Mind tricks, or mind control, refer to a spectrum of Force powers which influenced the thoughts of sentient creatures, most commonly used to coerce into agreement by suggestion through voice manipulation, or to cause one to reveal information. This allowed its practitioners to resolve matters in a non-violent way. It could also be used to appeal to a sensory impression for distraction or cause friendly fire among enemies. One sinister variation of the power was "Force Corruption," an ability that would force targets to the user's side, while slowly draining their life.
A mind trick was the use of the Force to alter a target's perceptions or to plant a suggestion in their mind. It usually worked on the weak-minded. There were some species that were particularly resistant to mind tricks, such as Hutts, Toydarians, Falleen, Geonosians and Dashade.
Examples of mind tricks included persuading another person to do something they would find unpalatable, creating a sensation of fear in a person, or causing them to see or hear things that were not there, including illusions.
- «Your mind powers will not work on me, boy.»
- ―Jabba Desilijic Tiure to Luke Skywalker
The concept of Force persuasion was the use of the Force to exert influence. Some species with highly organized mental facilities were known to be inherently resistant to its effects, requiring more skill, among them Hutts, Toydarians, Yinchorri, Kloodavians, Dashade, Falleen, Geonosians, and possibly Snivvians. For example, Revan could persuade Motta the Hutt, but Luke Skywalker failed in his attempt to persuade Jabba the Hutt. Also during the Jedi Civil War, certain ranks of soldiers were trained to resist this technique. On the other hand, some species, such as the Nikto, were particularly susceptible to it. Known variants included affect mind, and dominate mind, with dominate mind being a more advanced version of the former.
When using a Jedi mind trick, a Jedi often waved his or her hand to aid in the persuasion. The Jedi adopted a peculiar tone of voice along with a casual facial expression. The sentient being that was the object of the mind trick tended to adopt a casual tone of voice but a peculiar facial expression. Should the trick succeed, he or she then agreed to whatever was being said to them without being able to think for themselves. Moments later, they would feel puzzled about their new opinion, but usually didn't feel like changing it back.
Experienced Force users could Force persuade over long distances—in one instance, between starships.
Usage of the mind trick was a moral issue for the Jedi, as it did violate the individual's free will and conscience. Thus, the Jedi were strictly prohibited from using it for personal gain (such as in betting or bargaining), reserving its use for when it would serve the greater good (greater good could also be sometimes a reason to overlook this restriction); the Sith and other Dark Jedi, however, had no qualms about the usage of the ability.
When instructing Jedi students, Yarael Poof stressed that a user must be mindful when utilizing this ability, that their target was nevertheless a living being with a life of their own, and that extra precaution must be exercised as their command could potentially ruin their target's life. Mind tricks could also be used to convert individuals to fight for another. The clone Starkiller was proficient at that technique. During the Galactic Civil War, Emperor Palpatine twisted the wills of Imperial units such as Strike force Alpha to the dark side so that if a Jedi tried to convert a unit, they would commit suicide.
This power required the complete concentration of the user. Worries such as whether or not it would work or allowing one to be distracted by the insight gained into the mind of the subject would cause the trick to fail.
Among the more advanced mind trick techniques was Force confusion, which could be used in combat to temporarily manipulate enemies to fight as an ally. It was especially useful when outnumbered, and was quicker to employ than affect mind in the heat of battle.
- "Terror is a cancer, devouring the mind from within. Strength, hope, and wisdom are nothing but thoughts to be consumed."
- ―Unidentified darksider
Force fear was a dark-side Force power and possibly a dark-side variant on the Jedi mind trick, used around 4000 BBY by Sith and Jedi with dark-side tendencies. The wielder would strike directly at the deepest parts of the target's mind, causing an uncontrollable shaking fear that would wreak havoc with the target's capabilities. Through pure force of will alone, a user could cause them to lose their courage completely, and if left undefended, the effects could be severe, rapidly demoralizing the enemy with a feeling of hopelessness and regret. Depending on the victim, it would caused them to either cower defenselessly or flee from their opponent outright.
Force Fear was classified as a dark-side power because fear was an emotion of the dark side. However, as with many powers, it was the intent behind its use that counted, and Jedi would sometimes use it to defuse a potential dangerous situation. For instance, Luke Skywalker used this power on the animal denizens of lower Coruscant to protect himself and his companions during the Corellian crisis. He opted to jolt the animals' minds with fear as he was faced with a large pack and fear was the most readily recognizable emotion available. He did this to preserve everyone's life.
