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In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon senses a strong Force presence in Anakin Skywalker. He then arranges a deal with Watto whereby if Anakin wins the Boonta Classic pod race, Watto will grant Anakin his freedom.

It is well established that both Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker both have a natural gift for flying, making them some of the best pilots in the Galaxy.

However, Qui-Gon has no way of knowing this, and seems to be operating under the assumption that Anakin's innate Force will assist him in winning, rather than any "natural" talent.

Yet in the original trilogy, it isn't until Luke consciously "lets go" that he can allow the Force to guide his shot to the ventilation shaft on the Death Star, implying that actually using the Force to assist in piloting requires some level of Force training.

Did Anakin actually use the Force in the Boonta Classic, or was it merely his natural piloting talent? If Anakin did win through his talent alone, why did Qui-Gon feel this would be a valid test to see if Anakin might be the Chosen One?

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    I always thought it was Qui-Gon that used the force to help Anakin win. :-) – Stephen Jan 27 '13 at 23:29
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    Excuse the necro-comment, but Luke allowing the Force to guide his shot is, well, shooting, not piloting. The reason Luke and Anakin are really good pilots is because they're strong with the Force. – Martha Apr 22 at 19:16
  • @Martha unless the weapons aim independently, then shooting is a function of piloting, no different than WWII era dogfighting. Given that Lucas explicitly said his inspiration for the scene was two WWII movies, plus the controls shown, and the lack of second person in the ship (typically independently aimed weapons have a person dedicated to firing them, instead of trying to do that while flying), it seems likely that the weapons on the X-wing hit where the ship was pointed. So in this case, shooting is not separate than flying. – Beofett Jun 10 at 13:09
33

Yes, he has this "natural piloting talent" because of the force.
From The Phantom Menace Script:

ANAKIN: (Cont'd) Mom, what? I'm not bragging. It's true. Watto says he's never heard of a human doing it.
QUI-GON: You must have Jedi reflexes if you race Pods.

And later:

QUI-GON: You should be proud of your son. He gives without any thought of reward.
SHMI: He knows nothing of greed. He has...
QUI-GON: He has special powers.
SHMI: Yes...
QUI-GON: He can see things before they happen. That's why he appears to have such quick reflexes. It is a Jedi trait.

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15

Yes he does. According to the official novelisation, in addition to possessing abnormally fast reactions (something the film refers to as "Jedi reflexes"), there's a point in the race where Anakin explicitly used the Force to sense his surroundings:

A piece of steaming metal flew at him out of the haze, careening off his right engine housing and barely missing his head.

But the boy was seeing with more than his eyes, sensing with his mind, calm and steady within himself. He could feel the danger waiting, and he worked the thruster bars smoothly, sliding past the wreckage.

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There was also a point in the podrace that a hose came lose and Ani pointed a metal rod at it and "Grasped" and reconnected the hose. Now the rod could've been magnetized and hooked it, but it is Star Wars and he is Anakin Skywalker, so theoretically he "Force Grabbed" it and reconnected it...

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is interesting if you can support that he actually used the Force for this, instead of just a remote manipulator. Can you include a screencap, a quote from the script or from the novelization that gives evidence he reconnected it using the Force? – DavidW Feb 25 at 22:38
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    The pole was magnetised. - "Anakin groped along the floor of his cockpit, searching for the magnetic retriever. When he found it, he flicked on the power button and extended the retriever out to the left side, trying to make contact with the loose line" – Valorum Feb 25 at 22:42

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