Here’s your guide to every Force power in Star Wars – including the abilities associated with the light side, the dark side, and even balance. When Obi-Wan Kenobi began to train Luke Skywalker, he gave his apprentice a simple definition of the Force. “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power,” he explained. “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” He was oversimplifying, of course, and since then the Star Wars franchise has built upon the mythology of the Force.
While they have some basic powers in common, Jedi and Sith draw upon the Force in very different ways. A Jedi serves the light side of the Force, using their power in accordance with the Force’s will, always for defense and never for attack. In contrast, a Sith is sworn to the dark side of the Force, exerting their own will upon the Force. “The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural,” Palpatine observed in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and repeated in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Meanwhile, recent Star Wars tie-ins have suggested there is a third aspect of the Force, balance, which presumably incorporates a whole range of other Force abilities. Rey appears to be an agent of balance rather than a servant of the light, explaining her unique powers in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
This article explores all the Force powers that have been officially confirmed as part of the current Star Wars canon. Readers familiar with the Expanded Universe will note omissions, but that is entirely deliberate; powers are only discussed if they have been recognized since the franchise canon was effectively relaunched after the Disney purchase.
The most basic Force ability is “Force awareness.” As a potential Jedi or Sith opens themselves up to the Force, they naturally become increasingly sensitive to it. The first canon example of Force sensitivity was seen in Star Wars, when Obi-Wan Kenobi sensed the destruction of Alderaan while the Millennium Falcon was flying through hyperspace. Note that Luke Skywalker, who had just begun his training at this time and so was barely open to the Force, did not sense this. More recently, in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Finn had an innate sense of Rey, with whom he had a strong bond. He was further able to instinctively sense a critical target during the Battle of Exegol; it all boiled down to “a feeling”. In the High Republic Era, Jedi appear to have been able to go one step further and intuit knowledge from the Force itself. Vernestra Rwoh, for example, was literally given instructions for how to modify her lightsaber into a lightwhip. “The entire design came to me in the middle of the night a few weeks ago,” she explained when a Padawan asked how she had made the modification.
Blocking Blaster Bolts
A would-be Jedi or Sith begins their training learning to block blaster bolts with a lightsaber. According to the in-universe fact book Secrets of the Jedi, this is because the technique helps develop a deep awareness of the Force. Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn: Alliances explained the power works through a moment of so-called “double-vision,” in which a Force-user sees both present reality and future threat. This glimpse of the future allows a Jedi to respond, but they have to do so at once. Thus this ability is only possible to someone who has developed a degree of Force sensitivity and who has learned to instinctively trust in the Force.
Cavan Scott’s novel Into The Rising Storm has introduced a fascinating Force power called Pathfinding, which allows a pilot to navigate even the most chaotic environment. This power is particularly associated with a race called the Talortai, who evolved in a star system plagued by meteor storms, and developed this ability to help them travel through the system safely. As the novel explains of one Talortai, “All Talortai had an innate sense of direction, feeling the vibrations of the cosmos in their bones, but Dis’s navigational skills were off the chart. Thanks to his talents, he could feel the location of every asteroid in the field. He didn’t need maps or even a navidroid. All he needed was the Force.“
Thrawn: Alliances builds upon this, introducing a power called – amusingly enough – “Skywalking.” This is a logical extension of the double-vision a Jedi or Sith uses to block blaster bolts, applied to flying through the navigational hazards of the Unknown Regions. This area of space is deeply hazardous, described in Aftermath: Empire’s End as “a labyrinth of solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and things far stranger.” The only safe way to travel through the Unknown Regions is with a Force-sensitive, who is able to use double-vision to instinctively react to navigational hazards.
Interestingly, there’s some evidence this may be a balance power rather than a light or dark side one. According to Thrawn: Alliances, younglings tend to be particularly skilled at skywalking. Secrets of the Jedi suggests children are naturally attuned to balance, yet to align themselves with light or dark; presumably that alignment makes skywalking more difficult. Still, Darth Vader was powerful enough to master it regardless.
Justina Ireland’s novel A Test of Courage introduces Imri, a Padawan in the High Republic Era who is gifted with the power of Wayfinding. This allows a Jedi who is traveling through space to focus on one thing in the Force, and to guide their craft towards it on instinct. Trapped on an abandoned shuttle, Imri is able to successfully locate a distant moon rich in life so he and his friends can survive. Apparently the power is normally the province of seasoned Jedi Masters, who have practiced it all their lives. It is reasonable to assume this power is connected to the Jedi and Sith Wayfinders, introduced in the sequel trilogy, which were locked on to Force vergences such as the planet Exegol.