Force fear had two advanced variants: Force horror and Force insanity. Force horror enabled the Force user to cause multiple enemies to enter into a catatonic state of panic that was more severe and more difficult to defend than the basic Force fear. In similarity, Force insanity also enabled the Force user to affect multiple enemies at once, although to an even greater range than its predecessor. As the most advanced form of Force fear, its effect was much more devastating, with the victims possibly descending into an utter state of frenzied madness and deranged mania as their situation seemed to suddenly become hopeless.
Also known as dominate mind or control mind, mind control was the dark-side equivalent of the Jedi mind trick, though mind control was much more invasive. It took complete control of the mind(s) of the victim(s) affected by the power. Higher levels of mastery allowed more people to be controlled, though its effect on members of certain species with an innate immunity to mind tricks (such as Hutts or Toydarians) is unconfirmed. Darth Maul utilized this power prior to the Trade Federation attack on Theed. Galen Marek's clone, Starkiller, employed this power to confuse his enemies and cause them to fight for him. Other practitioners of the ability included Tenebrae, Kreia, Joruus C'baoth, Luke Skywalker, and Luuke Skywalker. Skillful users could manipulate the thoughts and actions of their targets, as well as their memories, emotions and senses.
The Force-sensitive Yuuzhan Vong Onimi evidently used mind control on Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane during their reign over the species, but towards the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War, Onimi lost control of Shimrra. He later attributed this, as he claims to Jaina Solo, to his "preoccupation with defeating you [Jaina] allowed what remained of Shimrra to reemerge"; this is implied that he was somehow distracted in his greater battle with Yun'o, which caused this loss of control over Shimrra.
- "Wise Jedi have said that the Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. In typical Jedi fashion, they understand this truth, but lack the courage to make full use of it."
- ―Unidentified darksider
Force corrupt or Force corruption was a dark-side ability that could temporarily manipulate the minds of other sentient beings and make them serve one's own cause. During the Galactic Civil War, it was sometimes employed by the Force users of the Galactic Empire, possibly including Mara Jade and Palpatine himself, taking control of enemy soldiers and making them serve the cause of the Empire by attacking other enemy units.
Force corrupt was possibly a dark-side variant of the Jedi mind trick, wherein the Force user employs similar principles, but to influence the target for violent purposes rather than deceiving them.
This technique was a variation of the mind trick developed by Daegen Lok where he intruded into another's consciousness and twisted their perception of reality to suit his own ends. Lok's skill with the ability was such that he was able to convince Xesh that he was suffocating, and he convinced Bel Zana's mind that she was on fire to the point where her body exhibited burn marks.
- "There's no telling what kind of illusions a Jedi Knight can create with the Force."
- ―Natasi Daala
Force illusion was a very powerful Force ability, a subset of the various mind trick powers. The user projected an image into the minds of beings within range, of anything from a pillar of fire to a horde of snarling monsters to a fleet of warships, depending on the range. The user could "see" the illusion as well, though it would be only partially there, semi-transparent like a hologram.
The key differences between a Force illusion and a hologram is that unlike a hologram, the illusion could be controlled mentally and was limited only by the imagination of the user. Even more importantly, a Force illusion did not merely affect the sight of a creature. Since it was projected directly into the brain of the creature, it appeared on all of the creature's senses, from hearing to smell to senses such as echolocation. Even viewing it through an electronic system such as a cybernetic eye or camera was of no use if the creature was within range of the illusion during its duration; the creature would "see" it with the system as if the illusion were actually there, though any playback after the illusion had ended would reveal nothing at all.
Though powerful, it was not without its drawbacks. Chief among them was that it had no effect on any inorganic mind, such as those of droids and other AI, and had a greatly reduced (or almost nonexistent) effect on Force users or Force-resistant species such as Hutts and Yuuzhan Vong. It was also difficult to learn. While Force illusions could make something out of nothing, they couldn't make nothing out of something (in other words, render someone invisible; for that aspect, Force immersion would be used), though they could conceal anything within the illusion. In addition, the illusion offered no physical substance. Though it could be "felt," in most cases, any appendage that touched it would pass straight through, usually betraying its status. Finally, the sustained use of a Force illusion could be taxing, especially at the extreme ranges of the skill (thousands of kilometers, large enough to affect capital-ship combat).
Lumiya used Force illusion on mirrors in her bedroom, to make the reflected people look more attractive than they really were. The Fallanassi, due to their abilities to manipulate the White Current, were capable of creating powerful illusions. However, unlike most Force-sensitives, illusions created through the White Current could be created to be as insubstantial or as real as the user wanted, with the most convincing illusions being indistinguishable visually from a real object. Conversely, Fallanassi illusions could be intentionally insubstantial, so as to trick a sentient into thinking that something that was real wasn't real.
