The Force is at once simplistic and mysterious to fans of Star Wars. It's the energy of life that flows through all living things, connecting and binding the universe. It's also able to be manipulated by certain individuals thanks to their connection to the midi-chlorians - extremely Force-sensitive biological organisms living within all living things. In season three of Star Wars Rebels, the Force gets explored in completely new ways. Continuing the tradition of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which had Force gods and Witches and Priestesses that lived solely within the Force, we'll see new things on Rebels, like "The Bendu," an ancient being (pictured above) who lives with both the light and dark side present, and see how those sides clash and combine through characters like Ezra, Darth Maul, and Kanan.
"Anything I do with the Force are just extensions of my talks with George [Lucas]," showrunner Dave Filoni told Comicbook.com at a press roundtable at Star Wars Celebration Europe. "George really opened that door with Mortis and the priestesses to say that the Force is a bigger thing than a lot of people have pictured. It's not a device that just the Jedi and the Sith wield. I have to say – I tried my best to digest what George was saying and study it, but he is and will always be the ultimate master of that lore because he created it; I am just one person interpreting it. I do the best I can, and I try to inform my opinions to Kiri [Hart] and Story Group so there is some continuity going on."
Bendu, who calls himself the "middle" in the Rebels season three trailer (and in the first two episodes premiered at the show), is representative of that. We've seen a bit of that already, with the Force god "The Father" in the aforementioned Mortis Trilogy on The Clone Wars, and even with Ahsoka, trained as a Jedi but no longer with one side or the other. The trailer also teases a return of Force magic, and even a direct clash between a Jedi and Sith holocron. Filoni first explained that, because of the nature of the Force, everyone uses it sometimes, if only subconsciously.
"I've gone as far as to say, when you're a great pilot [in the Star Wars galaxy], are you using the Force? Probably! You're in the moment," Filoni said. "You can't push and pull things to you – you don't have that discipline – but you're kinetically dodging a bunch of asteroids, which the odds of doing according to Threepio are almost impossible. What does that mean, when Han has this lack of faith, that he's doing things [like that]?"
That doesn't mean that those pilots or soldiers or anyone else can somehow become a Jedi eventually, though.
"Having the Force doesn't mean you're a superhero. It's not that at all; it's just being in the moment and being very true and flowing through the Force to do great things," Filoni explained. "Athletes talk about being 'In the zone.' They'll say they've only been 'in the zone' twice in their entire sports professional career. Jedi are in the zone way more often than that, but they're exceptional."
He continued, explaining that just having that talent doesn't mean they don't also need training to get where they're going.
"It takes training and discipline. Without these things, it's dangerous. When don't you need training and discipline? When you're gifted; it comes easy, like Anakin, thus if it comes to you easy, you might not value it as much as somebody who has fought hard to win that skill, to earn that skill. When that happens, you can unfortunately become corrupted. You see gifted people become arrogant, they think they're special and better than anyone else because they're powerful and gifted – Anakin. These are the things I just relate it to real life, and I'm always interested in the Force."
As for Bendu, voiced by the Fourth Doctor actor Tom Baker, he's "one of those guys who is outside the realm of that" clash of light and dark. "
I like to think of Bendu as just being very tired. You heard him in the episode yesterday say 'You woke me up from a deep slumber,' and part of Bendu's thing is he'd like to go back to sleep, but the Rebels keep making all this noise, there's all this torment over there. They're young compared to him, and they're like babies crying in the background. He respects their use of the Force, and respects that they have their own discipline, but he could get tired of it and curl back up and say 'don't bother me!'"
Star Wars Rebels will return this fall on Disney XD.