I know what the Journal of the Whills is, but I haven't found a lot of information as to their nature, such as where they came from, what they're capable of, or, most importantly, what they actually are. Are they deities, or are they the pinnacle of being connected to the Force, or are they the next (or final) step for those who become Force ghosts? Are they Force itself? I've oft-heard people refer to the "will of the Force," so that makes me curious if it's actually their will.

** I feel that it is important to mention that there is a common misconception that Yoda is a Whill. George Lucas has strongly denied this. Yoda's race is a mystery to fans, as far as I am aware, as Lucas has not revealed it yet.

3 Answers 3


The existence of the Whills, or their journal is currently only mentioned in one canonical source: a brief quote from the Journal of the Whills in the opening of the novelization for The Force Awakens. All other previous mentions (in prior novelizations and comics) were later contradicted by higher canon materials.

However, the Annotated Screenplays gives us some information regarding their intended background.

George Lucas: "Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody wiser than the mortal players in actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concepts behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the 'Journal of the Whills.'"

  • Have any notable characters interacted with them and seen them (assuming that they have a physical appearance of some sort)? Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 1:38
  • @ChristopherMason In the original ROTS novelization and comics, Qui-Gon did. But that was erased from canon when The Clone Wars show changed the story of how he learned to become a Force Ghost. In current canon, the only mention of them in any way is in a preface quote to the TFA novelization.
    – phantom42
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 2:20
  • Are there any more details about them in either canon? Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 3:43
  • I'm not sure how else to say that they have only been mentioned in passing. Wookieepedia's entry has everything known about them: Qui-Gon mentioned a shaman of the Order of the Whills in the books, and it was later retconned. Since then, the only reference to them has been the quote preceding the TFA novelization.
    – phantom42
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 12:37
  • 1
    @phantom42 - There's an additional 'in-canon' reference to a Shaman of the Whills on panel 12 of the Star Wars Databank entry for Qui-gon; starwars.com/databank/qui-gon-jinn-biography-gallery
    – Valorum
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 17:08

The very first mention of Journal of the Whills dates back to 1976. It was first mentioned in the original novelization of A New Hope (then called Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker.) In fact, almost the entire prologue is an excerpt from The First Saga of The Journal of the Whills, excepting a short quote attributed to “Leia of Alderaan, Senator.”

The entire prologue is too long to quote here, but details the decline of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the Empire. It likens the Republic to a strong tree able to withstand any outside attack, while the true threat was a rotten core.

It also includes an extremely concise summary of the political events detailed in The Phantom Menace, and provides our first glimpse of the Emperor.

“Aided and abetted by restless, power-hungry individuals within the government, and the massive organs of commerce, the ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to be elected President of the Republic. He promised to reunite the disaffected among the people and to restore the remembered glory of the Republic.”

It also contains this even more bare bones summarization of the political events. “Having exterminated through treachery and deception the Jedi Knights, guardians of justice in the galaxy, the Imperial governors and bureaucrats prepared to institute a reign of terror among the disheartened worlds of the galaxy.”

The prologue gives the impression that the entire telling of the whole Star Wars saga is just ancient moment in the the much longer history of the galaxy, or even the universe, at large. It is very much in keeping with the opening crawl line of “Along time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....”

  • There is a lot of information here but a lot of it doesn’t actually relate to the question. Could you narrow this down and address the question itself?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 8:58

Actually it was first mentioned in A New Hopes novelization, unless that was un-canonized. Lol. Is that a word

  • 1
    Please edit this answer to include the quote from the ANH novelisation, or at least a summary and chapter/page reference so that others can find the quote.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 0:10

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