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Although Luminara Unduli is one of the lesser-known Jedi in the Star Wars universe, she stood out to me most when I first watched Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. When the group of 200 Jedi infiltrated the Geonosian arena, Luminara igniting her green lightsaber and taking a firm stance signified what, at the time, I thought all Jedi should look like.
After learning more about her character through content that was released after the movies, it turns out that she was, in fact, a good example of what a Jedi should look and act like. We’re going to look through her story in this bio. She had no dialogue in the movies, but the TV shows expanded on her character quite significantly.
Bottom Line Up Front: Luminara Unduli was a Jedi Master who served the Order during the Clone Wars. She was a Jedi General, assigned to the 41st Elite Corps. She was a Mirialan, and her Padawan, Barris Offee, was a Mirialan as well. She was involved in several skirmishes during the war and was known to be a very calm leader. Her Padawan turned against the Jedi Order and bombed their temple, leading to the false accusation of Ahsoka Tano which resulted in Tano leaving the Order. Luminara was captured and killed during Order 66, and her body and remaining Force aura were used as bait to draw in Jedi by the Grand Inquisitor.
Luminara Unduli was born on the planet, Marial. Her people, the Mirialans, were deeply spiritual, and most of them believed in the Force. Because of this, many Mirialans became Jedi. Luminara was recognized to be incredibly Force-sensitive, so she was sent to Coruscant to become a Jedi.
We don’t have any information on when Luminara became a Jedi Master, but we can assume it was sometime before the Clone Wars began. She took on an apprentice by the name of Barriss Offee. Barris was also a Mirialan as their people had a tradition of training each other when they became Jedi.
While Luminara wasn’t an official Jedi Council member, she often accompanied the group to meetings. We see her standing in a meeting between the Council and Chancellor Palpatine shortly before the Clone Wars started. She was incredibly wise and level-headed, so having her with for meetings would have been of great benefit when it came to getting second opinions.
She and Barriss Offee were part of the 200 Jedi that traveled to Geonosis. They hid themselves in an arena and came out to save Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Padmè Amidala from being executed. Luminara jumped to the center of the arena and ignited her lightsaber beside Shaak Ti.
Count Dooku and the Separatists had secretly been building a large droid army that easily outnumbered the Jedi. However, Master Yoda flew in to save the day with an army of clone troopers. The clones fought for the Grand Army of the Republic while the droids fought for the Separatists. The battles across the galaxy between these two factions became known as the Clone Wars.
Luminara became a Jedi General in the Republic Army, and she was assigned the 41st Elite Corps to command. The battalion was led by Commander Gree, and he and Luminara worked closely together to command their troops.
One of Luminara’s most notable skirmishes was when she and her clone troops captured Viceroy Nute Gunray. He had originally captured Senator Padmè Amidala, so their rescue mission turned into a capture mission for themselves.
They had the Viceroy aboard a Republic ship, but Count Dooku’s assassin, Assajj Ventress, came to save him. Ventress dueled with Luminara, and Luminara was almost killed. However, Ahsoka Tano saved her with a last-minute interruption. Luminara had previously told Ahsoka that she didn’t need her help with Ventress, but she admitted she was wrong afterward. Ventress escaped with Nute Gunray, but Ahsoka and Luminara were grateful to be alive.
One of the big themes in the Clone Wars is the relationship between Luminara’s Padawan and Ahsoka Tano. The two of them met when Luminara and Barris Offee were sent back to Geonosis to destroy a droid factory. They worked together along with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano to complete their mission.
Luminara shared words about attachments with Anakin after the two of them thought they had lost their Padawans in the destruction of the droid factory. Anakin was clearly more affected by the thought of losing his Padawan than she was. Thankfully, Barriss Offee and Ahsoka Tano survived. The two Padawans also bonded over the experience.