Mysterious Hyperspace Powers
Hyperspace is the key to space travel across the galaxy in Star Wars, with starships exceeding light speed to jump to another dimensional plane in order to move at phenomenal speed. The precise nature of hyperspace has never been properly explained, and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic franchise has suggested it is far more mysterious than anyone had previously realized. In fact, some Jedi believed hyperspace to be an aspect of the Force itself, and as evidence they pointed to strange powers possessed by some Force users. Justina Ireland’s novel Out of the Shadows introduced a Force power called “hyperspace tripping,” in which a Jedi’s mind become unmoored from their body during travel through hyperspace and they received visions of events elsewhere in the galaxy. This ability appears to have been both rare and difficult to control, with most of these visions granted by the will of the Force. Meanwhile, a group of pirates in the High Republic Era used hyperspace routes plotted by a Force-sensitive who had been able to chart what she called “Paths” through hyperspace, ways that would sometimes close after mere moments due to gravitational fluctuations. Out of the Shadows hinted at a close relationship between hyperspace tripping and knowledge of the Paths.
Mace Windu’s Shatterpoint
The Star Wars Expanded Universe gave Jedi Master Mace Windu a unique ability referred to as “Shatterpoint,” the power to sense the weak spot in an opponent or circumstance. This made him a shrewd and effective tactician, as well as a deadly lightsaber duelist. The power is arguably still canon for Windu because it is referenced in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and it has subsequently been mentioned in Chuck Wendig’s “Aftermath” trilogy. It’s possible this is actually a dark side power, because Mace Windu trod close to the dark side – hence his purple blade – and Palpatine himself apparently possessed this ability too.
Palpatine was clearly a master of some Force power that allowed him to conceal himself from the Jedi. As a result, he was able to rise to a position of prominence and even spend time with the Jedi Council without their ever realizing he was a powerful Sith Lord. E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Peril suggests Palpatine transformed himself into a void in the Force, and Yoda initially sensed this mysterious “nothing” – but the Sith Lord then clouded the Jedi’s Force awareness, preventing his being discovered.
Force Sever – How Luke Cut Himself Off From The Force
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rey discovered Luke Skywalker had completely cut himself off from the Force. The technique he used was one called “Sever Force,” and according to the Jedi Master it had taken him years to practice this; still, he had mastered it to such an extent he did not even sense the destruction of Hosnian Prime, and the deaths of billions. To hold the Force at bay is an unnatural act, because the Force is all-pervasive, and according to Jason Fry’s novelization even Luke found the Force trying to speak to him through his dreams. Given this is so unnatural, it is tempting to speculate this is no light side power; it may well be a balance ability that Luke learned from the ancient Jedi texts.
Force Stasis – How Kylo Ren Froze A Blaster Bolt
At the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron saw an opportunity to ambush Kylo Ren, and opened fire upon him. Kylo Ren’s Force awareness led him to sense the shot coming, but he chose to show off his power of the Force rather than simply swat the blaster bolt aside in the usual fashion. Kylo Ren used a power called Force Stasis to freeze the shot in place, leaving Poe absolutely stunned. But it’s actually not the first time Force Stasis has been demonstrated in the Star Wars franchise, with Yoda using the power in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and it’s since been seen in the Jedi: Fallen Order game as well.
The Jedi Mind Trick
The Jedi Mind Trick was one of the first Force powers seen on the big screen, with Obi-Wan Kenobi suggesting the Force can have a powerful influence on the weak-minded. Although the Jedi Mind Trick is unusually invasive, it’s typically used to avoid conflict, with Jedi using it to slip past Stormtroopers and Separatists alike. Rey found herself able to use the Jedi Mind Trick on a First Order stormtrooper with surprising ease in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but that may well reflect the fact the dark side was used as part of First Order brainwashing techniques.
Force Shield – Why Jedi Make The Perfect Spies
Star Wars has revealed why Jedi make the perfect spies; they are able to use their telepathic powers to gently nudge those around them into looking in the opposite direction as they pass by. The Jedi call this power a “Force Shield,” and it allows them to slip through enemies bases without being spotted. No doubt this explains why Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to infiltrate the Death Star and sabotage its tractor beams in the first Star Wars movie.
