SWNN Staff Round Table: A Discussion on the Nature of the Force

LukeWe’ve all done it. As fans of Star Wars, at some point in your life you’ve probably had a conversation like this. You are sitting around with a few of your friends talking about some minor aspect of one of the films and before you know it you’ve gone down the rabbit hole into a multi-hour philosophical debate over the minutiae that only us intense fans care about. You ramble, you change topics, you make some great points, and some not so great points, and then you look back and say, “what the hell just happened to the last few hours of my life?”



Well that is exactly what happened in a conversation between some of our staff members last week. A seemingly simple question turns into a long, in-depth, conversation about the nature of the force and ends with many open ended questions that could continue the conversation on indefinitely. So, in this slow news season as we await the return of Rebels and the release of Rogue One, we thought we’d share it with you so you could continue that conversation. Maybe you are bored of being stuck inside waiting for the summer heat to fade. Maybe you are desperate for any Star Wars content during the slow approach to the upcoming releases. Or, maybe you just like a good old fashioned Star Wars discussion.


If any of those describe you, take a read below and continue the conversation in the comments. As a word of warning, just like any conversation in this vein, it is long, it is rambling, and not always as coherent as it seemed in the moment, but it is real. There is no news here, no super secret spoilers slip out, and no new information is divulged, so if it is not your thing feel free to skip on past this one, but for those of you who may be looking to take a deep dive into the murky depths of Star Wars fandom, have a read and continue on in the comments.


Anakin Skywalker



Just a question for the staff here;

Does anyone think that we’ll get to see a “Force Ghost Anakin” in this trilogy?


Hard Case:

I’d put money on Yoda showing up. Anakin is more likely than Obi-Wan I think, but I’m skeptical on the likelihood that either of them will make an appearance due to Guinness being dead and Christensen having taken somewhat of a hiatus from acting.


Viral Hide:

What hiatus?

Hayden Christensen Joining Bruce Willis in ‘First Kill’ (Exclusive)



My thoughts after I saw this news yesterday is that there are three main possibilities here. The story about Hayden is very reminiscent of Mark Hamill taking the roles in Kingsman and The Flash pre-ST. Sort of a combination of knocking the rust off after a long hiatus and proving to Lucasfilm that he still has a bit of gas left in the tank and not to worry. Whether that is true or not, I guess we’ll see in VIII since he didn’t really have anything to do in VII.

I think the most likely scenario is that his agent, after getting laughed out of the casting room over at Lucasfilm when saying “hey, why isn’t my guy playing Vader in RO?” pressured Hayden to get some work on his resume so that can get some of this money Disney is going to be printing because of Star Wars over the next few years. They know there will be countless opportunities to do some work here, be they in movies, TV, voiceover, etc…so that agent has to be extremely frustrated owning the man behind one of the most iconic characters in the franchise, but who’s role in said franchise has been poisoned by criticism and his client’s subsequent retreat from Hollywood.

Alternatively, it could be that Lucasfilm needs him for IX and asked him to go rev up the engines elsewhere. I’m sure Disney would not prefer actors coming in cold like that, especially with so much money riding on it and Hayden’s past critical reception in the role.

Lastly, and I think least likely is, Hayden already filmed a cameo for VIII, and this is his agent trying to fan the flames in advance of VIII stoking the last dying ember of Hayden’s career. This may be his one chance to jump back in with a small, and hopefully quality, performance in the biggest movie of 2017.


Force Ghosts



Count me among those cranky old bastards who want Anakin and Hayden kept as far away from the sequel trilogy as possible.

IMHO, Lucas permanently screwed up that character by portraying him as a bitchy, foot-stamping boy-band refugee who was easier to con than a little old lady with a televangelist obsession. I’ve seen more than enough of him to last me six lifetimes and then some. Last thing I want is to see him d*uche-ing it up all over Episode VIII or IX, even as a ghost.

Truth be told, the whole notion of Force ghosts persisting for over 30 years strikes me as a bit odd to begin with. Seemed to me that Obi Wan’s, Yoda’s and Anakin’s task was done at the end of ROTJ, and I always thought that Tim Zahn got it exactly right in Heir to the Empire when he had Obi Wan’s ghost fade away once and for all after a decade or so.

But even if there is a Force ghost presence in Episode VIII, it makes far more sense for it to be Yoda. The impression I got of Kylo Ren’s “communing” with his grandfather in TFA was one of a deluded and rather disturbed young man gazing at the melted helmet of his grandfather and “hearing” what he wanted to hear from a spirit that existed entirely in his imagination.

Given that Kylo Ren is convinced that the spirit of his grandfather was showing him the ways of the dark side, the alternative would be that Anakin never really turned back from the dark side, which would make absolutely everything about Luke’s OT journey completely and utterly pointless.

So not only do I hope not to see Anakin in the ST due to my own personal preferences, but I also hope we don’t see him there for purely story-related reasons.

Yoda, I could live with. Anakin, not so much.


Hard Case:

I totally see your point and get where you are coming from with the example of how Zahn handled the Force ghosts. However, I feel that the line from Yoda about an old friend discovering the “path to immortality” in ROTS kind of negates the idea that a Force ghost would fade away over time. The word immortality carries with it a sense of the eternal. But I understand as a fan not wanting to see Hayden pop up in the ST. I’m just saying that with the established canon and continuity it is entirely possible.





Well, there is that. However, also bear in mind that Qui Gon himself was apparently unable to appear directly to Yoda or Obi Wan. Yoda had to teach Obi Wan how to reach out and commune with Qui Gon. So what also appears to be canon is that the “immortality” of retaining one’s identity after death does not necessarily mean that one will always have the ability to manifest themselves before the living.

In Anakin’s case, there’s also the added wrinkle that since he did not know of the techniques that Qui Gon taught Obi Wan and Yoda, it stands to reason that Obi Wan and Yoda must have actively helped Anakin to retain his identity after death, rather than Anakin doing it himself. So, working on his own, is he going to have as solid a hold on that conduit between life and death that Obi Wan and Yoda have? Doubtful.

