Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now upon us; the reviews are in, and the film looks to be the greatest Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. But we're not here to talk about The Last Jedi. We're here to talk about the Force.
Audiences were first introduced to the concept of the Force in the original Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells us that there exists an all-powerful force throughout the universe that "...surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds that galaxy together." Though fans have been given tidbits of information through the years about the nature of the Force, George Lucas (and now Disney) has intentionally kept its origins and true nature a mystery.
To make matters worse, Disney erased almost twenty years' worth of canon from the Star Wars Extended Universe after purchasing Lucasfilm back in 2013; this means that anything about the Force that wasn't talked about in the live-action films or the Clone Wars TV show pre-2013 doesn't matter anymore!
Now, completely erasing a huge chunk of a universe's canon and replacing it with completely new lore is going to lead to lots of confusion on behalf of casual and diehard fans alike. But we're going to set the record straight.
Here are 15 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About The Force.
15 The Dark Side is Not Purely Evil
We can totally forgive this one. Let's face it, the thing is called the "dark" side and the main characters who use it throughout the course of the Star Wars movies are pure evil. In reality, the dark side of the Force simply refers to Force powers that are brought about through more intense emotions like fear, anger, and passion. There is nothing intrinsically evil about tapping into your negative emotions!
Besides, the old Expanded Universe and the current Disney canon have given us plenty of examples of Force users who tap into the dark side every now and again without going full-blown evil. Qui-Gon Jinn and Ahsoka Tano were known to use the dark side when they deemed it necessary , making them a breed of Grey Jedi who could find the balance between the dark and the light. Even a more traditional Jedi like Mace Windu utilized the dark side in his brutal Vaapad fighting style.
14 Everyone is Force Sensitive
Thanks to quotes like "May the Force be with us" and "The Force is strong with this one," many fans have speculated that, although the Force encompasses all living things, only a select few are able to tap into its power, and that everyone else in the galaxy is a non-Force sensitive.
This is not the case whatsoever. Obi-Wan makes it clear in A New Hope that the Force flows through all living things. We see people like Chirrut in Rogue One, who trusts in the Force although he is never shown to tap into its power directly. Han Solo is another one of these characters; he claims that luck got him this far in life, to which Obi-Wan coyly points out that there is "no such thing as luck."
Though most characters cannot manipulate the Force to their will, they are still guided by and sensitive to its power.
13 Midi-chlorians Don't Create the Force
One of the things that fans hate most about the prequels is the scene in The Phantom Menace in which Qui-Gon Jinn explains midi-chlorians to the young Anakin Skywalker. He tells the future Darth Vader that a person's Force sensitivity can be measured through microscopic organisms in the bloodstream; the higher the mid--chlorian count, the more powerful one is with the Force.
Fans were angry that George Lucas had seemingly ruined the mystery of this mystic and spiritual power by reducing it to no more than a biological phenomenon. However, much of their anger stems from the false belief that midi-chlorians create the Force. In reality, they don't; midi-chlorian counts are a side-effect of Force abilities, not the cause of them.
12 George Lucas didn't invent it
Sure, the prequels George Lucas gave us aren't that great, and he's had some bizarre ideas that needed to be reigned in by the other people working on his films. But the man gave us Star Wars, for crying out loud! Without the mind of Lucas, there would be no Vader or X-Wings or Jedi. The man essentially came up with everything we love so much about the franchise!
One thing that he admits he cannot take credit for, however, is the Force. Lucas claims that he stole the idea directly from an old Samurai film he loved called The Hidden Fortress, in which the heroes could tap in to an all-powerful energy field known as qi.
The ideas were so similar that Lucas pondered buying the rights to The Hidden Fortress just so that he could avoid a copyright lawsuit!
11 Not All Force Users Become Ghosts When They Die
This is one of the most confusing things to casual fans of the franchise. In The Empire Strikes Back we see that Obi-Wan Kenobi has the ability to (almost) return to the world of the living in the form of a Force Ghost. At the end of Return of the Jedi, he is joined by the ghosts of Yoda and the newly-deceased Anakin Skywalker. It's only natural for fans who saw this scene to assume that anyone who was strong in the Force could return as a ghost, right?
Wrong. It is explained in the Clone Wars TV series that the ability to become a Force Spirit is only possible through intensive training. Qui-Gon was the first to attempt this, but he died before he could complete the training; he passed along his teachings to Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin when he returned as a disembodied voice.
10 Luke Skywalker is NOT the Chosen One
This is one of those arguments that has waned since the release of the newer films, it still needs to be made! The Jedi Knights in the prequel trilogy talk much about how Qui-Gon believed Anakin to be the "Chosen One" who would bring balance to the Force. The young Skywalker then turned to the dark side and helped the Emperor slaughter almost every Jedi in the galaxy.
Yeah, it's no wonder that fans didn't believe the prophecy. Instead, some figured that it was actually Anakin's son Luke who was the Chosen One. Obi-Wan revealed that even he though as much in Star Wars: Rebels.
Despite the evidence on the contrary, Lucas has reiterated that Anakin was the one who destroyed the Sith once and for all (he killed Palpatine and himself) and was thus still the one foretold in the prophecy.
9 Not everyone in Star Wars knew about the Force
This is seen as arguably the largest plot hole in the entire Star Wars series. In A New Hope, everybody who isn't Obi-Wan, Luke, or Leia seems to doubt the existence of the Force. Han Solo dismisses the concept, as do the Imperial Officers on the Death Star. But wait a minute... Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope are only twenty years apart. How do people not know about the Jedi who fought in the Clone Wars?
The fact of the matter is that the galaxy is a big place. Even during the height of the Jedi Order, Force Users made up less than 1% of the total population. This means that, unless you had direct dealings with a Jedi/Sith or took it upon yourself to do research on the subject, you probably didn't know much (if anything) about the Force in general.