Mental Manipulation – How Kylo Ren Put Rey To Sleep
The dark side can be used to manipulate the minds of others, a power that seems a logical extension of the Jedi Mind Trick – but a lot more invasive. Kylo Ren used this ability to put Rey to sleep in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the junior novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suggested the dark side was routinely used to brainwash Stormtroopers under the First Order. Ironically, this neatly explains why some Stormtroopers were able to rebel and ultimately defected from the First Order; Force-sensitives, and those with strong wills, presumably have the ability to resist it.
Empathy & Soothing
Justina Ireland’s novel Out of the Shadows introduced a new Jedi mind power, one apparently associated with Force-sensitives from the planet Genetia. Padawan Imri Cantaros discovered he possessed a remarkable sense of empathy, and he was able to read the emotions of those around him with ease. Working with some Padawans, Imri learned to extend this ability by manipulating the emotions of others nearby, calming or “soothing” them. The Jedi feared this power would take him dangerously close to the dark side, but they had learned it could be controlled using certain meditative techniques.
Justina Ireland’s novel A Test of Courage sees Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh stranded upon a mysterious jungle planet, and she uses a form of Jedi telepathy to scout the environment around her. She is able to bond with plants and animals alike in order to interpret the jungle, swiftly understanding what kind of dangerous world she and her charges are stranded upon. “If I listen closely I can feel the animals thinking about resting and the plants talking about burying their roots to not get swept away, so that most likely means heavy rainfalls are a regular thing here,” she explained.
The Dark Side Mind Probe
The Mind Probe is another dark side mental power, one that appears to be taught to Sith early in their training, because it has been demonstrated by the likes of Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and – ultimately – Kylo Ren. According to The Rise of Kylo Ren, the Mind Probe is another extension of the Jedi Mind Trick, and he was taught it by Supreme Leader Snoke. Kylo Ren became a skilled practitioner of this power, using it on Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but there it backfired. Rey was able to access Kylo Ren’s mind as well, and according to the novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi she absorbed some of his knowledge of the Force. It is unclear whether this risk is taken whenever one Force-sensitive probes the mind of another, or whether the nascent Force Dyad made this a unique case.
The Jedi Meld
The Jedi of the High Republic Era – some 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – celebrated individuality, with each encouraged to pursue their own unique relationship with the Force. Avar Kriss, for example, experiences the Force as music, with each Jedi represented as a unique tone and instrument in the Force. She can draw the Jedi together in what was called a “Force Meld” in the old Expanded Universe, where they combine their power in order to accomplish feats that are beyond any one Jedi. The Meld was gradually extended to envelop every single Jedi in the galaxy, a remarkable achievement.
Telekinesis is another basic Force power, with Yoda training Luke Skywalker in this art in The Empire Strikes Back. It has since become a staple power for both the Jedi and the Sith, although they use it in different ways; Darth Vader, for example, preferred to use telekinesis to choke his adversaries. One of the more impressive telekinetic feats was seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, when Rey used it as part of her meditations. Some Force-users can create telekinetic shields around themselves to prevent them suffering harm, or to help them survive in extreme environments.
Jedi and Sith can use the Force to enhance their own physical attributes of strength and speed, and they can also use it to increase their own resistance to pain. It’s reasonable to assume all these enhanced physical powers are related, so they’re best grouped together. Wall-running – a skill developed particularly in Jedi: Fallen Order – is one of the most impressive feats.
Force Refresh – How A Jedi Regains Their Strength
Star Wars games frequently feature a mechanic where a Jedi can refresh their energy by meditating. Surprisingly, this has actually been integrated into canon in Justina Ireland’s novel A Test of Courage, which reveals Jedi can indeed restore their energy by meditating. Not every Jedi is gifted at this skill, apparently, and the strength of it depends on the environment. It is presumably most effective in a place soaked in the light side of the Force.
Dark Aura Is Seen In Battlefront II
The Star Wars: Battlefront 2 game gave Palpatine a sinister ability called Dark Aura, in which his mere presence caused those nearby to weaken and age. The game mechanics are considered canon, so Palpatine presumably possesses this ability in reality as well. It is difficult to say whether this is a conscious dark side power in reality, or whether it is an unconscious one that is simply triggered by the overwhelming presence of the dark side.
