A respected Jedi on par with the venerable Yoda, Mace Windu was a senior member of the Jedi High Council. His wisdom and experience were legendary, and his words carried great weight. In the later years of the Republic, Windu spent most of his time in the Jedi Temple of Coruscant. He regularly conferred with Yoda and the ten other members of the Council, contemplating the very nature of the Force and the affairs of the Jedi Knights.
Windu was well schooled in Jedi philosophy and history. He knew of the ancient prophecy of the Chosen One who would return balance to the Force. When maverick Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn approached the Council with a prospective candidate to fulfill that prophecy, Windu was hesitant. With reservations, he agreed that the child, Anakin Skywalker, could be tested for Jedi potential.
Though Anakin had the highest midi-chlorian count on record, and indeed showed great potential, the Council and Windu decided that he was not to be trained. He was too old to begin the life of a Jedi. After Qui-Gon's death, the Council rescinded their original decision, and granted Obi-Wan Kenobi permission to train Anakin Skywalker. Still, Windu fostered a mistrust of Skywalker, feeling that he was too powerful for his age and too unpredictable.
Windu, a diplomat by nature, believed in the power of words over action. But as the galaxy found itself increasingly fragmented by the rise of a powerful secessionist movement, he grew to question some of his firmest held beliefs.
He thought it impossible that the Separatist leader, former Jedi Count Dooku, could be behind the escalating flashpoints of violence in the galaxy. Such aggression was not in his character, Mace reasoned.
When an intelligence report from Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi revealed the Separatists gearing up for war, Windu came to realize that the time for negotiation had passed. Though he reminded the Supreme Chancellor that the Jedi were peacekeepers and not soldiers, as the Clone Wars began, the Jedi found themselves leading platoons of clone troopers into battle.
Reversals such as these troubled Master Windu, for they came about too suddenly, and the usually prescient Jedi were unprepared. Something was clouding the future, and the order's very connection to the Force was weakening. That a Sith Lord existed somewhere in the galaxy, was not in doubt but could this shadowy villain really bring this much imbalance to the Force?
At the first engagement on Geonosis, Windu arrived ahead of the clone trooper army with a Jedi taskforce. He was there to free Jedi held captive by Count Dooku. In the battle that ensued, Windu faced Dooku's hired gun, bounty hunter Jango Fett. Though Fett had proven himself deadly against other Jedi, he was no match against Windu. The Jedi Master repeatedly deflected Jango's incoming blasts, and quickly decapitated the hunter with his lightsaber.
As the Clone Wars erupted on Geonosis, Windu led a special squad of commando clone troopers into the thick of battle. He would be one of the few Jedi to return unscathed from that first engagement... at least physically. His spirit would suffer in the years that followed.
Though the Jedi were loyal protectors of the galaxy, facing war on the battlefronts in command of the clones, Windu felt uncertain about the direction of the Republic. As the war carried on year after year, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine amassed more political power, modifying the Galactic Constitution in the name of security. A wary Windu grew to distrust Palpatine, and he feared that the Chancellor would make a move to take direct control of the Jedi Council.
Palpatine's first step in that direction appeared to be the installation of a personal representative on the Jedi Council. The Chancellor requested that Anakin Skywalker, his close associate, be appointed to the ruling body. The Council, surprisingly, agreed. They hoped to use Anakin as a conduit of information, to learn of the Chancellor's dealings. It was a difficult decision, indicative of the stressful times. Windu had deep reservations -- it was very dangerous, he sensed, to keep Anakin and Palpatine close together.
His concern was justified. Chancellor Palpatine was, in fact, Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord that had escaped Jedi detection all this time. It was Anakin Skywalker who loyally delivered news of this discovery to Windu, though the Jedi Master still did not fully trust the young Jedi. Mace gathered a team of his finest Jedi warriors -- Saesee Tiin, Agen Kolar and Kit Fisto -- to arrest the Chancellor. Though Skywalker wished to accompany Windu, the Jedi Master forbade it. He ordered Skywalker to stay in the Council chambers until the matter was resolved.
The Jedi barged into Palpatine's most private offices. Mace attempted to arrest the Chancellor, but Palpatine sprang into action. Brandishing a lightsaber, Palpatine dropped the guise of harmless politician and emerged as deadly Sith Lord. Sidious quickly killed Tiin, Kolar and Fisto and forced Windu back into the main office chamber. Just then, Anakin Skywalker arrived, disobeying Windu's direct order.
Windu had disarmed Sidious and cornered the treacherous Sith Lord into the frame of his expansive office window. Fearing that Sidious was too powerful to take prisoner -- the Dark Lord still had control of the Senate and courts -- Windu moved to deliver a deathblow. Torn between his loyalties, and needing Palpatine alive to fulfill his quest for arcane knowledge to preserve the life of his beloved, Anakin acted. In an emotionally charged action, Anakin ignited his lightsaber blade and sheared off Mace Windu's weapon hand before he could strike Palpatine.
Defenseless, Windu was bombarded with Sith lightning as Sidious unleashed a torrent of deadly energy at the Jedi Master. The forked bolts of lightning penetrated Mace's body, illuminating his form from within. The final blast bodily lifted him into the air, sending his form hurling into the Coruscant skies, to crash lifelessly somewhere in the vast cityscape below.