All 40 Light & Dark Side Force Powers In Canon

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Summary

  • Jedi and Sith draw on the Force in different ways, with Jedi serving the light side and Sith exerting their own will on the Force.
  • Force powers like Force awareness and blocking blaster bolts are some of the basic abilities that Jedi and Sith can develop through their training.
  • The Force grants unique powers like pathfinding, skywalking, wayfinding, hyperspace tripping, and Shatterpoint, which are often tied to a Jedi’s alignment and experience with the Force.

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Here’s your guide to every Force power in Star Wars – including the abilities associated with the light side, the dark side, and even balance. When Obi-Wan Kenobi began to train Luke Skywalker, he gave his apprentice a simple definition of the Force. “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power,” he explained. “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” He was oversimplifying, of course, and since then the Star Wars franchise has built upon the mythology of the Force.

Jedi and Sith have some basic powers in common, but in truth draw on the Force in very different ways. A Jedi serves the light side, using their powers in accordance with the Force’s will and never for attack. A Sith, in contrast, exerts their own will on the Force. “The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural,” Palpatine observed in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and repeated in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Meanwhile, balance seems to be a third aspect of the Force, unlocking even more unique powers (as seen in Rey). This article explores all canon Star Wars Force powers.

Related: Star Wars In Order: All Movies & Shows

Force Awareness

john-boyega-finn-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker

The most basic Force ability is “Force awareness.” As a potential Jedi or Sith opens themselves up to the Force, they naturally become increasingly sensitive to it. The first canon example of Force sensitivity was seen in Star Wars, when Obi-Wan Kenobi sensed the destruction of Alderaan while the Millennium Falcon was flying through hyperspace. Note that Luke Skywalker, who had just begun his training at this time and so was barely open to the Force, did not sense this. More recently, in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Finn had an innate sense of Rey, with whom he had a strong bond. He was further able to instinctively sense a critical target during the Battle of Exegol; it all boiled down to “a feeling”.

In the High Republic Era, centuries before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Jedi appear to have been able to go one step further and intuit knowledge from the Force itself. Vernestra Rwoh, for example, was literally given instructions for how to modify her lightsaber into a lightwhip. “The entire design came to me in the middle of the night a few weeks ago,” she explained when a Padawan asked how she had made the modification.

Force Listening

Jacen Syndulla in Ahsoka.

Introduced in the Ahsoka Disney+ TV show, Jacen Syndulla appears to possess an instinctive Force power which – in Legends – was called Force Listening. As seen in Ahsoka episode 5, by relaxing in the Force he is able to hear things that are apparently happening on other planes of existence. This is the first time Force Listening has been shown in canon; given there’s some evidence children are naturally aligned to the balance aspect of the Force, it’s possible it is lost or simply becomes harder as a person becomes drawn to either the light or dark sides of the Force.

Blocking Blaster Bolts

Luke Skywalker and Training Droid in A New Hope

A would-be Jedi or Sith begins their training learning to block blaster bolts with a lightsaber. According to the in-universe fact book Secrets of the Jedi, this is because the technique helps develop a deep awareness of the Force. Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn: Alliances explained the power works through a moment of so-called “double-vision,” in which a Force-user sees both present reality and future threat. This glimpse of the future allows a Jedi to respond, but they have to do so at once. Thus this ability is only possible to someone who has developed a degree of Force sensitivity and who has learned to instinctively trust in the Force.

Pathfinding

Star Wars Into The Rising Storm Cover

Cavan Scott’s novel Into The Rising Storm has introduced a fascinating Force power called Pathfinding, which allows a pilot to navigate even the most chaotic environment. This power is particularly associated with a race called the Talortai, who evolved in a star system plagued by meteor storms, and developed this ability to help them travel through the system safely. As the novel explains of one Talortai, “All Talortai had an innate sense of direction, feeling the vibrations of the cosmos in their bones, but Dis’s navigational skills were off the chart. Thanks to his talents, he could feel the location of every asteroid in the field. He didn’t need maps or even a navidroid. All he needed was the Force.

Skywalking

Thrawn Alliances Cover

Thrawn: Alliances builds upon this, introducing a power called – amusingly enough – “Skywalking.” This is a logical extension of the double-vision a Jedi or Sith uses to block blaster bolts, applied to flying through the navigational hazards of the Unknown Regions. This area of space is deeply hazardous, described in Aftermath: Empire’s End as “a labyrinth of solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and things far stranger.” The only safe way to travel through the Unknown Regions is with a Force-sensitive, who is able to use double-vision to instinctively react to navigational hazards.

Interestingly, there’s some evidence this may be a balance power rather than a light or dark side one. According to Thrawn: Alliances, younglings tend to be particularly skilled at skywalking. Secrets of the Jedi suggests children are naturally attuned to balance, yet to align themselves with light or dark; presumably that alignment makes skywalking more difficult. Still, Darth Vader was powerful enough to master it regardless.