Yarael Poof, being described as a "consummate illusionist," was an adept at Force illusions, and was known to have used them on various occasions. Through the Force, Poof would determine an opponent's innate fears. Based on these fears, he would project images of them to wholesale armies, prompting quick, deliberate ends to battles that would otherwise have erupted into bloodshed. In some ways, this was not unlike the effects of Force fear, albeit a different method.
A known variant of Force illusion was masquerade. Masquerade enabled the user to project an image into a person's mind over the user, essentially masking the user's appearance.
The dark-side technique for creating illusions, or mindforms, involved conjuring visible, lifelike astral projections of whatever the conjurer desired through the use of Sith magic. The illusions distorted all of an individual's sensory perceptions, and only through concentration on the Force was an individual able to perceive them as being false.
By simply gesturing with one's hands, a magician could create whatever manifestations she desired. As an application of the dark side, sorcerers tended to create hideous forms of serpents and other creatures to torment victims. Playing on all the victim's senses, the illusion could seemingly attack individuals, should they actually believe the apparition to be real. However, the illusion could be undone should the victim cease to believe it exists. The illusions could also be undone if the conjuring sorcerer is interrupted by a powerful light side attack.
The ancient Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow was a master of illusion casting. His possessed considerable natural ability, but to augment the strength of his illusions Sadow would often employ the use of Sith talismans or technology. During the Great Hyperspace War, he would sit in his meditation sphere and project magnificent illusions of war beasts on the battlefields of Koros Major, Coruscant and Kirrek. His concentration was broken, however, when one of his own capital ships fired upon his meditation sphere, causing his magical illusions to fade, eventually leading to Sith defeats on all three planets.
When the spacer Gav Daragon was being initiated as a Sith apprentice by Sadow, he received from Sadow rudimentary instruction in creating illusions. Daragon's strength was minimal, for every illusion he conjured turned from something pleasing into a hideous spectral form.
Sith sorceress Aleema Keto was rather proficient with this ability. By simply gesturing with her hands, Aleema could create whatever manifestations she desired. Among her more popular creations were hideous forms of serpents and other creatures she used to torture victims, like the Adegan eel she replaced her former tutor Korus' tongue with. During the Battle of Koros Major, Aleema envisioned space grazers and massive warships against the Galactic Republic fleet. She could also form more obscure illusions, like turning swords into living animals, technology into monsters, or phantoms of severed heads.
The Nightsisters of Dathomir had a perception of the Force very different than that of the Jedi and the Sith, an integral part of which was the casting of illusions through "illusion spells."
Around 137 ABY, Darth Wyyrlok used this spell against Demtri and Gerlun, members of the Malevolence, in Andeddu's Keep on the planet Prakith, making Gerlun kill Demtri. Lord Andeddu and Wyyrlok then battled each other with illusions potent enough to inflict real injury on their targets, a contest that Andeddu ultimately lost.
Force projection was a mysterious Force ability and was possibly a variation of Force illusion. Darth Ramage, a Sith scientist, extensively researched this technique, recording his findings on his holocron, SD41263.I. It enabled the user to create and "program" an apparition similar to themselves to distract, confuse or lure enemies. The illusion could be animate or inanimate, was fully capable of intercepting incoming fire and was visible to all around it, not just a selected target. A similar ability that was primarily associated to the dark side was Force phantom, which required Sith rituals to tether the illusion created by the castor to a living creature, which would die if the illusion were destroyed.
- «You weak-minded fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick!»
- ―Jabba Desilijic Tiure to Bib Fortuna
Almost four thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, on Taris, Padawan Zayne Carrick tried to use a mind trick on Marn Hierogryph but he complained that such tricks were useless on him. In 3956 BBY, during his quest for the Star Forge, Revan may have used this ability many times, though he was warned by Bastila Shan against using it for personal gains, such as bargaining for low prices. A few years later, Meetra Surik, known as The Exile, and Kreia used the mind trick to make people forget that they were even there. In addition, the Exile also used the technique much in the way that Revan had previously. More than three hundred years later, Gnost-Dural used the mind trick on a Nikto standing guard in front of the Crooked Finger bar to avoid paying a demanded cover charge. Theron Shan expressed that his life would be a lot easier if he could do that and Gnost-Dural noted that it doesn't work on everyone and that Nikto was particularly susceptible.