And again, there’s the obvious story flaw here… if a ghostly Anakin is teaching Kylo Ren the ways of the dark side, then his redemption in ROTJ, shaky as it always was to begin with, goes away completely.



Not saying I agree with the choice to include an Anakin ghost, but the concept as they presented it I believe made it so “Vader” and “Anakin” were two different entities in presentation to the living. The midichlorians presenting themselves as both the redeemed Jedi Anakin to Luke and the fallen Sith Vader to Kylo.

I’m not a huge proponent of the return of Anakin, but I’m also not completely against it. But it does play into my own personal theory that the force ghosts are more a power of the living Jedi communing with the force and calling forth the personified presence less than a ghost who wanders the earth permanently.

In this case, Kylo would call forth Vader to speak to him and Luke would call forth Anakin. Qui-Gon’s teachings only enable this process, not initiate it, and that is why Obi-Wan needed to be trained to contact him.





When you say “the concept as they presented it”, do you mean that the Story Group or another LFL representative has mentioned this? Or are you talking about the schizo-Anakin concept as seen in The Art of TFA?

To me, this seems unnecessarily complex, and IMHO it tends to go against some basics that have been in place from the very beginning – namely, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

To me, that doesn’t sound like he’s saying that some cellular-level force critters will be able to use his image and voice to communicate with the living – it sounds a lot more like Obi Wan himself will be able to do that.

Granted, at first I did ponder the notion that perhaps the energy that embodied the Vader persona might imbue material objects that were important to Vader during his life (his armor, his lightsaber, etc.) in the sense that “Vader” was a coarse type of Force energy that Anakin let go of and left behind when he redeemed himself.

But as I’ve considered it further, this just seems to be a damned easy way to confuse the hell out of the audience, and I don’t think it would work that well as part of a film plot.

IMHO, the only way the Kylo Ren/Vader thing works is if a.) he’s deluding himself into believing that the voices in his deranged mind are that of his grandfather, or b.) Snoke is playing Kylo by making him believe that it’s his grandfather when it’s really just Snoke himself.





I’m trying to remember where I heard that. I think it might have been Pablo comments referencing the concepts in the “art of” book, or something along those lines. But I’m not positive and I can’t find it right now. I’m 90% sure it really happened, but 100% sure I hallucinate this crap sometimes, making me only so/so on if it was real or not.

Like I said, I’m not the biggest fan of the idea artistically to bring Vader back, and I see your point as to how it can be confusing. But I like the concept of materializing Vader’s duality into something physical in order to express the psychological. The two halves of his personality taking shape through the force.

If you take the force as a non-western god-entity and that there is no soul to ascribe a personality to but instead truly just communal energy force that “binds the galaxy together” then I don’t think that manifestation of his duality conflicts with anything plot-wise. Just two aspects of a single man illustrating themselves to two different people through the force. A spiritual split personality from someone who was not entirely at peace when he died.





LOL! Brother, that describes my life to a T. As Kesey wrote in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, “It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.

As for the non-western way of looking at the Force, that’s really how I’ve always seen it – as an impersonal energy field. It was only when Lucas decided to go all techno-babble on us and give us a “scientific” explanation in the form of midichlorians that the waters began to muddy up.

One thing to remember about the Force as it was conceived in the OT is that one of the primary inspirations for it (including some of the specific terms Yoda used, such as “luminous beings”) was the work of Carlos Castaneda – The Teachings of Don Juan, Tales of Power, etc. I think this was largely something that Gary Kurtz brought to the table, if I recall correctly, but it may also have been something that Lucas himself was into reading at the time as well.

The idea that somebody who can perceive and control that impersonal energy field can also learn to retain their individual self after death, rather than merging with that energy (“Like… tears in rain”, to go all Blade Runner on ya for a second) is directly out of Castaneda’s work. I cannot remember which book or books focused on this, but in Don Juan’s world, it was one of the main goals of becoming a sorcerer.

But in that particular cosmology, inner conflict like what Vader suffered from does not split a person’s energy in two. It merely affects the vibration of that person’s energy body, much like a guitar with its strings out of tune. IMHO, this is also the most logical way to go with the Vader story in terms of what might have become of him after death.

Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that the people writing the new SW movies are necessarily the kind of readers who would delve into something like Castaneda’s books in preparation for creating the new stories. So we probably won’t get stuff that connects back to first principles like this, even though that would be the best way for them to proceed, IMHO.





I guess splitting is the wrong way to put it. Not an actual schism in his energy so much as two states of the energy in a neutral force reflected in the manner of the user.

The force being a neutral energy reacting to the living energy it is interacting with. Reflecting light when interacting with Luke but dark when interacting with Kylo just as it would allow for dark or light powers in a Sith or Jedi. The force doesn’t choose light or dark, it just is. The user of the force is what makes it dark or light. Once a Jedi becomes one with the force, they are no longer light or dark, they are just the force.

But you are right, looking for this level of philosophy in the new movies may be a fool’s errand. I get the feeling that the force, as it exists now, is just “magic” to them. I never hated midichlorians the way many do. I hated the way they were explained in universe, and how that ruined some of the mystery of the force, but in the end I don’t think it fundamentally changes the force to identify that aspect of it nearly as much as the way the Jedi used it in the PT, cartoons, and now ST has impacted its origins. The problem I see is that the force became a tool for characters to manipulate, use, or understand, which in the end removes much of the awe and significance.



I agree that we’re probably tilting at windmills here. SW has some good writers involved with the franchise these days, but what we’re talking about is probably a bit deeper and more nuanced than we can probably expect from writing geared toward our current 140-character culture.

As for the midichlorian thing, that was I think what really rubbed me the wrong way about it from the get-go. To me, it was obvious that it was the beginning of an overall cheapening and “videogame-izing” of the Force. It allowed the Jedi to assign a hard number to quantify each Jedi’s Force potential, which immediately reminded me of skill points or experience points in an RPG.

