- "Obi-Wan had never addressed telekinesis with me. It was likely that I wasn't strong enough to begin training in such an advanced field of study. That didn't mean I shouldn't try."
- ―Luke Skywalker in his personal writings
Telekinesis was the ability to move and otherwise manipulate physical matter in a variety of ways, all while using the power of the Force. The ability was virtually ubiquitous among Force-sensitive individuals and organizations, though the techniques could differ greatly. It had a tremendous number of applications, both combative and utilitarian.
A primary ability for those with power in the Force, its purpose was to manipulate matter, allowing the user to touch, hold, and otherwise interact with a target through the Force. For a sufficiently skilled and powerful practitioner, the size, weight, distance, and mass of a targeted object would seldomly hinder their ability to influence it. One could lift something as small as a piece of fruit to an X-wing starfighter, while they could also use it to manipulate liquids or to dispel gaseous substances. As such, water could indeed be manipulated through the Force, but also lava, fire and explosions.
Additionally, it was possible to affect targets that were otherwise obscured, such as the inside of a target, which notably could allow a target to affect technology to an extent by manipulating its internal or external mechanisms. The user was able to reach out and essentially lock onto a target through sheer concentration, picturing it in their mind if it was obscured or obstructed. This allowed for feats such as disabling and then reactivating thermal detonators or opening doors without touching them. Some users are also skilled with activating or deactivating lightsabers from a distances or keeping the blade ignited while not touching it. This additionally allowed a user to throw their lightsabers like boomerangs while manipulating their trajectory to strike a distant target before causing it to deactivate and return to the user's hand. Consequently, some Force users could muster enough telekinetic strength to crush all sorts of objects such as ships, walls, and droids.
Despite the ability allowing the user the ability to manipulate targets without physical contact and from a variable distance, the precision, accuracy, range, and strength of the ability were tied to the user's concentration, willpower, emotions, senses, and spatial awareness. Therefore, a user's power of telekinesis could be weakened, nullified, or destabilized, causing said user to be unable to properly control it.
The power was generally used at close range, but in rare instances, a user was able to affect a target only by having to know the targets location relative to themselves, whether it be around a corner or in another room. As such, the power could be applied even if the user did not have a direct line of sight to the target with enough concentration, even if the target was light-years away, viewed though a holocomm or viewscreen.
During meditation, which drew forth a stronger and more direct connection with the Force, the enhanced state of consciousness could sometimes inadvertently affect one's surroundings, usually by causing surrounding objects, or even the practitioner themselves to levitate. In fact, some practitioners were so skilled and powerful that they could consciously resist gravity, inertia, friction and other physical forces to enhance their mobility, notably allowing them to slow their falls.
Users of the Dark side could use physical pain, as well as intense and raw emotions, to strengthen their power to allow them to exert more telekinetic effort than normal, especially during moments of great stress, fear, desperation, and rage.
Telekinesis naturally possessed both offensive and defensive capabilities, with most Force user being able to combatively use it to a degree. In combat, the ability could be used to exert harmful amounts of physical force against a target, such as to push, pull, throw, grab, or choke them. This allowed a user to grab an opponent with the Force to suspend them in the air, occasionally holding them up by a certain part of their body, such as the neck, or to pin them against walls and ceilings. Alternatively, this could be used to pull or hold back an target, effectively restraining or completely immobilizing them. Furthermore, as a user can grip and squeeze certain parts of their targets, they can potentially manipulate their targets motor skills or make them unable to move. This could also be done more subtly, such as to disrupt the aim of an opponent, usually with a telekinetic shove, whether they be using longer-ranged weapons such as blasters or melee weapons such as lightsabers.
Despite the strengths of the ability, many users of the ability were susceptible to limitations, which were in part brought on due to their own physical and mental limitations. The weight of an object could affect the speed in which an object could be moved and it was normally less easy to control targets that were already moving or had stronger force already exerted on them, such as the debris and concussive force of an explosion. In addition, the effort of using the ability was able to induce physical and mental exhaustion. Even the most powerful and skilled users of the Force, who naturally possessed greater levels of precision and accuracy with their ability, commonly refrained from repeated use of this ability in combat, using it more in short bursts to repel or otherwise attack their opponents, rather than to perform more delicate, complex, or strenuous tasks, as the effort and concentration could leave a user vulnerable and potentially weakened against their opponent. More times than not, they were forced to divert an intense amount of continuous effort on such tasks and as such, they were left unable to perform other tasks in the meantime, including moving in most cases. As this could leave them vulnerable in dangerous scenarios, such as open combat, Force users usually had little time or focus to manipulate their environment in more drastic ways, such as dismantling supports on large structures or surgically controlling small objects, without some form of cover or outside protection to ensure they were not interrupted.
The ability was usually accompanied by or channeled through physical gestures, specifically the motion of the eyes, hands, fingers, or occasionally the entire body. Such gestures were the most common way to use the power, especially when the user's mind or senses were strained or overwhelmed, as the user required comparatively less concentration, focus, and effort to manifest their ability. However, the feature could also limit the use of one's abilities if the user is restrained or otherwise rendered immobile. As such, physically restraining a Force-user was an effective way to neutralize their ability to use their power effectively enough to escape, especially if they were surrounded by enemies. Additionally, the use of a containment field or stuncuffs, was even more effective at disabling Force-users and keeping them from being able to use the Force to attempt to overpower their captors.
