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Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended with a note of triumph, as the long-hidden Luke Skywalker was finally found! Episode VIII is set to follow on from The Force Awakens, and we're sure to learn a lot more about the Jedi Temple on Ahch-To - where Luke's been hiding out. But what do we already know about Jedi Temples?
Jedi Temples in Star Wars
Both Jedi and Sith have built temples across the galaxy. These temples are centers of learning, where Jedi and Sith are trained in the ways of the Force. The first Jedi Temple was built on the waterworld of Ahch-To, and is glimpsed at the end of The Force Awakens - it's sure to be at the center of Episode VIII. The greatest Jedi Temple, though, was undoubtedly the one on Coruscant; this became the ancestral seat of the Jedi Order, and we visit it countless times in the Prequel Trilogy.
It's unclear whether or not the architectural design of the Temples served any purpose. We do know, though, that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant contained some specific and intriguing rooms. These included:
- The Chamber of Justice, a courtroom where the Jedi Council deliberated
- The Jedi Archives, the greatest repository of knowledge in the galaxy
- The Holocron Vault, where the Jedi stored devices known as Holocrons, that contained the teachings of Jedi Masters long ago
- The Transformation Chamber, used to disguise Jedi
- Training grounds for Padawans
Jedi Temples in the Expanded Universe
That's all we actually know for sure in the build-up to Episode VIII. Long-term Star Wars fans will be well aware that in the days before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the franchise was a lot bigger. George Lucas had signed up to what was called the "Expanded Universe", where comics, games, and novels were all embraced as part of the wider Star Wars mythology. Disney chose to pass on the EU, branding all these things "Legends". They were to be considered non-canon - but at any time, Disney could choose to acknowledge any part of the EU, making it canon once again. That's why, for example, Grand Admiral Thrawn has now become part of Star Wars canon once again.
The Expanded Universe established a lot about Jedi Temples. We learned that certain places became permeated with the Light or Dark Sides of the Force; the Dagobah cave Luke entered in The Empire Strikes Back was a Dark Side nexus. Jedi and Sith alike tended to construct temples at the site of these nexuses. Some Jedi Temples were centered around the Light Side, where others (including the one on Coruscant) stood guard over nexuses of the Dark Side.
In the EU, the greatest Sith Temples are those of Yavin 4, built by the Sith Lord Exar Kun. These were built by vast numbers of slaves, and were designed to amplify the power of the Dark Side. The spirit of Exar Kun inhabited them; when Luke Skywalker chose to use Yavin 4 as the center of his new Jedi Order, he and his students wound up in battle with Kun's spirit. The power of the Light Side was used to cast out the Dark.
The Jedi Temple on Coruscant was built on an ancient Sith shrine, designed to contain its power. Over the centuries, though, the Jedi forgot this; worse still, the shrine remained active, and weakened the power of the Jedi Order with the Dark Side of the Force. Some fans have speculated that Palpatine used the power of the shrine to blind the Jedi to his presence, and to ultimately steal from them the foresight and wisdom that would have prevented the Clone Wars.
Decades later, the shrine was unlocked during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy, wreaking havoc on then-conquered Coruscant. Later, the Galactic Alliance would choose to rebuild the Temple.
We simply have no way of knowing whether or not the rejuvenated Star Wars franchise will choose to recognize any of this. Still, one thing's for sure; Luke's time on Ahch-To will have been spent in meditation, familiarizing himself more than ever with the ways of the Light Side. No doubt the movies are about to reveal some of the Jedi's greatest secrets...