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the Star Wars Saga

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Author Topic: the Star Wars Saga  (Read 1779 times)
Darth Maul
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« Reply #90 on: July 22, 2007, 07:42:38 pm »



Yoda, a Jedi Master strong with the Force holding a senatorial seating area aloft in Revenge of the Sith.

The abilities of Force users

Manifestations of the Force, which are mentally-based abilities and tapped through the practitioner's willpower, include telepathy, psychokinesis, prescience, enhanced physical and metaphysical perception as well as the abilities to bend the will of the weak-minded and improve one's own physical ability. The Force can also be used to allow an adept's body to be guided by the Force itself: such action enabled Luke Skywalker to launch a proton torpedo into an extremely difficult target on the Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. Through this ability one can cease to react to his or her surroundings and predict the future, such as the next blow in a duel. As a consequence of these skills, the Force has occasionally been associated with the real-life concepts of Taoism and parapsychology.

In addition to the above powers, Force-users are also capable of attacks through the Force by producing "Force lightning" from their hands, which inflicts terrible pain on its victims and can be lethal. Because of the philosophical beliefs of the Jedi, they rarely use this ability, so much that it's virtually exclusive to the Sith and other powerful dark Force-users. The Sith powers usually are powers that would be more offensive; while light side powers are usually more defensive. In the games Knights of the Old Republic, Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Academy, the powers drain, lightning, and grip/choke are all dark side powers, while absorb, heal, and protection are lightside powers. Then there are universal, or 'core' powers such as push, pull, speed, and jump that are neither dark nor light. Note, too, that in KOTOR, force absorb is a universal power. Of course, this is most likely simply the method used for video games to portray usage of the Force. The Force could likely be used in a different and unique way every time.

Adherence to the light side allows its user to transcend death and become "One with the Force", allowing the deceased to exist as an energy being who can interact with other Force sensitive individuals. According to Kenobi, in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire book, this can only continue for a while before the Jedi must "move on" to a spirit realm. The Jedi were unaware of the possibility of speaking from beyond until a time during the Clone Wars, when Qui-Gon Jinn revealed to Yoda what must be done to accomplish this, though Qui-Gon described this state as "eternal," in contrast to what was said in Zahn's novel. Yoda soon passed this teaching on to Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Darth Sidious claims in Episode III that the Sith Darth Plagueis discovered a method to use the dark side to prevent death in the first place.

In the Expanded Universe, some Jedi and Sith have learned the skill of transferring one's spirit to another body. In the Dark Empire comic, Palpatine used this in order to transfer his spirit to a fresh clone body, and later, Callista transferred herself to the body of a dying friend so that she could stay alive. Unfortunately, in the process of doing this, she lost her ability to touch the Force, though later it was discovered she could still touch the dark side.

The spirits of Sith Lords Marka Ragnos, Ajunta Pall, Freedon Nadd, and Exar Kun have also appeared. It is thought that the means of a Sith to become an active ghost are different, and less natural, than those of the Jedi.


Longevity and athletic enhancement

“ Physically, the Count's age was rarely a handicap. Deft as he had become with the Force he wore his eighty-three standard years better than most humans half his age. He was still in superb physical shape, senses keen, health undiminished by even the memory of a cold. ”
—Count Dooku as described in the novel Dark Rendezvous
 

There is evidence to support that a Jedi or Sith's increased symbiosis with the Force grants them longer life spans and a reduction of the effects of aging. This reduction occurs not in terms of their physical appearance, but rather their athletic abilities. Key examples are Count Dooku, Yoda, and Darth Sidious who, despite their advanced years, were still capable of feats of dexterity that defied their age. Dooku, who was over 80 years old, was still capable of performing lightning fast lightsaber parries and ripostes, somersaults, roundhouse kicks and was able to run at full speed. Yoda, too, despite being circa 900 years of age, was extremely acrobatic when engaged in combat and drawing on the Force (although it is unknown what effect age has on Yoda's species, or what his species' life expectancy is). Qui-Gon Jinn was age sixty when he died in The Phantom Menace although he physically appeared to be in his early forties.

As for longevity, this comes from the lines of Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope who thought that Obi-Wan had died of old age. Vader reminded him not to underestimate the Force. Another indication of Force-induced longevity was given by Yoda only minutes prior to his death. When Luke Skywalker protested that Yoda couldn't die, the aged master proclaimed that he was strong with the Force, but not strong enough to prolong his life further.


