Star Wars: The Last Jedi changed the way we think about the Force and the Jedi. There are so many crazy abilities, both in battle and beyond the grave on display in Episode VIII, it’s impossible not to recognize the movie as an evolution of what can be done with the Force on screen and in the Expanded Universe. Both Luke and Leia display shocking abilities that induce gasps among excited fans, as well as those who can’t believe that director Rian Johnson had that much free rein to add so much to our pre-established notions of what Jedi could do with the Force.
But there’s a lot of precedent for the crazy Force powers on display in the movie. In fact, the old Expanded Universe had its fair share of baffling moments brought on by crazy uses of the Force like the galaxy far, far away had never seen. These abilities include everything from one man pulling down a Star Destroyer from the sky to a villain who used ancient Sith magic to hurl stars at his enemies. There’s also a Sith Lord who ate the population of an entire planet by sucking up their energy with the Force. Check out all the overpowered uses of the Force below!
LUKE PROJECTS HIMSELF ACROSS THE GALAXY
The Last Jedi turned out to be a controversial film among the fans of the galaxy far, far away in no small part due to the way Luke Skywalker was portrayed. The Luke of Episode VIII is a broken man who is unwilling to join in the fight against his nephew and the dreaded First Order.
Worst of all, he’s a terrible mentor to Rey and has even cut himself off from the Force.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t get the Luke Skywalker we’d always imagined we’d see on screen after Return of the Jedi. For a few sweet minutes, Luke faced off against a First Order army all by himself. But then came the twist: Luke wasn’t actually on Crait in the flesh. He’d projected himself through the Force from all the way back on Ahch-To. It’s such a crazy power that it cost the Jedi Master his life.
STARKILLER BRINGS DOWN A STAR DESTROYER
When The Force Unleashed was first announced by the now-defunct game developer LucasArts, it was clear what the studio was going for: crazy Force powers and abilities like we’d never seen in the games or movies. Sure, the game’s protagonist, Starkiller, has all the usual Force powers, such as Force Pull and Force Push, but everything was more explosive and insane. This was like the game equivalent of ’90s superhero comic art. It was rock ‘n’ roll!
Take Starkiller’s Force Pull ability, for example. There’s a section in the game where players must use this Force power to bring down a giant Imperial Star Destroyer from the sky! Wonky controls notwithstanding, this section of the game is a bonkers demonstration of how far LucasArts was willing to go with the “Force Unleashed” concept.
THE EMPEROR CONTROLS THE ENTIRE IMPERIAL FLEET
The Emperor made a couple of grave errors during the Battle of Endor, like overestimating the control he had over Darth Vader as he zapped his apprentice’s son with Force Lightning. He also didn’t count on the fact that the Rebellion might actually be able to persevere against the large imperial fleet waiting to ambush the Rebels during the battle. While it’s hard to say how he could have stopped Vader from throwing him off that ledge (perhaps by being more nice to him), there perhaps would have been a better way to manage the fleet.
His death caused the Empire to be completely demolished.
Palpatine was at peak micromanagement during the battle, using a Force power called Battle Meditation to control the entire Imperial Fleet to the point where his soldiers were basically puppets on strings. His death caused the Empire to be completely demolished in the absence of their leader’s great influence.
DARTH NIHILUS FEEDS ON AN ENTIRE PLANET
While Knights of the Old Republic is considered by many to be one of the greatest Star Wars games ever made (and stories ever told), its sequel didn’t quite fare as well, which is a shame since Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has the better villains. Darth Traya, Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus make up a triumvirate of evil that systematically destroys most of the Jedi Order, bringing it to the brink of extinction.
Darth Nihilus was especially powerful and evil. He hungered for Force energy and would “feed” on his victims’ energy in order to satiate his needs. In one instance, he fed on AN ENTIRE PLANET, absorbing an entire population’s worth of energy. He was still surprisingly trim after that.
