The Force is one of Star Wars’ biggest selling points. It’s an amorphous concept that can be used in any way to explain any odd development in the universe. By being broad and undefined, it adds to the mystic nature of the Jedi, and allows writers to work to the very limit of their imaginations. Force users have been able to mind control entire planets, win alone against entire armies, and even survive the vacuum of space. Unfortunately, that undefined nature also makes the Force and its users difficult to define. It leads to a lot of mistakes and exceptions that make sense in the moment, but not in the established lore of the current films or the expanded universe that came before.
In short, the Force is plot convenience used to keep the story moving. It’s a narrative cheat that can be employed when all other ideas are exhausted, but you still need to go forward. The Force has some great uses and concepts behind it, but, when wholly placed in front of you, it’s a flat-out mess.
These are 15 Things That Make No Sense About the Force.
15 The Dark Side
The dark side is a mobius strip of stupidity. Originally, the dark side Force users split from the Jedi because they wanted to feel more emotions— like passion, love and anger. Eventually, like the Jedi, they ended up banning passion and love. So, where’s the freedom? Instead, they focused on gaining power.
So, you go and learn to become more powerful, and then before you get too powerful, one of your coworkers kills you so he can become more power. And he does. Then, before your coworker gets too powerful, another coworker comes over and kills him for the same reason. This has been going on for 20,000 years. The infighting helps to keep their numbers under control, and if worse comes to worse, the Jedi can just show up and deal them another mass murder, as they are wont to do from time to time.
This became such a problem that Darth Bane created the Rule of Two to keep his cohorts from constantly killing each other. Unfortunately, this was also asinine...
14 The Rule of Two
Darth Bane may have adopted the dark side of the Force, but others were born into it—molded by it. They were unable to be controlled, so the Rule of Two was created.
The Rule of Two states that only two Sith members can be around each other at the same time: a Master and an Apprentice. This, in theory, would keeping the infighting and betrayals down. This didn’t work. Instead, as per usual, the Apprentice would eventually kill the Master and then take on an Apprentice of his own, and the cycle would start over.
Since the Sith's number was limited to two at a time, the Jedi had an easier time of isolating and picking them off. No, victory did not end up defeating the Sith prior to the events of The Phantom Menace, it was a combination of Sith stupidity and the zero-sum game that is the dark side.
13 The Light
The light side isn’t all that fun, at least the way the Jedi practice it. They stand for calmness and knowledge, but in order to appropriately wield the light side, knowledge and exploration of the dark side is banned. This seems hypocritical and antithetical to the very concept of the light side. Compassion is highlighted as a key component in the light side, but love is something that is too dangerous, and is considered part of the Dark Side. Of course, compassion and love are intertwined (even in non-romantic love). So, you can feel love, but only certain branches of it, and never a lot of it.
Of course, this interpretation is controversial. Followers of the light side have had difficulty in keeping people on their side. The dark side cropped up from a disapproval of the restrictive way the light side worked, and other Force-using factions that were outgrowths of frustration with the Light rose and fell over the years.
12 "Balancing the Force"
So, the Force needs balancing. The thing that binds the universe together is apparently unstable. That’s good to know.
Anakin Skywalker was meant to bring balance to the Force, but only ended up annihilating the Jedi and then the Emperor. Was this the balance he had to achieve? How is that balanced? Only Luke and Leia remained. Is that it? There should be only one practicing Jedi and no Sith? But then what about evil organizations like the First Order? Do they count in balancing?
Couldn’t a Force Ghost come back and mention to living Force users what would constitute balancing the Force, why it’s important, and if it would stay balanced? If they’re one with the Force they’d probably understand it. If not, couldn’t one of the Force Guardians send out a memo? That would be helpful.
11 The Gray Jedi
The Gray Jedi are caught in between a pair of overly powerful fanatical groups that are only interested in their own success. The Grays, instead, balance the teachings of both Light and Dark side without succumbing to the Jedi’s strict orthodoxy or the Sith’s extremism. They even sometimes used blasters, which both sides eschewed, because blasters are pretty cool and the Sith and the Jedi are old fuddy-duddies.