And then, of course, as you so aptly point out, the way the Jedi proceeded to use the Force in everything that followed as a tool – which is only half the story, as we know from ANH. The Force not only obeys your commands, but it also controls your actions. We seemed to get all of the former and precious little of the latter from 1999 onward.

As for the relationship between light and dark in terms of the “neutral” Force, I also think that this has gotten a bit skewed as well over the past decade or two. Once the concept of “bringing balance to the Force” was brought up in TPM, I noticed that a lot of folks appeared to assume that this would mean that ultimately there would be an equal number of light- and dark-side users, this “balancing” the Force between light and dark.

But that would be balancing Force users – not bringing balance to the Force itself.

The thing I’ve always seen about the light side is, its practitioners strive to exist in harmony with the Force. Dark siders, on the other hand, are a discordant note, in that they attempt to harness the Force for their own purposes, regardless of the natural order of things. In that regard, the dark side is like a tumor that throws the Force out of balance. To bring balance to the Force is, therefore, to triumph once and for all over the dark side, whether it be the Sith, or whatever Snoke is, or what have you.

(Ramble, ramble, ramble… sorry for the verbosity, folks!)





I most definitely agree that many people oversimplify that prophecy to mean there needs to be a balance of good and evil. But I also still believe the force is a neutral energy and not a good or light force. Light and dark are concepts of the living world ascribed to certain actions or motives. In the end, it the dark side trying to control and manipulate the force, which causes imbalance. Not any actions they take with it that we would deem morally dark or that we judge to have evil motives.

It’s like damming a river to maximize its energy. A Jedi will just let the water flow as it would. A Sith will create a construct to bend it to their intended uses. But in the end the water is just water. It’s what the people do with it that make it a passive or aggressive force.



Another thing Rebo and Dekka129 to consider on what we all seem to agree is a misinterpretation of the Balance of the Force thing is that the Jedi and Sith aren’t the only Force-users in the galaxy. There have been many examples in both The Clone Wars and Rebels. Filoni has worked very closely with Lucas and he has more of a grasp of George’s vision than anybody in all likelihood.

Not to mention the fact that GL has pretty much said in the past that destroying the Sith is what brought balance.





Rebo, Egg-zackly!

And this connects to Darth Zloi’s point about there being far more Force users in the galaxy than just the Jedi and the Sith. The Force’s relative state of balance/harmony or imbalance/discord goes way beyond the Jedi/Sith feud. There would certainly be other Force users across the galaxy in remote areas, wild space, etc., who would have their own ways, rituals and rules for how they learn, teach and use the Force.

I think the difference, though, is how much of an ability they have to affect the galaxy as a whole. Because it seems to me that the measure of how in tune or out of tune the Force is at any given time isn’t just based on the individual actions of Force users, but also on how widespread an effect those actions have on the “luminous beings” throughout the galaxy who aren’t Force users, but who live with the benefits or consequences of what the Force users do.

Let’s say we’ve got a small planet way out there in wild space that hasn’t yet evolved to the point of developing hyperdrive-capable starships, and hasn’t yet been visited by any beings who do have hyperdrive-equipped ships. This same planet also happens to have spawned a race of beings who have a natural affinity with the Force, and there is a constant power struggle happening there between various factions, some of whom value the true nature of things and use the Force accordingly, and others of whom use the Force in pursuit of their own personal power.

But due to the isolated nature of their planetary culture, the effects of their actions are limited to that one small planet.

Contrast this to Palpatine. One man, with his apprentice du jour, whose actions affect TRILLIONS of sentient beings across thousands of worlds.

Of course he ends up being the one to send the Force out of balance. Because by affecting all of those trillions of beings, he creates a far broader and deeper effect on the Force itself than the tens of thousands or more of dark side users on that tiny, isolated planet.

Rebo, your analogy is excellent. Water, ultimately, wants to be water, wants to flow as water is meant to. Because it, like the Force, flows through all living beings, and when it isn’t allowed to do so, then everything goes out of balance. Rivers dry up, vegetation dies, creatures die, and eventually if the flow of water is restricted enough, the entire planet can die.

The Force, having (as we’re told) some degree of volition of its own, is going to try to break through that dam, enlisting the help of those who perceive and use it in accordance with its true nature. It doesn’t care about the rules or traditions of the Jedi or the Sith, or of any other Force user. It only cares about doing what it naturally does, without the interference or restriction of those who would use it for discordant purposes.


Force Priestesses



That brings up an excellent question and one I don’t think has adequately been discussed in the films. Is the force localized? I like the idea or the living beings being affected impacting the extent of the disruption to the force. Since the force lives within us, that would make sense. But how does that fall in line with concepts like a Jedi that can sense or view events across the galaxy that are happening in isolation? Like Yoda sensing Anakin’s slaughter of the Tusken Raiders, or Obi-Wan sensing the destruction of Alderan.

You can easily dismiss that as a powerful Jedi being able to sense it due to the connection of all living things through the force. But if that is the case, then couldn’t a single isolated and ultra-powerful Jedi like Luke in TFA be theoretically just as powerful and disruptive as someone like Palpatine (assuming Luke went dark and starting manipulating the force while bored on Ahch-to)? Basically, if there is no end to the connection of living things and no limit to power, could a Super-Dark force user rise that could just control the galaxy from the comfort of his bed? Something like Sauron from LOTR. So powerful, that he is able to control minds, manipulate empires, bring down battleships, while sipping tea and watching the sunrise on his porch?



In the Tarkin novel it was revealed that is pretty much exactly what Palpatine wanted. There was a very interesting scene told from his point of view that mentioned his desire to use the Darkside to actually recreate the galaxy according to his vision.

I liked your water analogy. However, I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Canon has been peppered with references to the Force having a will. Not sure exactly how they’ll go storywise with that, but is intriguing.