Ben’s return in The Empire Strikes Back couldn’t be more shocking, appearing to Luke on the ice planet of Hoth to deliver a message. It’s a surprising moment that introduced a whole new way of thinking about the ancient energy that binds all of the galaxy. Force ghosts still play a role in Star Wars movies today, such as when Yoda returned to teach Luke one final lesson on Ahch-To.
More surprising was Anakin’s transformation into a Force ghost.
In terms of the film saga, it’s Qui-Gon Jinn who first tapped into this pseudo-immortality that allowed him to reach out to Yoda and Obi-Wan beyond death. When Ben and Yoda died, they too became Force ghosts. More surprising was Anakin’s transformation into a Force ghost, which seems a bit odd since he didn’t receive any training to allow him to become one with the Force, but anyway…
DARTH BANE CAN DEFLECT RAIN
Darth Bane is one of the most important Sith Lords to ever walk the galaxy. In fact, he was the Sith responsible for establishing the Rule of Two, which basically stated that the evil order should only operate from the shadows and that there could only be a two Sith at a time: a master and an apprentice. His line of Sith was the last (at least in the new canon), coming to an end as Emperor Palpatine tumbled down the second Death Star to his doom.
Bane wasn’t only legendary for his Sith philosophies, though. He was also an incredibly powerful Force user. In a no longer canon novel, it was established that Bane was so quick with a lightsaber that he could deflect torrents of rain from touching his skin. That’s FAST.
DARTH SION WAS A FORCE ZOMBIE
Remember when we said that Darth Nihilus was awesome? Darth Sion is even better. Why? Because he’s basically an angry Sith zombie who can’t be killed. In fact, he’s one of the few Sith in history to not be killed by an assailant. Sion was so powerful in the dark side that he could keep himself from dying from any wound or physical damage.
By the time he’s introduced in Knights of the Republic II, Sion is basically a walking corpse.
Sion’s skin is decaying, the smell of his flesh was almost more devastating than his lightsaber techniques. And yet, Sion was able to hold himself together by channeling his anger and constant agony into dark side energy. When Sion finally did go down, it’s because he decided that he was done fighting. He died with the knowledge that he could not be truly defeated in combat.
SITH LORD NAGA COULD THROW STARS
Before there was Knights of the Old Republic, there was Tales of the Jedi, a comic book series that’s referenced by the game several times throughout its story. These comics explored an even earlier era of Star Wars, showcasing a time when both the Jedi and Sith had massive armies to be reckoned with. In fact, one arc called “Golden Age of Sith” told the story of how the ancient Sith Empire first came into contact with the Republic and how this sparked a galactic struggle for power.
In this story, the Sith Emperor Naga Sadow, in a last desperate attempt to crush his Republic enemies, uses ancient dark magic to hurl the cores of two stars at his enemy, causing devastation unlike any ever demonstrated by a dark side user.
JACEN SOLO COULD SEE THE PAST
Ben wasn’t the first Solo to turn to the dark side and take over the galaxy. In fact, Jacen Solo of Legends canon met a similar fate after countless conflicts and immense loss had led him to the dark side and his Sith legacy. Trained by a resurgent Sith Lord named Lumiya, Jacen embraced his new life as Darth Caedus.
Around this time, Jacen also learned a rare Force ability known as flow-walking.
Using flow-walking, Jacen could travel back in time to spectate major events from the past. At one point, Jacen flow-walked all the way to the night his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, betrayed the Jedi and destroyed the temple on Coruscant. He was able to witness what caused Anakin to fall to the dark side, which further egged on Jacen to join the Sith.
DARTH MAUL SURVIVED BEING CUT IN HALF
Of all The Phantom Menace‘s crimes, killing Darth Maul might be the worst of them. By far the most memorable character in Episode I, this Sith apprentice was literally cut down in his prime by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sliced in half by a lightsaber, Maul went tumbling down a reactor shaft on Naboo. But it turns out this would not be the last time we’d see Maul on screen. In a shocking twist on The Clone Wars animated series, it was revealed that Maul had survived being cut in half and the fall.