What doesn’t make sense is why this didn’t catch on. Following the original Je’daii split, there were many factions that developed, yet this order never really took off. As a Gray Jedi, you can feel any moderate emotions, so you aren’t a smug, chaste Jedi, and it doesn’t turn you insane like a Sith either.
10 "Wrong" ways of using the force
This could mean one of two things; either the difference between light and dark is a construct created by those who use the Force, or that the Force needs the constant battle between both sides in order to remain in existence. If the latter is true, it might also mean that the Force is alive, if not sentient.
The Potentium claim that the Force is a power of inherent goodness. By that logic, not even the dark side is evil. This would make the Force something of a god— if not the God of the Star Wars universe. If that’s true— and the Force allows itself to be manipulated in every way— does that mean that this is the ultimate sign of free will? Or does it confirm that everything is predestined, like the Chosen One prophecy? Does that mean that the Force purposely allows all these murders in the battle to bring “balance” so the Force itself can continue to exist?
If so, the Force really sucks, doesn’t it?
You knew this was coming. Just as a reminder, midi-chlorians are intelligent lifeforms living in our blood that connect all living things to the Force, and therefore, all living things to one other. You can respect George Lucas for wanting to define the Force in a more grounded, scientific way, considering its untenable fantasy elements. Unfortunately, just because you use words like “blood,” “cells,” and “microscopic” doesn’t mean this is even remotely scientific. The inherent mysticism and spirituality espoused by Force users doesn’t translate well to hard science. Especially when that science is hippie-dippy crap.
Since not everyone is Force sensitive because of a lack of midi-chlorians, does that mean you could get a blood donation from someone and increase your count? Wait, is that what Lance Armstrong was doing? That’s actually kind of cool.
8 Life and death no longer matter
No, we’re not quoting from the Gospel of Nietzsche. We’re talking about Force Ghosts. Once someone dies and becomes one with the Force, there is a potential for them to come back as ghosts. Of course, this is only if they know the proper technique— which they can probably learn once they become one with the Force, right? Does dying still not get you into the Force club if you’re not technically sensitive to it? The Force is so broad it’s hard to figure out the rules.
Even if Force Ghosting isn’t for everyone— its existence proves there’s something more out there in the ethereal. Wouldn’t the confirmation of an afterlife make this life— full of pain and loss and suffering— an entirely unnecessary experience?
7 Why do people think it’s a superstition?
In A New Hope, the well-traveled Han Solo believes the Force is a myth. The Star Wars timeline makes this ridiculous. The time between the fall of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is only about fifteen years. Going by the movies, comics and TV shows taking place between the fall two stories, there were still Force users operating in the galaxy. Sure, there weren’t many, but their existence was still widely known. Han would be old enough to remember when the Jedi were around, and the very existence of Darth Vader would seem to confirm it.
The Force Awakens has a different problem. Luke was in the process of rebuilding the Jedi when he was betrayed by Kylo Ren. The space between his defection and the beginning of The Force Awakens is less than ten years. You can make the case for Rey being too distant from society to know, but Finn, who grew up around the First Order, would probably know better.
6 The Dark Side isn’t that bad (sometimes)
The Jedi banned certain knowledge and made texts and abilities “illegal.” Force users had to stay on a traditionalist, narrow tract in order to remain on the light side or else they would be labeled “suppressive people” or executed or something. Some Force sensitives didn’t care for the lack of freedom and the rejection of emotion that the Jedi demanded.
Those original dark users of the Force were people who wanted to be free (Darth Gean and Darth Gravid for example). Unfortunately, the Jedi had done well in their Pravda classes— the dark users were totally unaware of the depth of new emotions they would expose themselves to. It overwhelmed them in their unprepared states. It made them violent and dangerous.
Rather than rehabilitate or otherwise help their former friends, the Jedi attempted to exterminate them all. Lovely folks.