8 "The Force" is not a universal name
Some argue that it's a little redundant to name an all-powerful force "The Force." It gets even more convoluted when you start to talk about the different types of Force (more on that later) and the different ways in which the energy field can be manipulated or influence the world. Then you get into things like Force Sensitivity and midi-chlorians and your head starts to spin.
What most people forget, however, is that those who follow the Force are part of a religion in the Star Wars universe. Much like our modern-day Abrahamic religions, different sects in Star Wars have different names for the higher power they worship.
The alien species of Lasats, for example, referred to this power as "The Ashla." Many other sentient life forms of the galaxy simply referred to the Force as "It."
7 Inanimate Objects can be Force Sensitive
With a power as great as the Force, you might think it would only manifest itself in the most disciplined and intelligent beings in the universe. Even the most brutal Sith Lords and the most reckless Jedi have shown themselves to be dedicated members of their craft, allowing their training to guide them through the chaos of their endeavors. Everyone is Force Sensitive to some degree, but you have to have some intelligence to access this power, right?
In fact, the Force has sometimes attached itself to completely inanimate objects. The most well-known example of this comes in the form of the Force Trees seen in the Shattered Empire series. These are fragments of the Great Tree from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant that have been replanted and radiate immense Force Power. Rocks, stars, and even landscapes have been shown to be Force Sensitive, as well.
6 The Force doesn't randomly decide lightsaber colors
One of the biggest casualties of Disney scrapping the entire Extended Universe was the lore of the Kyber Crystals. The gems are the core of a lightsaber that give it power as well as its color. In the old EU, the color of your crystal was the color of your saber, period. In the new canon, the crystal starts off colorless and taps into the Force to decide which color the blade will be.
However, this is not some random act of the Force. The color the crystal takes on depends on the person who possesses it. When a Jedi falls to the dark side, the crystal "bleeds" and turns a shade of Red. If a darkside user returns to the side of good, their crystal is purified and turns a neutral white. Otherwise, the blade takes on a color most suitable for its owner's personality.
5 The Jedi were not the first Force Users
There isn't enough space here to get into the complete history of the Force and all of its wielders. Who knows, maybe Rian Johnson's new trilogy will cover some of it. Besides, the rewritten canon means that the entire time period before the Prequels is completely up for debate! All that we know is that the Jedi and the Sith have been locked in an eternal battle for years.
But what if we told you neither faction was the first to tap into the Force? There are a few theories on who was the "first" Force Users: the monk-like Members of the Order of Dai Bendu are a strong candidate, as they predate the Republic by thousands of years. On the other hand, the "Mortis" arc of The Clone Wars introduced us to three immortal Force Users known as "The Ones", who had been around for millennia.
4 There are multiple types of "Force"
Everybody knows the basics about the Force thanks to the teachings of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Qui-Gon Jinn in the films. It is a field of energy that is present in all living things which binds the universe together and can be manipulated by those who are sensitive to it. Pretty straightforward.
However, there are actually multiple types of "Force." First, there is the "Living Force," which is an aspect of the energy that manifests itself in the present and within living beings. Then there is the "Cosmic Force" that derives its energy off of the Living Force and keeps the universe in order. It was the Cosmic Force that caused the "awakening" in The Force Awakens.
Last but not least there is the "Unifying Force," which states that there is no light or dark side and that we must always look towards the future.
3 Anakin Wasn't a Random Miracle
Another major gripe about the prequels is that George Lucas went a little too far with the whole "Anakin as a savior" thing. In The Phantom Menace, Shmi Skywalker tells Qui-Gon that Anakin has no father (implying that he was a virgin birth). The Jedi Master later concludes that the boy was created as a miracle of the Force, and thus was the Chosen One prophesied.
In the now (unfortunately) de-canonized novel Darth Plagueis, it was revealed that Anakin was not a miracle of the Force after all, but rather a long con by Darth Sidious and his master Darth Plagueis to bring down the Jedi Order once and for all.
This is further hinted at in Revenge of the Sith when Palpatine tells Anakin the story of his former master and slyly looks at the Jedi when he says his master could manipulate the Force to create "life."
2 Darth Vader Isn't Exaggerating About the Power of the Force
While Imperial Generals are boasting about the power of the Death Star, Lord Vader remarks that "...The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force." In the following movies... his statement isn't backed up. Like at all. Sure, the Force does some cool stuff, but next to a planet-shattering weapon it looks pretty tame.
Die hard fans will know that what Vader says is actually true. The Sith Emperor who ruled during the Old Republic days had the ability to fuel his power by consuming the energy of all life on a planet using the Force. The ancient Sith Darth Nihilus powered himself in a similar way. Then there was Naga Sadow, a Sith who was able to use his power to rip the core out of a star and make it go supernova at will. Why does Legends get all the cool stuff?
1 "Balance" Does not Mean Equal Number of Jedi and Sith
To this day, there are people who argue that Anakin fulfilled his destiny to "balance" the Force when he turned to the Dark Side; before his fall there were only two Sith and hundreds of Jedi. Thanks to Order 66, there were now an equal number of Jedi as there were Sith in the post-RotS world. Boom, balance.
As Han Solo would say, "That's not how the Force works!" Tell us: Is your body chemistry "balanced" when you've got an equal number of white blood cells and E. coli bacteria? George Lucas himself has said that the Sith were a blight to the Force. Much like a disease in a human body, the Force can only be "balanced" and healthy when the bad stuff is completely eradicated. Hence, Anakin fulfilled his destiny when he killed the Emperor, not the rest of the Jedi!
Do you have any other Force observations that many people miss in Star Wars? Share them in the comments!