‘Star Wars’ Officially Clears Up Ongoing Confusion About Force Ghosts

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Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Credit: Lucasfilm

If you’ve hung around the Star Wars fandom long enough, you’re probably familiar with “Force ghosts.”

Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker (left), Frank Oz as Yoda (middle), and Sir Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan Kenobi (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Harrison Ford (Han Solo) infamously knew nothing about these beings, expressing his absolute distaste for the Star Wars franchise, despite spending over 40 years of his life deeply entrenched in the galaxy far, far away.

han solo in empire strikes back
Credit: Lucasfilm

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In certain cases, powerful Jedi Masters are able to live on, in a way, after death, as an actual part of the Force. Over the years, there has been much debate and discussion surrounding these ethereal beings.

The first known Jedi to learn the secret of becoming one with the Force after death was Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who trained under a Shaman of the Whills.

qui gon jinn (left) and darth maul (right) in a lightsaber duel
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Unfortunately, he had not completed his training when he was killed at the hands of Darth Maul (Ray Park) in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), so he could was only able to manifest himself as a disembodied voice for quite some time.

However, Jinn was able to complete his training under Grand Master Yoda (Frank Oz) after death, thereby giving him the ability to appear to his former Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) on Tatooine following the execution of Order 66.

qui gon jinn and obi wan
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The secret to becoming a Force ghost was later passed to Kenobi, Yoda, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the redeemed Anakin Skywalker after he renounced his role as Sith Lord Darth Vader.

One question that has remained about Force ghosts, however, is if they only come from the Jedi Order, or if powerful Sith Lords can also go on to commune with the Force even in death.

Some Star Wars fans believed confirmation that Sith cannot become Force ghosts came when the Grand Inquisitor battled Luke Skywalker in a Star Wars comic issue, but now the point has been driven home once and for all.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Now, for the first time, Star Wars is officially addressing this issue. In a StarWars.com excerpt from the upcoming novel, “Shadow of the Sith” — which takes place 17 years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), the same year Rey (Daisy Ridley) lands on Jakku — Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker is transported to Exegol where he muses:

“The Force connected all life in the galaxy, but it also surrounded and penetrated the inanimate. Objects — rocks, planets, starships, droids, everything — had a presence in the Force, or rather, an absence that could be felt as strongly as if they were living things themselves.

But the wraiths [the “nine embodiments of the dark side” Luke is fighting] were nothing. Luke couldn’t sense them with the Force at all.”

rey and luke skywalker on ahch-to
Credit: Lucasfilm

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It is, however, important to note that, although we now know the Sith cannot actually become Force ghosts they can retain a degree of posthumous consciousness by binding their spirits to a geographical location, a person, or an object. This technique, called “essence transfer” is what Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) attempted to use to gain control of Rey in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

What do you think about this confirmation about Force ghosts and the dark side?

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