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Is the force stronger with Rey than with any other Star Wars character to date, including Yoda and young Anakin?

Despite the fact Rey was completely unaware of the existence of the force, she was able to master

  • Mind control
  • Mind reading
  • Telekinesis
  • Fighting with a lightsaber

all on her own in a day. She easily bested Kylo Ren (who, supposedly, is very gifted) on two different occasions, all on her first day as a young Jedi. So, assuming she was alive to fight Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, or Palpatine in their respective primes, would she have defeated them all?

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    I have created midichlorians tag just so someone can have the best day of the last 10 years deleting it. You're welcome – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 25 '15 at 17:31
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    It just means that XII has a higher Abrams count than any other episode before. Life long Jedi training overrated is, mmmh. – Ghanima Dec 28 '15 at 22:39
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    I fear that all knowledge of (and therefore ability to measure) midichlorians was lost in the Jedi purge and its aftermath. I’m sorry, did I say “fear”? I meant “fervently hope”. – Paul D. Waite Dec 29 '15 at 11:20
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    “she was able to master mind control, mind reading, telekinesis [and] fighting with a lightsaber all on her own in a day” — master them she did not. “She easily bested Kylo Ren” — easy it was not. – Paul D. Waite Dec 29 '15 at 11:22
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    Possible duplicate of How could a raw, untrained Force user be so adept at using the Force? – Möoz Feb 29 '16 at 11:21
10

According to J.J. Abrams interview with MTV, Rey (or for that matter entire Episide VII) has

NO MIDICHLORIANS!!!

At the red carpet premiere for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (which Abrams produced), the filmmaker took part in an amusing Q&A session with MTV, where he fielded a series of “yes or no” questions about Episode VII. When asked about the midi-chlorians’ presence in the new movie, Abrams answered with a definitive “No.”

This is confirmed by the fact that the word (or the idea) is never mentioned in the text of the novelization.

This is completely in line with him trying to reboot Star Wars and try and tap into fandom resentment over the prequels - he also previously emphatically rejected adding Jar-Jar (as anything other than bones); and in an interview very definitively and without hesitation said "Of course Han shot first".


To address your folowup questions, we don't have any canon information to objectively answer whether she would win in a fight against past Force users. Making a random guess, she would have had trouble given her present Episode-VII level of training, considering she had difficulty defeating a Dark trainee who was severely weakened and wasn't actually fighting her with his full ability (AND she basically dipped into the Dark Side in order to win, to boot).

  • Right. So, without using midichlorians (which are stupid, but, unfortunately, canon) is Rey the most powerful Jedi we've seen? As in the second part of my question, where I asked if she would defeat all the others in battle. – Lord Voldemort Dec 25 '15 at 17:36
  • @LordVoldemort - that's not answerable in existing canon (and won't be till at least Episide VIII at best, if ever) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 25 '15 at 17:44
  • At least while ren is weakened (aside from skywalker and snooke) she seems to be the strongest around – Thomas Dec 25 '15 at 20:30
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    She dipped into the Dark Side to win? Is there a canon reference for this? I would ask a separate question, but does anyone know how to avoid a meaningless spoiler-free title such as "in order to defeat this Dark Side user, does this character dip into the Dark Side?" :/ – Andres F. Dec 28 '15 at 23:25
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    Wait, is he saying that midichlorians will not be in the sequel trilogy, or midichlorians are no longer canon? Two very different things. Afaik, it's mentioned in the movies, and anything in past movies will remain unchanged and canon. – thegreatjedi Feb 29 '16 at 12:17
6

This answer has two parts:

  1. Analysis of the Rey/Kylo Ren fight
  2. Info from JJ Abrams about the Force

No, we probably can't say that Rey is stronger with the Force than Yoda, Palpatine, Anakin, etc. The following is what we do know.

It is said in the The Force Awakens that Rey is particularly gifted with the Force and it is strongly hinted that she is related to Luke, Leia, and Kylo Ren in some way, or in other words, that she is a grandchild of Anakin Skywalker.

To address the question of her battle with Kylo Ren, we don't have any indication that she was or was not trained in the Force, at least to some degree. She may have been trained somewhat. Furthermore, Kylo Ren was being "torn apart" by the opposing pulls of the light side and the dark side. (See the scene where he talks to the helmet, and the words to Han before killing him, and the track attributed to this scene on the official soundtrack titled "Torn Apart," and various other sources.) In the midst of that personal emotional battle, he killed his father and the result was not what he expected. From the novelization for the movie, emphasis added:

Stunned by his own actions, Kyo Ren fell to his knees. Following through on the act ought to have made him stronger, a part of him believed. Instead, he found himself weakened. He did not hear the roar of the enraged Wookiee above, but he did feel the sting of the shot from the bowcaster as it slammed into his side, knocking him back on the walkway.

...

Amid the rising bedlam and confusion, Kylo Ren struggled to stand. As he did, so his gaze turned upward.

Add to that the various physical injuries sustained before fighting Rey (Chewie's bowcaster and Finn's lightsaber connections) and then maybe we could be surprised not by her success but by how she wasn't even more dominant.


However, the question might be well-addressed with some interviews with JJ Abrams.