Palpatine was also apparently looking for what he believed to be the source of the dark side. Very cryptic considering the Force is everywhere. Supports your statements on the darkness coming not from the Force, but from a desire to bend the Force to your will, instead of following its natural flow.

On a side note : Filoni has mentioned that non Force-users can still occasionally unknowingly tap into it.



Well sticking with the water analogy. Water has a will. It wants to keep flowing. If the river stops flowing, it stagnates, becomes polluted, and eventually evaporates.

So you could say the will of the force is to simply continue to be. It’s will is following the path that allows it to stay in balance so it does not stagnate. The path that continues to create and not destroy life as it is life that generates it. When Jedi or whoever interpret that will of the force it gets transcribed into acts of good or evil that seem to have some materialistic or moral value, but in the end the force may just want balance so that it doesn’t die out (and seemingly take life and existence itself along with it). It’s a god entity whose main motivation is self preservation. It is just that it’s selfish act of continuing it’s own existence is by effect accidentally benevolent to the living things of it’s universe. A god ignorant of the universe it sustains or the religion that worships it.




Hard Case:

I love that we are now essentially debating the “sentience” of the Force. Yes – it has a “will”, but is it actually achieving its own will through action or just by its existent nature. Is it more like a “Force” of nature like water? Or is it a sort of diety that brings its will to fruition with sentient purpose? In other words, does the Force balance itself automatically by nature through a cause and effect relationship with all living things or does it actively work to bring balance out of it’s own volition to achieve its own purpose?



My instinct is that Episodes VIII and IX will delve into this precise question of sentience.

Next time you watch TFA, hold this question in your mind throughout the film and see what you notice. Because I think there’s a very good possibility that what’s being set up in TFA is the Force exhibiting some degree of actual volition, rather than simply relying on the actions of Force users alone to determine the course of events.

I don’t think it’ll turn out to be a personalized deity. That would be too easy, and IMHO a straight-up personalized deity is part of somebody else’s fairy tale, and not that of the GFFA.

But things like the way Luke’s old lightsaber “called” to Rey from the cellar, how the Force actually opened the storage room door when Rey approached it, and the “Force-back” itself… this all seems very much like the Force was deliberately reaching out to her. This is something we haven’t seen before, but that’s been hinted at.

Again, though I highly doubt that this was Lucas’ intention, the exchange between Luke and Obi Wan in ANH seems like it could be very telling.

Luke: “You mean it controls your actions?”

Obi Wan: “Partially. But it also obeys your commands.”

Most of what we’ve seen since then, both in the OT and in the PT, as well as in spin-offs like TCW and Rebels, has been what Obi Wan mentioned – the Force as a tool that obeys the commands of those who can tap into and harness it.

What we haven’t seen much of (at least from my recollection) is the Force “taking the wheel”, so to speak, and directly influencing Force sensitives and their environment.

Now, I could be completely wrong about this. Perhaps “The Force Awakens” as a title was simply a marketing-driven decision referring to the “reawakening” of the SW franchise.

But what if the Force actually is “waking” for the first time in generations and is taking a more sentient, active role in events in the physical world?

I do know that, according to “The Art of TFA” much of the pre-production discussion revolved around the question of what the Force is, and what new ways might it be portrayed onscreen.

So… who knows?





Yep exactly, we see it the most in the snow fight. Rey is running way all the time till she communes with the force, suddenly she can fight Kylo off. It is not only about using the force but to let it in. Luke had a similar moment when he threw away his lightsaber and let the force do the rest, this could explain Vaders turn, the force.



In terms of how the Force is in the films, though, I think that it tends to be non-sentient, but with the potential to influence the physical world under certain conditions. But not in terms of a deity – more like a collective unconscious or even perhaps a bit like a hive mind. What sentience there may be there seems to me to be completely decentralized, if that makes a lick of sense.



There’s that, of course – the fact that opening yourself to the Force allows it to flow through you. To me, this is sort of a middle ground, where it’s using you as much as you are using it.

But what we haven’t really seen is the Force itself being in control. I think we caught a glimpse of that when the lightsaber called to Rey from the cellar of Maz’s castle. I also think the title The Force Awakens” may foreshadow something like this as well.



My interpretation of the “awakening” of late still leans towards a non-sentient force. I feel like the force is becoming more powerful and acting through Rey in a way it hasn’t before, but I see it as an almost instinctual balancing of the equation.

Plagueis manipulated dark powers when he created Anakin. To play god and create life like that was a huge attack on the flow of the force. To continue the previous analogy, he dammed the river. To me the awakening is the force reacting to rectify that. What happens when you block a part of a river? The water on the other side flows through with much greater force. I see Rey, and the awakening, as the force finally balancing out the Skywalker equation. Vader and therefore Kylo were created outside of the normal means, and therefore put the force out of alignment as long as they exist. Rey is the solution that will finally balance that.


Rey's Awakening



This whole thread has gotten really fascinating, and what I really dig is the fact that the SW production team does seem to be delving into the possibilities of what the Force may be, beyond what we’ve seen in previous films and TV programs.

Did the Force actually “awaken” in terms of having some degree of volition and an ability to directly affect the physical world? The way Luke’s old lightsaber “called out” to Rey would seem to suggest this possibility.

Is the “awakening” metaphorical, with the Force emerging from years of dormancy through Rey and others, like a plant sprouting its way through a minute crack in the sidewalk? Perhaps the idea here is that the Force will always find a way to be what it is.

Is the Force, whether sentient or not, attempting to right some wrong other than the rise of Snoke? Is the Skywalker line itself the anomaly that the Force is trying to purge from existence once and for all? Or is what’s happening something else entirely?

