We’re just a few weeks away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the main Star Wars series. To say anticipation is high would be the type of understatement that gets people Force-choked in Imperial conference rooms. In addition to some new characters and the culmination of a decades-long storyline, fans can look forward to the introduction of some brand-new Force powers. Or, at least, Force powers that haven’t been seen in a Star Wars movie before.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, director J.J. Abrams revealed that he added some new space magic tricks to the mix for the last film in the Skywalker saga. “It was really important that we not just redo the things you’ve seen, but add new elements—which we knew will infuriate some people and thrill others,” he said. “Among those things are not just new ways of doing sort of traditional, must-have sequences, whether it’s chases or lightsaber battles, or what have you. We wanted to make sure that this picture also showed aspects of the Force in ways that go beyond what you’ve seen before.”
Abrams’ idea isn’t exactly a new one. We all thought we had a pretty good handle on the Force going into Return of the Jedi, and then the Emperor pulled some Force lightning out of his hooded ass that changed the game. The Phantom Menace introduces Force super-speed in its opening sequence, an incredible technique that not a single Jedi ever uses again. It also introduced Force leap, as demonstrated by Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi in the climactic lightsaber handicap match against Darth Maul. And The Last Jedi added some truly amazing Force stunts to the playbook, including an enhanced version of the telepathic conversations Luke had with Darth Vader and Princess Leia, and Luke throwing a full-on astral projection of himself halfway across the galaxy.
Obviously, the notoriously tight-lipped Abrams doesn’t let anything slip about the new Force powers. But he did comment on the responsibility of making his own contributions to the Star Wars mythology. “I can’t speak to what it means about the future of Star Wars,” he said, “but what I can say is that you don’t want to come to this movie to see everything you’ve seen before… you want to make sure that you’re bringing elements that feel like it’s expanding the story, even as this brings it to a close.”
We’ll know soon enough what Abrams has added to the official Force spellbook (I’m personally hoping for someone, anyone, to use the Force to shapeshift into an angry bear). The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.