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So, I was marathoning all 9 Star Wars movies again because.... well, why wouldn't I right?

I came across something I never thought of before.

The force ghosts that we see in the movies only appear to those who knew them in real life, and never appear to those who didn't.

So:

  • Obi-wan is told that he would be able to communicate to Qui-gon, but Qui-gon never appeared to Luke or Rey.

  • Obi-wan and Yoda both appear to Luke, but they didn't appear to Rey. Even when Yoda talks to Luke (Last Jedi) he doesn't talk to Rey.

  • Anakin appears to Luke at the end of RotJ, but he never appears to Rey.

  • Luke and Leia are the only ones who appear to Rey - they are also the only two she's met.

Are Force Ghosts only able to appear to those who interacted with them in real life? Is there anything to back this up, or to disprove it?

If not, it just seems that the whole Jedi Council could have gathered with Rey and discussed how to defeat grandpa.

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  • 8
    Yoda appears to Ezra and they never met
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 11 '21 at 0:25
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    Only a very small number of Jedi learned (from Qui-Gon) how to become ghosts and only those who're powerful in the Force can see them.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11 '21 at 0:39
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    @NKCampbell Yoda was not a ghost when he interacted with Ezra
    – Rogue Jedi
    Oct 11 '21 at 0:40
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    @Valorum And yet, as much as they teased it, Qui-Gon never actually appeared as a ghost, even though he supposedly was the first to learn how to do it. I'm guessing Liam Neeson was not interested or just too expensive to hire for even a brief cameo when they filmed Episode III? Oct 11 '21 at 13:11
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    certain point of view @RogueJedi - he's a vision appearing to somebody he hasn't met :)
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 11 '21 at 13:31
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No. They can appear to whomever they want (need) to

Disembodied voices are Force ghosts too, and Rey interacted with at least: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Luminara Unduli, Qui-Gon Jinn, Aayla Secura, Mace Windu, Adi Gallia, and Yoda.

Rey did not meet a single one of them. She heard Luke too, but had met him while he was with body, reinforcing that Force ghosts can also interact with people they already knew.

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    whomever they want (need) to - As long as that person is a powerful and trained Force user?
    – Valorum
    Oct 11 '21 at 5:35
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    Well, the fact that neither Han nor Leia can see Anakin, Ben and Yoda would certainly suggest that there's selective viewing going on.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11 '21 at 14:11
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    Han has almost zero Force powers (canonically) and Leia is untrained. Note that Luke can only see Ben once he's started to access the Force and meditate.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11 '21 at 16:14
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    But Leia is “powerful.” Is seeing any better than hearing? It seems like all the important interaction occurs through words imparted rather than seeing holographic like images fake interacting with real world chairs. Oct 11 '21 at 16:19
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    As the question is worded to specifically say "visible," does this actually answer it?
    – Rogue Jedi
    Oct 11 '21 at 16:20
4

Legends answer: Definitely not

Force ghosts are much more common in Legends media (mainly due to the rules not really being established until Revenge of the Sith) and appear to strangers on many occasions. For example, the plot of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is kicked off when Jedi Master Qu Rahn's spirit appears in a dream to Kyle Katarn, who he'd never met in life:

Screenshot of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II showing Qu Rahn's spirit

Sith spirits, while technically not "Force ghosts" in the same sense, were also able to appear to complete strangers. For example, in Knights of the Old Republic, the player can meet the spirit of Ajunta Pall, who died around 3,000 years earlier.

As to whether Force ghosts or spirits could appear to non-Force-sensitives, it appears that they couldn't. In Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope, Obi-Wan's ghost appears to Luke with Han present, but Han can't see him:

Panel from Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope. Ben's ghost is saying "Luke! Don't give in to your Anger!", Luke is yelling "Ben!", and Han is saying "Ben? You are nuts!"

However, this is an explicitly non-canon source. In Knights of the Old Republic, non-Force-sensitive party members seem able to interact with Sith spirits, although this may be a game mechanic or difference with Sith spirits.

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    Sith Spirits are, of course, not Force ghosts. Sith can't have ghosts because their Force practices prevent their survival after death.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11 '21 at 16:21
  • @Valorum "survival after death." That cracked me up.
    – formicini
    Oct 12 '21 at 9:25
  • @formicini - Not survival as in "not dying", I might add.
    – Valorum
    Oct 12 '21 at 10:19
  • In SWTOR, there’s a crapload of Sith Force-powered “apparitions.” Horak-Mul, et. al. is example from Inquisitor quest on Hoth who found a way to bind Sith ghosts to people. Kalatosh Zavros & Darth Andru are other SWTOR Sith typically identified as Force Ghosts Oct 12 '21 at 20:00

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