Will we begin see the Force manifesting itself through people who aren’t conscious Force users? That was a mighty slick behind-the-back shot at that stormtrooper there on Takodana, Captain Solo…

The thing that I keep coming back to is this bit from the foreword of “The Art of The Force Awakens” in which production designer Rick Carter writes:

“Before Obi Wan Kenobi sacrifices himself to Darth Vader, he even predicts, ‘If you strike me down, I’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.’ Those are very potent words, and that’s quite a high level of spirituality to understand, especially for any artist coming in to make a new Star Wars movie. The first question that I therefore felt needed to be asked of the new artists we assembled was, ‘How strong is the Force?’ Not just as we might think we have seen it demonstrated in previous Star Wars movies, but in the present day. What is the Force for us now? What does it mean? Not just what you say it means, but what does it truly mean to you?”


Not that this gives us any concrete idea of what plans they may have for the way the Force is portrayed in Episodes VIII and IX, of course. But it does show that one of the first fundamentals explored during pre-production was essentially “What is the Force?” This suggests to me that we may very well see the Force portrayed as something more than just a source of amped-up, videogame-style powers as the sequel trilogy goes on. And that could make the ongoing saga tale turn into something very interesting indeed.

And, then again, I could just be jumping the gun and overthinking this whole thing. It would hardly be the first time, would it?


End of Conversation


Interestingly enough, just a week after we had this conversation, none other than Pablo Hidalgo took to twitter for a similar trip down the force’s rabbit hole. Just goes to show you that all Star Wars fans, even those designing the path of the saga itself, still have these debates. Following are the tweets with his thoughts on midichlorians, where he touches on a number of the topics we discussed here.




If you made it through all that without throwing something at your monitor, please continue the conversation in the comments. And know that the whole conversation was actually much, much longer. 🙂



Website | + posts

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.

Born on April 24, 1980.

Val Trichkov (Viral Hide)

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

69 thoughts on “SWNN Staff Round Table: A Discussion on the Nature of the Force

  • September 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Incoming: trolls commenting in this article because they so desperately want to get a word in to see what kind of attention they’ll get (and who they can bait and rile up) *insert “Brace Yourselves” meme*

  • September 12, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    DEKKA129 needs to be let go. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been fired from being a SWNN staff member yet as it’s clear that hiw writing is terrible and his ideas are just fanning flames.

  • September 12, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    So, speaking of the Force having a will and possibly being more than just a non-thinking energy. While many people were outraged that Rey could beat Kylo Ren despite never having been trained in the Force – is it possible that at that moment, the Force entered in and ‘possessed’ Rey (without her knowledge)? This would explain her ability to take down a highly-trained (albeit wounded) Kylo. Obviously she closed her eyes and let the Force in, but maybe it was more than that. Maybe it actually completely took over her body and mind. It would be interesting to see in the future that she is unable to bend the will of the Force, thinking she originally controlled the Force and not the other way around. It would be a humbling experience, having all this power then suddenly it being gone.

    • September 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      I think the character Rey really does need to have a humbling experience to be salvaged.

      Luke had to be rescued around six times. Once by Obi-wan (ANH), once by R2-D2 (ANH), twice by Han Solo (ANH & ESB), once by Liea (ESB), once by Vader (RotJ).

      Rey has had too easy of a ride. Luke spent most of the first movie being kind of whiny, and only had two moments where he really shined as a hero. In the Empire Strikes Back Luke did poorly with his Jedi training, and was bested by Vader in his first lightsaber dual.

      Your best heroes tend to at some point hit rock bottom, and then pull themselves out that situation. Sadly many modern female hero leads tend to get an easy ride simply for being a female hero. Gone it seems are the days of female action heroes like Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor.

      • September 13, 2016 at 12:13 am

        She’s going dark in VIII, that’s my guess for her arc. Otherwise I think max Landis was right and she is a Mary sue(never thought I’d say that).

        • September 13, 2016 at 12:35 am

          I tried to ignore the Mary Sue talk about Rey myself. However after watching The Force Awakens 5 times and then re-watching the originals, I couldn’t really deny it anymore.

          • September 13, 2016 at 12:53 am

            which is a shame because i like her overall, but i fear someone fell in love with her a little too much when they were writing the film.

          • September 13, 2016 at 1:54 am

            I apologies for my gushing, but I think that is great observation you made Grand Admiral.

          • September 13, 2016 at 2:57 am

            Gooood….GOOOOOOOOOD!!!! GIVE IN TO YOUR ANGER!!!!

          • September 13, 2016 at 10:45 am

            Based on Episode 7 alone, I believe Rey is a Mary Sue. BUT, I’m hopeful that Episode 8 and/or 9 might give us some more detail that explains why she is so powerful. Here’s hoping!

          • September 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm

            Funny how no one comments about how Anakin never made a mistake in TPM and could do everything perfectly as well.

          • September 15, 2016 at 9:24 pm

            Probably because they were to busy talking about how much they disliked that movie in general.

          • September 15, 2016 at 10:30 pm

            Well everyone compares Rey to Luke but not Anakin. Seems like they should. Not the first time this has happened.

          • September 15, 2016 at 11:26 pm

            That might be because little “Mr. Perfect Chosen One” turned evil at the end. His great power and how easy it was for him to obtain victory added to his hubris which in part led to his fall. This is a common theme in western mythology (the most perfect angel who fell from grace) thus nothing to really complain about with Anakin.

            I can almost guarantee with the current progressive social climate in popular media Rey will not turn to the dark side; and even if she did it would be a real quick turn around back to the light side.

            From many of your posts I can gather that you like Rey. Please understand that my personal dislike for the current way Rey is being portrayed is not rebuff of you as a person or even the actress Daisy Ridley.

            However from my point of view many modern female characters are written as being incredibly exceptional at whatever they do simply because they are of the female gender.

            They face no real threats in their story. They are great at nearly any given tasks with having little to no experience with what they are engaging in. Even when other characters are far more experienced, the modern female hero just magically seems to know how to do everything far better than all the veterans. They fight men almost twice their size with no real struggle. I find this all so boring and a disservice to the female fans.

          • September 15, 2016 at 11:55 pm

            And maybe they should wait and see about Rey before using the term “Mary Sue” which most of them never heard of before Landis spouted his dumb mouth.

