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Ki-Adi-Mundi was, in summary, a Cerean Jedi Master during the time of the High Republic. With lightsaber in hand, he was a feared soldier and led clone troopers into battle valiantly.
Growing up, I quite liked him as a character. However, my opinion on Ki-Adi changed as I began to better understand the complex storylines running through the films. I started to see that throughout his appearances in the movies and series, Mundi is – intentionally – often dislikeable.
Not evil, it’s essential to see, but pretentious and disagreeable. As I’ll delve into further in this article, he and his character are supposed to be representative of the Jedi Council and Order at large.
Ki-Adi-Mundi Description and Origins
While the origin story of Ki-Adi-Mundi has been explored in detail, these events (such as his training under Master Yoda and teaching of A’Sharad Hett) are now considered to be Legends rather than Canon.
With the multitude of new material emerging from Disney+, I wouldn’t be surprised if the events around this period were soon dived into. But not yet.
So far as Ki-Adi’s story goes, it officially begins in The Phantom Menace, where he has been given a permanent seat on the Jedi Council. Here, Mundi is one of the most vocal opponents to training the young Anakin Skywalker. His friendship with Mace Windu is subtle, but it’s clear that the two Jedi agree on many things.
During the same meeting, Ki-Adi-Mundi, in particular, expresses doubt that the powerful Dark Side warrior Qui-Gon fought could be a Sith. The Jedi are convinced that the Sith had been extinct for 1,000 years, and he, like many others, can’t bring himself to even entertain the possibility of their return.
After it emerges that Darth Maul was, in fact, a Sith warrior, it’s too late for Jinn. With his death, Mundi travels to Naboo along with the Jedi Council to pay their respects at his funeral. Shortly after, the decision to train Skywalker is reversed, with Obi-Wan Kenobi taking the reigns.
In Attack of the Clones, Ki-Adi again makes his influential opinions heard. After Senator Amidala narrowly escapes assassination attempts on more than one occasion, she accuses Count Dooku of being behind the attacks.
Mundi is doubtful, almost scoffing. He reminds her that the Count is a “political idealist, not a murderer.” Windu reinforces this by reassuring Padme that a former Jedi would never commit such an act.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi begins to uncover the plot, he comes across the colossal clone army being developed on Kamino. He also finds that the Trade Federation is responsible for hiring the assassin bounty hunters.
Crucially, he discovers that Count Dooku has placed himself in charge of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, with which the Trade Federation is associated.
Obi-Wan’s capture and subsequent interrogation lead to his intended execution in the Geonosian Petranaki arena. Anakin and Padme launch a failed attempt to rescue him and are thrown to the beasts with him.
Although they hold their own against the monsters for a while, they are soon surrounded. Windu arrives with a strike force of around 200 Jedi, including Ki-Adi-Mundi. The Jedi had realized the dire situation and concluded that the Separatists were responsible. Count Dooku was now their enemy.
Everything had escalated, and their initial assumption had (again) been proved wrong. As the Jedi launch a counterattack against the Geonosians, they make initial progress.
However, wave after wave of battle droids soon drives their numbers down. Most of the Jedi perish, with Yoda only arriving in the nick of time with the clone troopers to save the hopelessly outnumbered stragglers.
With his strong connection to the Force and skilled lightsaber technique, Ki-Adi-Mundi survives, helping fellow Jedi onto a gunship and leading troops in the following assault.
With the much-needed help of the clones, the Jedi push the Separatists back. They win the battle, but it signals the start of the Clone Wars – a time far more troubling than any of them, even Yoda, have ever experienced.
The Second Battle of Geonosis
During the Clone Wars, Ki-Adi-Mundi leads many assaults and attends and chairs various strategic and political meetings.
One of his most notable attacks comes during the Second Battle of Geonosis. When it emerges that the initial victory hadn’t vanquished the Geonosian loyalty to Dooku, the Republic sends several Jedi, including Mundi, to push them back once and for all. Things don’t go to plan.
The attack forces are met with almost impenetrable resistance from the native troops, with the Jedi receiving injuries and the clone troopers taking heavy casualties.
