- "Can you see my surroundings?"
"You're gonna pay for what you did!"
"I can't see yours. Just you. So, no. This is something else."
- ―Kylo Ren and Rey
A Force-bond, also known as a Force connection or simply a bond, was a powerful connection that existed between two Force-sensitive individuals. At times, the Force allowed a living being to connect and communicate with another across great distances. On rare occasions, such a bond was even capable of being used to teleport matter. Despite its advantages, a bond could be manipulated by those using the dark side of the Force. A strong Force user had the power to initiate secret bonds with others in order to manipulate them. Even if the unwanted bond was detected, it could still be extremely difficult to break.
During the Clone Wars, the Sith Lords Darth Sidious and Darth Tyranus performed a dark ritual targeting Grand Master Yoda of the Jedi Order. As a result, the bond that once existed between Tyranus and his former mentor was restored, but Yoda's will proved too strong for the Sith to break. After the Galactic Empire rose to power, Padawan Ezra Bridger became psychically linked to the former Sith Lord Maul, a side effect of the fusion between a Jedi holocron and a Sith holocron. Bridger consequently experienced a series of aural hallucinations and visions that lasted until Maul's death.
A unique bond existed between the dark warrior Kylo Ren and the Jakku scavenger Rey during the First Order/Resistance War. As the grandson of Darth Vader and the granddaughter of Darth Sidious respectively, both Ren and Rey formed a prophesied Force dyad. Due to their innate connection, they were able to communicate with each other across light-years. After the death of Supreme Leader Snoke, Ren and Rey fought as one against the Elite Praetorian Guard, causing their powers to become amplified as the bond between them grew stronger with every passing moment.
- "Ben, when we touched hands I saw your future. Just the shape of it, but solid and clear."
- ―Rey, referring to one of the effects of her bond with Kylo Ren
A Force-bond was a powerful connection between two Force-sensitive individuals that bridged their minds, allowing them to communicate through the Force both visually and emotionally. The range of the bond was vast; it could span the galaxy, keeping two beings united in a psychic link despite the physical distance between them. As a result, both parties would manifest in each other's location at the same time, making it possible for them to see, hear and feel each other through their bond. In the rare occurrence of a Force dyad, they were even capable of physical contact, therefore bridging the actual distance between them. The strength of the bond was determined by the level of their Force-sensitivity; the stronger they were in the Force, then the greater their bond became. In some cases, a bond or psychic link could cause at least one of the affected parties to suffer from aural and visual hallucinations.
- "Why is the Force connecting us? You and I."
- ―Kylo Ren, to Rey
While a bond could exist between two Force users on the light side of the Force, such as a Jedi Master and a Padawan, the bond was—in the Jedi Luke Skywalker's view—inherently an ability of the dark side of the Force. As such, it was both easily created and manipulated by a dark-side wielder. It was also possible to create secret bonds with others who were unaware of their connection, making it easier to corrupt the target and influence their judgment. Even if the unwanted bond was detected, it was extremely difficult to break.
Though seemingly harmless and even advantageous, a bond could be used by a Sith Lord to manipulate the Force visions of a selected target through the use of a Force power known as a dark illusion. An ancient dark side ritual was required in order to harness the dark illusion. First, the practitioner had to draw blood from the person whom the target shared a bond with, compounded with an array of Force lightning in a sacrificial altar basin. At this stage of the ritual, the practitioner would chant an old Sith incantation in the Balc language while the bonded one concentrated on their bond with the intended victim. Once the ritual was complete, the Sith Lord would be able to peer into the mind of his target while controlling their visions to an extent.
It was also possible for a Force-sensitive person to manipulate a bond that already existed between other Force-sensitives. A master of the Force could use their own power to bridge the minds of the bonded persons, allowing them to see, hear and touch each other regardless of the physical distance between them. However, they could also become connected by the Force itself, without the outside party's direct manipulation.
Certain Force-based rituals could result in the creation of a psychic connection between two Force-sensitives, such as the fusion of two holocrons. In order to combine a Jedi holocron with a Sith holocron, the ritual required a light-side user and a wielder of the dark side to work together. If the process was interrupted, the participants could become mentally linked with each other.
The creation of a lightsaber, the most visible symbol of the Jedi Order, required a kyber crystal that was bonded to a Force-sensitive individual. Kyber crystals were rare gems that emitted a distinct presence in the Force; the Jedi sought out their own unique crystals and developed a Force connection with them in order to craft a lightsaber. The Force-bonded crystal's energy was unleashed by the lightsaber's energy cell.
A Jedi Master in the High Republic Era, Avar Kriss held a rare ability amongst the Jedi Order by being able to strengthen the natural bonds between Force-sensitives. She could then form these bonds into a Force network; though the Jedi could not speak to each other through this state, they could share emotional feelings, allowing them a form of communication. The Jedi in the network could "feel" each other in the back of their minds. Kriss used her ability to great effect during the Great Hyperspace Disaster and the Battle of Kur.