Twelve years prior to the Clone Wars, while aboard the freighter Monument, Qui-Gon Jinn attempted to persuade Jemba the Hutt to return their dactyl to the Arcona workers in the Arcona Mineral Harvest Corporation. Unfortunately, he had been focusing so much on healing his recent wound from a fight with a Togorian pirate and was too weak to change Jemba's mind. Later, on Bandomeer, Jinn used a mind trick on a Hutt guard working for the Offworld Mining Corporation to grant him access to the private office of his former Padawan, Xanatos. In 33 BBY, while in a cantina on Dorvalla, Darth Maul used a mind trick on a bartender so that she would "bring him his drink and leave him alone." A year later, while on Naboo, Qui-Gon Jinn used a mind trick to convince the leader of the Gungans, Boss Nass, to allow Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to depart in a bongo with Jar Jar Binks. Shortly thereafter, on Tatooine, Jinn attempted to convince Watto, a Toydarian junk dealer, to allow him to use Republic credits to buy spare parts for Queen Amidala's royal starship. Watto asked Jinn if he thought he was "some kind of Jedi, waving [his] hand around like that." Watto claimed that mind tricks did not work on his species. During this same time, Qui-Gon used the mind trick to convince a pushy Sebulba to wait outside while he talked with Watto after the Boonta Eve Race and later to make a cruel slave owner give his slaves water and to never harm them again.
A decade later, on Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi refused the offer of a slythmonger, Elan Sel'Sabagno, for cilona-extract "death sticks," which were powerful narcotics. Kenobi convinced the slythmonger with a wave of his hand that he didn't want to sell him death sticks, and instead he wanted to "go home and rethink his life." A few days later, while hiding on Naboo, Padmé Amidala asked Anakin Skywalker if he was going to use the mind trick on her. He replied that it would only work on the weak-minded, implying that Padmé's mind was too strong—and Anakin knew it.
Early in the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Yoda used the mind trick to make Captain Typho—responsible for Padmé Amidala's safety—recommend that they needed to save Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee on Ilum, which was a "slight deviation" from their route. Although Padmé clearly recognized the trick, she still happily ordered Typho to go to Ilum. In 21 BBY, Asajj Ventress used a mind trick on Captain Rex to force him to contact Anakin Skywalker. Rex managed to resist the trick and instead covertly warned Skywalker of the danger. Later that year, while in captivity to the pirate Hondo Ohnaka, Obi-Wan Kenobi used a mind trick on a Weequay pirate to convince him that he did not want to stand guard, but instead wanted to deactivate the cell bars and go out drinking. Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane was coerced to reveal the location of the kyber memory crystal and two Force-sensitive children. Bane was resistant at first, but the combined power of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu overwhelmed the bounty hunter's mental defenses, forcing him to reluctantly revealed the location of the memory crystal and children. Also in 21 BBY, Ahsoka Tano used a Jedi mind trick twice on a Neimoidian guard on a Trade Federation Battleship to allow her and Senator Riyo Chuchi into the detention block to rescue Chi Eekway Papanoida. While being hunted for sport on the moon of Wasskah, Jedi Initiate Jinx tried using a mind trick on Trandoshan hunter Smug to call a speeder, but it didn't work the first time. After Chewbacca hit the Trandoshan on the head, Smug became susceptible to Jedi mind tricks, and ended up calling a speeder which then was hijacked by O-Mer.
Just before the conclusion of the war, Obi-Wan Kenobi again used a mind trick to avoid any unnecessary entanglements on the sinkhole world of Utapau. In order to procure transport needed to track down General Grievous, Kenobi used the Force to persuade a local Utai dragonmount-handler to assist him. The Utai allowed Kenobi to ride Boga, a loyal varactyl mount, to reach the tenth level of Pau City where he located Grievous and eventually killed him. After the execution of Order 66, when Kenobi returned to Coruscant along with Senator Bail Organa and Master Yoda, they were greeted by a guard; the guard said that he would take the Jedi into his custody, but Kenobi employed a mind trick persuading the guard that it would be better if the Jedi remained with the Senator.
In 3 BBY, Starkiller used the mind trick several times during the course of his mission for Darth Vader. He used it to interrogate a Nar Shaddaa bartender as to the whereabouts of Rahm Kota, forced an Imperial officer on Felucia to reveal the location of Senator Bail Organa, and attempted to persuade Lobot to grant him an audience with Senator Garm Bel Iblis; however, because Lobot's brain was cybernetically enhanced, the mind trick had no effect on him. Two years later, after the beginning of the Galactic Civil War, Galen Marek's clone used mind tricks to make Imperials turn on their allies or commit suicide on numerous occasions.
In 0 BBY Kenobi once more made use of the Jedi mind trick, this time to convince a stormtrooper that Luke Skywalker and he did not have the droids for which the Empire was searching and that it would be best if they were allowed to move along. Pilot BoShek used latent Force ability, along with residual effects from Kenobi's trick, to perform a mind trick which allowed him to escape from four stormtroopers after "borrowing" a landspeeder. Weeks later, Luke Skywalker used a mind trick to force Bib Fortuna and a group of guards to let them go after a bounty hunter took Grubba from them.