Ki-Adi himself is badly injured by anti-aircraft fire during his initial advance. He loses many of his troopers, but Commander Jet, his second-in-command, survives. The Jedi comes away with severe yet not life-threatening injuries.
Forced to abandon their gunships much earlier than anticipated, Mundi has lost comms connection with Skywalker and Kenobi and must rely solely on scout reports. He and his remaining men now have to walk to their objective.
Ki-Adi orders the injured men to be loaded onto an AT-TE walker and then leads the way, cutting a path with his lightsaber. He aims to rendezvous with Skywalker. The two will then commit to a combined effort to retrieve Obi-Wan, pinned down some distance ahead of them.
Eventually, he is confronted with a decision: to take the path through the cave (probably shorter but with a much higher risk of ambush) or follow the longer route. He decides to take 13 clones with him through the cave, sending the injured troopers the longer way round.
The cave path is, expectedly, an ambush. Although he loses several of his men, the flamethrower troops turn the tide on the Geonosians, and Mundi and his men make it through.
Here, they re-establish the comms connection to Skywalker and meet up with him to rescue Kenobi. After this stage of the battle, both Ki-Adi and Obi-Wan are medically evacuated back to Admiral Yularen and the Republic fleet. He spends most of the rest of the battle as a bystander.
Other Notable Moments in the Clone Wars
Ki-Adi-Mundi is present in many of the Council’s strategic meetings. In other Clone Wars episodes, he often has a fleeting role, contributing no more than a line or two. One of the most important of these is his words to Obi-Wan in The Lawless cautioning against assisting Satine Kryze on Mandalore.
Obi-Wan is determined to help his old flame. He can’t just stand by and watch while Mandalore falls into ruin in Satine’s attempts to remain neutral. As Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, it would ordinarily fall to him and the Order to intervene and fight Maul.
However, Ki-Adi-Mundi disagrees, telling Obi-Wan, “Without involvement from the Separatists, if this is an internal affair for the Mandalorians, I’m afraid we cannot help.” Obi-Wan’s protestations were met with further reasoning: “I’m afraid her decision to keep Mandalore neutral makes this situation difficult.”
Of course, Kenobi would still travel to Mandalore in secret. Still, Mundi’s attitude showcases the warped political view of the Jedi Council.
Much later in the Clone Wars, Yoda is contacted by the Force spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn. While Yoda maintains his belief that these are genuine, much of the Council – including Ki-Adi-Mundi – is skeptical.
Mundi wrongly suggests that Yoda’s abilities are being affected by Sith manipulation, even going so far as to say that Yoda’s previous relationship with Dooku – who was once his Padawan – may be clouding his vision.
Expelling Padawan Tano
After an attack on the Jedi Temple leaves six people dead, Anakin and Ahsoka lead the team to track down the saboteur. They soon discover that the activist Letta Turmond had planted the bomb by feeding her husband, a Temple worker, nano-droids that exploded.
However, when Ahsoka questions Letta, the suspect suddenly begins to writhe in a Force Choke. To the watching clones, it appears that Ahsoka has executed Turmond out of revenge, and Commander Fox arrests her.
Shortly after, Ahsoka escapes, and although Anakin and Rex try to persuade her to give herself in, she refuses, having seen the situation manipulated against her. Instead, she hides in the Coruscant underworld while trying to find the true culprit.
Skywalker and Plo Koon, along with Rex and Wolffe, are sent to retrieve the Padawan as her closest friends. They find her in a warehouse surrounded by nano-droids, further condemning her in the eyes of many Jedi and the Republic. She is taken back into Jedi custody to await her trial.
Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin sends a message to the Jedi Council requesting that Padawan Tano be expelled from the Jedi Order. This would mean that the Republic could organize a military trial more easily and inflict their own harsh punishments for Ahsoka’s perceived crime.
Obi-Wan cautions against letting the Senate interfere in Jedi affairs, but the voices of other prominent Jedi, such as Mundi, Windu, and Saesee Tiin, drown him out.
Eventually, Ahsoka is called in to face her judgment. Yoda informs her that the Council has reached a decision, although not a unanimous one. Windu then informs her that she will be banished from the Jedi Order. Ki-Adi-Mundi is another of the most prominent voices condemning Ahsoka. As she leaves, he tells her:
Your Padawan status will be stripped from you, and you shall forfeit all rank and privileges within the Grand Army of the Republic. You will be turned over to the Republic court to await your trial and whatever punishment they will set for you. Henceforth, you are barred from the Jedi Order.