Dooku and Yoda
- "Master Yoda has come to Moraband, although why, I do not know. We shall, however, use the strong bond that once existed between you and your master to allow us to see things that we otherwise could not."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Tyranus
Before turning to the dark side, Count Dooku—later known as Darth Tyranus during his apprenticeship to the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious—was a Jedi Master who developed a strong Force-bond with Yoda, the Grand Master who mentored him in the Jedi arts. During the Clone Wars, Sidious detected Yoda's presence on the Sith homeworld of Moraband. Determined to learn the purpose of Yoda's visit, the Dark Lord also sensed an opportunity to strike a crippling blow to the Order by breaking the will of its oldest and wisest Jedi Master. At the time, the Jedi High Council was uncertain if a Force user could be compromised by their bond with another being. Ki-Adi-Mundi suspected that it was possible, although his conjecture was doubted by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who did not believe that a Jedi Master of Yoda's caliber could be affected by the dark side.
In order to affect Yoda's visions, Sidious required the assistance of someone who was once close to his intended target. To that end, he summoned Tyranus to Coruscant where they performed an old Sith ritual that enabled them to harness the power of dark illusion. By using Tyranus' Force-bond with Yoda, Sidious manufactured a Force vision designed to tempt Yoda with the dark side of the Force, resulting in a battle of wills between the Dark Lord and the Grand Master. Sidious' efforts to break Yoda's spirit ultimately failed, however. Yoda was strong, as noted by Sidious, and refused to be tempted by the dark side.
Ezra Bridger and Maul
- "The dark-side wielder I told you about, the one who wanted to join the holocrons together… I've seen him here on Atollon."
- ―Ezra Bridger, seeking answers from the Bendu in regard to his psychic link with Maul
At the height of the Galactic Empire, Maul—a former Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious—sought the Jedi Ezra Bridger's assistance in his quest to learn the fate of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Master who defeated Maul during the crisis on Naboo. Having captured the young Padawan's allies, Maul was able to coerce Bridger's participation in a ritual involving the fusion of two holocrons, and thereby discovered that Kenobi had indeed survived the Great Jedi Purge of Order 66. However, a psychic link was also established between Maul and Bridger as a result of the ritual.
Their newfound bond led Bridger to experience a series of aural hallucinations and Force visions relating to Maul; at one point on Atollon, he nearly killed a Rebel trooper whom he mistook for the Dathomirian Nightbrother. After the incident, Bridger's Jedi Master, Kanan Jarrus brought him to the Bendu, hoping to find a way to end the hallucinations that plagued his apprentice. By then, Maul had tracked their position and threatened to reveal the location of Chopper Base to the Empire unless Bridger agreed to finish the ritual on Dathomir. Bridger complied with the dark-side wielder's demands, both to ensure Maul's silence and to discover the key to destroying the Sith. By finishing the ritual, Maul learned that Kenobi was on Tatooine, but was unable to find his exact location in the planet's vast desert. He therefore used his connection with Bridger to lure the Padawan to Tatooine in order to draw his old nemesis out of hiding. Though he managed to find Kenobi with Bridger's unwitting aid, Kenobi ultimately defeated Maul in single combat to the death.
Kylo Ren and Rey
- "I'd never felt so alone."
"You're not alone."
"Neither are you. It isn't too late."
- ―Rey and Kylo Ren
A prophesied dyad in the Force was realized through the pairing of Kylo Ren and Rey, Darth Vader's grandson and Darth Sidious' granddaughter, respectively. Ren and Rey both possessed raw strength with the Force, and after the destruction of Starkiller Base, they discovered a mysterious connection that intractably bridged their minds. The bond allowed them to see and hear each other across millions of light-years, with Ren located on the First Order Navy flagship Supremacy and the latter on the planet Ahch-To. Their bond continued to grow stronger as Rey's powers increased, leading Ren to become mystified by the connection between them.
At first, Rey regarded their bond as an unwelcome development due to the series of Force visions that she shared with Ren, whom she begrudged for the murder of Han Solo, Ren's father. However, she was surprised to see that Ren, whose emotional state was further affected by their bond, and no longer tried to hide his hurt and pain from her. As time passed, Ren and Rey began to connect on a more intimate level, allowing her to sense his inner conflict and misery that caused him so much pain. Their connection was unprecedented in its raw power, and gave Rey insights into Ren that not even Luke Skywalker could see. After failing to discover the identities of her own parents during her trials on Ahch-To, Rey confided in Ren her feelings of loneliness and despair. Ren insisted that she was not alone. Rey returned his gesture, in kind, and came to believe that Ren was not beyond redemption. As their connection grew stronger, Rey grew certain that their destinies were intertwined.
