Ah, the Force. It’s that nebulous energy that binds every living thing in the Star Wars universe, and it’s also what gives a Jedi (or Sith) their strength. There have been many Force-users throughout Star Wars lore, from the thousands of Jedi around before the fall of the Republic to the multitudes of warriors and wisemen in now-Legends material.
However, whether it be due to their innate connection to the Force, their mastery of a variety of difficult Force techniques, or just their ability to crush opponents in battle, there are some Force-users in the Star Wars movies that can be considered the strongest of an incredibly strong bunch. These Force-users are evaluated both on accomplishment and potential, with greater weight being given to actual deeds-- to those who achieve their full potential. Here are The 18 Strongest Force Users In The Star Wars Movies, ranked from weakest to strongest.
18 Leia Organa
The Force is strong in the Skywalker family; Luke has it, his father has it, and his sister has it. Yes, while Leia is never formally trained in using the Force, her inherent connection to it can be seen manifesting a few times throughout the movies.
In The Empire Strikes Back, we see her sense Luke’s cries for help as hangs at the bottom of Bespin; in The Force Awakens, we see her feel the pain and heartbreak when her beloved Han Solo is killed by their son, light years away. The only other times we really see Jedis feel the pain of others like this is when Obi-Wan feels the cries of those on Alderaan, and when Yoda feels the thousands of Jedi deaths during Order 66. And in each of those cases, they were feeling an overwhelming disturbance in the Force as they were connecting to thousands or millions of people.
The fact that Leia, without any training or substantial knowledge of the Force, was able to connect with people on such an intimate level proves the Force is strong with her, earning her a spot on this list. Who knows what she could’ve done if she invested time in training with Luke instead of leading the Resistance?
17 Kit Fisto
Kit Fisto is an easy Jedi to distinguish based on the long green tentacles from his head, but he was also distinguished as a reliable combatant in the Jedi Order. He was present for the Battle of Geonosis, where he used the Force to dispose of several droids – one of which bearing the unfortunate head of C3PO. Kit is also special in that his Nautolan physiology allowed him to comfortably fight fully submerged in water – a feat seemingly rare amongst other Jedis.
More than that, Kit Fisto was a capable fighter throughout all the Clone Wars, at one point even managing to fend off the infamous Jedi slayer, General Grievous. Finally, Kit Fisto was one of the three Jedi that Mace Windu considered powerful enough to join him in arresting soon-to-be Emperor Palpatine. And while Kit Fisto died in the skirmish like the rest, it’s worth recognizing that t he was able to hold his own against the mighty Sith lord longer than Mace Windu’s other two allies.
With a large head and a mind big enough to fill it, Ki-Adi-Mundi was one of the more vocal members on the Jedi Council. His complex brain often left him as one of the most skeptical thinkers among the Jedi, but also meant he had a knack for advising his fellow Jedi as well as an eye for battle tactics.
Mundi was one of the more accomplished of the Jedi generals in the Clone Wars, taking part in several different campaigns and fearlessly leading troops into battle. The Force could be seen flowing through him most clearly in regards to his heightened reflexes and sense of awareness, which allowed him to detect the betrayal of his soldiers during the execution of Order 66. He was able to then admirably defend himself against the entirety of his battalion, but in the end, the wise Jedi Master was unable to prevent his doom.
15 Jocasta Nu
If one is to take the phrase “knowledge is power” literally, then a librarian would be mighty indeed. Especially if that librarian is a Jedi, and the knowledge is of the Force. Before the collapse of the Republic, Jocasta Nu was the chief librarian of the Jedi Archives as well as the master of the precious Holocron Vault. Whether a Jedi needed information about a planet in the galaxy, or they wanted access to ages-old teachings in the Force, Jocasta was able to provide it.
She might not have been winning battles and crushing opponents, but think about how much of the Force Jocasta Nu must have known about. Techniques, abilities, forms, difficulties, practices, customs – a vast collection of information spanning across at least a millennium, and all of it was inside Jocasta Nu’s head. She was by no means at Yoda’s level of wisdom, but with her vast levels of knowledge, Jocasta Nu had an undoubtedly strong connection to the Force.
14 Plo Koon
While often nothing more than silent and imposing in the films, throughout the Clone Wars, Plo Koon is shown to be one of the most capable Jedi Masters in the Order. His telekinetic powers were beyond many others. He was able to lift and manipulate objects without even looking at them. And while it may or may not be considered canon anymore, Plo Koon is noted to have special Force techniques such as making small changes to his environment and even shooting out his own Electric Judgement attack – a Light side analog to the infamous Sith lightning.
