This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian Season 1 through episode 7.
For even more on the new film, be sure to check out what we thought of the surprising Force Awakens callback in The Rise of Skywalker. Or dig in on our 10 Biggest WTF Questions about the film. Check out our story on how TROS is performing poorly in China. Oh, and are you wondering if there will be an Episode 10? You're not alone. And of course, how can you not click on our Babu Frik appreciation post?
What Is Force Healing?
The Rise of Skywalker introduces a lot of new Force abilities into the Star Wars franchise, but perhaps the most vital is the one utilized by Rey (and later Ben Solo) at several points – the ability to use the Force to heal an injury; even a seemingly fatal one.When Rey encounters a wounded sand serpent in the caves of Pasaana, she explains to Finn and Poe that she used the Force to transfer a part of her life essence to the snake in order to heal it, but given how we see her holding her hand in pain, it's implied that using the Force to heal someone takes something (whether it's energy or pure life force) from the wielder. Rey again demonstrates the power when she heals Kylo Ren from what looks like a fatal lightsaber wound through his midsection during their battle on the ruins of the second Death Star.And the injury doesn’t even have to be a typical wound to be healed – when it appears as though Rey has died from expending all of her energy defeating Palpatine in the final act, Ben is seemingly able to transfer all of his life essence into her body, essentially trading his life for hers.
Force Healing in The Mandalorian
This is a pretty major concept to bring into the Skywalker Saga in the final movie, but Disney has been planting the seeds for it ever since The Mandalorian premiered, when the adorable green creature we’ve come to know as “Baby Yoda” tried his hardest to Force heal Mando’s wound following a gnarly fight with several Trandoshan bounty hunters in episode 2.
Mando rebuffed The Child’s attempts to fix his boo-boo several times, but the persistent creature succeeded at healing Greef Carga in episode 7, showing off the ability Rey and Ben also demonstrate in The Rise of Skywalker and knitting the wound together using only the power of the Force. Now we know that Force Healing isn’t just a special Baby Yoda power, but one that’s accessible to all Force users, if they try hard enough (and have a willing patient).
Force Healing in the Star Wars Expanded Universe/Legends
But until Baby Yoda came along, Force healing wasn't a power we ever really saw in the Star Wars live-action universe, unless you count Obi-Wan curing Luke’s Tusken Raider-induced headache in A New Hope. But it is an ability that’s appeared in the no-longer-canon Expanded Universe. Various Jedi like Mara Jade and Barriss Offee (who made her way into the new canon seemingly without her healing abilities) were able to meditate and channel the Force to heal themselves and others back in the pre-Disney days.
The Sith also had healing powers in the EU, though usually those abilities came with a cost or only worked for brief periods. Sith Lords like Darth Vader and Darth Bane could channel anger or pain to temporarily heal themselves. In the Shadows of the Empire novel, Vader trained himself in harnessing his anger to breathe without his mask. The most extreme case is Knights of the Old Republic II villain Darth Sion, who managed to hold his broken body together through the power of sheer hate. Other Star Wars video games have also allowed Force healing, but again, it's something that the canon movies have stayed away from up until this point.
Vader’s distant descendant Cade Skywalker could even bring people back from the brink of death, but only in times of great emotional duress. In that sense, Cade may share more in common with Rey than any other EU Jedi.
What do you think of the introduction of Force healing into live-action Star Wars canon? Do you think The Mandalorian will reveal any other connections with The Rise of Skywalker (like a link between Baby Yoda and Palpatine) in its upcoming Season 1 finale? Share your theories below.