Wayfinding

Star Wars The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker Compass Sith Wayfinder

Justina Ireland’s novel A Test of Courage introduces Imri, a Padawan in the High Republic Era who is gifted with the power of Wayfinding. This allows a Jedi who is traveling through space to focus on one thing in the Force, and to guide their craft towards it on instinct. Trapped on an abandoned shuttle, Imri is able to successfully locate a distant moon rich in life so he and his friends can survive. Apparently the power is normally the province of seasoned Jedi Masters, who have practiced it all their lives. It is reasonable to assume this power is connected to the Jedi and Sith Wayfinders, introduced in the sequel trilogy, which were locked on to Force vergences such as the planet Exegol.

Mysterious Hyperspace Powers

Star Wars Hyperspace Lightspeed

Hyperspace is the key to space travel across the galaxy in Star Wars, with starships exceeding light speed to jump to another dimensional plane in order to move at phenomenal speed. The precise nature of hyperspace has never been properly explained, and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic franchise has suggested it is far more mysterious than anyone had previously realized. In fact, some Jedi believed hyperspace to be an aspect of the Force itself, and as evidence they pointed to strange powers possessed by some Force users.

Justina Ireland’s novel Out of the Shadows introduced a Force power called “hyperspace tripping,” in which a Jedi’s mind become unmoored from their body during travel through hyperspace and they received visions of events elsewhere in the galaxy. This ability appears to have been both rare and difficult to control, with most of these visions granted by the will of the Force. Meanwhile, a group of pirates in the High Republic Era used hyperspace routes plotted by a Force-sensitive who had been able to chart what she called “Paths” through hyperspace, ways that would sometimes close after mere moments due to gravitational fluctuations. Out of the Shadows hinted at a close relationship between hyperspace tripping and knowledge of the Paths.

Mace Windu’s Shatterpoint

Mace Windu offers the droids a chance to stand down before he kills them in Star Wars the Clone Wars.

The Star Wars Expanded Universe gave Jedi Master Mace Windu a unique ability referred to as “Shatterpoint,” the power to sense the weak spot in an opponent or circumstance. This made him a shrewd and effective tactician, as well as a deadly lightsaber duelist. The power is arguably still canon for Windu because it is referenced in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and it has subsequently been mentioned in Chuck Wendig’s “Aftermath” trilogy. It’s possible this is actually a dark side power, because Mace Windu trod close to the dark side – hence his purple blade – and Palpatine himself apparently possessed this ability too.

Force Concealment

Yoda and Palpatine

Palpatine was clearly a master of some Force power that allowed him to conceal himself from the Jedi. As a result, he was able to rise to a position of prominence and even spend time with the Jedi Council without their ever realizing he was a powerful Sith Lord. E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Peril suggests Palpatine transformed himself into a void in the Force, and Yoda initially sensed this mysterious “nothing” – but the Sith Lord then clouded the Jedi’s Force awareness, preventing his being discovered.

Jedi: Survivor brought back Force concealment, revealing the Jedi had indeed known about this power. Bode Akuna was a Jedi Knight who was taught to use this power for the purpose of espionage during the Clone Wars, and it’s telling that he subsequently fell to the dark side. Deception is of the dark, so it’s possible this ability was a step along that path for him.

Force Sever – How Luke Cut Himself Off From The Force

Star Wars The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rey discovered Luke Skywalker had completely cut himself off from the Force. The technique he used was one called “Sever Force,” and according to the Jedi Master it had taken him years to practice this; still, he had mastered it to such an extent he did not even sense the destruction of Hosnian Prime, and the deaths of billions. To hold the Force at bay is an unnatural act, because the Force is all-pervasive, and according to Jason Fry’s novelization even Luke found the Force trying to speak to him through his dreams. Given this is so unnatural, it is tempting to speculate this is no light side power; it may well be a balance ability that Luke learned from the ancient Jedi texts.

Force Stasis – How Kylo Ren Froze A Blaster Bolt

Kylo Ren Blaster Bolt Force Stasis

At the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron saw an opportunity to ambush Kylo Ren, and opened fire upon him. Kylo Ren’s Force awareness led him to sense the shot coming, but he chose to show off his power of the Force rather than simply swat the blaster bolt aside in the usual fashion. Kylo Ren used a power called Force Stasis to freeze the shot in place, leaving Poe absolutely stunned. But it’s actually not the first time Force Stasis has been demonstrated in the Star Wars franchise, with Yoda using the power in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and it’s since been seen in the Jedi: Fallen Order game as well.

The Jedi Mind Trick

Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars A New Hope

The Jedi Mind Trick was one of the first Force powers seen on the big screen, with Obi-Wan Kenobi suggesting the Force can have a powerful influence on the weak-minded. Although the Jedi Mind Trick is unusually invasive, it’s typically used to avoid conflict, with Jedi using it to slip past Stormtroopers and Separatists alike. Rey found herself able to use the Jedi Mind Trick on a First Order stormtrooper with surprising ease in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but that may well reflect the fact the dark side was used as part of First Order brainwashing techniques.

