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Towards the end of Part V of the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, we see Vader use the Force to:

Pull an escaping transport ship back to the ground after it had just taken off, and then rip entire chunks of the hull away from it.

The amount of power that Vader demonstrated in that scene seemed a little bit more extreme than anything I can remember him (or any Force controlling character) ever previously doing.

Has Vader, or any other character previously shown this level of Force usage, or is it just inconsistent story telling?

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    If Vader was capable of this level of force usage, various events in the OT no longer make any sense.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 19:59
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    @tbrookside, what scenes in the original trilogy would have changed? In ANH, aside form his fight with Obi-wan, he's not in a position to do anything similar (and he wants the Falcon to get away). In ESB, the only direct conflict he's in is his fight with Luke and he doesn't want to kill him. And the same is true for RTJ. When you look at films, for all his presence, Vader doesn't really do a lot. Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 22:56
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    Every film/show since the original in 1977 has increased the level of force usage. Fans like to complain about new content but inconsistent story telling has always been a part of Star Wars.
    – sf02
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 10:43
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    @KeithMorrison If he can grab ships at the range demonstrated in this scene, he should have been able to destroy Luke's X-wing with the force and had no need to engage in a dogfight. And in ESB, he should have been able to prevent the Falcon from taking off from Hoth.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 15:36
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    Yoda lifted Luke's X-wing out of a swamp on Degobah in the original movies. Sure, it wasn't trying to fly away, but it was mired in a swamp, which would cause a similar degree of resistance. Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 18:08

8 Answers 8

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Rey performs a similar feat in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

GIF of the scene; description from the novelisation below

She’d been here before, standing helplessly as sand blasted her skin, watching a ship carry away someone she loved.

Where there had been calm, now there was only terror. It filled her mind, overflowed into pure, hot power. She reached out with the Force, imagined herself grabbing the transport, wrenching it back planetside.

It actually slowed. Wobbled in the air. Its engines began to whine.

Rey gritted her teeth. Sweat poured from her forehead. She would not let them take Chewie from her.

Rise of Skywalker: Official Novelisation

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    Which is probably part of why she's often accused of being a Mary Sue, and I say that as someone who doesn't really have a side in that debate.
    – Prometheus
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 23:31
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There's been quite a few examples in the animated shows of Jedi of lesser strength pulling/holding ships of various sizes using the Force.

  1. Ahsoka Tano holding a shuttle
  2. I believe Kanan has also held a shuttle, but I can't seem to find a clip or the context. Correction, what I might have been thinking is the Seventh sister Force-pulling a shuttle/ship to stop it from taking off.
    (Thanks @F1Krazy)
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    You may be thinking of the Star Wars: Rebels episode "Always Two There Are", when the Seventh Sister (not Kanan) briefly Force-pulls the Phantom to stop it from taking off. See here.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 13:13
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The popular but overpowered Starkiller from the Force Unleashed video game pulled a star destroyer out of the sky in the announcement video.

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Also look at the context. The Force, the dark side of the Force anyway, is driven by heightened emotions. The angrier someone is the more power they draw from the dark side. Think about what is happening in the scene, what Vadar is after, he has been searching for Obi-Wan for 10 years, had a fight that Kenobi escaped from and is feet away from the fulfillment of his desire to end the Jedi that took his legs. Of course his fury would allow for that amount of power to be used. It's actually good storytelling. It shows just how much he wants Kenobi and how angry Vadar is.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. While this may be true, and it may suit the scene in plot terms, the question was if this level of power is consistent with what has been displayed by Vader or other Force-users in any other work.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 21:55
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    As an reframing of the question's premise, this is a very good answer.
    – Prometheus
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 23:32
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Darth Vader demonstrated the power to rip metal structures apart with the Force in the original trilogy.

In Empire Strikes Back, during his duel with Luke, Vader rips up a number of metal structures from the industrial space station he's fighting Luke in and throws them at Luke. Him dismantling a ship with the Force seems entirely feasible given that, especially since he was doing that while holding back to avoid hurting Luke too much, since he was really just testing Luke for recruitment against Palpatine.

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    Dooku does this in his first duel with Anakin and Obi-Wan
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 14:52
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    And lest we forget, Palpatine fought Yoda by throwing the Senate at him ("The whole Senate! True story.") Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 20:58
  • I don’t think vader turned against palpating until palatine started killing luke. you can see this in the fight scene as palpating is electro frying luke Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 6:29
  • @1.21gigawatts Pretty sure that Vader turned against Palpatine a lot earlier than that, what with the offers to Luke about "ruling the galaxy as father and son". Not sure how that relates to this answer to this question, though?
    – nick012000
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 7:59
  • @nick012000 it’s something i noticed about that scene. doesn’t have to do with the answer Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 18:43
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Everyone present in the hangar wanted that spacecraft to be yanked down by Vader. This includes the people who rigged it to take off.

The escape plan is contingent on Vader attempting to stop the first spacecraft, succeeding, and being distracted by tearing into the empty spacecraft. If Vader was not able to stop the spacecraft fleeing, he would have let it go, and possibly noticed the other spacecraft spinning up its engines in the hangar behind it, containing all the refugees and Kenobi.

As a result, the decoy spacecraft probably wasn't loaded with enough fuel to make a successful escape (the real escape spacecraft needs that more), and its engines may have been rigged to fail convincingly, allowing Vader to revel in his own power and mastery of the Force for the distracting moment when he realizes the other ship is empty.

Maybe Vader could have stopped the other, fully-loaded transport ship if he'd been able to bring his full powers to bear on the correct target at the time. At the very least, though, Kenobi and the refugees believe that he could have done something sufficiently decisive that it outweighed the benefits of having both spacecraft make a serious departure attempt, if both could. And Vader believes he has a chance of doing so, or he wouldn't have tried. But it's also possible that Vader isn't quite as strong as he initially appears in that scene.

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  • That's a very elaborate decoy to set up in such a short amount of time. It's pretty hard to believe they had coordinated things that well just to have a basic remote launch of one shuttle while getting everyone else into another. It's not a far cry as far as Star Wars storytelling tends to go, though. Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:18
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We are told in the original trilogy, in Empire Strikes Back, that the size of things makes no difference. In the scene where Luke tries to lift the X Wing

Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different

Yoda: No! No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.

Luke: Okay, I'll try.

Yoda: No! Do or do not. There is no try.

And a little later after Luke fails:

Luke: I can't. It's too big.

Yoda: Size matters not. Judge me by my size do you?

So the size of the ship Vader stops is not really a factor in his ability to stop it.

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  • Size matters not, presumably to a point. We don't see Jedi moving planets around, for example
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 13:48
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Darth Vader aka Anakin Skywalker has been born from the Force, which means he is part of the Force. As a Jedi, he was strong but his doubt and fear made him too unstable to control his feelings. As Darth Vader -- who realises he has killed his wife, as Palpatine has brainwashed him to believe -- he is in agony, psychological and physically, due to his suit. So storytelling is not the issue; Vader has the strength to bring down not only a small ship but even an Imperial cruise ship.

Also, don't forget the last three movies didn't depict Luke as a very strong Jedi. But if you read the canon and everything, he actually is the only person that knows the both sides of the Force and has the lost knowledge, because he found holocrons and many more, the years after Vader died.

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