          • September 15, 2016 at 11:56 pm

            I promise you I don’t mind if you disagree and I know it’s not anything personal against Daisy or myself. i just happen to disagree she is a Mary Sue.

          • September 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

            anakin was written terrible all the way around. whether he was or wasn’t a mary sue didn’t really matter.

          • September 17, 2016 at 12:14 am

            Convenient for that argument.

          • September 17, 2016 at 12:48 am

            its not convenient, its just how i feel. if you want to call him one thats fine, but thats the least of whats wrong with anakin. the only reason i bring it up with rey is that i feel its potentially weighing down an otherwise great character.

        • September 13, 2016 at 5:45 pm

          It’s possible that Rey and Kylo Ren switch sides. That would be an interesting twist. Kylo Ren’s guilt for killing his father does the opposite of what Snoke expected.

        • September 15, 2016 at 3:59 pm

          Max Landis has never been right about anything.

          • September 16, 2016 at 7:06 am

            believe me, when he first brought this up i thought he was dead wrong. but the more i watch the movie the more i think he is on to something.

          • September 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

            The more I watch, the more I know he isn’t.

          • September 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm

            noted. 😉

      • September 13, 2016 at 1:51 am

        Kylo, cutting her arm off on that island is possible.

        • September 13, 2016 at 4:46 am

          Yes Rey had it very easy compared to Luke. She beat a experienced Force user in saber duel with no training (Luke was beaten and lost his hand in his first saber duel). Rey out flew two highly trained TIE pilots and with no back up (even Luke needed to be saved by Wedge and Han during the first Death Star battle). She used a mind trick with zero training (Luke could not pull that off until the 3rd movie).

          • September 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm

            She beat a person who also had not completed his training after he was shot in the side with a weapon that was sending troopers FLYING.

          • September 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

            oh come on with that “not completed his training” nonsense. That’s an irrelevant point when you see him freeze blaster bolts in mid air, mind scramble prisoners, and Magneto-force choke officers. We are talking about a scavenger with ZERO force training with possibly SOME staff training beating an emotionally unstable, WELL TRAINED, evil force user with EXTENSIVE lightsaber training. Being wounded only weakened his body. If anything it would have fueled his anger and rage and made him more dangerous in the dark side of the force.

          • September 13, 2016 at 9:57 pm

            “Oh come off it with those plot points mentioned in the actual movie” is all I heard there.

            We don’t know the whole story about Rey, so while they do have a burden of proof to make that work, it’s premature to jump to conclusions.

            The Force took over apparently. “So it controls your actions?”
            “Partially, but it also obeys your commands.”

            based on that conversation between Luke and Obi-Wan, I saw nothing that I had an issue with.

          • September 13, 2016 at 10:36 pm

            thats fine and all, but if the force can just wield her like a weapon then there is no reason to worry for her safety and therefore no tension. its a fine line they are walking and they need to be careful.

          • September 13, 2016 at 10:37 pm

            True, but again, we don’t know what happened. It might have been some prior training she doesn’t remember, it might be when he tapped into her head, he woke something up in her.

          • September 14, 2016 at 11:17 pm

            Just because Kylo can do some tricks doesn’t make him well trained. He’s egotistical, unstable in his emotions, a show off, not completely trained considering Snoke says, It’s time to complete it.

            Besides in reality he was trying to take Finn’s head off and destroy him. With Rey he toyed with her, then tried to get her to agree with him training her and was suppose to get to come to Snoke like he wanted. Then she tapped into the force and then proceeded beat his narcissistic ass. He though he was the only force user around and he was wrong.

  • September 12, 2016 at 10:06 pm


  • September 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    “IMHO, Lucas permanently screwed up that character by portraying him as a bitchy, foot-stamping boy-band refugee who was easier to con than a little old lady with a televangelist obsession. I’ve seen more than enough of him to last me six lifetimes and then some. Last thing I want is to see him d*uche-ing it up all over Episode VIII or IX, even as a ghost.”

    ***HOT TAKE ALERT***

    • September 13, 2016 at 12:10 am

      ESPN worthy! 😉

    • September 13, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Best bit is that description also fits Kylo – lol

      • September 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        I don’t think so at all. I bought Driver’s performance way more than I did Hayden’s. Granted we don’t know the full backstory but it when I see Adam I saw someone actually conflicted. Yeah the outbursts were dumb but I wouldn’t put those two on the same level at all.

        • September 13, 2016 at 7:11 pm

          I actually thought the d*uchey thing kind of worked for Kylo Ren.

          For one thing, he’s not only conflicted, but he also seems to have been motivated to embrace the dark side partly out of his resentment of his father. He says a few things that indicate that Han wasn’t there for him as a child, and so to a certain extent it almost feels as though his turn to the dark side may have been an instance of adolescent rebellion gone wrong. (I don’t think his “goth kid” look is necessarily an accident.)

          The other thing that makes the d*uchey thing work for Kylo (IMHO) where it didn’t work for Anakin (again, IMHO) is the fact that we knew that Anakin eventually became Darth Vader. We have no idea what Kylo Ren might become as he gets older, so he can be anything at all right now. Darth Vader, however, was deeply grounded – like a mountain of granite. That, as much as his Force abilities, was what made him such a classic villain. And it’s been my experience in life that people don’t go from being a whiny d*uche as a young man to being rock-solid strong when they’re middle-aged. Their d*ouchiness often does recede, sometimes significantly, but it’s always there to some extent.

          That being the case, there has always been and probably will always be a sharp disconnect for me between the Anakin character in the PT films and Darth Vader as he was in the OT.

        • September 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

          Totally agree that Driver’s acting was far better and Kylo was overall better presented, but the similarities between Anakin and Kylo are quite glaring.

          • September 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

            Well he is his grandson….lol

          • September 14, 2016 at 1:06 am

            Damn you – I was hoping you would ask for an example so I could say they both like to wear black!

