Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
Who Was the Strongest Jedi in the Republic?
As shown in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the Republic was filled with powerful Jedi like Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker. But despite their abilities, most agree the Jedi Order's strongest warriors were centuries-old Yoda and purple-bladed Mace Windu. But here's where the line blurs, with fans debating which of these two leaders would triumph in battle.
Sadly, we never get to see the two duel, but today we'll examine evidence from both sides to draw a logical conclusion about the galaxy's ultimate Jedi Master!
Was Mace Stronger Than Yoda?
Mace fans cite his Shatterpoint technique and duel against Darth Sidious in Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith as evidence of his power. After a fierce battle, Mace eventually defeats Sidious, only to be literally disarmed by Anakin, who needed the Sith alive. But even though Mace perishes, he seemingly performed much better against Sidious than Yoda, who is forced to retreat in a later duel against the Sith.
Even so, I believe Yoda the superior Jedi—let's examine the evidence.
Examining Mace's Battle Against Sidious
Mace's best case is his battle against Sidious—but did he really outperform the Sith? Remember, Palpatine may have thrown the fight to spark Anakin's betrayal, and Mace had three Jedi as backup, though they admittedly didn't last long.
Additionally, note Sidious was far more worried about facing Yoda alone than Mace alongside three others—he actively tried to flee from Yoda, but confidently confronted Mace's team. Additionally, Yoda's abilities may have wavered due to the palpable loss from Order 66, disadvantaging him during the clash.
Also, in ROTS's novel, Count Dooku notes that he'd only be worried about battling Anakin and Obi-Wan if Yoda joined the fray, showing which Jedi both Sith Lords of the era feared.
Yoda Had Stronger Force Powers
Even Mace advocates generally concede that Yoda demonstrates superior mastery over the Force. In addition to his often-seen telekinetic powers, Yoda's the only shown Jedi who deflects Force Lightning (from both Dooku and Sidious) with his bare hands—less-skilled Jedi like Obi-Wan and even Mace have to block it with their blades.
And consider Obi-Wan's remark upon checking Anakin's midi-chlorian count in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, stating his value exceeds even Yoda's, implying Yoda had the highest known concentration (and thus Force potential). Curiously, Yoda (and not former apprentice Obi-Wan) is also the first Jedi that Qui-Gon's spirit (who had discovered how to retain consciousness in death) contacts, presumably favoring rate of learning over familial bond.
Though rarely seen, Yoda was also talented with the powerful Battle Meditation technique, using the Force to coordinate and enhance all allies (even non-Force users) in a skirmish.
Yoda Was a Better Influence on Anakin
In addition to Yoda's arguably-superior battle skills, he was much wiser than Mace. With many centuries of experience under his belt, Yoda (like Mace) was initially opposed to Anakin's Jedi training—a fear that proved correct. However, unlike Mace, Yoda actually gave Anakin a chance when he was accepted, showing him the brighter sides of the Jedi Order. The two were close enough that Anakin came to wizened Jedi in a private counseling session near the beginning of Episode 3.
Looking back at Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, you'll see Mace deny Padme's (correct) assertion that Count Dooku was behind her assassination attempt, showing that his Jedi bias clouds his judgment. Soon after, Yoda helps Obi-Wan determine Kamino's location despite its erasure from the Jedi Archives, concluding that "only a Jedi" could alter the data. Where Mace arrogantly denied a former Jedi's corruption, Yoda accurately deduced the potential of a fallen Knight, showcasing his superior intuition.
Yoda's Long-Term Strategy Eventually Defeated the Empire
After his failure to destroy Sidious, Yoda retreats into exile on Dagobah, but gains clarity few Jedi of his age possessed. As Episode 3's novel reveals, he recognizes that the Sith have evolved over the past millennia while the Jedi have grown stagnant, holding to outdated traditions like age requirements and bans on marriage (both of which Luke ultimately lifts in his Legends timeline's Jedi Order).
Yoda also understands that it will fall to others to conquer the Sith, trusting the new generation will vanquish the Empire. But instead of surrendering himself to the Force, Yoda (after teaching Obi-Wan how to communicate with Qui-Gon) chooses to spend two long decades alone just to eventually mentor Luke. Thus, the aged hermit fulfills his final duty before being one of precious few Jedi to die a peaceful death.
Yoda, the Strongest Jedi
While Mace rivals him in saber skills, Yoda was the Republic's strongest warrior. His legendary Force abilities, unparalleled wisdom, and arguably-supreme bladework grant the advantage over Windu, and we likely never even saw Yoda at his prime. After all, he's over 800 years old; imagine him at a youthful 500!
Additionally, while the Jedi Council governs other Jedi, their elected leader is the Grand Master—a position Yoda long filled. Typically, the Order's strongest Jedi earns this role (Luke in the Legends timeline, Satele Shan in the Old Republic, etc.), again implying Yoda's well-deserved reputation as the Republic's ultimate Jedi.
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Count Dooku on August 07, 2020:
We see Yoda pushing palpatines saber to the side, then Palpatine says aaahhh and is visibly struggling to hold on to the lightsaber. He didn’t really have time to put it away cause then yoda would have killed him BUT why would palpatine put his saber away. Maybe he preferred using the force, but if that were true then why would he draw his saber in the first place. He thought he could beat Yoda with a saber first, then was proved wrong, and either was disarmed, or put his saber away out of fear from Yoda. If he stops using the saber, there has to be a reason, and it can’t be he simply preferred to use the force, but rather he thought that that would improve his chances of success.
So palpatine was either disarmed or stopped using his lightsaber out of fear.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on July 27, 2020:
While I agree that Yoda is stronger than Mace, the film never shows what happens to Palpatine's saber in his fight with Yoda (he simply stops using it after a scene cut)--where does your information that he dropped it come from? From what's presented on-screen, it's possible he simply "holstered" it to focus on bombarding Yoda with Force attacks.
Count Dooku on July 26, 2020:
Watch the movies people who think mace is stronger. Yoda disarmed palpatine/scared palpatine into dropping his weapon in 40 seconds. Mace did the same in one minute and 30 seconds.
Jeffrey Holley on November 22, 2019:
I think the singular area where Mace is superior to Yoda is when fighting the Dark Side. Mace is trained to embrace both sides of the force, a lot of people think Palps threw the fight but I don't fully agree. Mace Windu was made to fight/understand the Sith if they should ever return. Yoda would of course stomp Windu, but I personally believe if they were entered into a Sith fighting ring where they had to fight Sith warriors one by one until they eventually fell, Mace would last longer and take more of them down
Liz Westwood from UK on April 13, 2019:
You give a reasoned argument in favour of Yoda.
Yong Kuan Leong from Singapore on April 13, 2019:
I was always of the impression Yoda was the absolute strongest. And that Sidious deliberately lost to Mace.