The recent The High Republic panel at New York Comic-Con seemingly indicates that Disney, Lucasfilm, and Star Wars will completely redefine the Force.
During the panel, host Susana Polo details that she was informed by Lucasfilm Publishing’s creative director Michael Siglain that the Force is actually perceived differently by different Jedi.
Author Charles Soule decided to explain just how this works.
He began, “One of the first Jedi we meet in Light of the Jedi, which is the novel that I am writing for The High Republic that kicks it all off on January 5th, is a Jedi Master named Avar Kriss.”
“And she is very instrumental to the way the Jedi respond to and deal with the Great Disaster. And sort of helps to coordinate everybody and make sure they are able to do their best whether they are Republic personnel or Jedi or whoever they are,” he continued.
Soule then goes on to detail how Kriss perceives the Force, “She perceives the Force as basically as music. She calls it the Song of the Force. And so for her, all the different Jedi have their own tones and instruments and it all comes together into this great symphony of dissonance and assonance and all these beautiful things that she is able to perceive the way the Force connects all things as music.”
“But through the manuscripts we see that other Jedi also have their own way of relating to the Force. Because the Force is obviously an energy field that binds and connects all things as Yoda describes it, but that’s Yoda’s perception of it,” Soule stated.
He continued, “Whereas Beryago, who is a Wookie Jedi, he’s a Wookie Padawan that we also meet in Light of the Jedi, he sees the Force as a great forest because he’s obviously from Kashyyyk and he’s a forest being so he sees himself as one leaf on a great tree that’s part of a great forest that’s part of a great world that’s all just all interconnected.”
“So those are just a few, but we really have tried to lean into the idea that every Jedi has their own connection to the Force and that allows them to experience in their own way, which has really been great for the storytelling I think,” he concluded.
Justina Ireland would go on to describe how her character Vernestra deals with The Force, “For Vernestra, she sees herself as a small stream in a stream that flows into a river which flows into a sea. And that for her the Force is this idea of all these differentiated, different waters coming together into the crater.”
“I think that’s one of the things that’s kind of cool about dealing with so many Jedi is we don’t get that one perception of what the Force looks like. So for each of them it’s a very personal connection, which you kind of would think it would be. But it’s also great because it’s fun because you can kind of foreshadow some character arcs a little bit with how they see the Force as well,” she added.
Cavan Scott then chimed in saying, “It’s definitely true for Keeve. She sees the Force as a tapestry. This massive work of art that spreads across the universe full of different threads and sort of the warp and the weft of the galaxy.”
“The thing for Keeve is she’s yet to find her own thread in that and so she can feel overwhelmed by stepping back and seeing the big picture and not seeing how she fits into it,” Scott adds.
Daniel Jose Older then stated, “Similarly with Lula right. She’s a Padawan. She’s learning so much about The Force and there’s the deep kind of philosophical side of the Force and there’s the training and the combat and all the other levels.”
“What she knows is that she wants to be the best and figure out how to excel in every possible way. And she loves the Jedi Order and so she sees it as a mountaintop. And she sees the Force as somewhere to get to, to get better at and better at. But what’s cool about telling these long-form stories that’s an ever-evolving thing. Her relationship to the Force and to her fellow Padawans and Force users is growing and changing as she goes on different adventures so we get to see that evolve with her as she grows,” he detailed.
Claudia Grey then adds, “With Reath, one thing about him is that he’s not as strong in the Force as many Jedi are. He made the cut, but he has to work a little harder than some do. I guess I would say if he were going to picture it the thing that comes to mind for me would be sort of a spider web.”
“In some ways it’s very strong, in some ways it’s very delicate and can be difficult to see. For him that’s something that he really has to search out, but he is very dedicated to, finding the patterns,” Grey concluded.
Soule then adds, “I think the thing that’s worth sort of mentioning about this whole thing idea is that it’s not like every Jedi has their own sort of special… It is and isn’t. But basically the idea is that the Force is very small and personal, but it is also very large and immense and it encompasses all things.”
“And so it just sort of emerged naturally that the Jedi that we meet, that we get close to would all have their own way of interacting with it and understanding the Force. The fact that we can all come up with so many different metaphors for it speaks to how powerful the idea of the Force really is. It is small going to big to all of these connections. It’s pretty great,” he concluded.