          • September 14, 2016 at 8:32 am

            And I wouldn’t give an Oscar for best actor to either of them.

  • September 13, 2016 at 1:16 am

    i think its pretty clear that ben is coming back unless they throw a curveball and trot out another skywalker kid(which rey likely isn’t). so him switching places with rey would be an interesting way to subvert expectations and avoid more OT comparisons.

  • September 13, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Kind’a sounds like – “See, you can ALL be exceptional!” mentality.
    Whilst I get gist of the *message*, for everyone to strive to achieve their personal best/exceptionalism, it’s not the reality we live in….and … if pushed too far in the SW universe, will *weaken* the meaning of The Force & those “strong with the Force”.

    So… was Han wrong when he told Finn, “That’s not how the Force works!”?
    According to Pablo’s comments, it sounds more like that IS how it works (now) – everyone has it & uses it & can “call upon” it.

    • September 13, 2016 at 1:34 am

      the incredibles had this right:

    • September 13, 2016 at 10:57 am

      I’ve always thought of it like a mixture of both, “Everybody can be exceptional.” and “Only strong force sensitives can use it”

      Obviously, Han was a skeptic originally and then changed his mind by the time of TFA. Could he have been tapping into the force his entire life and never realized that he was doing so? It’s possible…. though in my opinion that sort of detracts from his natural ability to pilot that he didn’t need the force to be good at. If Lucasfilm decides to retcon Han and make him more force sensitive all along, I will understand why, but I just don’t agree with it. By force sensitive I mean “strong” force sensitive. The force is in everyone and everyone all of the time, so essentially everything is at least slightly force sensitive.

      I’ve always seen force sensitivity as being naturally stronger in certain individuals than in others, just like people are born with a natural ability to be better pilots, drivers, athletes, intellectuals than others. Anybody can practice hard enough to become a really good pilot, driver, athlete, intellectual they just won’t be quite as good or it will take them a lot longer and require a lot more work to reach the same level that the naturally skilled person would already possess or be able to achieve with a lot less effort.

      If the force is something that anybody can use just like any other skill, but is naturally stronger in certain individuals. Then that means a regular person can train their whole life to learn how to do telekinesis and might eventually reach the point to be able to move very small objects after 40 years of practicing. However, a force sensitive person would be able to reach the same level after only a couple years of practice. Doesn’t the Jedi order basically take force sensitive children and “train” them in the use of the force? Without that knowledge and training that they provide. A person trying to learn it on his own will find it much more difficult.

      I don’t think the way Lucasfilm is heading is any different than the way it was previously. Anybody can practice and try to use the force since it’s in all living beings, however, not everybody will have the discipline or commitment to learn how to use it like the Jedi or Sith do. Looks like Chirrut Imwe is basically a force priest and has some abilities that he has gained because he believes in the force and because he has practiced it most of his life, although I don’t believe he will be at the same level as a traditional jedi though.

      I think Han was right though with his line “That’s not how the force works.” Finn isn’t very force sensitive, and if he ends up being force sensitive then he obviously would have no idea how to use it, so if he tried to use the force it wouldn’t go so well.

      Which makes me believe that Rey, is very force sensitive perhaps more so than Kylo Ren, or has already been trained before but has forgotten. Then once she had the flashback she started to regain her abilities.

      • September 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm

        “Obviously, Han was a skeptic originally and then changed his mind by the time of TFA.”

        What I thought was a very cool little touch was the fact that when Han admitted that “It’s true… all of it,” he was standing on almost the exact same spot in the Falcon where Obi Wan had been standing in ANH when Han was going on about how he didn’t believe in the Force.

        • September 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

          Let’s hope he doesn’t meet Maz Kanata in the young Han Solo spinoff movie then…

      • September 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm

        As for whether or not Han had been tapping into the Force all of his life, I’d always kind of felt that this was the case, going all the way back to when I first saw ESB. Yes, he’s an amazing pilot, but threading his way through that asteroid field was something unbelievably slick, even for an ace pilot.

        However, I’ve also never thought that Han was Force sensitive. He can’t perceive or control the Force, but maybe he gets a slight assist from it from time to time. To me, this wouldn’t be at all inconsistent with the way Lucas presented the Force from the very beginning.

        Remember, Luke’s initial instinct when first told about the Force was to assume that “it controls your actions.” Obi Wan then clarified that, while that was “partially” what it did, that “it also obeys your commands.”

        We saw the latter quite a lot in the PT and the OT. I think that we may see a bit more of the former in the ST, though I could be wrong about that.

    • September 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      I think Han was basically saying, “You can’t just say, ‘We’re going to use the Force’ and expect the Force to help you.” It doesn’t work like that.

  • September 13, 2016 at 1:40 am

    “All is as the force wills it”

  • September 13, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Considering the protagonist is using his lightsaber, as it calls to her, and the antagonist worships Vader. Anakin, is coming back.

  • September 13, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Well there is a rumor that Rey is a reincarnated “Chosen One”. So there could be some weight to that line of thinking.

    • September 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      reddit rumors are not worth commenting on.

  • September 13, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Cheers for sharing a fascinating and stimulating conversation. I especially enjoyed the balance to the Force vs Force users distinction and am always a sucker for the natural phenomenom analogies.

  • September 13, 2016 at 4:19 am

    So Midichlorians neutered the spirituality of the Force and demystified it in the Prequels; seems w/ Sequel trilogy (Lor San Tekka / Church of the Force) & Rogue One (Donnie Yen’s spiel in the last trailer), they’ve gone the opposite way & made it a daffy quasi-religion? Better not tell my mother in-law, or she’ll make her house even more spiritually-ambiguous, what with all Stars of David, Buddhas, Shivas, Sanskrit ‘om’ symbols & Native American dreamcatchers lying about the place

    It’s kinda like Boba Fett before Kevin J. Anderson got a hold of him: Mysterious, cool, left a lot for your imagination to fill in. The Force in the OT was just the way it should’ve been left: Not a sterile thing rendered by a blood test, or a kooky way to waste your Sunday morning instead of sleeping in…

    • September 13, 2016 at 4:35 am

      I was always disappointed in Kevin Anderson’s Fett

    • September 13, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Actually, the impression that I’ve gotten about the “Church of the Force” is that it was something that sprang up in the absence of the Jedi, after the fall of the Jedi Order, and that its membership was primarily non-Force users.