However, the limits on his exploits prevent him from rising any higher on this list. It really is a shame we don’t get to see more of him in the films, as the legends surrounding his power are often impressive. We are left only to wonder what kind of fight he would have put up during Order 66 if he were on the ground with a lightsaber instead of shot down out of the sky.
13 Darth Maul
The horns, the dual-bladed lightsaber, the painted face – all of them amount to a terrifying figure that really puts the menace in Phantom Menace. While not as powerful in the Force as his master, Darth Sidious, Darth Maul was nonetheless a fierce combatant. Maul complemented his frenetic staff style of fighting with aggressive uses of Force telekinesis and Force-fueled acrobatics, letting him relentlessly put the pressure on his opponents. It proved so effective, that it allowed him to fight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn at the same time, and wind up killing the latter.
However, his one fatal flaw was his overconfidence and a tendency to torture his victims, which gave Obi-Wan ample time to gather his strength and cut the Sith lord in half. But through a combined force of will and, well, Force, Maul was able to survive his bisection and continue to battle against Jedi and Sith alike throughout the Clone Wars and beyond.
12 Asajj Ventress
Star Wars: The Clone Wars may not have impressed too many people at the box office, but at the very least it gave us the chance to see Asajj Ventress on the big screen. As Count Dooku’s apprentice, Ventress was constantly terrorizing Republic forces during the Clone Wars – able to slip in, devastate and then escape the fray all thanks to her cunning and ferocity. She’s clashed with many Jedis throughout the Clone Wars, constantly giving Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi ,and Ahsoka Tano runs for their money.
Ventress was exceptionally skilled at using the Force to enhance her speed and leaping ability, letting her confuse and evade multiple opponents at once as well as make great leaping strikes with her double lightsabers. She was never truly inducted into the ranks of the Sith, and thus was unable to meet her higher potential. But even then, the amount of terror Ventress was able to instill in many Jedi hearts is proof enough of her skill in the Force.
11 Qui-Gon Jinn
Qui-Gon Jinn was an accomplished fighter and master of the Jedi mind trick, but it’s his wisdom that allows him to be regarded as a powerful Force user. At a time when most of the Jedi Order was concerned with its dogma regarding how one learns about and interacts with the Force, Qui-Gon Jinn was an ardent believer in the sanctity of the Living Force. He believed in the power of the energy that pervades all living things, and in the importance of living in the present moment. It was this system of belief that lead him to finding the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker, and later, pioneer the ability to merge one’s Living Force with the Cosmic Force and become a Force ghost.
Though it may not seem like much, becoming a Force ghost is a tremendous feat, requiring intense commitment to the light side of the Force. Qui-Gon then passed down his knowledge to Yoda and Obi-Wan, letting them merge with the Force themselves and continue to guide Luke on his journey. If it weren’t for Qui-Gon’s abilities with the Force, it’s safe to say that the fate of the galaxy would have been radically different.
10 Ahsoka Tano
While just a plucky Padawan when we first meet her in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano goes on to prove herself as a capable warrior and Force user throughout her years in the Clone Wars and the beginnings of the rebellion. As Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, it is often noted how quickly Ahsoka is able to learn the ways of the Jedi, with Anakin remarking about how often he forgets her age due to the advanced nature of her abilities.
She displays great strength in telekinetic abilities when rescuing Anakin during the battle of Christophsis. In battle, she’s able to hold her own fighting against enemies like Asajj Ventress and General Grievous, and later in life, even Darth Vader himself. Through a combination of her valorous deeds, her survivability against stacked odds, and the impressive pace at which she is able to learn the ways of a Jedi, it is clear that Ahsoka Tano is one of stronger unsung users of the Force.
9 Kylo Ren
One might want to dismiss Kylo Ren as a weaker opponent after his temper tantrums and defeat in The Force Awakens, but just remember how formidable Kylo proves himself to be in the first half of the movie. He’s able to invade people’s minds, see their secrets, and torture them within their own heads, as we saw him do so brutally to Poe Dameron. Then there’s his ability to freeze people in place, and even keep a blaster shot frozen in the air! Not even his idolized Darth Vader was able to do that. Both of these powers feel unique to Kylo, and display the great talent for the Force that must have attracted the attention of Snoke in the first place.