It’s not great for fans of Star Wars. And it definitely didn’t emerge naturally. Star Wars is indeed a human creation and the changing of the Force is done by human measures. It wasn’t done naturally.
However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Star Wars has slowly been chipping away at how the Force works through films like The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
Some brief examples include Rey’s use of the Force without any training whatsoever, Rey’s ability to use Force Lightning, a Dark Side ability, without any training in the Dark Side, and the introduction of Force Healing.
However, the biggest change to the Force occurs in The Last Jedi when Rey claims that Luke Skywalker cut himself off from the Force.
This idea of being able to cut yourself off from the Force would be reinforced in EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game, where they reveal that Cal Kestis has somehow damaged his connection with the Force.
Kestis tells former Jedi Cere Junda, “I survive, but… My connection to the Force is damaged. When I meditate, if I let my guard down…I lose control.”
The game further embraces this idea of cutting yourself off from the Force when Cere Junda reveals she too has cut herself off from the Force. When Kestis asks her why she is no longer a Jedi, she responds, “I had an experience that changed my perspective. So I cut myself off from the Force.”
Not only did they introduce cutting yourself off from the Force, but they also introduced Force Suppression in the Kanan Jarrus focused novel, A New Dawn. The book makes clear that “when the Force, tired of being suppressed, would sneak back like an ignored pet.”
As astute Star Wars fans know, both Force Suppression and cutting yourself off from the Force are impossibilities. And you only have to look to how Obi-Wan explained the Force to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars Film.
Obi-Wan states, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.”
We learn more about the Force in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode “Destiny.” In this episode it is revealed that the Dark Side of the Force or the manifestation of fear dwells within every single being.
This point is made very clear when Yoda has to defeat the physical manifestation of his own Dark Side. He does so by stating, “Part of me you are, yes. Power over me you have not. Through patience and training it is I who control you. Control over me you have not. My Dark Side you are. Reject you I do.”
That episode also clearly details that the Living Force and the Cosmic Force are constantly renewing each other. The Cosmic Force feeds the Living Force and when life dies it feeds into the Cosmic Force.
This idea was first shared in The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda discusses the Force with Luke. He tells him, “My ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here. Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes, even between the land and the ship.”
So, I’m not sure how you could cut yourself off from something that penetrates you, or how you could even suppress it, given it is so essential to not only being alive physically, but also spiritually and cosmically. Nevertheless, Disney and their new version of Lucasfilm has gone out of its way to make it so.
And now they want to fundamentally remake what the Force is with each Jedi character they are focusing on in the High Republic having their own different view of the Force and how it works.
In fact, they appear to be embracing an idea that you can be outside of the Force as seen with Cavan Scott’s comments about Keeve, seeing the Force as a tapestry, but being outside of that tapestry. It’s nonsense that contradicts what we know about the Force.
It also seems to undermine George Lucas’ vision of the Force. While talking with James Cameron for his book James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, Lucas described his vision of the Force.
He explained, “[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.”
“Back in the day, I used to say ultimately what this means is we were just cars, vehicles for the Whills to travel around in … We’re vessels for them. And the conduit is the midi-chlorians. The midi-chlorians are the ones that communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in a general sense, they are the Force,” Lucas added.
Now, it’s possible these Whills could manifest themselves differently depending on who they are communicating with. They could manifest their presence as music or a forest, but how the Force fundamentally works would not be changed.
However, the way the High Republic authors appear to be selling this new idea of the Force is that anyone can see the Force the way they want to see it and manipulate it how they want to manipulate it.
YouTuber OG Star Wars explains, “The Force is going to be experienced very differently. And its going to be turned into a diverse way everybody experiences instead of it being one constant energy.”
She later adds, “When you look into the lore, there is the midi-chlorians…it gives us a basic structure on how beings experience the Force through their own body. So, now it’s all in the mind. So you love music, so now everybody…the Force is music to you. You are from a planet full of trees like Kashyyyk, so now you perceive the Force as that. Instead of the Force being taught in one harmonious that connects and makes sense to everybody that links everybody together into the Force.”
And if that’s the case, it’s no longer the Force is it? It’s just soulless Disney magic.
What do you make of these comments from the High Republic authors regarding the Force? Does this sound interesting to you?