Despite the vast distance that separated them physically, the First Order champion and the former scavenger-turned-Jedi aspirant were physically affected by the surroundings of the other person. At one point, Rey attempted to make physical contact with Ren, but expected that their hands would simply pass through each other. She grasped Ren's hand when their fingers actually touched; the contact not only surprised them, but also caused Ren and Rey to experience a premonition of the future. However, their connection was interrupted by Ren's maternal uncle, the self-exiled Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, who discovered Rey and Ren clasping hands and staring into each other's eyes. Confounded by Skywalker's jaded views and his involvement in Ren's fall to the dark side, Rey set out to find Ren and restore him to his former persona of Ben Solo, believing he would come back to the light with her help. Although their bond provided Rey with insights into Ren that Skywalker did not perceive, the Jedi Master remained unconvinced that his nephew could be saved, leading Rey to conclude that the galaxy's last hope was Ben Solo instead of Luke Skywalker.
Whereas Rey's premonition convinced her that Ren would defy his dark-side master, Supreme Leader Snoke, and ultimately turn back to the light, Ren believed that Rey would be the one to turn and stand at his side. In addition to the future, Ren also saw Rey's past and discovered the identities of her parents. He escorted Rey to Snoke's throne room after the latter was brought aboard the Supremacy. Along the way, Rey beseeched Ren to reject the dark side, referring to him by his given name "Ben." Upon confronting the Supreme Leader in person, Rey and Ren learned that Snoke was aware of the bond between them, even falsely claiming to have created it himself. Snoke utilized the bond's existence and the emotional turmoil it induced between his apprentice and the would-be Jedi in an effort to manipulate Rey into seeking out Ren. Snoke manipulated Ren's insecurity to his advantage, knowing he could not hide his conflict from Rey, who could not pass up the chance to redeem the former Ben Solo.
Snoke deemed Rey a threat and commanded his apprentice to execute her. Using both the Force and subterfuge, Ren killed his master instead; he then proceeded to eliminate the fallen Supreme Leader's Elite Praetorian Guards with the help of Rey. The bond strengthened as they fought side by side, their abilities mirroring and amplifying each other. Their alliance was short-lived, however. Ren ultimately chose power over redemption in spite of Rey's efforts to change him, but he also desired to rule the galaxy with her. At the same time, Ren revealed the truth about Rey's lineage; her father and mother were no one, just a pair of junk traders who sold their daughter for money. He also suspected that Rey suppressed the memory as a child, but had always known the truth on a subconscious level. Ren offered Rey a chance to stay with him, but she rejected his offer, escaped the First Order warship, and rejoined her Resistance comrades during the Battle of Crait. Ren attempted to end the war by annihilating the Resistance on Crait, but failed due to the actions of Rey and Skywalker. His bond with Rey brought them together once more, although by then Ren sensed that Rey felt neither hatred nor compassion for him.
As time progressed, Ren and Rey's bond became so strong that they were capable of transferring physical objects through the Force to each other's location. On one occasion, Ren found his glove wet from rain due to Rey's location on Ahch-To. Later, Ren twice determined Rey's location by transferring a husk necklace from Pasaana, and Vader's mask from his quarters on the Star Destroyer Steadfast. They also engaged in a physical lightsaber duel over two locations. On Exegol, Rey transferred the Skywalker lightsaber to Solo so that he could defend himself against the Knights of Ren.
Behind the scenes
The Force power known as "Force-bond" was first mentioned in "Voices," the eleventh episode of The Lost Missions, which was released as the sixth season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series in March 2014. Force-bond was first identified by name in the "Sacrifice" episode gallery on StarWars.com.
It later appeared in the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, the first installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. But it was first properly identified in the 2017 film Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, directed by Rian Johnson, in which Kylo Ren and Rey experience a powerful connection with each other.
According to Johnson, Ren and Rey's Force-bond in The Last Jedi was a storytelling device to allow them to speak to each other. If they met face to face, they were either going to fight or one of them would have to be tied up. Their Force sessions became a way to get Rey to go from hating Kylo Ren to actually engaging with him.
Rey and Kylo's Force-bond reappears in the 2019 film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker and is revealed to be a Force dyad. Chris Terrio, writer of The Rise of Skywalker, states that Kylo Ren and Rey's unique Force-bond is the Force acting as fate to bring them together. Their bond is the equivalent as being soulmates in the Force, in which even if they are enemies on different sides of the war, they are able to understand each other because of their connection.
- (First identified as Force-bond)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi (First identified as Bond)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- (First identified as Force connection)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sacrifice"
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Rebels – "Visions and Voices"
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Holocrons of Fate"
- Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voices"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Twin Suns"
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
- The Last Jedi Adaptation 5
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- The Skywalker Legacy