For over 40 years — since George Lucas released Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) — the Force has played a major role in every facet of the Star Wars story.
From “Old Ben”/Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) telling young Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together”, to Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”) connecting with countless other Jedi — including, perhaps, Ben Solo (Adam Driver) on the Tython “Seeing Stone” in The Mandalorian Season 2 just last year, the Force is truly the glue behind a galaxy far, far away.
Now, Star Wars has confirmed something brand new about how the Force works — it is directly connected to hyperspace.
Thanks to Justina Ireland’s latest Star Wars: The High Republic novel, “Out of the Shadows”, Star Wars fans have been introduced to a brand new Force power called “hyperspace tripping”.
The novel features Jedi Knight Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh, a prodigy who completed the famously challenged Jedi Trials at age 15. She is extremely Force-sensitive, as one could glean from her youth when she became a fully-fledged Jedi Knight, and she is the first known character to possess the ability to “hyperspace trip”.
When Vern is traveling through hyperspace on a starship, her connection to the Force allows her mind to actually travel ahead of her through hyperspace to see visions of far-off lands. “Out of the Shadows” explains, though, that young Vern has almost no control over when — or how — “Force tripping” occurs, which is, as one might expect, alarming to her.
For fans, though, this is an incredibly cool connection between two of the mysteries of the Star Wars universe. We don’t fully understand hyperspace or the Force, so to discover they are intrinsically connected to one another actually makes a great deal of sense.
Furthermore, it seems that even characters within the Star Wars universe don’t fully understand how hyperspace works.
Even putting aside Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca’s (Peter Mayhew/Joonas Suotamo) constant issues with the Millennium Falcon’s hyperspace drive, Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo’s (Laura Dern) hyperspace attack in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) was a shock to the entire Resistance.
If Princess General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and her team, including Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) — you’ll understand the connection in a moment, I promise — had a full understanding of hyperspace, there is no viable reason they wouldn’t have tried to use it against the Galactic Empire, and later the First Order, with greater frequency.
ScreenRant notes that, intriguingly, Vern may not actually be the first character to possess “Force tripping” abilities in the High Republic age, so this Force power may have been more common during the Golden Age of the Jedi Order, approximately 200 years prior to Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999):
This may well be similar to an ability demonstrated by Mari San Tekka, a member of the San Tekka clan whose affinity to hyperspace appears to be Force-related and granted her the power to chart new hyperspace routes. Mari San Tekka’s family were hyperspace prospectors, and they used her powers for themselves, but Mari was ultimately taken by a group of space pirates known as the Nihil.
This isn’t the first time the High Republic multimedia initiative has taught us something new about the Force — in a Marvel Comic earlier this year, Jedi Padawan Keeve Trennis showed us what the Force looks like to a Jedi for the very first time in the existence of the Star Wars franchise.
As the High Republic continues, and new series like The Acolyte — and even Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen’s (Darth Vader) Obi-Wan Kenobi — are released, we are likely to continue learning about how the Jedi — and the Sith — use both the light side and the dark side of the Force to both unify and divide a galaxy far, far away.
Do you want to see more “hyperspace tripping” in Star Wars?