After this event, Luminara tracked down Poggle the Lesser, the Geonosian who created the factory they destroyed. She was captured by the hordes of undead Geonosians that were being controlled by Karina the Great. Karina the Great was going to implant her hive babies in Luminara’s head, but Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker were able to save her before that happened. (Side note: this is arguably one of the creepiest storylines in any Star Wars publication. While Luminara survived, her apprentice Barriss was infected with the brain worms, and this caused havoc amongst the clones in the ship she and Ahsoka Tano were traveling on.)
End of the War
A few years into the Clone Wars, Barriss Offee turned against the Jedi Order. She believed that the Jedi had forsaken their values for the war, and they were at fault for all the deaths and destruction in the galaxy. She bombed the hangar of the Jedi Temple, and the explosion killed several Jedi along with clone troopers and other civilians. Luminara wasn’t aware that it was her Padawan who did this. Ahsoka Tano was framed for the crime, and she was cast out of the Jedi Order.
Anakin Skywalker investigated further and discovered that it was Barriss Offee who was responsible for the bombing. Luminara’s Padawan was arrested, leaving Luminara distraught after she found out the person that she trained for years was responsible for innocent deaths. She spent the remainder of the Clone Wars on Kashyyyk. While she spent time alone there to emotionally recover from everything that happened with Barriss, she was also helping the Wookies prepare for a Separatist invasion.
The Battle of Kashyyyk commenced a few months later, and Luminara joined Master Yoda in fighting on the side of the Wookies. However, Order 66 was given by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and the clone troopers turned on their Jedi Generals.
Instead of being executed as the rest of the Jedi were, Luminara was captured and taken into custody. She was killed at some point after this, but the Grand Inquisitor used her dead body as a trap to draw in Jedi that were looking for her. He constructed a hologram of her that would appear as hopeful Jedi approached her holding cell. The Grand Inquisitor was able to set this up as the Force energy emanating from Luminara’s body was still fairly strong.
This ruse ended after Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger came to find her. They escaped from the Grand Inquisitor and warned everyone they knew about Luminara not being alive.
- Luminara joins the Jedi Order and eventually progresses to the rank of Jedi Master.
- Luminara takes on Barriss Offee as her Padawan. The two of them are both Mirialans, continuing the tradition of Marialan Jedi training each other.
- Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee join Mace Windu as the Jedi storm the arena on Geonosis.
- The Clone Wars begin, and Luminara is given the 41st Elite Corps to command as a Jedi General.
- Luminara is very nearly killed by Assajj Ventress after the assassin comes to retrieve Viceroy Nute Gunray. However, she is saved by Ahsoka Tano.
- Luminara and Barriss are sent to Geonosis to destroy a droid factory and capture Poggle the Lesser. The factory is destroyed, but Luminara gets captured by Karina the Great. She is saved by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker before getting implanted with brain worms.
- Luminara’s apprentice, Barriss Offee, bombs the hangar of the Jedi Temple and frames it on Ahsoka Tano.
- Luminara finds out about Barriss and spends the remainder of the Clone Wars away from the Jedi and the Temple. She helps the Wookies on Kashyyyk prepare for a Separatist invasion.
- Order 66 is given, and the clone troopers turn on their Jedi Generals. Luminara is taken into custody instead of being killed in cold blood.
- She is killed at a later stage, and the Grand Inquisitor uses her body as a trap to draw in other surviving Jedi who plan on saving her.
- Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger find out about this and warn everyone about it, putting a stop to the Grand Inquisitor’s plan.
Luminara Unduli Themes
I love the Star Wars universe because of how incredibly vast it is. While humans are generally the dominating species across all the timelines we see, there are so many interesting aliens from around the galaxy to learn about. They all have their own cultures and heritages, and new species keep getting introduced as the Star Wars universe grows with every story.
One of the more interesting things about Luminara is her connection with Barriss Offee and their homeworld. Mirialan people are known to be deeply spiritual. In the Star Wars universe, this typically means that a group of people are more in-tune with the Force than others are. Because of this, many Mirialan people have become Jedi over the years.