Of the 12 Council members, only three side with Ahsoka: Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Plo Koon. The other nine, including Ki-Adi-Mundi, are convinced of her guilt and the need to hand her over to the Republic Senate.
Shortly after, Ahsoka is standing trial in the Senate, facing military charges. Just before the conclusion, Skywalker bursts in, having learned that the true culprit was Padawan Barriss Offee, Tano’s former friend who had fallen to the Dark Side.
Ahsoka is cleared of all charges. The Council members – including Ki-Adi-Mundi – invite her to return to the Order, even indicating they could promote her to a Jedi Knight.
She refuses. The Council’s political weakness and doubt in her have shaken her faith in the Jedi and herself. Ki-Adi-Mundi is therefore partly responsible for Ahsoka leaving the Order.
Ki-Adi-Mundi is killed on Mygeeto when Chancellor Sheev Palpatine gives the infamous order. Leading his clone troopers into battle with a cry of “Charge!” he is shocked and surprised to turn around and find his loyal men, led by Commander Bacara, standing and pointing their blasters at him.
There isn’t enough time to take it in. The clones begin firing. A master at blaster bolt deflection, Mundi manages to send a few shots back into the clone squad, killing several.
Ultimately, though, he’s hit in the stomach, causing him to double up in pain and lose his concentration. At this point, he’s hit by a wave of blaster bolts, killing him.
Mundi’s skill with a lightsaber was high, and his ability to deflect blaster bolts was outstanding. For this reason, he survived the initial arena battle on Geonosis and could deflect the onslaught of shots from his marine clone troopers during Order 66 for a short time. In Star Wars Canon, he is never seen fighting another assailant with a blade.
While he had a strong connection to the Force and sat next to Yoda on the Council, its strength within him was clouded by the Dark Side. As the Jedi power weakened, blinded by the Sith, they began to lose their way and became pawns of the Senate.
As Palpatine was granted emergency powers to control the Senate, this effectively put the Jedi at the beck and whim of the Sith. Ki-Adi was the blindest of them all, too confident in the strength of the Jedi and the Republic to see what was happening around them.
His lightsaber, dropped when he was ambushed by Commander Bacara on Mygeeto, was picked up by Vice-Chairman Anolo sometime later. Anolo was killed by the bounty hunter Greedo, who took the lightsaber and offered it to his employer, Jabba the Hutt. It ended up in the hands of Dok-Ondar, the Ithorian collector.
Later, Mundi’s lightsaber would feature in Kanan Jarrus’ vision at the Jedi Temple on Lothal.
Arrogance (or Ignorance)
Ki-Adi-Mundi is known as a wise, all-seeing Jedi Master. He was often able to see both sides of an argument and form a logical conclusion. However, that logic was perhaps his downfall.
This is probably best highlighted in his condemnation of Ahsoka. He and the other Jedi, especially Windu and Tiin, discuss how it would be politically unwise to go against the wishes of the Republic Senate.
These few sentences in themselves show that the Jedi are no longer an independent Order serving democracy, as Obi-Wan claims in Revenge of the Sith. Instead, they are under the complete control of the Republic. Because of the Clone Wars, they are also no longer guardians of the peace; they’re soldiers.
Ki-Adi loses sight of this, which ultimately clouds his vision in Ahsoka’s trial. In his mind, he has already decided that granting the Padawan the principle of being “innocent before proven guilty” is too much of a risk.
The Senate would remove power from the Jedi if they went ahead with this, leaving them without allies in an ever-more turbulent galaxy. As such, he’s incapable of passing a fair and balanced judgment on the young one. As Anakin rages at the Council:
You’ve already made your decision, haven’t you?! This meeting is just a formality!
Funnily, this ties into Mundi’s words to Yoda. When the Jedi learn (they think) that Dooku has manipulated the entire war and caused them to fight side-by-side with the clones, Yoda “meditates deep into the force” (The Clone Wars S6E11 “Voices”).
