Star Wars Rebels Explains What Force Ghosts Actually Are

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars Rebels season 4 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Star Wars has always had crazy powers and thought-provoking philosophy as a part of its ethos, but these concepts are always pushed the farthest in Star Wars animation. The most recent addition to the pantheon of crazy things about the Force came from Star Wars Rebels where Ezra accesses a "World Between Worlds" where he's able to manipulate time, temporarily removing Ahsoka from the timeline just before a fateful blow during her duel with Darth Vader, only for her to enter the timeline again, making time travel an official part of Star Wars canon.

What these new episodes of Rebels revealed was not necessarily a brand new addition to Star Wars Force lore, but a deeper examination of ideas presented at various points in the franchise from seeing the future to the time dilation caused by a strong Force presence in places like Dagobah, or the Force Planet and Mortis in The Clone Wars.

Related: Rebels Introduces Franchise-Changing Sci-Fi Plot Device To Star Wars

While time bending craziness has been the biggest focus exiting those episodes, we also learned a lot of new things about he nature of Force ghosts, possibly even revealing some new details that shed light on the ending of The Last Jedi, potentially even giving a hint at what's to come with Luke in Episode IX.

This Page: Force Ghosts Are One Some of the Oldest Lore in Star Wars

Force Ghosts Are One Some of the Oldest Lore in Star Wars

They're often talked about as one of the more mysterious parts of the Force, but they're one of the oldest parts of established canon. Obi-Wan was even yelling at Luke through the Force before telekinesis was introduced in Empire Strikes Back. In fact, the only Force ability that's older is the Jedi mind trick. Even so, exactly how or why certain Jedi have been able to manifest themselves after death and others weren't was left a mystery for a few years.

In the original trilogy, we see Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin all become Force ghosts, so most people believed it was simply what happened when a Jedi died, which was understandable since it happened 100% the time at that point. It wasn't until the prequels when the Jedi are burning Qui-Gon at a funeral as if it's a normal practice that eyebrows started to raise. Not only did Qui-Gon not disappear, but the Jedi had a ritualistic way of handling a dead Jedi body and don't seem too concerned about the fact that he didn't evaporate, suggesting this was the norm.

Related: J.J. Abrams Can Make Sense of Force Ghosts in Star Wars 9

We don't see a Qui-Gon force ghost - or any Force ghost - in the prequels, but we do hear Qui-Gon's voice call out to Anakin when he's murdering Tusken Raiders to avenge his mother. That moment didn't get any immediate explanation but the original screenplay for Revenge of the Sith specified that he learned to manifest after death from a Shaman of the Whills. This would come back into play, although a little differently, in The Clone Wars when Yoda is led by Qui-Gon's voice to the Force planet at the center of the galaxy to learn the same ability from the Force Priestesses.

What did make it into Revenge of the Sith, is Yoda telling Obi-Wan that he learned these abilities, suggesting that both Jedi Masters spend their time in isolation practicing this new talent. It's a great explanation of why this is something new for Jedi, but doesn't explain why Anakin Skywalker was able to do the same when he only returned to the light side at the last moment before his death, yet he still appeared fully formed next to Obi-Wan and Yoda at the end of Return of the Jedi.

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Key Release Dates
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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