Through his incredible connection to the dark side of the Force, Maul managed to land in a trash container in which he was transferred to a hellish junkyard on the planet Lotho Minor. With only half a body, Maul used the Force to survive in a condition which would have killed anyone else.
LEIA SURVIVED THE VACUUM OF SPACE
One of the big questions before the premiere of The Last Jedi was how the movie would handle the death of Carrie Fisher and the subsequent exit of her character. We know now that Episode VIII doesn’t actually address Leia’s exit at all, choosing instead to let our beloved general go out on a high note one last time.
But the sneaky Rian Johnson did manage to fake us out at a pivotal moment in the movie.
During the First Order’s attack on the Resistance fleet, a squadron of TIE fighters led by Kylo Ren unleash havoc on Leia’s flagship, the Raddus. The TIEs launch missiles at the ship’s bridge and Leia is sucked into space, along with poor Admiral Ackbar. She is presumed dead for several minutes until she suddenly wakes up in the vacuum of space and uses the Force to return to the ship!
THE EMPEROR TRANSFERRED HIS SOUL TO CLONES
If you thought the Emperor was down and out after Darth Vader tossed him into the Death Star’s core, you better check yourself. The Emperor got a brand new groove in a comic series called Dark Empire. It’s revealed in the series that, before his eventual death, the Emperor had created a bunch of top secret clone bodies with which to continue his evil antics across the galaxy.
Through the use of an ancient dark side power known as “essence transfer,” Palpatine could transfer his bodiless consciousness into the clone bodies in order to return to the mortal plane. It’s such crazy Force magic that Luke had no choice but to join the Emperor as his apprentice for a brief time until he could figure out how to defeat the Sith Lord once and for all.
DARTH RIVAN TRAVELS THOUSANDS OF YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
Darth Rivan was an obsessive dude, which is what eventually led to his downfall — but it was not how he’d expected. When the Sith Lord learned of the existence of an ancient Sith artifact known as the Darkstaff, he became obsessed with acquiring this “sentient weapon” which had unspeakable power through the Force.
Eventually, though, Rivan came to fear the Darkstaff, certain that it would lead to his own destruction.
His fear of the artifact did not matter much, though, because he eventually got a hold of the staff in a desperate attempt to fight back the Jedi on his tail during a big battle. As he’d suspected, the Darkstaff quickly betrayed Rivan and transported him thousands of years into the future to a different battle where he was slain almost instantly.
BECOME “ONE WITH THE FORCE”
You know how characters on Dragon Ball Z can turn Super Saiyan, which exponentially increases their power levels and abilities? The Jedi had something like that in the old Expanded Universe. Some of the most popular characters in the Legends canon were able to achieve “oneness” with the Force, allowing them to become “extensions” of the ancient energy and completely demolish their enemies.
Luke used this ability, which turned him into a sort of being made of light, in order to fight back the Yuuzhan Vong, a species of alien invaders who were immune to the Force — except in this case. Jacen Solo also used this ability to fight back the aliens. Later, Ben, Luke’s son in the old canon, was able to achieve “oneness.” As if the Jedi needed to be any more overpowered…
If you seriously sit down to think about it, Anakin Skywalker is basically Space Jesus. Immaculately conceived by Shmi Skywalker, it’s clear that Anakin Skywalker is not your average kid with a mushroom cut. When Qui-Gon hears that Anakin was conceived out of thin air, he quickly theorizes that the boy was created by midi-chlorians, the microscopic lifeforms that give Jedi and Sith their Force abilities. Anakin’s midi-chlorian count is so high that Qui-Gon immediately concludes something crazy:
Anakin must be the Space Jesus Jedi who was foretold by old Jedi prophecy.
The Phantom Menace isn’t really known for its subtleties, and turning Anakin into some sort of god child is the most heavy-handed way George Lucas could have gone about bringing a young Darth Vader to the screen. It also doesn’t help that little Ani is annoying as all hell.
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