Sadly, Kylo’s unhinged nature is his greatest flaw. His inability to prevent his emotions from taking over causes him to be defeated by someone with far less experience, and prevents him from reaching a higher spot on this list. He still has yet to complete his training, however. In due time, he may yet be able to rise to the strength of Darth Vader, as he is so desperate to do.
Rey shows arguably the greatest potential of any Star Wars hero we’ve met to date. With only an inkling introduction to the Force, she’s able to pull off a Jedi mind trick, pull the Skywalker lightsaber to her and makes the Force to flow through her to defeat Kylo Ren. These are feats usually only exclusive to Jedi who’ve spent months, if not years, perfecting proper technique. The fact that Rey is able to do them so naturally is proof that she has an incredibly powerful connection to the Force.
There is still a lot we don’t know about Rey, like why her Force abilities are so potent, why the Skywalker lightsaber calls out to her, and if her family is as strong in the Force as she is. Also as of Episode VII, while her potential is great, her actual exploits aren’t yet as impressive as others in the Star Wars universe. But by the time we see Episode IX, don’t be surprised to see her closer to the top.
7 Mace Windu
Mace Windu is an interesting case when it comes to Force ability. While the Jedi master is most known for his unparalleled lightsaber dueling, those same lightsaber skills are the very reason why he’s also a master of the Force. See, Mace is a practitioner of a very rare and complex lightsaber form called Vaapad, which involves a Jedi entering a state of mind where they skirt on the edges of the dark side in order to drive their strikes with unmatched ferocity and unpredictability. And to stay in this state of mind without outright succumbing to the dark side requires a constant, concentrated stream of Force usage. So while most Jedis have the Force flow through them instinctively, whenever Mace is fighting, he’s actively using the Force at his utmost ability throughout every second.
Mace was the only Jedi to master this art, which would end up earning him a spot on the Jedi Council at an incredibly young age, as well as allow him to defeat Palpatine in a duel – a feat accomplished by no one else on this list. Unfortunately, this skirting around dark emotions such as anger and a lust for battle brought about his downfall, as he moved to execute Palpatine instead of follow the Jedi doctrines of nonviolence and fair trials. This helped prompt the conflicted Anakin Skywalker to strike out and disarm him, letting Palpatine get the upperhand and sending Mace Windu to his doom.
6 Count Dooku
Though not as imposing as Darth Maul or Darth Vader, Count Dooku remains as one of the mightier Force users in the Star Wars films. Dooku was an accomplished Jedi, having served as one of Yoda’s Padawans and as a teacher to Qui-Gon Jinn, before going on to further increase his knowledge of the Force by joining up with Palpatine.
Dooku is a formidable fighter, able to best the combined efforts of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, and then hold his own against the Jedi master Yoda. But what makes Dooku stand out amongst the other Force users is that he is the only person other than Palpatine in all the movies to master the art of Sith lightning. It is a devastating ability that only a powerful lord of the Sith can muster, so it, in some ways, puts Dooku at a caliber of Force usage that not even Darth Vader was able to reach. So on the outside, he may appear as just a suave nobleman, but deep down, Dooku is one of the few characters in Star Wars to delve into some of the darkest powers of the Force.
5 Obi-Wan Kenobi
There’s a reason why Obi-Wan Kenobi is the hero Leia tries so desperately to enlist in Episode IV. He used Force-enhanced reflexes and agility to slay the deadly Darth Maul and General Grievous — both opponents infamous for their Jedi slaying. Obi-Wan is also a master of the Jedi mind trick, bending the wills of many weaker minds throughout his years. His telekinetic powers are worth mentioning as well, which he used to dispatch many a droid throughout the prequels as well as match Anakin’s on their great duel on Mustafar. And as he warns Darth Vader when they duel again, upon being struck down, he became more powerful than the Sith Lord could imagine, by merging with the Force.
It can be said that, of all the Jedis to manifest themselves as Force ghosts, Obi-Wan has the greatest mastery of it. He’s able to show up on several occasions to continue guiding Luke on his journeys, and even in The Force Awakens, he calls out to Rey in her vision and tells her, “These are the first steps.” With his honed fighting abilities and continued existence as a sentient part of the Force, Obi-Wan Kenobi definitely deserves his spot amongst the top 5 Force-users in Star Wars.
