Keeping in the tradition of the previous chapters of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker delivered audiences exciting and unexpected evolutions of what the Force allowed characters to accomplish. In Star Wars: A New Hope, audiences saw that those attuned in the ways of the Force could influence the minds of others, experience a sense of precognition, and mentally connect with characters who had become one with the Force. As the Skywalker Saga added new entries, the abilities of both the Jedi and the Sith grew, with The Rise of Skywalker offering some new game-changing developments for the Force.
WARNING: Spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker below
The most pivotal evolution of those with Force abilities is possessing the power to transfer their "life force" to heal other beings. In the film's first act, audiences see Rey performing this skill when she encounters a wounded creature that is preventing her and her cohorts from escaping an underground tunnel, healing the beasts minor injuries, resulting in it leaving our heroes alone. Later in the film, with Kylo Ren having abandoned his nefarious identity and becoming Ben Solo once again, he uses his Force powers to revive Rey back to life following their conflict with Emperor Palpatine. Much like we saw Luke Skywalker experience in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, depleting your abilities so completely resulted in his death.
Days before the film's debut, Star Wars: The Mandalorian also depicted similar abilities, though not to such a strong degree.
Speaking of depleting resources, the pivotal moment for Kylo Ren to become Ben Solo was Leia reaching out across the galaxy to contact her son, confirming that she hadn't completely abandoned him as he thought she had. Audiences had seen such events occur in previous films, though matters became somewhat complicated when Leia seemingly died, yet her body didn't disappear. Instead, her body became one with the Force when Ben Solo's did, hinting at an unexplained connection that the two shared in a way we hadn't seen in previous films.
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, audiences saw Kylo Ren and Rey communicate with one another across the galaxy, similar to how we saw Darth Vader and Luke communicate at the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The big difference was that, in The Last Jedi, the two characters could even see one another's surroundings and seemingly interact with physical elements in their vicinity, with the new film evolving that aspect to allow the pair to not only transfer physical objects to one another, but also engage in a lightsaber battle. Similarly, Luke's Force ghost was able to interact with the physical world and catch a lightsaber that Rey threw.
Expanding on the theme of vague and unexplained abilities, the film's climactic battle saw Palpatine claim to be embracing the powers of all of the Sith that came before him, while Rey became empowered by the voices of Jedi that had come before her, allowing the Jedi to defeat Palpatine. It's difficult to deduce whether these were abilities that Palpatine and Rey were actively causing or if they were the passive recipients of Force-wielders inhabiting them, but we've never seen such a sequence unfold in a live-action Star Wars film.
With the film reportedly concluding the Skywalker Saga, we won't expect to see new Force abilities appear in a new film in the near future. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
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