Additionally, by using the Force on oneself, combined with the user's strength of mind and will, a Force user could telekinetically increase their resilience to harm, especially to other Force abilities. This typically allowed both strong and skilled practitioners of the Force to defend against another Force-user's attempt to restrain, constrict, throw, repel, or otherwise affect or harm them with the Force. Most Force users are, therefore, less able to effectively use the Force on each other and tend to rely on physical attacks to break their opponent's guard before attempting to use a telekinetic attack. However, those with sufficient enough skill or power in the Force could more easily overwhelm such defenses with less effort as well as make themselves practically immune to having their protection broken by others while actively using their power to protect themselves and negate the attack, making them extremely dangerous in direct combat. This allowed Darth Sidious to negate Darth Vader's attempts to Force Choke him moments after his apprentice was rebuilt, with Sidious actively shielding himself after the enraged Vader released a telekinetic blast that managed to slam him into a wall.
Because of the ability's common deployment by Force users, many non-Force using combatants devised ways to counteract and mimic the effects of telekinesis. Among their other technologies developed during and after the Mandalorian-Jedi War, the Mandalorians built weaponized repulsors and grappling lines that could mimic the effects of telekinetic pushes and pulls. Jetpacks such as those utilized by Mandalorians and bounty hunters were used to provide counter-thrust against telekinetic attacks while others such as the Purge Troopers of the Empire's Inquisitorius were trained to recover or react quickly from pushes and shoves or to counterattack whilst being pulled. In fact, individuals of a sufficient level of size, strength and resilience can more easily withstand telekinetic attacks and can capitalize on the limits of a Force user's capabilities to overcome them.
Era of the Republic
- "Well we'll lower it slowly. There are two of us. Ready?"
"Yeah… wait wait wait, are we cutting first and then using the Force?"
"I was thinking we'd do it at the same time."
"How exactly do we do that?"
"Well, one hand to cut the strap, and the other to Force grab the crystal."
"One hand for something that heavy?"
"We only have to keep it from crashing to the ground, Anakin. We don't have to hurl it like a grenade."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, during the Mission to Utapau
Once, when having a meal with Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker used telekinesis to manipulate a piece of fruit. He lamented that Master Obi-Wan Kenobi would be grumpy if he knew that he was doing it because a Jedi was not supposed to use the Force for frivolous purposes.
During the mission to Utapau, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were forced to lift a massive kyber crystal onto a repulsorcraft. Skywalker mentioned how he believed that the crystal was too large to forced grabbed with one hand, but Kenobi stated it would be simple.
Upon discovering his wife's death, Darth Vader inadvertently unleashed his anger, despair, shame, and grief on the chamber of the Grand Republic Medical Facility where he was cybernetically rebuilt, resulting in a tremor inside the room that severely damaged it, while multiple objects and droids were telekinetically crushed. He then blasted Palpatine against a wall with his power and attempted to choke him. However, Palpatine was able to use his own powers to resist the second assault, and it had no visible effect on him.
Luke Skywalker lamented the fact that Kenobi had never addressed the subject of telekinesis in his lessons during the brief time that he trained under him, likely because Kenobi felt he wasn't ready to train in something that was considered an advanced field of study. The power could be used to focus the kyber crystal used in a lightsaber using one's mind. Skywalker decided to give it a try, but couldn't seem to get the hang of it at first. He was pleased when he was finally able to access the ability.
When Luke Skywalker was training under Master Yoda, he was tasked with lifting his X-wing starfighter out of a Dagobah swamp, but did not believe it was possible. Yoda proved him wrong by completing the task himself after which Skywalker again expressed disbelief, only to be told that it was his disbelief that caused his failure.
Era of the First Order
Kylo Ren was skilled in telekinesis, able to suspend a blaster bolt in midair and leave it harmlessly hanging until he left the scene, which caused it to turn towards and then hit a wall as it was released. He could immobilize victims in a paralyzing grip, to the point where he could control their motor skills. His grip allowed him to squeeze a specific body part, notably gripping Dopheld Mitaka by the neck from across a room to drag him over to his hand. Even his use of the mind probe was strong enough to exert physical force on a subject, as he pinned Poe Dameron against his interrogation chair and held up Del Meeko by the arms without touching them.
Rey, despite having no formal training in the use of the Force, was able to override Ren's attempt to use telekinesis to summon a lightsaber that had once belonged to Luke Skywalker, summoning it to her own hand instead. However, this was while Ren was weakened physically and emotionally by Chewbacca's bowcaster and killing his father. Her knowledge in the use of this skill was also partially taken from the memories she managed to extract from Kylo when he attempted to use the Force to interrogate her earlier.
Behind the scenes
Telekinesis first appeared in the original Star Wars films and in the continuity of Star Wars Legends covered a wide range of named abilities including the Force choke and Force Pull. Telekinesis was first identified by name in canon in the 2015 novel Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne.
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