Major spoilers for The Last Jedi
While many things about Star Wars: The Last Jedi are likely to trigger debate amongst fans, the addition of some controversial new Force powers is sure to be at the top of the list. The original trilogy gave us a standard set of skills possessed by Force users, including telekinesis, increased agility, enhanced senses, the power to influence minds, and, for some, the generation of intense electrical currents.
Since then, the full range of abilities that Jedi, Sith, and those in between have access to has been expanded upon greatly. Both canon material - books, comics, and TV shows - and the Legends media (formerly the Expanded Universe) have added all sorts of new powers to those who wield the Force, but very little of it has been seen on the big screen.
The new, Disney saga has expanded the Force. Previously the most radical new takes on the Force came when Kylo Ren stopped a blaster bolt in midair during The Force Awakens. However, that was really just an extreme mastery of telekinesis - something Kylo proves he had at a young age during the flashbacks in Episode VIII. The latest entry in the Saga goes much, much further, giving characters like Rey, Kylo, Luke, and Leia skills we've never seen on film. These new abilities could leave many fans to believe that Rian Jonhson is upending Star Wars canon, but each new power seen in The Last Jedi has plenty of precedent in the galaxy far, far away.
Leia Flying In Space (This Page)
Leia's Force Powers
Kylo and Hux's surprise assault on the Resistance escape convoy is full of plenty of shocking twists and turns. None, however, top the alarming scene that almost ends Leia's life - and dispenses with Admiral Ackbar unceremoniously. But just as the audience is catching their breath from the dramatic scene, Leia gathers her remaining strength and uses the Force to pull herself back into the ship and out of the frozen void of space. It's a startlingly moment for a character who has previously only been shown to be sensitive to the Force in more intuitive and emotional ways. Her use of what looks like telekinesis, however, makes good on the original vision for Leia.
George Lucas originally wanted Leia to use the Force whenever Episodes VII-IX came about, and there's certainly evidence of it in the films and beyond. The Empire Strikes Back heavily suggests Leia is meant to become a Jedi, with Obi-Wan saying Luke is their only hope and Yoda replying "No...there is another." It's safe to assume Yoda is referring to the other child of Anakin Skywalker and that Leia has the potential to do everything Luke can given some training.
The Last Jedi doesn't fill in much of the backstory between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, but it's not a stretch to assume Luke taught Leia a thing or two in the intervening decades (she used the Force in Life Debt). If nothing else, Leia's near-death experience could have simple activated her latent abilities. As surprising as the moment was, Leia was destined to wield the Force and it was exhilarating to finally see her do so.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
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