- "A moment. That beast there, do you see it? The Force flows even through these simple creatures. If you empty your mind, you may be able to feel its thoughts. […] Basic instincts, primal urges, every breath dominated by the needs of the moment. The Force is strong in such creatures, but their minds are weak, prey for those able to hear their thoughts and influence them."
- ―Kreia teaches the exile the relationship between sentience, the lack thereof, and the Force
Sentience was the ability of a species to think intelligently. It was commonly determined by the being's ability to reason, speak, and manipulate tools. Creatures that completely lacked that ability were classified as non-sentient, while those that appeared to have emerging sentience were classified as semi-sentient. Droids, despite not being technically alive to begin with, were regarded as sentients.
According to The Essential Guide to Alien Species, ghostwritten by Ann Margaret Lewis based on data collected by Senior Anthropologist Mammon Hoole, "a species given the sentient definition is considered able to reason and understand abstract metaphorical concepts and ideas, make and use tools, and communicate with written or spoken language." Species that did not reason at all and survived via their natural instincts were classified as non-sentient, or sometimes as sub-sentient. Non-sentience did not imply the lack of any form of intelligence. Species that appeared to have emerging sentience were classified as semi-sentient. These included species that had very primitive capabilities to manipulate tools, use language, and/or solve problems. Examples included the Arkanian dragon, the Zillo Beast, the Bafforr tree, the wampa, and the sarlacc.
The Galactic Empire would often recategorize sentient species such as the Wookiees as non-sentient, allowing it to enslave them without formally violating the laws protecting sentient beings from such abuse.
Behind the scenes
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Darth Plagueis
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Han Solo at Stars' End
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First appearance)
- Debts to Pay (Mentioned only)
- The Long Arm of the Hutt
- The Jewel of Yavin
- Operation: Shadowpoint
- Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi novel
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi junior novel