As we “ooh” and “aah” over the latest merchandise from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, let’s take some time to honor the true namesake of the second annual Force Friday. There won’t be any Jedi in Rogue One, but the Force is always strong with any Star Wars story.
Sometimes the Force feels too much like a superpower. You’re probably familiar with its most famous uses: telekinesis (Force push), mind tricks, and especially Force choke. However, Star Wars stories have also included some less common Force usages. Let’s take a look at the weirdest applications of the Force.
Return of the Jedi: Force Kick
This was actually an on-set stunt failure, but it was still pretty hilarious. While escaping form the sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker “uses the Force” to kick one of Jabba the Hutt’s guards. In truth, the stuntman playing the guard was a bit slow on the uptake. Even though it wasn’t an actual Force usage, fans termed it a “Force kick.” Apparently, the Force can be an effective replacement for leg day at the gym.
The Force Awakens: Freezing Blasterfire
In The Force Awakens, dark apprentice Kylo Ren proved he didn’t need his lightsaber to ward off blasterfire. During the First Order’s raid on Jakku, Poe Dameron fires a blaster bolt at Kylo Ren. However, Ren telekinetically freezes Poe’s shot in midair. It was a testament to Ren’s mastery over the Force, but it left some fans scratching their heads.
Are Force-users capable of that much concentration? Moreover, should Ren have been able to accomplish a feat like that? At the very least, that moment pushed the boundaries of fans’ understanding of telekinesis.
The Clone Wars: The Forensics of the Force
Another Force application that seemed a bit far-fetched occurred in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the unfinished episode “A Death on Utapau,” Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi examine the body of the recently deceased Master Tu-Anh. Using the Force, Anakin senses unusual neurological activity in Tu-Anh’s brain. He explains to Obi-Wan, “It’s as if her mind was left…unsettled.”
Should Force-users be capable of that level of scrutiny? Granted, the Force permeates through all life, including the most microscopic aspects of anatomy. Nevertheless, it felt odd that Jedi could perform autopsies in that manner. Perhaps the midi-chlorians have something to do with it, but it was still a bit weird.
Star Wars Rebels: Direct Mind Control
Last week’s premiere of Star Wars Rebels season three included a brutal Force usage. While leading a jailbreak from an Imperial prison, Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger draws upon his growing darkness. Through the Force, he manipulates an AT-DP driver into gunning down his fellow troopers. Ezra then compels the AT-DP driver to pilot his walker off the platform, sending him to his death.
Manipulating one’s enemies into killing each other via friendly fire is purely diabolical. Even aside from his brutal tactics, Ezra’s Force usage presented one of the first depictions of direct mind control in Star Wars. Sure, mind tricks allow a Force-user to influence another person’s actions. But mind tricks require a Force-user to preemptively plant mental suggestions in their subject’s mind. Ezra, on the other hand, controlled his victim’s actions in real time, preserving his mental grip on the Imperial driver for an alarming amount of time.
Should the Force be used for mind control? Star Wars usually uses mind tricks for humorous effect, but mind tricks also have undeniably dangerous applications. Ezra’s ongoing journey on Star Wars Rebels is evidence that the Force can be used in unexpected ways.
As the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano once told Ezra, “In my experience, just when you think you understand the Force, you find out how little you actually know.”