Disturbances in the Force

When Alderaan was destroyed in A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi sensed "a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced…" On learning of Anakin Skywalker's son being alive and leading a group of Rebels in The Empire Strikes Back, the Emperor says to Vader while communicating with him using a hologram that "There is a great disturbance in the Force." In Attack of the Clones, Yoda feels a disturbance in The Force, when Anakin, enraged by the death of his mother, destroys an entire village of Sand People. Likewise, Yoda senses a disturbance in the Force when Anakin becomes a Sith and every time a Jedi is killed as a result of Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith. The Force exists in all life, and when great amounts of life pass away, a disturbance is created, running through the Force like a scream which only a Force adept can hear. Darth Vader states, "I haven't felt that since..." when he senses Obi-Wan Kenobi's presence.

The Jedi Apprentice Corran Horn, during the events of I, Jedi, felt the death of an entire world as a superweapon was used to make a planet's sun go nova. He said that anyone who thought of the experience as a "disturbance" could also think of Hutts as "cuddly". What he felt was innumerable points of view of the last seconds of the planet's inhabitants—and sensory data such as screams, emotions upon death, and smells (mostly that of flesh roasting). It is likely Obi-Wan experienced something similar when the planet Alderaan was destroyed, but the disturbance was less severe because most on the planet were not Force-sensitive.

Sometimes, other things are defined as disturbances. Life creates small disturbances, and Force adepts and people with a high midi-chlorian count even more so. Qui-Gon Jinn felt a disturbance—or a vergence, whatever that might mean in this context—in the Force when approaching Tatooine in The Phantom Menace, where Anakin Skywalker was. Dark side practitioners create strong, evil-feeling disturbances and the death and pain of those involved likely enhances the effect. When a powerful new Force user begins to manipulate the Force, it may be 'clumsy' enough to attract attention. In Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, Luke Skywalker sensed the existence of the maddened Force adept clone Joruus C'Baoth as a ripple in the Force. Likewise, Luke and Kyle Katarn both sensed disturbances in the Force created by the Sith cult of Marka Ragnos in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

The phrase "I have a bad feeling about this" is repeated a great deal, even by non-Force-adept characters, which may point to a universal connection with the Force. However, this is usually a tension-relief or comic-relief moment; few times is this said before some dramatically bad event.


May the Force be with you

The light side of the Force is associated with a phrase used by some characters in (and fans of) the films: "May the Force be with you." It is a farewell greeting that wishes good luck and embodies the spirit of the all-pervading Force that exists in the universe. It is uttered throughout the series as an expression of bidding good luck to one embarking on a journey. A similar saying for the dark side of the Force, "May the Force serve you well," also exists but is rarely heard. This is believed to originate from the Sith belief that the Force exists only to serve those who control it, that you and you alone decide your fate, and that the force is a servant for that decision. For more information, see Star Wars on Wikiquote.

Outside of the films, "May the Force be with you" has achieved cult status and is symbolic of the Star Wars legacy. The quote appears at #8 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes list, compiled by the American Film Institute in 2005 to showcase the all-time best lines in American cinema history.


The Living Force

The Living Force is thought to be in most living beings. It is what "makes you sensitive to other living things, makes you intuitive, and allows you to read other people's minds, et cetera" (The Making of Episode I). Jedi can sense Living Force in life-forms. Sick or dying organisms have little Living Force, while healthy ones usually have the quantity of their midi-chlorian count. The connection to the Living Force apparently also allows Jedi Masters to retain their identity when they become one with the Force. Qui-Gon Jinn was said to be a master of the Living Force—with a philosophy that focused more on sensitivity to living things, being in the present rather than the future, and relying on one's instincts rather than visions. Obi-Wan Kenobi also had some proficiency with The Living Force as in A New Hope he could sense the deaths of the people on Alderaan when it was destroyed under orders of Grand Moff Tarkin.

The only known beings without the Living Force are the Yuuzhan Vong, the antagonists of The New Jedi Order series. They exist without the Force and it cannot be used on them (still it can be manipulated around them). The Yuuzhan Vong once existed with the Force but were stripped of it by their home planet, of which Zonama Sekot was a seed. It stripped the Yuuzhan Vong of the Force after they waged war on others. The planet later disappeared mysteriously and was presumed destroyed.


The Unifying Force

The Unifying Force is the other side of the Force (the other is the Living Force). It is the "greater, cosmic Force" that "has to do with destiny" (The Making of Episode I). The Old Order, including those in the Jedi Council, was more focused on the big picture of the future universe and fulfilling destiny rather than the compassion to other living beings. For example, the Jedi Council would not allow young Anakin Skywalker to train because he posed a threat to the future.


Force ghosts

In the Star Wars galaxy, the Force is tied into concepts of an afterlife. In Episode VI, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker appear to Luke in the form of spirits after their deaths. In Episode III, it is revealed that Yoda learned how to retain one's identity within the Force after death, and thus influence the living, from the spirit Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon, in turn, had learned this technique from a Shaman of the Ancient Order of the Whills. It is widely believed however that Exar Kun is the first person to attain this ability.

