Would it really be a Star Wars article written at this time if Baby Yoda wasn’t mentioned? My guess is no, that cute little guy has sparked much interesting discussion among die-hard Star Wars fans. While I am no stranger to the average Star Wars fan, because I too have the feeling of just wanting to love that little guy, somewhat violently, to death due to how cute it is, I really appreciate what Baby Yoda adds to The Mandalorian and the Star Wars universe. I was expecting The Mandalorian to exclusively be a show about a Bounty Hunter doing exciting things in the Outer Rims, so I wasn’t expecting any significant inclusion of the force. I thought it was going to be rather like Solo: A Star Wars Story where the force either isn’t mentioned or if it is, it is quickly deemed to be a legend or an untrue story. While it is true both Mando and Kuiil don’t know much about what happened when Baby Yoda used the Force, we still get to see Baby Yoda use the Force in a powerful way. And we can actually learn quite a bit about this adorable little freak’s experience using the Force.
While watching Force users duel, I have always had a similar thought come to mind: “why aren’t they just using the Force more?”. Especially in duels with a dark side user, like Darth Vader, I think “why isn’t Vader just using the Force to crush Luke’s windpipe?”. Because we know that Vader has this power and because Luke would essentially have little defense for this (at least little defense as far as I know, Luke had no defense to Palpatine’s lightning attack that’s for sure), Force choking Luke seems like the least risky and most efficient way to win the duel. It would be over in like 15 seconds. I’ve never been able to have a good explanation for why Force users don’t use the force more in duels, but what happens to Baby Yoda after using the Force actually sheds some light on this quagmire.
What we know already is to use the Force, one needs to muster a considerable amount of concentration. We have seen this before as Force users often close their eyes, and we can visibly see on their faces that they are focusing hard as they use the Force. Per the picture above, we see the same thing with Baby Yoda. So, there is a significant mental component to using the Force, but as I said, we already knew this.
However, after using the Force, Baby Yoda shows that it is also physically exhausted. We see this as Yoda tuckers out into probably the most aesthetically enchanting nap of all time (I mean look at him sleep! So cute.). While the intention of the nap may have been to show how fragile Baby Yoda is (despite his powerful Force abilities), it tells us that using the force has a significant physical component to it as well. While we learned from The Phantom Menace that midi-chlorians give one a sort of genetic and biological potential for using the Force, we now know that using the Force depletes some physical resources as well (this is why Baby Yoda had to nap for so long, it had to recover the physical resources that were previously depleted). While we don’t know many specifics regarding what that resource may be (it may be related to midi-chlorians or it could be like any other energy expenditure), just knowing that it occurs is noteworthy.
This is because it helps explain the previously presented issue, why Force users don’t use the Force more while in combat. There are a couple of possible explanations from this new knowledge. Lightsaber duels take up considerable physical energy. Especially when examining duels like the one between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon, the duel was full quick movements, exciting flips, and they covered quite a bit of ground from start to finish so much physical energy was being spent. Because of that, it may inhibit their ability to use the Force because using the Force requires physical energy that they have depleted. Also, because they are physically spent, perhaps Force users choose not to use the Force (by using the Force, I mean Force pushes, pulls, or chokes, not their typical reliance on the Force) when fatigued because it may be too risky. This is because if not effective, it could leave them in an even more fatigued and vulnerable state their opponent could take advantage of. So, it may actually lead to their own demise. Perhaps they choose to rely more on their lightsabers when they duel because it is a less risky approach.
These explanations are of course just speculations, but I really do think that the experience of Yoda using the force helps explain why Force users are not using the Force as much as I think they should in combat. At the least, it is interesting to know that using the Force is physical as well as mental. This addition of knowledge to the Star Wars universe is something that I did not expect from The Mandalorian, but I greatly welcome it and look forward to what else we can learn from the show. I’ll leave you with a final image of Baby Yoda looking adorable while sitting down, because I know I can never get enough of looking at it (I would seriously die for Baby Yoda).
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