost.”
“Master Yaddle! How are you? I thought you were still on sabbatical on Kronk!”
“I have returned, for a moment at least. I missed my time with the younglings. I have heard great rumblings of your deeds, Vernestra Rwoh.”
“Thank you, Master Yaddle. I hope I am living your teachings.”
“Do not reject your instincts, Jedi. Understood?”
―Yaddle and Vernestra Rwoh
“I guess word travels fast.”
“Well, your statements to the Council were rather surprising.”
―Qui-Gon Jinn and Yaddle
“I want only to bring peace and order to the galaxy.”
“Already so many have suffered for what you call ‘order’.”
“Then let me give you peace, Master Yaddle.”
―Dooku and Yaddle
Question: What species is Yaddle?
Answer: Like Yoda, her exact species has not yet been named in the Star Wars universe. Maybe that is by design.
Question: Is Grogu from The Mandalorian the baby of Yoda and Yaddle?
Answer: No, not unless Yaddle was capable of giving birth several decades after her own death. You never know in this galaxy, however. Sometimes the Force works in mysterious ways.
Question: What color was Yaddle’s lightsaber?
Answer: Green. Like Yoda and most Council Members, Yaddle carried a green lightsaber because she was strong in the Ways of the Force (Force magic). Lightsaber combat was the last resort for the green-bladers, who preferred to leave the mixing up of lightsabers melees to the blue-blade crowd.
Question: Why didn’t Yaddle, Yoda, and the other Jedi make better decisions?
Answer: That’s like asking, “Why didn’t Hamlet kill his father’s murderer in the first act, marry his mentally unstable girlfriend, and become the new King of Denmark?” The truth is that people are complicated, including little green people with pointy ears.
Question: What exactly was The Works?
Answer: The Works was once an industrial center for Coruscant’s capital, Imperial City. By the time our Jedi heroine had her final Yaddle battle with the Count, The Works had been basically abandoned and served as a “red light” district for Coruscant.
Dooku thought that one of their abandoned warehouses would be the perfect place to meet with his new Sith Master and explain that the war between the CIS and the Republic had begun. When Yaddle interfered with Dooku’s plan, she was actually improving Sidious’s plan. Forcing Dooku to kill Yaddle was perfect for Sidious because it brought the Count even further into the dark side.
Question: Did Yaddle have any unusual powers due to her knowledge of the Ways of the Force?
Answer: Yes. Master Yaddle was one of the few Jedi of her era to master the deadly art of morichro. Morichro was the Force-sensitive equivalent of kung fu’s dim mak death touch, except there was no touching required. It allowed the wielder to slow an opponent’s bodily functions fatally. Didn’t work on Dooku though.
Master Yaddle was a female Jedi Master of an identical species to Yoda. (She looked like Yoda with a bad wig.) She served the Jedi Order in many capacities: as a High Council member, archivist, and teacher to younglings.
I would say the most useful function of her character was to be a touchstone for the fatal flaw of the Jedi. Being a good Jedi is a dichotomy, a balance between two opposing forces. If you’re too reckless, like Dooku or Anakin, you risk being lured into the dark side of the Force and blowing up your adoptive grandfather’s planet. If you’re too cautious, you risk turning into a Yaddle and becoming Sithbait.
Caution is comfort, and comfort kills. Mistakes are the best teachers. Without risk, we won’t learn much. That’s why Dooku was able to learn more about fighting in a few decades than Yaddle was in a like number of centuries. Maybe Masters Obi-Wan and Plo Koon walked that fine line perfectly. Few Jedi ever did, not even Yoda.
All things considered, Master Yaddle was a very strong, well-intentioned soul. Yes, she made mistakes, but she never gave in to the dark side of the Force. How many of us could say the same if we had Jedi powers? How many of us would simply start a podcast or a Tik Tok channel and use our Jedi powers to bring fame, fortune, and external pleasures?
Yaddle was never about that. She sought to serve, and serve she did. Yes, she eventually was defeated, but it took her centuries for that to happen. Although she’s dead, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her. I wouldn’t want to see her resurrected in the way Darth Sidious and Maul were, but some more exploration into her role during those five centuries before the Battle of Naboo could prove quite interesting for Star Wars fans.