      In other words, it’s something created by and for people without direct experience in the Force. Given the fact that Lor San Tekka had that portion of the map to Luke, I also think that the “Church of the Force” may also have been dedicated to preserving information about the Jedi when the Emperor tried to erase the Jedi and their knowledge from history.

      But I don’t see it as having much to do with the spirituality of the Force as experienced by actual Force users like the Jedi. It seems to me to be more of a glorified “Jedi fan club”. I really don’t expect that we’re going to see it used as the basis for anything that the new ST era Jedi end up codifying, assuming that we ever see any new Jedi organization at all.

      • September 14, 2016 at 8:30 am

        The movie really skimped on the important stuff.

  • September 13, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Thank you all for engaging in this conversation and sharing it. To me, Star Wars has always been more about spirituality than space battles and merchandise. Its very heartening to see everyone exploring this side of the SW universe. Although, I’m surprised that there was no mention of Joseph Campbell. His books “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and “Masks of God” were huge influences of the original trilogy. To give you some insight and not muck it up, I’m just going to copy & paste this paragraph describing the “Monomyth” from the Wikipedia page:

    “As a strong believer in the psychic unity of mankind and its poetic expression through mythology, Campbell made use of the concept to express the idea that the whole of the human race can be seen as engaged in the effort of making the world “transparent to transcendence” by showing that underneath the world of phenomena lies an eternal source which is constantly pouring its energies into this world of time, suffering, and ultimately death” … “The Hero’s Journey was the story of the man or woman who, through great suffering, reached an experience of the eternal source and returned with gifts powerful enough to set their society free.”

    To weigh in on the issue of exploring the sentient nature of the force in the upcoming films, I hope it doesn’t try to go there. The force, much like God, is a mystery that we are not meant to know the true nature of. We can have faith in its existence, explore its nature in a limited capacity, and tap into is power and use it to help our world if we’re Jedi-like or use it to just help ourselves if we’re Sith-like. But it is an external source that exists beyond the veil of this world that we may only be able to truly understand once we die and become one with it.

  • September 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Wow, what a great discussion. I really like the analogy of the force being like water, as in that water has always been symbolic for life.

    I tend to favor the force being non sentient as well, just like most of you have stated, it’s essentially a more powerful form of nature or a natural God but not in the traditional sense. Even Lucas has mentioned this in his interviews that Star Wars is all about our Gods and religions being all a part of the same thing that we just perceive differently in different cultures and throughout time.

    I really enjoy these thought provoking discussions and hope to see more in the future.

    • September 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      “Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.”

      ―Qui-Gon Jinn, to Anakin Skywalke

      Doesn’t this mean they are sentient? In a sense all these microscopic intelligent beings that live within cells are a collective hive.

      • September 16, 2016 at 5:06 am

        I always thought the midi-chlorians were just force sensitive microscopic cells/organisms that helped beings to realize and use the Force. The Force is something different though and is comprised of a Living and Cosmic Force. The midi-chlorians are kind of like a conduit to use the force. If you don’t have midi-chlorians that doesn’t mean the force isn’t still there, it just means that you won’t be able to use it as well as somebody who has a lot of midi-chlorians. Once again just my opinion.

  • September 13, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I like Pablo’s thought or info about midichlorians. That is was an erroneous way for the JEDI to look at peoples force abilities. And combined with the thought you guys had in the discussion that prequel JEDI’s looked at the Force more as a tool, and not something that also controls YOU, and maybe has a will of it’s own. True some single JEDI’s would believe that – Dooku, Qui-gon – and to some extend Yoda as well. But most of them – including Yoda had fallen into the trap of thinking only about the force as a tool – or at least mostly as a tool. If you combine that thought with the notion about the force being like water. That – at least to me – opens the door to a theory that the JEDI themselves had become sqewered towards the dark side of the force – almost only bending it to your will alone, and not letting it guide you. Therefor for the force the be brought into balance two things was needed. Those defending the good side or aspects of the force needed to stop using it that way and return to a more spiritual view or attitude towards the force. And off course the Sith had still a massive part in the unbalance and needed to be removed as well. Which then leeds to the question. Was the slaughter of JEDI’s a nessecary evil? Of course in a perfect world the JEDI would change their ways and all would be good in the galaxy. But sometimes it’s through truly traumatic times that people wake up and see what they need to change in their views in order to survive.

    The Sith was allowed to emerge, thanks to the JEDI’s arrogance and therefore the JEDI’s downfall was essentially their own doing. Once they as a huge order was out of the equation, the force was left to flow more unhindered and there was only one thing left to bring back balance. Remove the Sith, which was part 2 of Anakins prophecy. And what he ultimately did when he killed Palpatine.

    Off course, with dark siders like Snoke and Kylo – something suggest that either there is a part 3 to the prophecy or it’s relatively “easy” to bring back an unbalance to the force.

    • September 14, 2016 at 8:29 am

      And midichlorians is an erroneous way for fans to judge the prequel trilogy.

  • September 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I never understood the hatred towards midichlorians. The Jedi in the prequels held considerable power and influence, which together with the technology of the Republic allowed them to measure a person’s midichlorian level. Now its been pointed out that its because the Force was perceived to much as tool. Considering how the OT is set with Force seen as not existing and the Jedi an old religion, thus presented as all mystical and mysterious, how was Lucas wrong to put in midichlorians other than it didn’t fit how others still liked the OT presentation but wouldn’t of worked in the PT.

  • September 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm


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