In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we saw that

the Force Ghost of Yoda had god-like superpowers. He could not only interact with real world, he could actually create apocalyptic mayhem if he wanted. He burned down an ancient Jedi tree using lightning from a thunderstorm he created.

Given that Sith don't seem to have ability to be the one with the Force to counter Jedi Force Ghosts, why do Jedi Force Ghosts let bad guys win? Why don't they destroy ships and super mass destruction weapons (like Starkiller) before they can do big damage to the universe?

If Yoda wanted Rey to be a Jedi in the end, it means that he was interested in the affairs of the living. Why couldn't he finish what he wanted Rey to finish? Even if he had a busy schedule in the Netherland of The Force to not become a full-time Dead Jedi Master in the living world, he could occasionally interfere with the living world during big events.

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    Even Pikachu's thunder attack doesn't burn something..
    – user931
    Dec 17, 2017 at 10:23
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    “He burned down ancient Jedi tree using strong thunder attack.” A bolt of lightning struck the tree during a storm that was already happening. We don’t actually know that Yoda caused that, but assuming he did, it might have been relatively easy (e.g. use the Force to make a bit of the tree slightly more electrically conductive that it was before). It’s a pretty big leap from that to assume that he could destroy a space ship, or an entire planet, even if he wanted to. Dec 17, 2017 at 10:42
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    We don’t actually know that Yoda caused that ~> Did you really watch the movie? You are making conversation between Yoda and Luke meaningless.
    – user931
    Dec 17, 2017 at 13:34
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    @Bat: “Did you really watch the movie?” Did you? Because I don’t recall the phrase ‘strong thunder attack’ being used in it. “You are making conversation between Yoda and Luke meaningless.” I don’t think so. Yoda’s point was that the books and the tree don’t matter. That still stands whether Yoda made some lightning strike the tree, or if the lightning just happened to strike the tree. Dec 18, 2017 at 9:54
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    Maybe Yoda was just a figment of Luke's imagination. And that it was actually Luke who conjured up the tree lightning under this delusion. That tidies up this canon-breaking mess and explains why every dead Jedi of old doesn't have their own force-ghost who can physically affect the world.
    – squire55
    Jan 12, 2018 at 10:53

2 Answers 2


Becoming a Force Ghost is a relatively new skill the Jedi have discovered. In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda sends Obi Wan Kenobi to Tattoine to keep an eye on Luke but also to learn a new ability that Qui-gon has learnt (Force Ghosting). Just as Yoda plans to learn it

Yoda: An old friend has learned the path to immortality.

Obi-Wan: Who?

Yoda: One who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me…your old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.

Given most of the Jedi are dead and it appears only the most powerful Jedi can achieve this power (otherwise there would be Force Ghosts all over the place), it is highly likely that Yoda is the only one who can produce this force lightning having learnt more then the 2 that came before him and being a far stronger Jedi. Remember he had years on Dagoba to just meditate and learn about the force during this time he no doubt learnt all sorts of things that other Jedi had never known.

In addition Jedi are sworn to bring order to the galaxy but not control it—they allow free will. If the dead start getting involved in a more direct way this does not allow the living to develop and grow. The dead probably have a far wider understanding of the universe and the consequences of actions and so if they start manipulating or forcing a course of events this potentially means a force ghost is edging onto the Dark Side. Hence Yoda always offers advice but never out right states a course of action. Even in Return, when he dies he tells Luke he has a choice to face Vader or not he doesn't make him make the right choice.

  • Really good answer. Only minor quibble, force ghosts are a very old and lost Jedi skill. Only recently rediscovered Dec 18, 2017 at 19:47
  • Where are you getting the stuff about Qui-Gon and force ghosts? As I recall, Qui-Gon is the one main-character Jedi who doesn't become a force ghost. It's one of the plot holes in Episode 1.
    – JPmiaou
    Dec 18, 2017 at 20:33
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    @JPmiaou - if you watch the canon materials in order, Qui-Gon figures out the force ghost thing first and sends Yoda on a quest to figure it out as well (The Clone Wars: Season 6), Yoda tells Obi-Wan to figure it out (Episode III).
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 19, 2017 at 18:16
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    @Jeremy French in the Legends series maybe, but as far as I am aware in the cannon universe we do not know if Force Ghosts are an old lost Jedi Skill. As the question refers to the Movie we have to refer to the known Cannon universe for our answer. Also @ JPmiaou from revenge of the Sith. Yoda: An old friend has learned the path to immortality. Obi-Wan: Who? Yoda: One who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me…your old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.
    – Richard C
    Dec 19, 2017 at 23:32
  • That makes how Anakin becomes a Force Ghost an interesting question.
    – chepner
    Sep 23, 2019 at 19:45

As Obi Wan says:

if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine

We never know quite how much force ghosts help out heroes. The number of lucky breaks they have, the times the overcome impossible odds, or meeting just the right person in the whole galaxy.

Quite what they do or how they work is beyond our imagining.

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