In multiple interviews and Q&A sessions, JJ Abrams said there would not be mention of midi-chlorians in The Force Awakens.1

At one point, JJ Abrams was asked for an in-depth answer and he gave more explanation about his point of view, emphasis added:

"I will just say this: I would never presume to question anything George Lucas says is canon in Star Wars. And our job was not to negate or undo. A lot of people who are critics of our Star Trek, and I respect all of them, said we destroyed what they loved and negated everything. And we worked hard to clarify that we are not saying that our Star Trek over-rides a thing of the original Star Trek — it was a parallel timeline. I never wanted to negate canon that fans held so dear. And because I love Star Wars and have for too many years… … And having said all that and meaning it — I don’t want to presume over-write or change what George says the rules are.

I’m not someone who quite understands the science of the Force. To me Star Wars was never about science fiction — it was a spiritual story. And it was more of a fairytale in that regard. For me when I heard Obi-Wan say that the Force surrounds us and binds us all together, there was no judgement about who you were. This was something that we could all access. Being strong with the force didn’t mean something scientific, it meant something spiritual. It meant someone who could believe, someone who could reach down to the depths of your feelings and follow this primal energy that was flowing through all of us. I mean, thats what was said in that first film!

And there I am sitting in the theater at almost 11 years old and that was a powerful notion. And I think this is what your point was, we would like to believe that when shit gets serious, that you could harness that Force I was told surrounds not just some of us but every living thing. And so, I really feel like the assumption that any character needs to have inherited a certain number of midi-chlorians or needs to be part of a bloodline, it’s not that I don’t believe that as part of the canon, I’m just saying that at 11 years old, that wasn’t where my heart was. And so I respect and adhere to the canon but I also say that the Force has always seemed to me to be more inclusive and stronger than that."2



1 cinemablend.com source describing some midi-chlorian stuff and citing an MTV interview

2 slashfilm.com source with interview and question posed about if and which character may be non-Skywalker and use the Force extensively in this trilogy

  • I already cited the MTV interview in my answer. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 29 '15 at 14:24
2

There is no way for Rey to stand against Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda or Palpatine, so we have no idea if she would defeat them.

But I believe that your question is build on false premise, because Rey was not even close to mastering any of these things.

Mind control

She has succeeded only in second try (according to novelization; I think it was third in movie), and she couldn't believe it:

Working methodically, he unlatched her shackles. He stood and stared at her for a moment, then turned and wordlessly started for the doorway. Lying in shock on the reclined platform, Rey hardly knew what to do next.

For a long moment she stared at the open portal. Deciding that it was not a joke and that the guard was not waiting for her just outside the cell, she moved to pick up the weapon and leave.

From A New Hope we know that "The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded" (Obi-Wan). We don't know anything about her guard and we don't have any evidence that he was not weak-minded.

Mind reading

She never did it consciously and her success was as surprising for her as for the other guy. Relevant paragraph from novelization:

A look of amazement replaced the fear on Rey’s face as she discovered herself inside his mind. Stunned at the realization, she found herself inexorably drawn to—to…

Telekinesis

Again, she tried it once and was surprised that it worked:

Rey appeared equally shocked that her reach for the device had exceeded his. She gazed down at the weapon now resting in her grip.

Fighting with a lightsaber

There might be grain of truth in this one. I believe that prevailing belief among fans is that in Star Wars universe melee weapon is melee weapon and her skill with staff translated to sword fighting. We see similar translation in Finn who managed to put quite a fight on two different occasions even though he isn't Force-sensitive and his only experience with melee weapons was with this thing (if any).

Nevertheless, here is what novelization has to say:

Expecting weakness, he encountered only strength. Her skill with the device was raw at best, but it was backed by a fury that was as new to his experience as it was unexpected.

Out-of-universe commentary

I understand that some people think that Rey reached master level very quickly, but for all we know, she has much to learn. Her feats are impressive compared to Luke's feats in original trilogy, because contemporary audience expects more action delivered at faster pace. There are similar continuity errors between original trilogy and prequels - vide choreography of lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader in A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith, or technology used (scanners, viewfinders and computer screens).

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    All your arguments also prove that the force is really strong with her - so much that her abilities took her by surprise in all of the mentioned cases. So, while she hasn't fully mastered any of the abilities yet, her uptake is much faster than of any of the previously seen characters. However, this looks more like cinematic degradation. We go from younglings training for 15 years (with Obi still teasing Ani in ep. 2 about his poor lightsaber skill) to a stormtrooper holding it for the first time and keeping his limbs against an (albeit injured) force-user. – orion Jan 5 '16 at 9:22
  • True, but Finn is a really good stormtrooper. I mean, top of his class, and all that jazz. Sufficiently skilled melee weapons users can be a match for Jedi (Grievous, anyone?). Ordinary stormtroopers are no better, in Episode VII, at withstanding Jedi (or hitting anyone). :) – Adamant Jan 25 '16 at 1:15
  • Kylo has the Force but little lightsaber skill (he lacks discipline). Finn (probably) lacks the Force, but as an extremely talented First Order stormtrooper, has both experience with anti-lightsaber techniques and the combat ability to use them effectively. It is worth noting that, in spite of this, Kylo won quickly once he starting taking the fight seriously. – Adamant Jan 25 '16 at 1:18

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