A tradition started where Mirialan Jedi would train each other, making their connection closer thanks to their shared heritage. This is why Luminara Unduli was the perfect candidate to start training Barriss Offee.
This isn’t a rule set in stone, though. There have been several occasions where Marialan Jedi have trained people of other races. For example, Cyslin Myr was the Master of the human, Mace Windu.
The other well-known Mirialan Force-user was the Seventh Sister. The was a member of the Inquisitorius that hunted down the Jedi after the Clone Wars ended. Not much is known about her other than that she was a Jedi who survived Order 66 and started working for the Empire.
Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee’s stories go hand-in-hand. They first appeared on-screen together in Star Wars Episode II, and most of Luminara’s story arcs in the Clone Wars TV series have Barriss Offee joining her.
Something that I find quite ironic, though, is Luminara’s discussion with Anakin about attachments. After Luminara sees how Anakin reacts to the potential loss of Ahsoka, she gives him some high-quality Jedi wisdom about not being too attached. She explains how he needs to be ready to depart from her at some point.
However, Luminara experiences the loss of Barriss through tragic circumstances. Instead of leaving her master, Barriss Offee betrays the Jedi Order. This, in turn, leads her to betray Luminara as well. Having a Padawan betray you is clearly a lot more devastating than simply parting with them. So, it’s understandable that Luminara left to Kashyyyk to keep her head clear from the events that transpired.
She must have felt a fraction of what Obi-Wan Kenobi felt when Anakin turned to the Dark Side and became responsible for massacring most of the Jedi Order. If Luminara was as strict with staying free from attachments as she originally perceived herself to be, maybe the actions of Barriss wouldn’t have affected her as much.
Tragic Death and Memory
The death of Luminara Unduli is arguably more tragic than most of the other Jedi in the Order. While everyone else was killed in cold blood by the clone troopers, Luminara was captured. We can assume that she was also tortured while she was still alive. Bad guys tend to do that.
Instead of receiving an easy death, she spent a fair bit of time in an Imperial prison. She was then executed for being a Jedi, and her lifeless body was used to draw in hopeful Jedi that were looking for her. This tainted her memory drastically.
Kanan Jarrus thought that she was alive because of this, and he wanted her to train Ezra Bridger instead of himself. He remembered her as a kind and noble teacher. After they found out that she was dead, he realized that he was capable of training Ezra. Through this, Luminara gave Kanan one last lesson from a Jedi Master, even though she wasn’t alive to give it.
You can see Luminara’s degrading body in the episode of Star Wars Rebels where Kanan and Ezra try to find her. It’s one of the most disturbing scenes in the series, making it the second time that Luminara is involved in a creepy Star Wars storyline.
Luminara’s role in the Clone Wars remains mostly the same in the Legends Continuity. There are a few more stories that flesh out her character along with her relationship with Barriss Offee. The two big differences are how she parts with Barriss and the circumstances of her death.
In Legends, Barriss Offee ascends to the rank of Jedi Knight and parts ways with Luminara. The two leave on good terms and occasionally cross paths with each other. Barriss still bombs the Jedi Temple, but she gets released and continues to take part in the war. She is killed during Order 66 while on Felucia.
Luminara travels to Kashyyyk to help the Wookies fight against the Separatists. Instead of getting captured, she gets killed by her clone troopers. They turn against her so suddenly that she has no idea what is happening before she dies.
Luminara was a specialist user of Form III of lightsaber combat. Known as Soresu, it’s a form of combat that puts heavy emphasis on defense. This perfectly reflects Luminara’s character as she was a noble Jedi who only fought when she needed to. It’s a good form to use in one-on-one combat, and it proved to be useful when Luminara fought Assajj Ventress. However, she also switched to Form II (Makashi) for a brief time to match Ventress’ attacks.