Here, he manages to contact Qui-Gon Jinn, who proves his presence by using the Force to blow out candles and lift objects in the room.
Later, Mundi suggests to the other Council, “We have to consider that this may be a deception by the Sith.” After Yoda admits he could be being deceived, he later says, “I think we may be overlooking an obvious thread… Count Dooku was Yoda’s apprentice, and Count Dooku has fallen to the Dark Side… They are connected, profoundly.”
He begins to develop the opinion that Yoda’s vision is clouded. Ironically, his perception is completely inverted: the views of the Jedi at large are clouded, and Yoda’s visions are perhaps the only light filtering through the Sith deception.
Whether this trait is arrogance or ignorance, I could discuss it all day. In my opinion, the Jedi at the time of the Clone Wars are painted as arrogant. They are good, self-sacrificial, and wise, but also, undoubtedly, arrogant and blind.
Either way, it matters little. Ki-Adi-Mundi’s attitude is typical of all the Jedi; his large cranium may even symbolize his character and attitude.
The Appearance of Wisdom
As a wise Jedi, Mundi is a member of the Council (he even sits by Yoda’s side), yet many of his decisions are questionable. Bad, even. Like many Jedi, he is politically minded rather than focused on his connection to the Light Side and the Jedi Order.
He has a seat among the most important 12 Jedi in the Order. His words often appear wise: cautioning, careful, and political. When he speaks, it’s intentionally a bit like listening to a gentle Grandpa talk to his grandchildren. His face is stern yet kind. And yet ultimately, his impact was rather negative overall.
I think it’s worth briefly touching on the theme of the appearance of wisdom in Ki-Adi-Mundi’s life. To do this, I’ll jot down the key quotes from his appearances in Star Wars and briefly discuss how they influence events.
Ki-Adi-Mundi Key Quotes
- The Phantom Menace – “Impossible. The Sith have been extinct for a millennium” – when Qui-Gon reports on Maul’s attack, Ki-Adi is the first to scoff at the possibility of it being the Sith’s return.
- Attack of the Clones – “He is a political idealist – not a murderer” – to Senator Amidala after she (rightly) accuses Count Dooku of the attempts on her life.
- The Clone Wars: The Lawless – “Without involvement from the Separatists, this is an internal affair for the Mandalorians. I’m afraid we cannot help… I’m afraid her decision to keep Mandalore neutral makes this situation difficult.” – Mundi’s refusal to send help to a neutral system.
- The Clone Wars: The Wrong Jedi – “Your Padawan status will be stripped from you, and you shall forfeit all rank and privileges within the Grand Army of the Republic” – to Ahsoka at her trial.
- The Clone Wars: Voices – “What Yoda claims is not possible… I fear Yoda is under attack by the Sith…” – Ki-Adi-Mundi doubts the strength of Yoda’s visions, meditations, and connection to the Force.
- Revenge of the Sith – “What about the droid attack on the Wookiees?” – in his most unfortunate, meme-worthy line of the entire Star Wars saga, Ki-Adi diverts the discussion from exploring hunting down General Grievous to the defense of the planet Kashyyyk.
A quick read through these quotes will have given you the idea. Ki-Adi-Mundi is supremely confident – but usually wrong. He is sure of his own ability but calls into question everything and everyone around him who might disagree.
As many discussion boards on the internet rant about, his biggest mistake of all was sending Yoda to Kashyyyk. While the Jedi Grand Master had good relations with the Wookiees and had been named “Defender of the Home Tree,” he was needed on Coruscant more than anywhere else.
If Anakin had brought the news of Palpatine’s true identity to Yoda rather than Mace Windu, things might have happened very differently.
Mundi also doubts Yoda’s visions and connection with Qui-Gon, preventing most other Jedi from learning how to maintain their conscience after death. He challenges most people around him and his methods, in the end, show him to be a political tool for the corrupt Senate rather than a free-thinking Jedi Master.
This, then, plays into the theme of the appearance of wisdom. Ki-Adi-Mundi very much looks the part, but his actions fail to back it up.
Friendship with Mace Windu
Throughout the Prequel Trilogy, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Mace Windu often speak in similar tones and agree on many things. In fact, in the aftermath of the First Battle of Geonosis, the two discuss the tragedy of so many Jedi deaths via hologram.