In 4 ABY, Luke Skywalker entered Jabba's Palace to rescue Han Solo. He used the mind trick to convince Bib Fortuna to grant him an audience with Jabba the Hutt. Jabba later criticized Fortuna for falling for such a "old mind trick" and after Skywalker tried to use it on the Hutt, told the Jedi that his mind powers would not work on him.
After the death of Emperor Palpatine, Corran Horn unknowingly used the mind trick to hide from stormtroopers during his escape from the Lusankya in 6 ABY. The following year, Horn tried to intentionally use a mind trick on a stormtrooper while on an undercover mission on Thyferra. For a moment, when the stormtrooper repeated Horn's statement about not having to go with him, Horn thought the trick was actually working. It failed miserably, and the only reaction he prompted from the stormtrooper was "You can go about your business? Your business is my business, void brain!" Horn was injured by the stormtrooper and ended up having to spend a couple of days in a bacta tank to recover. After having begun studies to become a Jedi, Horn successfully projected an illusion of a huge New Republic task force, complete with Lusankya and Sun Crusher, into the brain of Leonia Tavira's, leader of the Invids.
In 40 ABY, during the Second Galactic Civil War, Leia Organa Solo used a mind trick on a lieutenant from the Galactic Alliance Second Fleet vessel Spinnerfish. She tricked him first into believing that Lando Calrissian (who was using the identity Bescat Offdurmin at the time) was not offering aid and comfort to the enemy, then that they had to get to Corellia because they were doing something vital to the Alliance and finally to give them the access codes provided by Intelligence that would allow them to fly in directly. Afterward, Lando commented "That wasn't really fair" and Leia responded that the lieutenant was "even more weak-minded" than she was used to and she didn't think he'd progress far in the army. Ben Skywalker used a mind trick on Gilthor Breen to persuade him that he had entered a turbolift. He projected an image of the turbolift doors closing and directed him to think about "the girl," a holodrama actress named Aliniaca Verr. Notably, Ben accomplished this trick without the use of either a hand gesture or his voice. Mara Jade used a mind trick on two bystanders after fighting with Lumiya. She tricked the two bystanders into believing that the battle that they just witnessed between Mara and Lumiya was staged for a hol- program. The male bystander remarked that the blood on Mara's face looked real, tricked by Mara into believing that it was fake. In 41 ABY, during the Second Battle of Fondor, Darth Caedus used the Force to mind trick the Fondorians into lowering the planetary shield based around the city of Oridin, opening the city to bombardment by his forces.
In 137 ABY, Princess Marasiah Fel attempted to use a mind trick on Cade Skywalker in order to get aboard the Mynock with Astraal Vao and away from Darth Talon. Cade was not affected, but took them anyway after spotting the Sith. Cade later said to his companions, "Human thinks I'm some weak willed Koochu—tried a Jedi 'mind trick.'"
Behind the scenes
Various games represent the Jedi mind trick as a means of slipping past opponents without being seen. In one instance it was named "Force persuasion," but accomplished the same thing, probably a name to apply only to this variant of use. A mind trick in the game is employed, and the character becomes invisible to (an) opponent(s). Some games allow players to use the mind trick to confuse and stun their opponents; others employ the mind trick to cause opponents to temporarily switch allegiance by attacking other opponents.
The mind trick is known as both affect mind and the more powerful dominate mind in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, usage of mind-affecting Force abilities follows the movies more closely. Learning these abilities gives the player additional choices in conversations, which can be used to persuade NPCs to do something beneficial for the player—for example, pay a greater reward than the player would normally receive, offer a lower price for an item, share some secret information, extract information from the individual, or manipulate them into doing or accepting various things.
In the comic version of Dark Lords of the Sith, Aleema's cousin Satal Keto never displays a proficiency with illusion casting. However, in the Dark Lords of the Sith audio rendition, Satal creates illusions and uses them to confound his father and aunt, Lord Keto and Lady Magda Keto.
In Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, if the player character has a mind trick level higher than 3 (impossible without cheats), he may directly control an enemy including Reborn, which are normally immune to the ability. On level 4, this power could affect anyone, even on the strongest minds like Desann or Tavion Axmis.
Force confusion is a usable power in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. It is available if the Jedi Exile attains a prestige class. Game files from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic indicate Jolee Bindo was meant to have the psychic static ability. Whether it was cut by choice or due to time constraints is unknown.
Force confusion is also present in the Star Wars: Episode III video game.
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