Hello everyone and welcome back to The Sarlacc Pit. A few weeks back, Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo unleashed a stream of tweets all about the nature of the Force. He used a lot of real-world comparisons to explain what the Force is, who has it, and a little bit about where the Jedi Order got it wrong. So this week I want to go through these tweets and discuss what they mean.
First off, a little biography about the man behind the tweets. Pablo Hidalgo is an author of material including role playing games and game resources, as well as content for StarWars.com. Hidalgo also served as Internet Content Manager for Lucas Online until 2011. After Disney acquired Star Wars, Hidalgo was given a job in the newly formed Lucasfilm Story Group, whose main purpose was to create and maintain one cohesive canon, after the abandonment of the previous canon (what is now referred to as Legends).
Basically, Pablo Hidalgo does not just know Star Wars, Pablo Hidalgo essentially helps create Star Wars. So when the man tweets about the Force, Star Wars enthusiasts such as myself listen and take notes (or screen shots of his twitter feed). Also, fun fact: Hidalgo appeared in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” as Janu Goldahi (an anagram of Pablo’s father, Juan Hidalgo).
So now I’m going to list Pablo Hidalgo’s tweets, from his Twitter username @pablohidalgo: (pictures added for flavor)
“1/Head’s up. Incoming tweetflood full of unsolicited views about the Force. About 14 or 15 tweets. Bear with me.”
“2/ A colleague of mine recently stated that everyone has and uses the Force. Which raised questions in some, but it’s nonetheless true.”
“3/ The Force is life. If you’ve ever felt a moment of connection with another or you world, you’re using it. That’s the idea.”
“4/ You can disbelieve in it, but still have it. I’m sure Ol Ben would attribute Han’s amazing piloting & ‘luck’ to the Force. Han wouldn’t.”
“5/ For gamers, note that I think every incarnation of the RPG gave Force Points to everyone, regardless of ‘Force-sensitivity.'”
“6/ Eg. we would cite is Bruce Lee. In our world, he would be someone more in tune to the Force than most, hence his remarkable abilities.”
“7/ It’s not just physical abilities. Those who can sway large numbers of people for good or for bad are tapping into a connectivity.”
“8/ I can see the case made that exceptional minds of all kinds – Einstein, Hawking, Newton – are tapping into a world most can’t see.”
“9/ I think people understandably got caught up in the whole midi-chlorian thing. They thought you must have X no. of midis to use the Force.”
“10/ No, the midi-prereq was to enter the prequel-era Jedi Order. It’s a rather soulless way to look at potential, by narrative design.”
“11/ The prequel Jedi have systemized their methods at the expense of spirituality and intuition. The are more ‘Order’ than ‘Jedi.'”
“12/ Characters like Jocasta Nu and Ki-Adi-Mundi embody that. Others like Dooku, Qui-Gon and Anakin don’t.”
“13/ But there’s more to the Force than just Jedi/Sith. There’s more to potential than midis. Just like there’s more to genius than grades.”
“14/ All right that’s enough Force food for thought. I’ll return to maddening non-observations about Snoke as requested.”
What Does it Mean?
Ok, at first glance, this Twitter storm was kind of like “yeah, of course, I get it.” But the more I think about it the more interesting it actually is. So the Force is actually used by everyone in the Star Wars universe, that alone makes sense, as it binds all life together. What’s interesting is the thought that midi-chlorian concentrations in a sentient, implied to be what determines if someone is Force-sensitive or not really was not as important as the Jedi Order believed it to be. This almost implies that anyone could use the Force, but maybe people with higher midi-chlorian counts had an easier time doing so. I mean, maybe this explains why Greedo missed his point-blank shot at Han in “A New Hope,” perhaps Solo really was strong in the Force. Perhaps Mon Mothma, charismatic political leader of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, was able to, in a way, channel the Force to bring people together in peaceful cooperation. Perhaps Admiral Ackbar knew that the attack on the Death Star II was a trap because of a hint of a Force premonition.
Second, Hidalgo’s assertion that the Jedi Order got it wrong when it came to who was trained and who wasn’t is a pretty big deal. Remember, Qui-Gon Jinn was never given a seat on the High Council, one reason for this was his concentration on the Living Force, instead of the Cosmic Force. The Living Force was generally a more spiritual form, focusing on the connection between all living things while the Cosmic Force focused on the power of midi-chlorians. Qui-Gon got the last laugh, however, when he became the first person in known history to be able to manifest a Force ghost through his understanding of the Living Force. The Council focused on the Cosmic Force, attempting to better understand the secrets of the Force whispered to them by the midi-chlorians, while those who studied the Living Forced focused on how the Force worked in the real world and affect those who lived with it. This assertion that the Jedi got something wrong about the Force is HUGE. In canon about 90% of what we know about the Force comes from the Jedi. Luckily, “Rebels” has begun to introduce more tidbits about the Force through the Bendu (pictured above). This is exciting as it continues to feed into our knowledge of the energy that binds the galaxy together.
Another big thing Hidalgo mentioned was that there was more to the Force than Jedi or Sith. This is an idea that was tossed around a lot in Legends canon with Dark Jedi and Gray Jedi and various other groups of Force users who were neither Sith nor Jedi. In current canon, however, we have very little of this. However, season 3 of “Star Wars: Rebels” is finally giving us some of that in between area with the introduction of the Bendu (pictured above), a large Force-sensitive individual who claims to represent the center of the Force, between the Ashla (light) of the Jedi and the Bogan (dark) of the Sith. I am a huge fan of the idea of a middle path of the Force and I got very excited to see this character in “Rebels” and even more excited when I saw these tweets that essentially confirm what I’ve always thought: that the dark side and light side of the Force are not really the point. If the Force is a faith or deity, then the light side and dark side are two overly-dogmatic religions, focusing on traditions and rules instead of what it is they are supposed to be following. I am extremely interested in learning more of The Bendu’s middle path and hope to see more gray paths of the Force in the future.
Pablo Hidalgo regularly tweets about Star Wars content, but does not always tweet such lengthy unsolicitated facts. So when he does, it is incumbent for those of us looking for any tidbit of knowledge to pay attention. Anyways, next week I’m going to get a little controversial on The Sarlacc Pit. I’m going to take the two United States presidential candidates and compare them to two of the most vile villains in the Star Wars canon in a post entitled “The Lesser of Two Siths.” So, if you don’t want to see your presidential favorite get made fun of, then maybe sit the next post out. But for those of you who stick with me, thanks for reading, and as Pablo Hidalgo has informed us, the Force is with you, always.