The latest Star Wars audiobook finally explains the Jedi voices Rey heard in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Death has never been final in Star Wars, with Jedi such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda learning how to become Force Ghosts after their deaths. They had learned an ancient technique which, most viewers assumed, allowed them to retain their consciousness after death. But Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker complicated the issue, in a striking scene that suggested all those who had ever died exist in the Force.
The final act of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saw Rey and Kylo Ren unite against the Emperor – who took advantage of their union, draining the power of their own Force Dyad to renew himself. An exhausted and defeated Rey was encouraged by the voices of Jedi past, including – in a surprising twist – many who had never learned the technique to become a Force Ghost. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda were joined by the likes of Kanan Jarrus, Luminara Unduli, and Aayla Secura in spurring Rey on. This, naturally, raises a curious question about just how these Jedi could manifest.
Force Visions Reveal Nobody Is Ever Truly Dead
An important clue is offered in George Mann’s audiobook The Battle of Jedha. Set 350 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, this features a beautiful scene in which Jedi Master Silandra Sho visits the temple at Jedha and experiences visions courtesy of the kyber mirrors contained there. The Jedi Code forbids a Jedi from attachments, but losing someone is never easy, and Silandra was still mourning the death of her Padawan. The Force granted her a vision of her Padawan at one with the Force, and happy. This is important because it confirms there is indeed a “netherworld of the Force,” an afterlife where all beings retain their consciousness after death – otherwise her Padawan would not have been identifiable. The technique used by those who become Force Ghosts is simply one that allows them to move between the netherworld of the Force and the physical world they used to inhabit.
Why The Jedi Voices Spoke To Rey At Exegol
This subtly builds upon an idea George Mann already explored in his book Dark Legends, a collection of sinister tales told in the Star Wars galaxy – many of which, Lucasfilm stressed, contained a seed of truth. The Sith planet of Exegol is a vergence in the Force, a place where the veil between life and death – the barrier between the physical world and the netherworld of the Force – is unnaturally thin. This is why it was coveted by the ancient Sith, who believed they could use Exegol to find a way to conquer death itself; it is why the Emperor was resurrected there, when his acolytes drew his dark essence out of the netherworld and placed it in a clone body. The Jedi of ages past presumably took advantage of Exegol’s unique properties when they encouraged Rey.
This introduces a fascinating mystical dimension to the final battle in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Presumably Palpatine had learned to master Exegol’s power, and thus draw upon all the power of the Sith who had come before him; that would explain the sheer scale of his power-up, as he launched a storm of Force Lightning that could cripple a fleet. But where Palpatine took power from the netherworld of the Force, Rey was given it, spurred on by the words of all the Jedi – and presumably given their power. In that moment, Palpatine and Rey really did embody the Sith and the Jedi; one used the Force to attack, the other to defend, and the Sith’s own aggression proved their undoing. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s conclusion had a lot more depth than initially seemed apparent, in part because of the confusing lore that required further clarification.
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