The Force Can Grant Technical Insight
Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO when he was just a child, and tie-ins have suggested that technical expertise actually came from the Force. Daniel José Older’s novel Race to Crashpoint Tower has introduced another Jedi who possessed a similar bond with technology, Ram Jamoran, who found himself instinctively able to understand machinery and electronics. When Ram took apart a damaged speeder, he could focus and use the Force to identify any part that was not working, or when he looked at a sabotaged comm system, he could intuitively sense how to repair it. It seems to have been a rare Force power, but it matches with Anakin’s own expertise.
“Psychometry” is another unique Force power introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This was a rare ability demonstrated by Quinlan Vos, and it allowed him to experience an object’s past whenever he touched it. Most Force users do not learn psychometry, but rather are born with this gift, and find early experiences physically exhausting. The Jedi Council distrusted psychometry because it opened a Jedi up to the emotions they were sensing; if a Jedi touched a murder weapon, for example, they would potentially experience the anger of the killer or the fear of the victim. It has been recently revived in Jedi: Fallen Order and Kevin Shinick’s young-adult novel Force Collector.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw Rey experience a burst of so-called “Forcebacks” when she touched the hilt of Luke’s old lightsaber. This was presented in an ambiguous form, making it difficult to say whether it was a manifestation of the will of the Force or some nascent Force power that burned within Rey. The experience appeared similar to psychometry, so the latter is more likely.
The Force can be used to grant visions of the future. The Jedi taught these visions should be experienced according to the will of the Force, and that Jedi should not pursue the future, because doing so was of the dark side. Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, creator of the Clone Army, was a Jedi whose mind was particularly attuned to the future; unfortunately this power backfired, leaving his mind unstable. Although Sifo-Dyas became a Jedi Master, he clashed with the Jedi Council on many occasions, particularly under the influence of these visions. In contrast to the Jedi, Sith actively seek knowledge of the future. Palpatine was gifted in this dark art, understanding that the future is always in motion, and crafting intricate plans to take advantage of that fact. Interestingly, Star Wars Rebels suggested the most potent visions are possible when both light and dark sides are brought together in concert, with Darth Maul and Ezra using Jedi and Sith Holocrons at once.
Ancient Jedi Prophets
Meanwhile, ancient Force-sensitives appear to have been able to craft cryptic written prophesies that were destined to come true, even untold millennia later. The most famous of these, of course, is the prophecy of the Chosen One. These appear to predate the Jedi Order, and these ancient prophets may well be associated with balance rather than light or dark. Although the Jedi honored the prophecies, they had lost the art of reading them properly, with only Qui-Gon Jinn showing any aptitude for them in modern times; he was uniquely attuned to the theme of balance, supporting the idea this is a balance ability.
In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Luke Skywalker demonstrated a unique ability that allowed him to send a projection of himself across the galaxy. This power was lifted from the old Expanded Universe, with director Rian Johnson citing the Dark Empire comics as inspiration. In his film, it appeared to be a tremendously difficult power, and Luke’s use of Astral Projection led to his death.
Force Lightning and Force Storms
Force Lightning was one of Palpatine’s favorite abilities, likely because he appreciated the intense agony a victim of Force Lightning suffers. As shown in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Force Lightning does not just harm organic tissue, but it also causes overloads and energy surges in spaceships, potentially destructive ones. The Emperor tended to use Force Lightning individually, but he could summon Force Storms that struck anywhere across the galaxy, using one to destroy Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple after Luke had been defeated by his apprentice Ben Solo.
How A Jedi Absorbs Force Lightning
Some Jedi had learned to absorb Force Lightning into their own bodies, although to date this power has only been demonstrated by Master Yoda. It is reasonable to assume this ability is rare, because it can only be learned during combat between a Jedi and a powerful practitioner of the dark side. Presumably Yoda learned it the hard way, through painful experience.
