Why Did the Jedi Use Children on the Battlefield?

Why Did the Jedi Use Children on the Battlefield?

Jedi Initiates, also known as Jedi younglings, were Force-sensitive children recruited by the Jedi Order from various species across the galaxy. At an early age they began their initial lessons in the Jedi arts at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, although their training also extended to the planet Ilum where younglings were required to undergo a sacred rite of passage known as the Gathering where the younglings would claim their kyber crystal to use in their lightsaber. Before the time came for a youngling to advance to a higher degree of education, Grand Master Yoda served as an instructor in the ways of the Force to all younglings in the course of his long career. In order to qualify for the rank of Padawan, younglings had to complete a series of tests—the Initiate Trials—in order to become apprenticed to more experienced Jedi such as Knights and Masters.

Over the course of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Order’s future was threatened by machinations of Darth Sidious the Dark Lord of the Sith and nemesis of the Jedi. Seeking to train a force of dark side acolytes who would serve as his enforcers in the New Order, Sidious orchestrated the abduction of several Force-sensitive infants who were chosen to become Jedi younglings. The Jedi succeeded in foiling his plot, however. Yet despite their efforts to safeguard the next generation of Jedi, the younglings perished along with the majority of the Jedi Order as a result of Order 66 and the subsequent rise of the Galactic Empire.

Jedi younglings were first introduced in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the second installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.