What story justifications are there to have non-movie character Jedi during the Rebellion years?
The Jedi are incredibly rare at during this period of Star Wars history. The remaining ones would have escaped order 66 somehow, or they would not have had clones with them, or they did not take part in the clone wars. Force sensitives will have a very hard times finding those capable of teaching. If their abilities manifest in a public manner, they risk running afoul of the inquisition.
But…some of your players want to play a Jedi. No problem. Here are some reason why the Jedi exists in the Age of Rebellion:
- A Jedi escaped Order 66 as a Youngling from the Jedi Academy and has been on the run ever since.
- A young person is force sensitive and could be groomed as a Jedi, but requires a master to train them.
- A youth had a vision from the Force called them to the path of the Jedi.
- An experienced Jedi went beyond the Empire’s boundaries and has returned.
- An experienced Jedi went beyond the Empire’s boundaries and has trained apprentices who have returned.
- A Jedi was held in stasis for all these years and has been released.
- The Jedi is part of a secret Jedi organization exists within the Empire that Obi Wan and Yoda kept secret or did not know about.
- A Jedi who left the order prior to Order 66 and records of the Jedi were lost or deleted.
- The Jedi was thought dead when their star fighter spun out into space but instead had survived.
- The Jedi was thought dead but had enter a meditative hibernation for years due to extreme condition on a mission that went bad.
- The Jedi scout was far away from the action of war at the time of Order 66, looking into rumors of ancient Jedi and Sith temples, and escaped execution.
- The person was a Padawan who did not continue with the Academy and has lived off the grid on a backwater planet.
- The Jedi was being held hostage by a crime syndicate during Order 66 but later escaped.
- The Jedi quit the order in order to marry and created new identity to cover their past.
- A non-Jedi force sensitive found a Jedi holocron and manages to train themselves with it.
- A non-Jedi force sensitive person grew up on a little known fringe world and later met a Jedi who began mentoring them.
- A Jedi injured in the closing days of the Clone Wars was in a Bacta tube on a medical frigate when Order 66 was sent out. Friends of the Jedimanaged to keep the few Clones from killing the helpless Jedi.
- The Jedi was battling non-droid Separatist troops and found a sudden allies in the Separatists when the clones attempted to assassinate the Jedi.
- A failed Jedi had left the Order and was bitter, angry, and awash in drink to dull the pain of the Clone Wars and lost in the obscurity of the Outer Rim before Order 66 went out.
- The Jedi was a member of The Jedi Service Corps run by the Jedi Order. The members of the Service Corps were all considered Jedi, though many of its members had failed to pass their Initiate Trials and therefore could not proceed in training at the Jedi academy. While many of the Service Corps were killed during Order 66, many more were rounded up and taken to Byss by the Sith Lord-turned-Emperor for conversion training. This Jediis a fugitive who escaped their torture on Byss.
- The Jedi was flying a Hyperspace-capable fighter or shuttle when Order 66 happened while most of the Clones were flying non-Hyperspace capable ships. The Jedi made it to their hyperdrive ring and escaped into hyperspace.
- A Jedi captured by a criminal syndicate and frozen in carbonite is unfrozen years later.
- A heretic kicked out of the Jedi Order before Order 66, for espousing some fundamental doctrinal change such as like “There’s no such thing as the Light Side or Dark Side; it’s all just The Force” or “There are two different Forces; The Light Side is not connected to The Dark Side.”
- This person was kicked out of the Jedi Order before Order 66 for refusing the orders of an elder Jedi.
- A Jedi was working undercover behind enemy lines at the time order 66 goes through, saw what was going on and kept under-cover until recently.
Based on my own ideas and crowd-sourced wisdom from the Google+ Community.
Also related — what was the Jedi doing to remain undetected? See this great Jedi Undercover Vocation list.