Mind Trick is a Force power that can be used:
- by any Force user trained in it (it is colloquially referred to as a Jedi mind trick because they are far more common than the Sith since the Rule of Two)
- against minds of varying strengths as long as they are organic beings
- over long distances (as some other Force powers can be)
- against other Force users
- against multiple targets at once
And it can be also be resisted against in various ways/by various species. It has various manifestations (light and dark side, and depending on the ability of the user), and exists along a spectrum of interrelated Force powers that all have to do with interacting with the minds of others in various ways, all of which are connected to/based on the precursor ability of Force sense. This spectrum includes:
Whether or not Mind Trick only worked on the weak-minded, depends on how you interpret the canon:
- In ANH, Kenobi says "The force can have a strong influence on the weak minded."
- In ATOTC, the following is an exchange between Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker. It should be taken with a grain of salt since, at the time, a) Anakin was only a Padawan and thus his understanding of the Force was not advanced, and b) he was flirting with her and thus would want to be complimentary:
Padme: I don’t know.
Anakin: Sure you do, you just don’t want to tell me.
Padme: Are you going to use one of your Jedi mind tricks on me?
Anakin: They only work on the weak-minded.
- As shown in TCW 2x03, in 21 BBY, three powerful Jedi, Obi-wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker used Mind Trick to interrogate the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane, as seen here, to reveal the location(s) of the stolen Kyber memory crystal and the kidnapped Force-sensitive children. Cad Bane is not weak-minded and thus they surmise that if they work together they may be able to Force persuade him to tell them what they want to know. The risk though is that the stronger the influence the more dangerous it can be on the mind of the recipient. Plus it indicates that many Jedi can coalesce the Mind Trick ability.
Even though the Hutt species were shown to be very resistant to Mind Trick, several Jedi still attempted to use it on them, including:
- Qui-gon Jinn on Jemba the Hutt, and Luke Skywalker on Jabba the Hutt, failing both times.
- Qui-gon Jinn succeeded in using a Mind Trick on a Hutt Guard in this book, indicating that Hutts were not totally immune.
- Revan successfully used Force persuade on Motta the Hutt (to give Nico Senvi a better contract) in KOTOR1.
Interestingly, there are at least two instances of Hutts being Force-sensitive, one of whom became the Jedi Beldorion and the other was Mika Anjiliac Chiera, and both of whom could use the Mind Trick power.
Mind trick can be performed over long distances, such as when Ki-Adi-Mundi persuaded a Trade Federation ship to allow him to land on Tatooine in this comic book, but there are not too many recorded instances of it specifically. This thread is on that subject.
Mind Trick in general doesn’t seem to work on droids, nor Force illusion in particular.
Jedi are generally resistant to Mind Trick, and in addition, could use Force sight to counter it by seeing the truth/reality through the Force. They also trained to be resistant to other Force powers as well, but it was not unheard of for a very powerful Force user to use Mind Trick on another Force user, such as when Lord Andeddu and Wyyrlok battled each other with illusions in this book (though there may have been some Sith magic involved), and when Jacen Solo used it somewhat successfully on Ganner Rhysode as described here:
The bait did not draw Jaina; instead, Ganner Rhysode came to Solo’s
room in the camp ship over Bothawui following up on the rumor. Solo
used the Force to overwhelm Rhysode with fear, attempting to compel
him to turn away before entering the Yuuzhan Vong trap. Rhysode would
not be deterred, and entered. Solo turned him away and attempted to
keep the warriors from acting against Rhysode, but when the Jedi
attempted to use the Force to persuade Solo, he was forced to prevent
Rhysode’s sensing him in the Force. Solo used a powerful mind trick to
compel Rhysode to leave. When Rhysode recovered his will, he shut down
his Force presence and returned once more. His surprise attack
disabled the four Yuuzhan Vong and allowed him to put his lightsaber
to Solo’s throat. Unable to leave the room, Solo was disappointed that
Rhysode’s persistence had forced him to capture his friend. To
Rhysode’s shock, he revealed his identity to the Jedi before knocking
him out with a dose of Vergere’s tears. He did use the event as an
excuse to call off the trap, telling his escorts to return to
Against multiple targets
Force illusions and various other manifestations of Mind Trick could affect the minds of lots of people simultaneously:
- Vitiate was able to dominate the minds of thousands of Sith lords as well as create and control the Children of the Emperor.
- When Naga Sadow projected war beasts onto the battlefields of Koros Major, Coruscant and Kirrek during the Great Hyperspace War.
- Darth Wyyrlok used illusions against two Dark Jedi at the same time, Gerlun and Demtri, both members of the Malevolence cult, on the planet Prakith, making Gerlun kill Demtri.
- Palpatine used Force illusion in conjunction with Force drain to attract people to Byss and then keep them there under an idyllic spell, while draining them through the Force.
- It is surmised here that it is at least possible that Palpatine used Mind Trick on a vast number of the population of Coruscant to trick them into forgetting about the burial of the Lusankya:
Not knowing all of the details surrounding the burial, some New
Republic observers later speculated that either all the witnesses to
this event had been executed, or that Emperor Palpatine had used the
Force on a massive scale to command everyone to forget what they
saw. As for the purpose of the burial, it was theorized that the
Lusankya was meant to provide Palpatine with a secure means of escape,
in case Coruscant was invaded by hostile forces. Only a select few
were made aware of its existence, location, and purpose.
