With new Star Wars material being constantly churned out from the Disney and Lucasfilm factory, many fans struggle to keep up with the ever-changing Force powers, whether they're wielded by a Jedi like Ahsoka Tano, or a Sith Lord like Darth Maul. Some even consider any new element to the Force to be ‘inconsistent with the readily established abilities and powers – but this is actually an unfair assessment.
After all, the original trilogy never once addresses any limits to the Force, thus leaving future material free to elaborate and expand on its mythology and powers. A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi simply introduced these powers, while the prequel trilogy expanded on them, even bringing in the concept of ‘midi-chlorians'.
In more recent years, shows such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels delved even deeper into the origins of the Force, as well as the capabilities of particularly sensitive Force users. In fact, these two shows, along with equally canon novels and graphic novels, are perhaps the most comprehensive crash course lessons in the Force a Star Wars fan can study.
So, let's take a look at some of the most memorable and impressive Force powers, some of which many consider to be unnatural…
Many fans may not know that the use of a lightsaber is a Force power in its own right. While usually constructed by the wielder, the laser can only be powered by a Kyber crystal, which serves as the weapon's energy cell. Once the lightsaber is built with the crystal installed in the metal hilt, the Jedi acts as a conduit between the Force and the crystal, and so, upon activating the blade, the laser becomes an extension of the Jedi. That's not to say that non-Force wielders are unable to use a lightsaber, but the Force is what enhances the weapon, which, coupled with the skills of the Jedi, makes it a formidable ally.
You might not think of Force Ghosts as a power, but transcendence is the ultimate demonstration of a Jedi's power. While dying in the first place can hardly be described as an advantage, the ability to return as a Force Ghost means that the Jedi underwent full training during their life, and now possesses the ability to commune with other Jedi. More importantly, Force Ghosts are far more attuned to the netherworld of the Force than they ever were when they were living creatures. Luminous beings they are, not this crude matter…
Force Projection, known also as Similfuturus, was first introduced in The Last Jedi when Luke Skywalker travels to Crait to defend what's left of the rebellion against the First Order. However, we quickly learn that Luke is actually still on Ahch-To, meditating intensely so that he can be in full control of his astral clone on another planet lightyears away. His ability to astral-project across vast distances, and also use his lightsaber while doing so, is impressive, and not only demonstrates that Luke is one of the most powerful Jedi of all time, but also makes for one of the more redeeming parts of the widely criticized sequel trilogy.
Force Telekinesis is one of the most commonly used powers in Star Wars, whether it's the iconic ‘choke', as performed by Darth Vader in A New Hope, calling for one's lightsaber (just as Luke does when he's captured by the Wompa in The Empire Strikes Back), or catching falling objects with your mind (like Yoda in Attack of the Clones). In the sequel trilogy, it's also demonstrated by Leia, after she's blown from her spacecraft and left to freeze in space. Fortunately, Leia ‘flies' back to safety, but as the Jedi don't actually fly, it's clear that she's using Force Telekinesis to transport herself through the vacuum of space.
Force Stasis is a power that involves temporarily ‘freezing' people or objects against their will, or 'holding' them. This is one of the most immobilizing powers a Force user can wield, but not every Jedi or Sith can use it – only the expertly trained and experienced are able to master this skill. However, one perfect example of a Force Stasis user is neither Sith nor Jedi – Kylo Ren. Force Stasis is seen in The Force Awakens, when Kylo uses the Force to freeze a laser projectile in mid-air, before releasing it moments later, having seemingly forgotten he had frozen it in the first place, which shows the extent of his powers.
Force Healing was first revealed in The Rise of Skywalker when Rey and the gang stumble upon the lair of a large serpent, which is badly injured, and much to her own surprise, Rey heals its wounds. We also saw Force Healing in The Mandalorian, when Grogu performs it on Greef Karga. While Force Revival is very much its own power – as seen at the end of The Rise of Skywalker - it can be grouped under Force Healing (it's unclear as to whether Leia self-heals or self-revives while in space in The Last Jedi). Force Healing can also save one from fatal wounds, so these two powers are very similar.
Force Telepathy is yet another power that encompasses a broad range of other abilities. In fact, the mind of a Jedi is a very busy place, especially when you consider other abilities such as Jedi Mind Tricks, in which the user can persuade or influence the weak-minded; Force Stealth, in which the user can ‘mask' their abilities to others like them; Force vision, in which one can see into the future; sensing a nearby Jedi (or even one who's far, far away); sensing when someone has died; or even being able to affect someone when in hologram-form, just like Snoke does to General Hux in The Last Jedi.
Just like Force Healing and Force Projection, Force Teleportation is another power used in the sequel trilogy that's scoffed at by many fans. In those films, Rey and Kylo were able to pass items back and forth to one another while at other ends of the galaxy. Sometimes, they'd even end up ‘crossing over' during battle, which means that both Rey and Kylo were also teleporting. This was a good tool to show just powerful these two characters are, but it's actually not the first time Force Teleportation was used in Star Wars. In Rebels, a Force-sensitive creature known as Bendu was able to teleport between planets.
Related: Who is the Most Powerful Jedi?
Force Psychometry is also known as Sense Echo or Force Echo, and you might remember it from the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, in which Cal Kestis is able to acquire information when studying an object or a place through either proximity or direct contact. While this may fall under Force Telepathy, it's actually a unique power in its own right. Rey Skywalker is also seen to have this ability in The Force Awakens when she experiences visions upon picking up Luke Skywalker's lightsaber.
We wonder how many times you shouted out "That's not how the Force works!" while reading this? Well, to no surprise, there are countless more Force powers, but these ones are perhaps the most familiar, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure, some of which you'll undoubtedly find controversial – but what's Star Wars without a bit of controversy?
There's no doubt that we're yet to learn so much more about the Force, whether it's in one of the many upcoming shows, such as Ahsoka, Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Book of Boba Fett, Star Wars: Visions, The Bad Batch Season 2 and The Mandalorian Season 3, the new Taika Waititi movie, the recently announced open-world Star Wars game from Ubisoft, or even the new VR game Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge - Last Call.
Want to refresh yourself on all things the Force? Check out all the Star Wars movies and shows, which are currently streaming on Disney+.