The Force has been a central element of Star Wars since it first hit theaters way back in 1977. Over the course of the last 40-plus years, however, it has gotten new details, if not been redefined, in each of the three Star Wars trilogies. So how has it evolved?
In the original trilogy (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi), Ben Kenobi teaches his pupil, Luke Skywalker. As we all remember, Kenobi says the Force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
The Force: Evolving Through Star Wars
In the prequel trilogy (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Qui-Gon Jinn likewise instructs his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker.
Jinn provides new insight on the Force, informing us that it is comprised of “midi-chlorians”:
Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that resides within all living cells … we are symbiants with them. 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.”
In the sequel trilogy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Skywalker has some knowledge for his apprentice, Rey. It was during Rey’s training that Luke tells her that the Force is a balance and is found between light and dark. Rey, after breathing and reaching out with her feelings, says that she sees “life, death and decay that feeds new life”; “warmth” and “cold”; “peace” and “violence.”
“And between it all?” Skywalker asks.
“Balance. An energy. A Force,” Rey says with happiness.
“And inside you?” Skywalker asked.
“Inside me that same Force,” Rey says.
“And this is the lesson. That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies is vanity – can you feel that?”
Let’s Consider Each Phase Of The Force.
I imagine that Kenobi’s description to Skywalker filled audiences with wonder, as they had never heard of the Force before (or perhaps anything like it). Then the now-infamous midi-chlorians came along 22 years later and people had a negative reaction to them. But why? What is wrong with a scientific explanation, as far as you can have a scientific explanation in a science-fiction film, for the energy field, unless you are to argue that the Force was supposed to be mystical?
Some may Say that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson had anti-religion messages in his film
As an example, since Yoda tells his former apprentice that he doesn’t have to worry about the sacred Jedi texts being destroyed, perhaps Johnson might have had such messages. That said, religious teachings offer messages akin to Johnson’s definition of the Force. (The belief in “yin and yang” in Buddhism, for example.) And even if you aren’t an adherent of Buddhism, it’s safe to say that many, if not most, folks believe there is opposition in all things. And particularly, balance to be found in life.
Also, Skywalker isn’t making an anti-Jedi comment to Rey. Instead, he is making a pro-Force comment.
He’s just saying that the Jedi can’t contain the light side and doesn’t have a monopoly on it. Johnson is separating the institutional from the natural.
What do you think? Did the Force evolve over the three Star Wars trilogies? Comment below!