Force Shield – Why Jedi Make The Perfect Spies

Star Wars has revealed why Jedi make the perfect spies; they are able to use their telepathic powers to gently nudge those around them into looking in the opposite direction as they pass by. The Jedi call this power a “Force Shield,” and it allows them to slip through enemies bases without being spotted. No doubt this explains why Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to infiltrate the Death Star and sabotage its tractor beams in the first Star Wars movie.

Mental Manipulation – How Kylo Ren Put Rey To Sleep

Rey Kylo Ren Force Awakens

The dark side can be used to manipulate the minds of others, a power that seems a logical extension of the Jedi Mind Trick – but a lot more invasive. Kylo Ren used this ability to put Rey to sleep in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the junior novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suggested the dark side was routinely used to brainwash Stormtroopers under the First Order. Ironically, this neatly explains why some Stormtroopers were able to rebel and ultimately defected from the First Order; Force-sensitives, and those with strong wills, presumably have the ability to resist it.

Empathy & Soothing

Star Wars Out Of The Shadows Cover

Justina Ireland’s novel Out of the Shadows introduced a new Jedi mind power, one apparently associated with Force-sensitives from the planet Genetia. Padawan Imri Cantaros discovered he possessed a remarkable sense of empathy, and he was able to read the emotions of those around him with ease. Working with some Padawans, Imri learned to extend this ability by manipulating the emotions of others nearby, calming or “soothing” them. The Jedi feared this power would take him dangerously close to the dark side, but they had learned it could be controlled using certain meditative techniques.

Mike Chen’s novel Brotherhood introduces a variant of this power, with a Jedi Padawan named Mill Alibeth who possessed a rare ability to sense the pain of others. This new Force power made the Clone Wars worse for Mill, because she experienced the suffering and uncertainty of galactic war in a visceral manner. She ultimately left the Jedi, and actually survived Order 66, name-dropped in the sequel trilogy era.

Environmental Telepathy

Star Wars A Test of Courage Cover

Justina Ireland’s novel A Test of Courage sees Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh stranded upon a mysterious jungle planet, and she uses a form of Jedi telepathy to scout the environment around her. She is able to bond with plants and animals alike in order to interpret the jungle, swiftly understanding what kind of dangerous world she and her charges are stranded upon. “If I listen closely I can feel the animals thinking about resting and the plants talking about burying their roots to not get swept away, so that most likely means heavy rainfalls are a regular thing here,” she explained.

The Dark Side Mind Probe

Rey Kylo Ren Interrogation The Force Awakens

The Mind Probe is another dark side mental power, one that appears to be taught to Sith early in their training, because it has been demonstrated by the likes of Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and – ultimately – Kylo Ren. According to The Rise of Kylo Ren, the Mind Probe is another extension of the Jedi Mind Trick, and he was taught it by Supreme Leader Snoke. Kylo Ren became a skilled practitioner of this power, using it on Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but there it backfired. Rey was able to access Kylo Ren’s mind as well, and according to the novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi she absorbed some of his knowledge of the Force. It is unclear whether this risk is taken whenever one Force-sensitive probes the mind of another, or whether the nascent Force Dyad made this a unique case.

The Jedi Meld

Star Wars Light of the Jedi Cover

The Jedi of the High Republic Era – some 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – celebrated individuality, with each encouraged to pursue their own unique relationship with the Force. Avar Kriss, for example, experiences the Force as music, with each Jedi represented as a unique tone and instrument in the Force. She can draw the Jedi together in what was called a “Force Meld” in the old Expanded Universe, where they combine their power in order to accomplish feats that are beyond any one Jedi. The Meld was gradually extended to envelop every single Jedi in the galaxy, a remarkable achievement.

Telekinesis

Rey Meditates With Rocks

Telekinesis is another basic Force power, with Yoda training Luke Skywalker in this art in The Empire Strikes Back. It has since become a staple power for both the Jedi and the Sith, although they use it in different ways; Darth Vader, for example, preferred to use telekinesis to choke his adversaries. One of the more impressive telekinetic feats was seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, when Rey used it as part of her meditations. Some Force-users can create telekinetic shields around themselves to prevent them suffering harm, or to help them survive in extreme environments.

Force Barrier

Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Aayla Secura, Palpatine and Padme in Clone Wars(1)

Occasionally Star Wars has shown Jedi creating barriers with the Force, using them to hold back physical attacks or poisonous gases. The most notable example of this so far can be seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 2, episode 19, “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back,” with Yoda working with Anakin Skywalker and Aayla Secura to shield Chancellor Palpatine and Senator Amidala from poison gas. It’s likely this serves as a sort of telekinetic bubble, although the technique has never been fully explained.