It feels like a long time since Star Wars fans saw the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It has been, of course, even longer since we were first introduced to the new slate of heroes and villains that would dominate the sequel trilogy of films that started with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015).
Back then, we first saw Daisy Ridley’s Rey on the desert planet of Jakku, calling upon the unlikely hero from a sparse part of the galaxy — a trope George Lucas made famous when he gave us Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine. Director JJ Abrams also brought the Darth Vader-style villain, Knights of Ren leader and son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) into the Star Wars universe.
Despite its commercial success, the Star Wars sequel trilogy went on to receive a mixed reaction from both critics and Star Wars fans due to its muddled plotting and scrambled roster of directors. To this day, the second entry into the trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), is still one of the most talked about movies due to its polarizing direction from Rian Johnson, with many fans also laying the blame with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
That being said, it was JJ Abrams’s return to the franchise that left Star Wars with a seemingly tarnished reputation. With accusations of retconning Johnson’s The Last Jedi and negating the progress he made with both the characters and the universe, The Rise of Skywalker left an underwhelming impression on its audience.
What it did do was wrap up the stories of its leading pair — Rey and Kylo Ren. From their first lightsaber duel on Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens, to battling Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) together in The Last Jedi, the two went through a lot.
During the fight against Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) on the Sith hideaway Exegol — which also saw Billy Dee Williams and Kelly Marie Tran return as Lando Calrissian and Rose Tico, respectively — Kylo Ren sacrifices himself to save Rey after she defeats Palpatine. Before this, though, we see Rey use the Force to heal Kylo Ren, and in a new book – “Skywalker: A Family At War” by Kim Baver – Lucasfilm finally reveal how Kylo Ren was saved from the Dark Side and returned as Ben Solo.
Baver’s book — which also reveals other interesting facts like why Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO – claims that Rey’s use of the Force to heal Kylo Ren not only healed his physical injuries but also cleared his mind. Baver wrote:
“Rey transferred her own Force energy to the wounded man at her feet; however, the interaction did more than merely mend a gaping wound. Burned flesh and damaged organs were made whole again, and even the scar on his face disappeared. For the first time in more than a decade, Ben Solo’s mind cleared.”
Much like Anakin in the prequel trilogy, Emperor Palpatine had clouded the mind of his apprentice, drawing him further into the Dark Side. This confirmation that the use of the Force to heal wounds and subsequently healing something in the mind too, was further explored in the Disney+ flagship show, The Mandalorian.
In Season 1 of Jon Favreau’s smash-hit, which made Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) a household name and spawned what can only be described as a global “Baby Yoda” appreciation society, we see the latter – officially revealed as Grogu after Ahsoka Tano’s (Rosario Dawson) live-action entrance – heal the Bounty Hunters’ Guild member, Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) using the Force.
After sustaining injuries from Nevarro reptavians, Grogu heals the man, saving his life. It is curious to see that after this event Karga would move forward with an increasing conscience, and ultimately going on to improve Nevarro alongside his marshal Cara Dune (Gina Carano).
So, with the Force able to clear minds, it would be interesting to see Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company explore Force lore in any of their upcoming Star Wars films and television shows. We know that Obi-Wan Kenobi will see the return of Ewan McGregor in the title role, alongside Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. The Rosario Dawson led Ahsoka, could also deep dive into how the Force can be used to eradicate the Dark Side. The new High Republic series – which sees Star Wars explore the golden age of the Jedi – could also provide answers to the interesting Star Wars power.
There are many opportunities for Star Wars to give fans a closer look at the inner workings of the Force on both the big and small screen, and there may even be more things to learn. Maybe the Force heal is only the very tip of the Sarlaac…
Do you think we will get to know more about the Force soon? Buy your copy of “Skywalker: A Family At War” here for $20.99.