5 The Jedi are greater villains
No, we’re not referencing Anakin’s dumb line from Revenge of the Sith. The Jedi have repeatedly been portrayed as the good guys, but it's not so black and white They ban knowledge of the dark side, which utilized “dangerous” emotions like anger, passion, and love. The Jedi preferred to be monk-like; you couldn’t fall in love, form attachments, or be anything other than in control. By banning these things, they ended up creating interest in the dark side, which led to a schism, creating the Sith. Not all of the Sith could handle the influx of new emotion and become evil.
Both sides went to war, and the Jedi were victorious. Of course, instead of imprisoning the Sith, they wiped out as many as they could without even the formality of a trial. They even obtain their youngling trainees by searching out Force-sensitive kids and taking them from their homes "for their own good."
Oh, hey, and remember that time they launched a coup d'état because they didn’t like who was voted in? Yeah, the Jedis are definitely not good.
4 But they’re both bad
Palpatine created the Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. The Jedi trained him and ignored all of the red flags that showed he was unstable, angry, and a likely candidate for dark side manipulation. Of course, the Jedi didn’t believe the Sith were a threat anymore due to their own arrogance, so they let it all happen.
The actions of both sides have allowed for the same war to be raged time and again all around the galaxy over the course of tens of thousands of years. And you know who end up dying or getting enslaved the most? Non-Force users. It’s the regular people whose civilizations crumble, whose lives are ruined because the magicians can’t agree whether they should wear gray robes or black ones. You may think that’s a straw man argument, but keep reading...
3 3. And they’re the same thing
Both the light and the dark side are different sides of the same coin for obvious reasons. Good and evil and all that, but there’s more: they both have arbitrary rules on how to live your life. The dark side is no longer about being free to explore your emotional spectrum and the powers of the Force, it’s about just doing to opposite of the Jedi. Freedom was replaced with being a jerk. They excised love, like the Jedi did, claiming it was a potentially weak emotion. Darth Malgus had a slave who he treated like a wife, and he was not only harried by his fellow Sith for it, but she also became a target for the Jedi. He killed her, perceiving his feelings for her as weakness.
This is the point that the Force users are at: they ban the same emotions for slightly different reasons.
2 There is no such thing as “The Last Jedi”
This is more of a critique of the movie (and The Force Awakens), rather than the Force as a whole. In The Force Awakens, Snoke mentions an awakening of the Force, presumably by the burgeoning powers of Rey.
However, the Force doesn’t really go into stasis. It can’t; it binds the universe, and there are still people out there who are Force sensitives— like Temiri Blagg— whether they know it or not. Given the horrible conditions in which some of these people live, a pushback using their powers makes sense, even if it’s on a smaller scale. The Force didn’t just stop letting Force sensitives exist once Luke had his breakdown. Rey didn’t accidentally start the Force motor again by accessing it.
Even if these people had never heard of the Force, but were using their powers for good, they’d be a branch of the Jedi. Hopefully, without those dumb rules, they’d be better than the Jedi. Either way, the Force didn’t disappear and the Jedi were never in any real danger of going extinct.
1 It's only as powerful as the plot requires it to be
The Force is the ultimate plot device. It’ll hit the magic reset button, so writers can wriggle their way out of whatever narrative dead-end they’ve gotten themselves into, without end the story prematurely.
Luke has used the Force to affect black holes and astral project across the galaxy. Leia used it to survive in and fly through space. Galen Marek used Force telekinesis to safely land a crashing Star Destroyer. The Force can even give you the power to arbitrarily create life, talk to the dead, and have premonitions of the future. And yet, the Jedi couldn’t sense or predict Palpatine’s machinations even as he operated alongside them.
Once you die and become one with the Force, you can project yourself to contact your still-living friends and give them advice, but despite the Force being this universally binding field, you still can’t give them a heads-up on the bad things going on. You just remain as distant and esoteric as ever.
What else about Star Wars' Force doesn't make sense? Let us know in the comments.