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That’s Exactly How the Force Works! A Look at How Disney Has Expanded Our Knowledge of the Force

The Force. If you are a fan of Star Wars you know the essence of what is and what it does, but what do we know in terms of what it looks like at its full potential? If the Disney era Star Wars has shown us anything, it has expanded on what the Force is and how it can be used.

Before Disney bought Lucasfilm and started to create more Star Wars stories, it is safe to say that the audience saw the Force as an aspect in Star Wars that individuals had and they were able to use it to control a numbers of things, and this even included Anakin being created by the Force depending on your interpretation of the prophecy and what is said pre-Disney. Sometimes they could move rocks and ships. They could use the Force to open close doors, push objects away, and they would pull objects closer to them. There were even instances where Force-sensitive beings would manipulate the minds of others to get what they want to an extent. If somebody used the force on the dark side, they could also use Force lightning, and a Force choke; they were using the force in a much more aggressive manner. There were even talks from Palpatine that through the dark side of the Force an individual could learn the power to save the ones he or she loved from dying.

Since Disney has started to create more Star Wars content, they have expanded our knowledge of the Force exponentially. The first expansion of this comes during Rogue One. During Rogue One we meet a blind character name Chirrut Imwe. Now Chirrut is no Jedi, and from what we have been told in the movies he had no affiliation with the Jedi. He is simply a believer of the force and one of the Guardians of the Whills. Throughout Rogue One he repeats the line “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.” Rogue One and Chirrut help paint a picture of what the Force is like for some that are not affiliated to the Jedi Order. Chirrut doesn’t use the Force in the typical fashion that we know the Jedi to use it, but he has the belief that the Force is something that helps bind all things in this universe together. It seems that his belief within the Force is a nod to the larger picture of the galaxy and how there might be many non-Jedi and non-Sith who trust and believe in the force and believe that everything in life is determined by the force. In a live-action sense, we had not seen anything played out to this extent before Rogue One

The new show The Mandalorian and 2017’s The Last Jedi introduced and have expanded on the idea that untrained beings can also use the Force. First, in The Last Jedi. At the very end of the middle of the sequel trilogy, we see this young boy use the Force. It appears that he is playing as a child would and then gets asked to do some chores and uses the Force to pull a broom towards him to start sweeping, promptly tapping him as “Broom Boy”. There is a lot of assuming on the audience’s part of this claim. It feels safe to say that he is an untrained Force user. There is no Jedi Order at this time and the two Jedi in this film appear to be Luke and Rey and nobody else that could be tagged as a Jedi in the traditional sense. Before Broom Boy, our initial interpretation of those that use the Force was that they were trained to do so either by the Sith or the Jedi. There is also the idea that Leia is also Force-capable in The Last Jedi without much or any Force training. Now, I haven’t read all the comics or books, so it is very possible she does have the training and I am not aware of it, but for the sake of this article, I am assuming she has not had extensive training. 

The Mandalorian which has just recently premiered helps build off the idea of untrained beings using the Force at a high level. During the second episode which you can read more about here, there is a moment where Baby Yoda uses the Force in a herculean fashion. This is the most powerful use of the Force that we have seen from somebody who doesn’t have abundant training in the ways of the Force. Of course, we don’t know what this little, adorable, fifty-year-old creature has been through; but as it stands it does not have any extensive training with the Force. With that assumption, what Baby Yoda does with the Force is it stops and raises a presumably full-grown rhino-like creature running at what can only be assumed as near full speed. To put that in perspective, a full-grown Luke Skywalker with some training could not lift an X-Wing out of a swamp. With the comparison of the two and the raw power that we see in Baby Yoda, it hits home the point of untrained species being able to use the Force without significant training. This also backs up a larger theme that Star Wars seems to be pushing towards, and that’s the idea that anybody can use the Force and a hero can come from anywhere without there being extensive training. Rey has proven this, and Baby Yoda seems to be on this same wavelength in a storytelling sense.

Then there is the sequel trilogy, and specifically The Last Jedi. Whether you love it, hate it, or land somewhere else on the spectrum it is impossible to ignore the impact it has had on how we view the Force. While The Force Awakens had some interesting aspects of the Force, like when Kylo Ren stops a blaster bolt midair on Jakku at the beginning of the movie, but for the most part, the Force isn’t expanded as much compared to The Last Jedi. The first aspect that has expanded the Force is with Luke cutting himself off from the Force. Up until The Last Jedi I cannot recall a character, especially a Jedi cutting themselves off from using the Force. For the first half of the second movie of the sequel trilogy, Luke seems to be completely cut off from the Force to the point that Rey senses that he has done so. This shows that individuals that are Force-sensitive and have been trained in the ways of the Force can shut themselves off from the Force and distance themselves from an aspect that has not been considered among live-action in Star Wars before Disney.

The second part of the Force that expands during The Last Jedi is the ability that Force ghosts can use the Force in the way that Yoda did. It is no mystery that light side Force users have been able to manifest themselves as a semi-physical being and talk to those who are alive. Yoda takes this to the next step and uses the Force like he is alive like Luke by using the Force to make lightning strike the tree that is at the beginning of the Jedi Temple on Ahch-To. As listed before, we see him use Force as he was still as alive as Luke. It begs the question of if all Force ghosts, or alive Force users can use this power or is it just the ultra-powerful ones like Yoda? It also sparks a theory about Palpatine. We know from the trailers and first poster that we know Palpatine will be in The Rise of Skywalker. If he is back in a way where he can use the Force, could he be using the Force to create this big electrical/lightning storm in this final movie of the Skywalker Saga? It also poses that question, could other Force users show up in The Rise of Skywalker to try and fight Palpatine? If these Force ghosts can use the Force in a way like those still alive, I see no reason why they can’t use it to fight in this final movie. Will it happen? Probably not, but it is fun to think about the possibility. 

The final expansion of the Force comes with the existence of Rey and Kylo Ren. In The Last Jedi, we see these two characters intertwined in what can only be described as a Force-Skype session. These scenes where they were connected through the Force were some of my favorites throughout The Last Jedi and I hope there is more of it in the next movie. As we have been told these two characters have been called “the different sides of the same coin” and their destinies are intertwined. This could mean a lot of things, but I think it hints at a bigger idea. Rey and Kylo having this connectedness backs up the idea that the Force controls everyone’s destiny. I also think that is the literal manifestation of the idea that the Force is all things and binds all things. In a cheesy way you say they are the essence of the Force in more of physical manifestation.

It feels that The Rise of Skywalker might expand the Force even more, which would be great to do in this final chapter of this story. I think that Disney has spent a lot of time expanding the Force, and I don’t think there is any intention to stop. The Force has no limits and why would it, or should it? The Force appears to have near unlimited power, and I hope over the next decade of Star Wars books, movies, comics, and TV shows they continue to expand on the possibilities of what the Force can do, and it seems to have unlimited potential.

Start the discussion by clicking on the link to our Discourse forum below or select “forum” via the menu bar above. May the Force be with you!

Will Custer
"We must keep our faith in the Republic. The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” — Queen Jamillia

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