4 Darth Sidious
The big bad boss, Emperor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, is a deadly foe to all that is good in the galaxy. For years, he was able to cloud the visions of the Jedi Council, baffling even the wise Yoda, thus allowing Palpatine to work from the shadows. In Revenge of the Sith, we see him slay several Jedi in their attempt to arrest him, and then we see him brutally defeat Yoda by bombarding him with Sith lightning attacks and chucking council platforms like they were made of paper. His signature lightning strikes were so powerful that they brought Luke Skywalker to the brink of agonizing death and left Darth Vader so weak that he actually did die shortly after enduring it.
However, while his abilities with the Force are terrifying, most of Palpatine’s power and influence should be attributed to his abilities to manipulate people. He was still defeated by Mace Windu in a duel, and in the end, the emperor could not prevent Darth Vader from sending him into the abyss. Thus despite his reign of terror, Palpatine doesn’t quite reach the top 3.
3 Luke Skywalker
As the new hope and prototypical monomythic hero himself, Luke Skywalker is a man whose personal journey is one heavily tied to his growing connection to the Force. As a farmboy turned rebel in A New Hope, Luke displays his first great Force feat by turning off his targeting computer and guiding his own proton torpedos down the exhaust port to destroy the Death Star.
In Empire Strikes Back, Luke goes on to train under Jedi Master Yoda, learning techniques in a matter of weeks that some Jedi took years to master. By the time we see him then in Return of the Jedi, Luke is shown to be an incredibly powerful Jedi Knight, able to Force choke and mind trick his way into Jabba’s palace and then use his Force-enhanced agility to take on the rest of the Hutt's minions. His power is so great that he is then able to defeat Darth Vader in a duel by briefly tapping into his rage.
However, as a true Jedi, he refuses to tap into the dark side, enduring the emperor’s Sith lightning in order to bring his father back to the light. Luke’s multitude of abilities, the speed at which he acquired them, and his unbreaking conviction in the light side of the Force prove him to be one of the strongest Force-users in the galaxy.
The Force is his ally, and what a powerful ally it is. Yoda was the last leader of the Jedi Order, and one of the only Jedis to survive the great purge of Order 66. He taught countless Padawans over the course of his near-millenium lifespan, including the likes of Count Dooku and Luke Skywalker. Everyone remembers the first time they saw this master raise up an X-wing from the depths of a Dagobah swamp, and throughout all of the prequels, we saw further exploits of his strength.
Yoda was a master at redirecting his opponent’s attacks; able to lift, hold, and throw objects of great size thrown at him by Dooku and Palpatine. More than that, he’s the only Jedi to date with the ability to stop a barrage of Sith lightning with his own hands and then send the energy right back to its sender. In his final moments, Yoda once again proved his great connection to the Force by merging with it and becoming a ghost. It is said that the hallmark of truly knowing something is being able to teach it, and given the hundreds of years he spent imparting his wisdom, it’s safe to say Yoda is the wisest master of the Force to date. There’s only other being in the galaxy with a stronger connection to the Force...
1 Darth Vader
Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One, prophesied to bring balance to the Force and bearing the greatest potential of Force power in any being in the galaxy. Throughout his life, he proved himself capable in all things, whether it be racing, flying starships, or dueling, and no doubt the Force ran through him in all these endeavors. He was one of the most effective commanders during the Clone Wars, leading many offensives and even ending Count Dooku single-handedly.
And though he was confined to the mechanical suit soon after becoming Darth Vader, he was still the most feared being in the galaxy. As the emperor’s enforcer, Vader has gone on to quell entire rebel battalions all by himself, armed only with a lightsaber and his devastating command of the Force. Though some mock his old sorcerous ways, nobody can deny the power of his signature Force choke ability – especially when he was able to do it through a video call!
But ultimately, Vader cemented his top spot with his final moments. Not only was he able to endure devastating Force Lightning and kill the emperor, but he also swung back to the Light Side of the Force. Anakin was able to redeem himself and connect with the Force so effectively, that he too became a Force ghost, despite the rigorous practice Obi-Wan and Yoda needed to do it themselves. From prophesied Jedi warrior, to a most imposing villain, to a hero yet again, Darth Vader proves himself to truly be the most powerful Force user in all of the Star Wars movies.
We'll learn more about the true strength of some of these Force-users in Star Wars: Episode VIII, out on December 15, 2017.