Click here for Wookieepedia's article on the Canon version of this subject.  This article covers the Legends version of this subject. 

"It is a technique that is almost as old as the Sith themselves…it is a means of severing connections between life, the Force, and feeding upon the death it causes. It cannot be taught…it can only be gained through instinct, through experiencing its effects, first-hand."

Force drain referred to a spectrum of offensive and defensive Force powers, tied to the same concept, which used the dark side of the Force to tap into the strengths of an organic target. Mastery of each technique could scale the area of effect, sometimes dramatically, or exhaust the victims almost instantaneously.

Known applications[]

"As much as one may use the Force to bolster the wills and strengths of others, the reverse is possible, though not often used. Instead of sending one's will through connections in the Force, instead such connections are drawn upon, fed upon, and drained completely."

Force abilities such as drain life and dark healing,[4] siphoned vitality to sometimes offer an equivalent effect of Force healing, the difference being that the regenerative processes in the user was fueled draining the targets. Other techniques like Drain Force rekindled Force energy in the user, offensively draining the Force energy from those whom the power was turned upon.[3] Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Bane was able to create a spherical deadly field of pure dark side energy around himself that instantly withered away anyone unlucky enough to be caught within its radius.[2] However, this ability was extremely exhausting, to the point where it was highly impractical for Bane to use it unaided. Another application was Force Diminish, which is a Force power that enabled the user to cause damage to an opponent's health and vitality. With enough concentration, the user was able to weaken an opponent's body and mind to the point of death. Some wielders of the Force were known to be able to drain life energy and force energy simultaneously, like the Dark Lord Darth Malak did in the last battle of the Jedi Civil War as he dueled his former Sith Master Revan. He used Force drain to draw upon the power of captive Jedi who had fallen in the attack on Dantooine.[5] Revan himself learned of the technique from the teachings of Zelashiel the Blasphemer, which he recorded in his Holocron.[6]

Darth Nihilus's grandiose display of "feeding upon the Force."

As detrimental as the teachings of the dark side were said to be to the very flesh of their practitioners, Force drain could be more dangerous still, if one relied on the technique or did not contain its full measure of power. During the First Jedi Purge, in his hunger for power, the Sith Lord Darth Nihilus honed a pernicious means of feeding upon the Force, which eventually enslaved him.[3] The arcane practice was known to the ancient Sith and came into use at some point after the Hundred-Year Darkness.[7] Supposedly, the technique was pioneered by a mysterious individual known only as Zelashiel, or Zelashiel the Blasphemer. It was lost over time, however, as the Lords of the Sith abandoned Republic space and their strongholds were deserted. According to Kreia, the technique itself could not be taught but only be gained through instinct, through experiencing its effects first-hand,[8] which was possibly an irreversible process as the absence left in the victim turned into hunger, eventually compelling them to feed themselves. The only other known individual with the potential to use this variant of Force drain was Meetra Surik, who was similar to Nihilus in that she was also a living Force Wound. However, whereas Nihilus had been forced to use the technique as a matter of survival on Malachor V, Surik never consciously utilized the ability, and as such never became dependent on it. She could however, subconsciously use her condition to feed off the deaths of people around her. She ended up incidentally using this ability to accelerate the restoration of her ability to use the Force after she severed her connection to it at the conclusion of the Battle of Malachor V.[3]

Kreia described this ability as a means of destroying connections between life around oneself, drawing upon them until they were drained completely and the exhausted life died.[3] Connections, however, could also obstruct the use of this ability; for example, Darth Sidious discovered that it was very difficult to use Force drain on close family members.[9] Nihilus took this practice to unmatched levels; wiping out entire planets, he became something of a hole in the Force, his mere presence killing all around him, slowly, feeding him. Wounds in the Force located in places such as the dark side world of Malachor V were said to bear a similar behavior.[3] Near the end of the Mandalorian Wars, Revan learned within the Trayus Academy how to take advantage of such places, and how to make them, in order to break the will of Jedi and turn them to the dark side.[5]

Darth Traya draining the Jedi High Council of their life force energy.

A sizable part of the Sith Triumvirate, under Darth Traya, Darth Sion and Nihilus himself, was made to have some measure of proficiency in Force drain. Specifically, a sect of Sith assassins, once of Revan's elite Jedi hunter squads, were subject to what Kreia referred to as "special teachings." They came to use the technique to track Jedi more efficiently, and to grow stronger the closer they came to Force-sensitives, so that the stronger one was in the Force the more assassins would feel their presence, and the deadlier they would be in combat. On Dxun, during the Second Battle of Onderon, the Sith tried to bolster their forces on Onderon by feeding on a Force nexus located in the Tomb of Freedon Nadd. On Dantooine, Kreia consumed the Jedi High Council in the persons of Jedi Masters Vrook Lamar, Kavar, and Zez-Kai Ell, who were assembled in the ruins of the Jedi Enclave by Meetra Surik to answer the Sith threat.[3]

One of the most grandiose displays of Force drain was given by Nihilus when he consumed Katarr, a Miraluka world in the Mid Rim. However, unchecked use of his talent took the form of addiction, and would have ultimately cost his life had he not been slain by Surik.[10] The hunger that possessed him would have kept growing, along with his power and his reach in the Force, posing a threat to all life. Another such large scale example was when the Sith Emperor Vitiate performed a complex magical ritual in which he drained the life force of all living things on the world of Nathema, thus obtaining immortality for himself. Other examples are Exar Kun, the Dark Lord in the time of the Great Sith War, who harnessed Sith and Jedi artifacts on Yavin 4 to enhance his power and drain the entire Massassi species, so that his spirit could endure for more than four thousands of years in the Great Temple;[11] and Galactic Emperor Palpatine, who fed off the inhabitants of his retreat world of Byss collectively with his Dark Side Adepts, although those unfortunates were drained slowly, over a long period of time, rather than consuming the whole world at once.[9] During the Disciples of Ragnos crisis, some of the New Reborn were able to use Force drain as well.

Darth Krayt used this power on his ally Luke Skywalker and their mutual enemy Abeloth in 44 ABY, though he suffered as they did. This was not an act of treachery on the part of the Sith Lord, however, as he only drained Luke as the Jedi Grandmaster was too close to Abeloth, an action Skywalker accepted as needed once he understood this.[12]

Behind the scenes[]

The Jedi Exile uses Force drain to kill Zez-Kai Ell (non-canon).

In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, if the Jedi Exile followed the path of the dark side she would have instinctively learned to consume the Force feeding on the Jedi Masters she went in search of, but since canonically she followed the light, the Exile would not know such a technique—yet she bore the same sort of hunger due to her innate Force bonding ability and severed connection to the Force, and she grew stronger the more connections she formed during her journeys, causing the Masters to believe her the true threat behind what had befallen the Jedi.

Tales of the Jedi Companion states that Force drain cannot be performed on sentient beings. However, Kreia states otherwise, which is later proven by Darth Nihilus in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. In addition, Force Drain's variant Death Field was used by Darth Bane in Dynasty of Evil.



Notes and references[]