How A Jedi Deflects Force Lightning
Jedi have twice been seen using their lightsabers to block and then deflect Force Lightning, in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. According to the Star Wars reference book Secrets of the Jedi, this is actually a learned ability that is only possible when a Jedi bonds with their lightsaber in a remarkably intimate way. A lightsaber generates an electrical charge; “wielding a lightsaber is less like swinging a sword and more like directing a current of power,” Luke Skywalker notes in the in-universe reference book. When a Jedi becomes attuned to the Force, their thoughts and actions all become part of that same flow of energy; thus when a lightsaber blade catches Force Lightning, the electrical power is absorbed into its own current. It is then discharged, potentially creating a feedback loop, explaining why on both occasions Palpatine lost control of his own Force Lightning.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker introduced a new power called “Force Heal,” subtly different from abilities previously seen in the old Expanded Universe. This allows a Force user to transfer their life energy to another. Rey learned this technique studying the old Jedi texts, and used it to heal the kyber crystal in Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber. It is likely this is a balance power, rather than one associated with light or dark, explaining why it is so rare. Baby Yoda displayed it in The Mandalorian, which fits with that theory, given children only develop a light or dark alignment as they age.
The Emperor’s Force Drain
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saw Palpatine display an ability that is best understood as an inversion of Rey’s Force Heal, as he drew the Force energy of Rey and Kylo Ren’s Dyad into himself. This ability was actually introduced into the Disney canon back in 2015, in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, when a Sith cultist named Yupe Tashu mocked a prisoner. “Did you know that the Sith Lords could sometimes drain the Force energy from their captives,” he asked. “Siphoning life from them and using it to strengthen their connection to the dark side? Extending their own lives, as well, so that they could live for centuries beyond their intended expiration?“
Bonding With Animals & Plants
All Jedi possess a basic ability to skim the minds of animals, but some have a particular proficiency in this area. In Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger was routinely able to establish bonds with various animals, although the connections had differing degrees of intensity. This is best understood as something subtly distinct from telepathy and rather more advanced, because the bonds were surprisingly intimate.
Dark Side Bonds
The Force can be used to create enduring bonds between different beings, a skill Luke Skywalker feared was mostly used by dark siders. As he notes in the Secrets of the Jedi book:
“On occasion, the Force allows us to connect with another living being and communicate with them across great distances, seeing what they see, and feeling what they feel. Though this may seem like a harmless – and perhaps even valuable – ability, it is easily manipulated by those on the dark side. Some powerful Force users have been able to create secret bonds with others who are unaware of their connection. They then use these bonds to corrupt their target and steer their actions. Even if the unwanted bond is detected, it can still be extremely difficult to break.”
These bonds are probably the closest a Sith can come to creating a Force Dyad, which requires use of both the light and dark sides of the Force. Palpatine used a Force Bond to corrupt Ben Solo, and through Snoke he attempted to do the same with Rey and Kylo Ren, unaware he was only intensifying a preexisting Dyad.
Some Force-sensitive beings have displayed the ability to teleport using the Force; it appears to be a balance power, associated with the Bendu in Star Wars Rebels and later practiced by Rey and Kylo Ren through their Force Dyad in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary referenced an obscure group from the Expanded Universe called the Aing-Tii Monks, who used the Force to this effect.
Sith Magic & Alchemy
The Nightsisters of Dathomir possess a distinct set of Force abilities, best referred to as dark side magic and alchemy, and Darth Maul suggested they are related to some other aspect of the Force – not light, dark, or balance, but presumably most closely related to dark. It is unclear how these abilities can be learned, or how they fit in with other Force powers, but certainly Palpatine appeared well-versed in them. One of their most disturbing powers was to possess the bodies of others, and the Nightsisters were even able to possess Jedi. The most powerful dark side sorcery – such as the arcane ritual that ravaged Mustafar – requires the use of kyber crystals or Holocrons.
Qui-Gon Jinn learned the art of becoming a Force Ghost, maintaining his consciousness in the Force even after death. This is the holy grail for the Sith, but it is only possible when a person submits themselves completely to the will of the Force, meaning it is the one thing a Sith can never do. Qui-Gon taught this power to others, and its potency was best demonstrated in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, when Yoda’s Force Ghost was even able to influence the physical world.
Palpatine’s Essence Transfer
A Sith may not be able to become a Force Ghost in the traditional sense, but they are able to use a technique called Essence Transfer to survive death. This allows a dying Sith to bind its spirit to an object, a specific geographical place, or even another person; this last idea is easier if the person is subject to dark side emotions at the time. It’s now been confirmed Essence Transfer was the ancient secret discovered by Palpatine’s Master, Darth Plagueis the Wise; Palpatine continued to study it for years, learning more of the technique through encounters with the deceased Sith Lord Darth Momin, whose spirit possessed his old mask. Palpatine survived his death in Return of the Jedi by fleeing to a clone body, and in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker he sought to possess Rey.
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