A mind trick was an ability of the Force in which the practitioner influenced and controlled the thoughts, behavior, and actions of the affected, generally to the user's advantage. During the High Republic Era, it was more commonly referred to as a mind touch. Dark-side Force users used mind control.
- "Just saying the same thing slower doesn't make you any more persuasive, boy. It just makes you sound slower."
- ―Kristoff, to Kylo Ren when the latter fails in his attempt to use a mind trick on him
When using the mind trick, the practitioner generally adopted a suggestive tone of voice and used a distinctive gesture, waving their hand in front of the target's face. The affected individual, however, rarely remembered the experience. The mind trick was said to work only on the weak-minded, and there were certain species, including Toydarians, Geonosians, and Hutts, that were either highly resistant or immune to it. Additionally, as exemplified by Prime Minister Almec's Mandalorian Guards, it was also possible to train individuals to resist mind tricks. Mind trick could affect simultaneously different targets, sometimes without the target necessarily hearing what the user had commanded them to do. In some cases, a simple wave of the hand from the user was enough to make it work. In others, it could work without even making a gesture.
The mind trick could also be used by a group of Jedi simultaneously and in unison to exert a greater collective influence on those who would normally be able to resist a single Jedi's attempt alone, as demonstrated by Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu upon the bounty hunter Cad Bane. However, it was shown that concentrating on and attempting to forcibly compel a strong mind into cooperation risked damaging or even destroying the mind of the subject, with Bane experiencing overwhelming pain during the attempt by the three Jedi to influence him.
Some Force users, though mostly dark-side users, such as the Inquisitorius and Kylo Ren, were able to pry into the minds of others and force information from prisoners, though Force-sensitives and other mentally strong and willful individuals could potentially resist it. This technique was thought of as a variation of the mind trick, utilizing the ability's innate telepathic nature to more deeply interact with and influence the mind of the subject. However, darksiders like the Sith had a stronger version known as mind control that they used to completely dominate the wills of others, even being able to control them like puppets with sheer concentration alone and without having to give verbal instructions to the subject. After training with a Sith holocron, Ezra Bridger forced an Imperial walker pilot to turn on his comrades and commit suicide. Darth Vader once said that mind tricks were not of the dark side; "We prefer force."
- «You weak-minded fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick!»
- ―Jabba the Hutt, to Bib Fortuna
The Jedi of the High Republic Era commonly called the power the "mind touch." However, Jedi Knight Elzar Mann took to calling it the "mind trick," which became its more common name as years passed by.
Qui-Gon Jinn used a mind trick to convince Boss Nass to give him a bongo for transport to Theed, though it was unclear to what degree it was necessary, as Nass knew that the route to the surface was littered with dangerous sea creatures and he was more than happy to be rid of the accident-prone Jar Jar Binks.[source?]
Later, when Jinn was stranded on Tatooine, he attempted to use a mind trick on Watto in order to get him accept Republic credits for the purchase of a T-14 hyperdrive, but Watto told him that he was a Toydarian and that mind tricks didn't work on him. Republic credits were unusable on Tatooine; Watto was insistent on local currency as payment.
While on a mission to Carnelion IV some years later, Obi-Wan Kenobi used a mind trick to persuade a hostile local woman named Pran that there was no need for weapons in their conversation. The mind trick succeeded, but they were interrupted by an attack by a third party before she could carry out the suggestion.
Years later when Kenobi was on Coruscant seeking an assassin that had targeted Padmé Amidala, he was approached by an individual in a bar that sought to sell him death sticks. Kenobi used the mind trick both to convince him that he "didn't want to sell him death sticks" and that he "wanted to go home and rethink his life." Not long after this, when Anakin Skywalker and Amidala were on Naboo, Amidala suggested that Skywalker might use the mind trick on her after he had trouble getting her to open up about her past, but Skywalker replied that they only work on the weak-minded.
During the Clone Wars, Clone Captain CT-7567 "Rex" managed to resist a mind trick used by the Sith assassin Asajj Ventress during the Battle of Teth. Rex pretended to fall for it, contacting Skywalker but using his first name of Anakin to alert his Jedi General that something was wrong. When Kenobi and Skywalker were captured by the Ohnaka Gang, Kenobi used a mind trick to convince a guard to let them out and go out drinking, though he and Skywalker were ultimately re-captured.
Prime Minister Almec's Mandalorian Guards were trained to resist mind tricks and play along. Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano thought she could use a mind trick on one of the guards to see Duchess Satine Kryze, who was being held hostage, but learned that he was acting and that the guards were trained to resist what Almec called "archaic magic."
Jedi Master Mace Windu attempted a mind trick on a Dagoyan to allow him access to the Queen's chambers on Bardotta, but, like what happened between Qui-Gon and Watto, Windu was warned, "That will not work on a Dagoyan."