They are a calming influence on each other and good friends. While Windu is wary of the broader picture of the Clone Wars, both Jedi agree that they must integrate the Jedi into the Republic military.
He and Mace Windu are intentionally similar and think along the same lines. Both sit by Yoda, too. Mace Windu, more powerful with the Force than Mundi, is less blinded by the Dark Side, and yet he too fails to see the Sith working right in front of them.
Mace’s reassurance in his own strength is more justified – he was able to defeat Sidious in single combat, after all – but he still misjudged the situation as a whole. Missing the dependence of Anakin on the Chancellor was his downfall in the end.
Ki-Adi-Mundi Key Moments
- The Phantom Menace – Mundi vocally doubts Jinn’s claim that Maul is a Sith Lord.
- The Phantom Menace – he sees Anakin’s thoughts and worries for his mother.
- Attack of the Clones – initially, Ki-Adi doubts Dooku’s position as leading a rebellion against the Republic.
- The Clone Wars – he leads a team during the Second Battle of Geonosis, taking a severe injury and losing many men but eventually succeeding.
- The Clone Wars – he refuses to help Duchess Satine on Mandalore, stating that the system shouldn’t have remained neutral.
- The Clone Wars – Mundi is one of nine Council members that falsely condemn Ahsoka, blinded by the Dark Side’s influence clouding their vision.
- Revenge of the Sith – Ki-Adi advocates for the Chancellor to be forcefully removed from office if he doesn’t relinquish his emergency powers.
- Revenge of the Sith – he diverts the discussion from General Grievous to Kashyyyk, causing Yoda to leave Coruscant.
- Revenge of the Sith – Palpatine reveals himself, killing Masters Windu, Fisto, Tiin, and Kolar. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, and Order 66, Sidious’ grand plan for eliminating the Jedi, is enacted. Fighting on Mygeeto, Mundi is killed by his marine clone troopers, led by Commander Bacara.
Despite his failures, arrogance, and blindness, I can’t help but feel for Mundi in the final moments of his life. As Order 66 is issued and the clones turn on their Jedi generals and friends, he would have felt a strong cry of pain echo through the Force, like Yoda.
When he turns his head to see what the clones are doing, it’s clearly written all over his face. Suddenly, in a moment of dreadful clarity, he understands why the Clone Wars have been orchestrated.
Fear for the lives of his fellow Jedi flashes across his expression, along with pain from the clones’ betrayal. Here at the end, his realization comes too late.
No matter his faults, he doesn’t deserve the back-stabbing death he, like so many others, receives. Sidious’ master plan was to succeed. When eventually the Empire was overthrown, Luke Skywalker would need to rebuild the Jedi Order in a way that protected its members from the same faults and problems of days gone by.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Who Killed Ki-Adi-Mundi?
Answer: During Order 66, while fighting on Mygeeto, Mundi is cut down by Commander Bacara and his squad of marine clone troopers. Although he manages to defend himself for a short while, he’s quickly overwhelmed and finished off by the brainwashed soldiers.
Question: How Many Wives Does Ki-Adi-Mundi Have?
Answer: In Canon, Ki-Adi-Mundi is never mentioned as having a polygamous relationship with anyone.
However, in Legends, Ki-Adi has four honor wives due to the low birth rate of his people, the Cereans. By them, he has seven daughters. His entire family is killed in the Battle of Cerea at the start of the Clone Wars.
Question: Is Ki-Adi-Mundi Powerful?
Answer: The reaction speeds of Ki-Adi-Mundi are incredible. Although most Jedi would have adapted to hone their lightsaber skills to blaster deflection during the Clone Wars, Ki-Adi held his own against the overwhelming barrage from Bacara much longer than most would have been able to.
He also sensed something was wrong long before the clones began firing. Combining this with the fact that he sits on the Council next to Yoda and Mace Windu would suggest that he is one of the most powerful Jedi in the Order.
I have no doubt that he would’ve traveled with the other Council members to arrest Palpatine had he not been fighting on Mygeeto.
I think it would be fair to say that Mundi is one of the most powerful Jedi, perhaps only behind the likes of Yoda, Mace Windu, Anakin, and Obi-Wan.