- Another example is when Joruus C’baoth (two U’s), the insane Dark Jedi clone of Jedi Jorus (one U) C’baoth, uses Mind Trick as described here:
However, his preferred ability was that of controlling the minds of
others. The C’baoth clone also had the power to take control of
other’s minds, and literally reshape them in his own image, an
extremely difficult feat. He once took over the minds of the thousands
of beings serving on the Chimaera. Later, he used his abilities to
control the Imperials left at Mount Tantiss to guard him.
With the specific incident being described here:
C’baoth later left Jomark in a fury, taking control of the minds of
those aboard a Lancer-class frigate and ordering them to take him to
the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Chimaera, Thrawn’s flagship. Once
there, he confronted Thrawn, asking why he had not yet been given
"his" Jedi. Thrawn retorted by asking why Skywalker had been allowed
to leave. C’baoth, tired of what he perceived as empty promises from
Thrawn, took control of the minds of everyone aboard the Chimaera save
for those in the ysalamir Force-bubble, and threatened to make them
take the ship to Coruscant. However, powerful as he was, controlling
the minds of thousands of individuals for several days was beyond him,
and he was forced to drop his control.
And the referred-to ability to actually shape the minds of others is described here:
Unknown to any of the five heading to Wayland, C’baoth was in Mount
Tantiss, imprisoned in the royal chambers by Thrawn due to his
realization that the clone was too powerful, power-hungry, and
unstable to be safely used any longer. However, C’baoth had
out-thought Thrawn. He had realized that if he could take over the
minds of the soldiers and crew members used as cloning templates, he
could mentally command every clone created from them. This would allow
him to personally command a huge section of the Imperial forces. As
there were only approximately twenty templates, he believed he could
easily shape their minds, and in turn, their clones.
He had first tried this mind control technique on the way to Wayland,
where he was in a shuttle along with the Imperial General Freja
Covell. C’baoth took control of his mind, altering it. Covell became
completely loyal to C’baoth, forgetting his earlier orders from
Thrawn. However, when the shuttle entered the Force-free zone caused
by the thousands of ysalamiri in the mountain, Covell was shaken by
the loss of C’baoth’s presence, and his mind was severely damaged.
Without the Force, the Dark Jedi was unable to maintain control of
Covell, and the General suffered, his brain critically damaged. Covell
was changed, although C’baoth had not finished “shaping” his mind.
Various species had various degrees of resistance to Mind Trick, and for various reasons, as discussed interestingly here (non-canon, an opinion thread). The Hutts are discussed above, but other species that were resistant included the Yuuzhan Vong, Ysalamir, Yinchorri, Toydarians, Geonosians, Dashade, Falleen, and possibly the Snivvians.
- The Yuuzhan Vong were cut off from/outside the Force and thus were immune to almost, though not all, Force powers. While I could not find an example of a Jedi using Mind Trick against them, Onimi, a force-sensitive Shamed Shaper Yuuzhan Vong, was able to use Mind Trick against other Yuuzhan Vong, specifically Shimrra and used this to control him and through him the Yuuzhan Vong.
- The Ysalamir were immune to Force powers, and they accomplished this by projecting a bubble inside which users were unable to exert any influence over the Force. Thus you could use them to shield yourself against Mind Trick (and other Force powers), as described in the above incident between Joruus C’baoth and Covell.
- As paraphrased from their Wookieepedia article ---> The Yinchorri had a natural resistance to the mind-controlling uses of the Force, due to an adaptation of their Midi-chlorians—microscopic, symbiotic life forms that resided inside the cells of all living things — which caused the symbionts to generate Force-devoid bubbles around their hosts … However, that resistance did not extend to those Force powers that did not directly affect the will of the target, such as telekinesis. A small percentage of the Yinchorri could also manipulate the Force.
- The brains of Toydarians, like the Hutts, had an unusual composition which made them (their brains) resistant to influence through the Force.
- Geonosians, by their own account (in TCW 2x08), were immune to Mind Trick, though it is not explicitly stated why. The Geonosian queen Karina used brain worms to control the minds of Geonosian zombies, but there is nothing to suggest that this or any tangential aspect of it, is related to their resistance to Mind Trick.
- As mentioned in the codex of SWTOR, and paraphrased from their Wookieepedia article (thanks to @IanAuld) ---> The Dashade were tall, reptilian humanoids notable for their resistance to the powers of the Force … In addition to their partial Force-resistance, they were resistant to radiation. … Thanks to their Force-immunity, Dashade warriors easily found employment as combat instructors for the Jedi and assassins for the Sith.
- Normal people could be trained to resist Mind Trick, such as the mercenaries who took Vrook Lamar captive on Dantooine, in KOTOR2; they explained that they had been trained to resist Mind Trick during the Jedi Civil War.
- Having highly organised mental facilities also aided in the resistance to Mind Trick.
Some other sources on the subject can be found here, here, here and here; plus a non-canon discussion thread about the Yuuzhan Vong and various force powers here.