Luminara put more emphasis on dueling than she did on using the Force. However, her use of the Force was fairly strong as well. She was incredibly acrobatic, and we see her using Telekinesis, Force jump, and Force push.
When she died, the Force aura remained present around her body, allowing the Grand Inquisitor to fool people into thinking she was still alive. We haven’t seen that happen with too many Force users, showing her power through the Force.
- “Even with my vision clouded, I recognize the fighting style of Count Dooku. Your version is unrefined, amateurish, sloppy.” – Luminara Unduli insulting Assajj Ventress in her elegant British accent.
- “I should have listened to your advice.” – Even though she was a Jedi Master, Luminara was completely okay with admitting her mistakes to a Padawan.
- “Let’s just say that they have a penchant for playing loose with regulations and rules of command.” – Luminara breaks down the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka.
- “Well, Barriss. Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” – Luminara gets Barriss Offee to introduce herself to Ahsoka Tano. It’s the beginning of a long friendship that eventually ends in betrayal.
- “My Padawan will not fail.” – Luminara and Barriss Offee had a strong relationship, and she heavily trusted her to get tasks done.
- “Unlike you, when the time comes, I am prepared to let my student go.” – Luminara shares her wisdom with Anakin.
Question: Was Luminara Unduli in the Star Wars Movies?
Answer: Yes. She first appeared in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones alongside her Padawan, Barriss Offee. The two of them joined Mace Windu in the Battle of Geonosis. Luminara can also be seen in commanding troops on Kashyyyk in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
In Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Luminara is one of the voices that Rey hears when battling Palpatine near the end of the movie.
Question: Who Killed Luminara Unduli?
Answer: Since Luminara was taken into custody and used by the Grand Inquisitor to draw out the remaining Jedi, we can assume that it was the Grand Inquisitor who killed her. However, it’s mentioned in source material that she was killed in the presence of the Grand Inquisitor.
This means that it could have been one of the other Sith Inquisitors that executed her, or simply an Imperial soldier.
Question: Was Luminara Unduli on the Jedi Council?
Answer: No, Luminara Unduli never had a seat at the Jedi High Council. However, she often accompanied the Council members to meetings with Chancellor Palpatine. Her apprentice, Barris Offee, was also present for these meetings.
Question: Did Luminara Know That Barriss Offee Would Bomb the Jedi Temple?
Answer: Luminara Unduli was unable to sense her apprentice’s change of heart over the course of the Clone Wars. If she did, she most likely would have stopped Barriss Offee from bombing the temple’s hangar.
If she did, Ahsoka would never have been exiled. You could argue that Anakin would never have turned to the Dark Side if Ahsoka was still around. It’s crazy to think how certain events would be completely different if things beforehand went a different way.
Question: What Race is Luminara Unduli?
Answer: Luminara Unduli is a Mirialan. Her species come from the planet, Mirial. It’s a desert planet, and the Mirialan people are fairly in-tune with the Force. Barriss Offee, Luminara’s Jedi Padawan, is also a Mirialan.
Out of all the Mirialan Jedi we’ve seen in Star Wars Canon, all of them are female. They have facial tattoos that are representations of achievements that they have.
You can play as Mirialans in the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee have an iconic master and apprentice partnership. Apart from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, their relationship is one to look out for when seeking to know about Jedi and their Padawans.
Knowing about their bond made it so much more tragic when Barriss Offee betrayed the Jedi Order. Barriss Offee believed that the Jedi had lost their way. They used to be peacekeepers, but they became warmongers under the Republic’s rule. As we all know, she was mostly right. Ahsoka Tano agreed with a fraction of her point of view after the Clone Wars. I’m assuming that Luminara Unduli did as well when she sat and thought about it while imprisoned by the Empire.
While Luminara was a cool background character in the movies, the Clone Wars TV series gave her a lot of depth. Star Wars Rebels continued that trend by giving her a tragic death and even continued the tragedy after her death. If you want to experience all of Luminara’s storylines, you should watch those two shows.
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