In the Star Wars movies, TV series, and books, we are told repeatedly the Jedi Order were defenders of the galaxy. They roamed from planet to planet keeping the peace. Before Order 66, they flew around on starfighters owned by the Jedi Order. Qui-Gon Jinn seemed to have unlimited Republic credits at his disposal when he offered to buy Anakin from Watto. Presumably, Jedi ate food while they were on missions. My question is quite simple: how?
The Jedi Order as depicted in the Star Wars franchise is an organizational nightmare. It makes less than zero sense. Shall we count the ways?
Where Does the Money Come From?
The Jedi Order maintained a Jedi Temple on Coruscant, the capitol of the Old Republic. This is the main Jedi Temple and by the time of The Phantom Menace, it seemed to be the only one remaining. In Knights of the Old Republic (no longer canon), there were a few enclaves and outposts where Jedi were trained. But as of 19 BBY, the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was their main headquarters.
How did they pay for it? A massive skyscraper in the middle of an insanely busy metropolis had to cost a serious amount of money. Where did the Jedi get the money? Let’s assume that they were funded by the Republic government through tax dollars. That seems like a safe assumption since they had wobbly pseudo-governmental roles.
Side Note: If they were funded by the Republic, then that had to be added into some kind of spending bill in the Senate, right? If they were so unpopular that the overwhelming majority of senators instantly believed they tried to overthrow Palpatine, why would the Senate have continued to fund them? Seems kind of weird to keep appropriating money for a group of space wizards you think they might be traitors. Also, couldn’t Palpatine have destroyed the Jedi Order by just vetoing the defense budget?
Can Jedi Retire or Quit?
In the Star Wars universe, we are told that only twenty Jedi Masters have ever left the Jedi Order. These are “The Lost Twenty,” of which Count Dooku is the twentieth. In 25,000 years, only twenty masters have ever left? C’mon. What does that even mean?
Obi-Wan Kenobi went into a forced early retirement at the end of Episode III, but what if the Jedi hadn’t been destroyed? Would he have just served and served and served until his dying day? Could Jedi retire? If they retired, how would they be paid? Was there a pension plan? If there are retired Jedi, were they killed in some follow-on purge after Order 66? Presumably, a retired Jedi would have still been a threat to Palpatine. Since we see no retired Jedi in any film and only a few in hiding in other media, we have to assume Jedi could never retire. That’s bonkers.
So, they can’t retire but they can probably quit. What about these Jedi who quit? Would they have been hunted down by Darth Vader after Order 66? In Rebels, Ahsoka fights Anakin to a stalemate, and she only reached the level of padawan. I’m supposed to believe there is not a single Jedi in the entire galaxy who just decided he was done with celibacy and quit but is strong enough to beat Vader? This is the same Vader who took an L from novices Luke and Ahsoka.
Since we don’t see any full-fledged Jedi Knights who just quit and went about a normal life, we have to assume that no Jedi had ever quit in the 25,000 years leading up to Star Wars: Episode IV. That’s just plain hard to believe.
Could they be kicked out? In The Clone Wars, Ahsoka was kicked out of the Jedi Order after being framed for a bomb plot. She is the only Jedi we ever see get kicked out. I guess Anakin would likely have been kicked out if the Jedi Order had survived.
There Simply Aren’t Enough of Them
Lastly, the number of Jedi makes no sense. In Rebels, Kanan tells Ezra that there were about 10,000 Jedi when he was a padawan circa The Phantom Menace. We never get a firm answer on how many inhabited planets are in the galaxy far, far away but it’s obviously hundreds.
Ezra Bridger is from Lothal, a sparesely-populated planet in the Outer Rim. Broom Boy is from Canto Bight, also in the Outer Rim. Palpatine is from Naboo in the Mid Rim. Ahsoka is from Shili in the Expansion Region, and Kanan Jarrus is from Coruscant in the Inner Rim. So, there seemed to be a pretty even distribution of Force potential throughout the galaxy. There were quadrillions of beings in the galaxy.
If there were one quadrillion beings, that would mean less than .00000000001 of beings were Jedi. At rates that small, the Jedi surely missed recruiting tons of powerful Force users. Consider that they missed Anakin for nine years and only happened on him through luck. There should be millions (at least hundreds of thousands) of Force users in the galaxy. Every planet should have had Force schools. Parents would send their kids to Force-user camp the way parents here send kids to karate and piano lessons.
Worldbuilding is pretty relaxed for soft science-fiction like Star Wars but this is absurd, and there’s no reason to believe Disney will bother making it make sense.