In the Expanded Universe, some Sith have become Force ghosts as well, usually by bonding their malevolent spirits to some particular place or object. The only difference from the Jedi is that the Sith are forever bound to the maddening void between life and death. This likely relates to Ajunta Pall, who was able to manifest due to the part of his being he had imbued his sword with. The Sith may be able to eventually move on by releasing the dark emotions that are bound into the place or object, but must do so of their own accord.
It should be noted that according to the Episode 3 novel, the Sith are unable to maintain their identity in the Force after physical death due to the very nature of Sith membership. Also to be noted is that references from people close to Palpatine (Mara [Vision of the Future], Lumiya[Betrayal]) have pointed to Palpatine's "rebirth" to be a hoax due to cloning capabilities, and was not actually his "spirit". These three sources would discount the possibility of Palpatine's presence being maintained, especially if one were to infer that the Lumiya line was a continued reference to the EP3 novel. On further notes, it is unclear when Luke was said to have died (aside from the Jedi Academy Trilogy when he was not dead), and Anakin Skywalker was in "one form or another" brought back in Traitor, after his death. Whether Anakin was a ghost, or a hallucination made by a very battered brother, remains unknown.


Unusual Force occurrences in nature

The ysalamiri are a species of tree-dwelling slug-like creatues that are immune to effects of the Force. The creatures exude a "bubble" which "pushes back" Force energy, making them useful tools for individuals (such as Grand Admiral Thrawn) requiring a means to nullify a Jedi's abilities. They originated on the world of Myrkr. They evolved this trait to survive being hunted by the predatory Vornskyrs, pack animals that hunt by tracking down live prey by using the Force.

A creature with a similar peculiarity is the taozin, a large, gelatinous predator. Though not widely known, at least one of these creatures was alive deep in the undercity of Coruscant approximately ten years before the Clone Wars.

While not immune to the Force, Hutts are highly resistant, having an innate defense against Force-based mind manipulation.

Also, in Episode I, Watto informs Qui-Gon Jinn that Jedi mind tricks do not work on his kind, called Toydarians (this is probably due to their genetic relation to the Hutts).

Also, in Knights of the Old Republic, Force-resistant creatures called terentateks are warned against and encountered. Some Jedi suspect that they were created by the Sith to hunt down the Jedi. Periodically the Jedi held a Great Hunt in an attempt to hunt down and destroy all of the tarentateks. The monsters appear to be extremely long-lived and resilient.

In Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a gem known as the Kaiburr Crystal grants enhanced ability with the Force to a Force-sensitive user. Luke Skywalker uses the crystal to heal Leia after she is wounded in battle with Darth Vader.


Possible inspirations behind the Force

Ch'i (qi) powers in the Chinese wuxia genre give the wielder great skill in combat, premonitions, and the ability to strike foes without touching using an invisible force. The radio drama The Shadow featured an Asian-trained hero with nearly all of the same abilities as Jedi. The term "Jedi" was derived from jidaigeki (Japanese period dramas)[verification needed] as George Lucas was heavily influenced by Akira Kurosawa. Isaac Asimov's Foundation series features several varieties of empaths and telepaths who can detect and influence human emotion. One such group, the Second Foundation, believes itself the guardians of the galaxy, and the Second Foundationers strive to prevent Galactic civilization's collapse into chaos. In this respect, the Second Foundationers resemble the Jedi Knights, although Asimov's paternalistic guardians are not telekinetic. Many years after he invented the Second Foundation, Asimov did introduce "mentalics" who could also manipulate physical objects; these play a large role in his novels Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth. Being an avowed humanist, Asimov did not indulge in light / dark moralizing, and he took pride in constructing villains who believed themselves just and heroes afflicted by their own dilemmas. (See the essays reprinted in Gold for Asimov's exposition of these views). Though the Solarians and the Gaians can manipulate objects and minds much like the Jedi, Asimov's mentalics are not divided into light and dark sides, nor do they have the power of prophecy. In Asimov's fiction, predicting the future requires either intuition or psychohistory. Asimov's influence on the Star Wars universe has been frequently noted, one example being the debt Coruscant owes to Asimov's Trantor. Further examples of stories akin to those found within Jedi "history" can be seen in the miracles of the Christian saints and the lives of some mystical Rabbis from the Middle Ages. Both saw individuals using an outside force to "manipulate" their environments and in a sense bend the laws of nature to suit their wills.

The idea of a Light Side and a Dark Side of the Force is quite possibly derived from Zoroastrianism.

There are also extremely strong similarities to Taoist concepts.

Dark Matter has also been compared to characteristics of The Force in the real world.




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