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What is the Force in Star Wars?

What is the Force in Star Wars, and what do we know about this complicated life-force which connects the Star Wars universe together.

Star Wars: The Force - Yoda

What is the Force in Star Wars, really, and what do we know about this mysterious phenomenon? The thing we all love most about George Lucas’ Star Wars is the world-building, and the many mysteries that can be observed throughout the sci-fi movie galaxy.

Behind the stories of the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire; the Clone Wars and the rise of the First Order; and the tales of the Jedi and Sith, is the Force. The idea of the Force is something that really sets the Star Wars movies apart, and it gives the universe its identity right from the very first mention.

However the Force is also one of the most ambiguous, mysterious elements of Star Wars lore. So, naturally, we want to know more. To help, we’ve put together this handy guide on everything you need to know about the Force.

What is the Force?

The Force is a mysterious energy field, created by the existence of life across the galaxy which binds the universe together. The Force can be ‘used’ by people who are either highly Force-sensitive, or have extensive training (or some combination of both) to boost their natural powers and use it to manipulate the world around them.

The Jedi and the Sith both use the Force within combat to complement their natural skills and to enhance their speed, balance, and strength. It is also commonly used in combat to lift and move objects which would otherwise be too heavy, or to reach objects that are too far to grasp. It can also be used to heal others, and when someone is connected to the Force they can sometimes see visions of the future. Pretty useful, then.

Star Wars: The Force - Qui Gon

What are midi-chlorians?

Midi-chlorians are microscopic lifeforms which exist within living beings and are linked to the Force. The m-count (or, number and density of midi-chlorians) within a person determines the extent of their Force-sensitivity, which is how naturally inclined they are at being able to use the Force.

For example, Yoda has an exceptionally high m-count, as does Anakin Skywalker, which is why they are so naturally strong with the Force and have such high potential as Jedi.

Star Wars: The Force - Force Ghosts

Is the Force inherited?

The power to use the Force seems to come through a combination of training and innate sensitivity, and this Force-sensitivity looks like it is inherited on some level.

Force-sensitivity comes as a result of a person’s natural midi-chlorian count: the higher the midi-chlorians, the more Force-sensitive they are. Someone’s midi-chlorian count, as we see from Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Ben Solo, and Rey, is inherited which means that certain families and bloodlines are more naturally powerful with the Force than others.

So, to a certain extent, power with the Force is inherited. However, in the most powerful Force-users this inherited power is combined with intense training to hone skill at using the Force.

Star Wars: The Force - Force Ghosts

Can anyone control the Force?

In theory yes: anyone can use the Force. With enough training and concentration, the Force can hypothetically be wielded by anyone in the galaxy because it’s an “energy field created by all living things,”

However, as we see across Star Wars even for Force-sensitive people with a high midi-chlorian count, manipulating the Force still requires plenty of effort and concentration. This would be even harder, then, for someone who lacked innate talent.

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Who is the most powerful Force-user?

The most powerful known Force-user that we see in canon is up for debate, but it’s likely one of: Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, or Darth Vader.

Each of these Force-users have extensive training combined with natural Force-sensitivity, however, the two Sith might have the edge. This is because, as Yoda and Palpatine both acknowledge, the dark side of the Force allows a Force-user to unlock extremely useful powers. It also comes with its dangers, but the highest level of power seems to come with the Sith. That’s what makes it so enticing, after all!

That’s it on the Force. For more Star Wars fun, take a look at our guides to the best Star Wars villains and the best Star Wars bounty hunters. Or, find out more about the story of Cassian Andor with our guide to the Andor season 2 release date as well as our guide to the Andor cast. You can also check out our explainers on the Obi-Wan Kenobi season 2 release date and the Ahsoka release date.