MOVIE NEWS – The Force may be everywhere, but Star Wars has revealed many ways a Jedi or a Sith can lose access to it…
Star Wars has revealed several ways a Jedi can lose the Force, both in canon and Legends. When Luke Skywalker first met Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, the elderly Jedi master gave him a briefing on the Force. According to Yoda, the Force is the power of life itself. It can transform all that lives. Since this is true, most viewers assume no one can be separated from the Force.
But this is not the case. In fact, the in-universe book Chronicles of the Jedi suggests that it is not uncommon for a Jedi to become disconnected from the Force, or for that relationship to become unstable.
Here are some possible scenarios that could lead to this!
The only known canonical example of a Jedi losing access to the Force is Sskeer, a Jedi from Trandoshan. He lived during the High Republic era. Sskeer lost the Force due to illness. He suffered from a disease that affected his race, Magrak Syndrome. It causes the Trandoshan to become angry and aggressive, and the mind’s attempt to fight the disease makes it impossible for him to connect to the Force.
Injury, self-isolation, loss of balance
As powerful as he was, Darth Vader’s potential was actually diminished by the injuries he suffered on Mustafar. Darth Vader’s strength decreased precisely because he was now a cyborg. “More machine than man”, as many of his limbs had been replaced with artificial ones. As explained in The Phantom Menace, Force-sensitive symbiotes with “midi-chlorians” living in their cells. When Anakin lost his limbs, he naturally lost the midi-chlorians living in his cells.
It is possible for a Jedi to lock himself away from the Force. So he cannot sense anything through it. After Ben Solo fell to the dark side, Luke Skywalker desperately retreated to the planet Ahch-To. Here he performed this feat; not only could he no longer sense the Force, but he could no longer sense events in the galaxy. He had no idea that Hosnian Prime had been destroyed, nor did he sense the death of his friend Han Solo. Force ghosts like Master Yoda presumably could not visit Luke until he rejoined the Force.
The main character of Jedi: Fallen Order, Cal Kestis, starts off with a loss of his ability to rely on the Force, which is supposedly because he has lost his sense of balance in his own mind.
It’s not just that he has shut himself off from the Force, but also that his mind’s confusion and uncertainty limit his ability to draw on the Force. Only when he regains his sense of balance and, above all, his faith in the will of the Force, will he find himself able to use the Force and exercise long-forgotten abilities.
Something similar may have happened to Obi-Wan Kenobi during his exile on Tatooine. Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ began with Obi-Wan struggling to trust the Force. He could barely draw on it. This was evident in a horrific duel against Darth Vader, in which the Sith overlord telekinetically threw a throwing taunt at Obi-Wan’s weakness. But in the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Master regained his faith in the Force. He was then able to defeat Darth Vader in a rematch.
How do you cut a Jedi off from the Force?
One possibility is an actual Force ability seen in the Legends called “Sever Force”. There, this was depicted as an ancient punishment, a way to ensure that fallen Jedi could not pose a threat again. The Sever Force was used on a spectacular scale against an entire race, the Yuuzhan Vong, who had left the galaxy – only to return centuries later as invaders. The Jedi did not know their history. So the absence of the Yuuzhan Vong in the Force posed a serious philosophical problem for Luke Skywalker and the new Jedi Order.
Although the Yuuzhan Vong are not officially canon, they were almost included in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. According to an unfinished “alien abduction” storyline, a single Yuuzhan Vong ship would have probed the galaxy before the Clone Wars. But these Yuuzhan Vongs were quite different. Their lack of the Force was removed because George Lucas didn’t like that element.
The Sever Force obviously did not fit his interpretation of the Force in Star Wars, which is an important point.
Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn trilogy” in the Legends universe introduced the creatures known as the Ysalamiri. The Force simply does not work around ysalamiri. Jedi are unable to sense – and even disrupt – manifestations of the Force, such as Sith Force lightning. Again, Lucas didn’t like the ysalamiri. Later books clarified that the ysalamiri was not a “dead zone” in the Force. Instead, they emit a field that suppresses the Force around them. This evolved as an evolutionary defence mechanism. For they were hunted by predators who used the Force.
The Ysalamiri are technically canonized in Star Wars, as sculptures of them can be seen in Grand Admiral Thrawn’s art collection in Star Wars Rebels. Thrawn will return as the main antagonist in The Mandalorian era, which means that this idea could be revisited.