Star Wars: Ahsoka on Disney+ is a TV series that feels like a lot of different things, including a sequel to the animated series Rebels and a new live-action story about masters and apprentices. But what’s quickly becoming my favorite part of the show is its focus on a struggling padawan who doesn’t seem to “have the Force.” People “having or not having” the Force is an idea that is wrong, and completely anti-Star Wars. And I’m excited that the show seems interested in correcting that concept.
The latest episode of the Ahsoka show, Part Three: Time to Fly, is the shortest episode yet, at just 37 minutes. But in that short runtime, it focuses almost entirely on former Jedi Ahsoka Tano’s relationship with her returning padawan and friend, Sabine Wren. We see Ahsoka training Sabine, but the Mandalorian warrior is still struggling to use the Force. But Ahsoka doesn’t give up on her, even as an ancient Jedi droid explains that Sabine has no connection to the Force and that the Jedi Order would never have accepted her. Yet Ahsoka doesn’t care. Like Yoda and other very wise Jedi, she knows that the Force is in us all. (Well not us, but everyone in Star Wars at least.)
Stream Ahsoka now: Disney+
However, if you didn’t realize that or have assumed differently, that’s not surprising. The franchise has done a pretty poor job of actually demonstrating that the Force resides in all living beings. We’ve spent multiple films, comics, and books watching the children and grandchildren of Jedi and Sith run around the galaxy doing cool stuff with the Force. And in most Star Wars media, the Jedi only seem interested in training young kids who are born with a strong connection to this odd cosmic energy.
But in the words of Han Solo: That’s not how the Force works! And Yoda was telling us this all the way back in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, telling Luke how it “surrounds” and “binds” us all together. As Yoda says, after Luke fails at raising up the X-Wing from the swamp:
Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.
Obi-Wan echoes this when he tells Luke in the very first Star Wars film that the Force is an energy field that surrounds, binds, and penetrates “all living things.” This idea, that the Force resides in living things, is brought up again in Star Wars Rebels when Jedi Kanan Jarrus is talking to Hera Syndulla about training none other than Sabine Wren, aka the same person Ahsoka is training in the new show.
After Hera suggests Kanan doesn’t believe Sabine can learn how to wield the Darksaber, an ancient Jedi weapon, because she “doesn’t have the Force,” he corrects her. “No. The Force resides in all living things, but you have to be open to it,” explains the Jedi.
Yet, if you look online, you’ll see thousands of posts and videos from people trying to explain how Sabine “has the Force” or how she is “Force sensitive.” They dig for clues—moments when she seems to predict the future or do something supernaturally fast—in an effort to prove that she has actually always had some connection to the Force and can become a Jedi and use it. The idea that anyone could—through lots of training, practice, and mediation—develop Force sensitivity seems almost alien to many fans, which I find disappointing. (It also ignores that Geroge Lucas himself said this was how the Force worked in 1983.)
From the very start of Star Wars, the Force was never intended to be something people “have” or whatever. Sure, some folks are just naturally more connected to the Force, but everyone and everything in Star Wars is connected to the Force simply through existing.
Sabine Wren is already bound to everything else in the galaxy through the Force. She just needs to learn how to open herself up to this powerful, mystical energy that binds all living things. That might not be easy. Most people might fail to ever really feel the Force or use it. But Ahsoka is teasing the idea that anyone, with enough training and determination, can become a Jedi, and that’s exciting.
Sure, some fans might suggest that the prequel trilogy shows that only certain people with high levels of midi-chlorians (shudders) can become Jedi and that individuals who are more powerful deserve more leadership. But Star Wars: Ahsoka is quick to push back on this.
Episode three points out, during a conversation between ancient Jedi droid Huyang and Ashoka, the Jedi teachings and its rules ultimately led to the Order’s destruction. Luke Skywalker says as much in The Last Jedi, too. Assuming the Jedi knew everything about the Force, how it works, and how best to use it is foolish. And it seems perfect that Ahsoka is the one to help change who can become a Jedi in this galaxy.
She’s a woman who trained with the Order for years as a kid, and then watched the Jedi fall after they wrongly kicked her out. Her master was also Anakin Skywalker, the man who would become Darth Vader and who would be the catalyst for the Order’s ultimate destruction. She has seen firsthand that the Jedi weren’t perfect and didn’t know everything.
So it makes sense that it would be Ahsoka who would give Sabine a chance to become a Jedi, even if it goes against all the ancient teachings and beliefs of Star Wars’ galactic space monks. If a fallen Jedi destroyed the order, perhaps a different fallen Jedi can help rebuild it into something better and more open to the Force.
Ahsoka showing that truly anyone can become a Jedi also feels like a metacommentary on all the decades of fan theories over who does and doesn’t have the Force. Turns out, everyone has a connection to the Force! That shouldn’t be a surprise. Yoda and Obi-Wan told us that 40 years ago.
Stream Ahsoka now: Disney+