During the first year of the Imperial Era, Ferren Barr used mind tricks to recruit at least two of his disciples. He also used one to convince King Lee-Char to take drastic action against the invading Imperial forces. Barr also used a mind trick to activate the inhibitor chips in a Purge Trooper squad's heads and force them to execute Order 66 against their Inquisitor commanders, which were revealed to the clones earlier to have once been Jedi.
The Inquisitorius's Grand Inquisitor used mind tricks during his and Governor Wilhuff Tarkin's interrogation of Jedi survivor Kanan Jarrus to learn more about his fellow Spectres, and a potential wider rebellion. However, Jarrus resisted the Inquisitor's mind tricks, impressing him.
While rescuing the pirate Hondo Ohnaka from an Imperial prison on Naraka, Ezra Bridger, who had over the past six months been influenced by the Presence of the Malachor Sith holocron, used a dark-side-fueled version on the driver of an All Terrain Defense Pod, taking over his mind and forcing him to fire on stormtroopers, and then pilot the walker over the edge of a platform. Ezra's fellow rebels Sabine Wren and Garazeb Orrelios, as well as Ohnaka himself, were all rather disturbed by this, not knowing of Ezra's use of the Sith holocron.
When Kenobi and Luke Skywalker traveled to Mos Eisley to seek passage to Alderaan, Kenobi used a mind trick to convince a suspicious stormtrooper, TD-110, both that he "[didn't] need to see [Skywalker's] identification" and that the droids (R2-D2 and C-3PO) that were accompanying them "[weren't] the droids [they were] looking for." After he and Skywalker were clear of the checkpoint, Luke expressed surprise at how easily they had escaped and Kenobi explained that "The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded." An aftereffect of the mind trick left TD-110 with a headache, and prevented him from later recognizing the droids on the Death Star when 3PO requested to "take [R2] down to maintenance" after being detained.
When Luke was on Rodia to acquire weapons for the Rebel Alliance, he encountered an obnoxious Rodian who refused to take him to his contact, Taneetch Soonta. He attempted a mind trick to get the Rodian to be more cooperative, but to no effect. He tried again, adding the hand gesture that Kenobi had used, but the attempt again failed. He then gave up the attempt as pointless, realizing he didn't have enough knowledge for the trick to work, but the problem was resolved when the Rodian received a comm message instructing him to cooperate.
When Luke visited Jabba's Palace to rescue Han Solo, Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian, he used a mind trick on Bib Fortuna to convince him to bring him before Jabba the Hutt. Jabba criticized Fortuna as a "weak-minded fool," and Luke attempted to use a mind trick on Jabba to get him to release the hostages, but the trick did not work.
The scavenger Rey attempted a mind trick on First Order stormtrooper FN-1824 when she was imprisoned in a cell in Starkiller Base. She attempted to convince the guard to remove her restraints and leave the cell open so that she could escape. Her first attempt at the mind trick failed, only provoking the guard to approach her and tighten the restraints. When she repeated her instructions, however, the stormtrooper acquiesced and as he left, she convinced him to drop his blaster as well. Having been shackled at the time, Rey accomplished the feat without the use of any distracting gesture. Rey was inspired to use the mind trick following her successful resistance of Kylo Ren's mind probe, in which she turned his own power against him, briefly experiencing his own memories. Following this, she intuited that if she had the ability to resist the mental powers of someone powerful like Ren, then it might be easy to influence the mind of someone like a stormtrooper who had no training or power in resisting such influences. She then reached out with both her words and thoughts.
A short time later, upon realizing that he and Rey were connected through the Force, Ren attempted to utilize a mind trick on the latter to convince her to reveal Luke Skywalker's location, though this proved ineffective. During the Mission to Kijimi, Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron were apprehended by a group of stormtroopers aboard the Star Destroyer Steadfast. Rey quickly mind tricked the troopers into accepting their presence without issue and further into being happy with them on board. Disturbed, Dameron asked Finn if Rey used the same Force tactic on the two of them.
Behind the scenes
The Jedi mind trick first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, but was not identified by name at the time and was first described as a "Jedi mind trick" in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. The mind trick was widely featured in the Expanded Universe, later re-branded as Star Wars Legends, in which it had a number of useful variants, such as the ability to project illusions, but these are not considered canon.
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Notes and references
- The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
- Lords of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Age of Resistance - Kylo Ren 1
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Brain Invaders"
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Academy"
- Darth Vader (2017) 7
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Deal No Deal"
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Children of the Force"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Rebel Resolve"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Always Two There Are"
- The Rise of Kylo Ren 4
- Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
- Darth Vader (2015) 1
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Obi-Wan and Anakin 2
- "The Grand Army of the Republic" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Gungan General"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hostage Crisis"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Disappeared, Part I"
- Darth Vader (2017) 16
- Darth Vader (2017) 14
- Darth Vader (2017) 17
- "Bump"—From a Certain Point of View
- Heir to the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Listen: Neko Case's hilarious new song "These Aren't The Droids"
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