Yoda uses a lot of Force powers throughout his appearances in Star Wars canon. While he’s one of the most mysterious characters in Star Wars lore, with his species and much of his background still unknown, Yoda’s abilities with the Force are unmatched in the franchise. Depicted as a wise yet mischievous character in the original trilogy, Yoda’s portrayal shifted when his earlier years were chronicled in media set during the Clone Wars era. The prequels, plus Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels provided further depth to Yoda’s character, enriching viewers’ understanding of his knowledge and strength in the Force.
While the sequel trilogy and The Mandalorian have introduced other new Force abilities since Yoda’s last appearance, the Jedi Master has been known to utilize a variety of unique skills over the course of his nearly 900-year lifespan. He may be small in stature, but what he lacks in physical prowess he makes up for in his connection to the mystical energy that surrounds and binds the Star Wars galaxy together. Yoda’s unparalleled connection to the Force and extensive life experience allow him to channel powers that many Jedi only dream of. With a Midi-chlorian count only surpassed by that of Anakin Skywalker, Yoda’s ascension to the title of Grand Master of The Jedi Order was inevitable.
Although it is unknown in Star Wars canon who taught Yoda the ways of the Force, he has passed on these teachings to several generations of Jedi, holding a number of different apprentices. His interpretation surrounding the mythology of the Force undoubtedly shifts with time, as the state of the galaxy is in perpetual change over the course of his long life. Yoda’s journey begins during the High Republic Era, and his presence in the Force continues to be felt in the New Republic Era and even during the Rise of The First Order. The following breakdown explores all the Force powers Yoda uses confirmed as part of the current Star Wars canon during these eras. Although others have been woven into the Expanded Universe through Star Wars Legends, only those abilities featured in canon will be discussed.
The most elementary of any ability that a Force-sensitive being can possess, awareness deals with an individual’s initial connection to the Force. First canonically seen in the original Star Wars in 1977, this initial connection broadens into larger intuitions with training, as evidenced by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ability to sense the destruction of Alderaan. With the help of Obi-Wan, Yoda is able to awaken Luke Skywalker’s Force awareness during his Jedi training in The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda’s attuned sense of Force awareness also allowed him to perceive the presence of other Force-sensitive individuals, like Leia in Return of the Jedi.
Force Enhanced Lightsaber Combat
Yoda practices lightsaber Form IV, also known as Ataru. Carried over from the Expanded Universe’s Force forms, in Star Wars canon there are seven distinct forms of lightsaber combat. Practitioners are known to utilize Form IV to bolster their Force abilities while improving agility and balance. Ataru is an aggressive and attack-minded form that enables Yoda to assume the offensive in lightsaber duels. It’s known to be physically draining and requires a great amount of strength in the Force to master. Yoda’s unique lightsaber and his mastery of Form IV allow him to efficiently contest with both individual opponents and large numbers of foes, as the fighting style places great emphasis on speed.
Yoda is able to perform Force acrobatics, which amplifies his combat abilities. These acrobatics are on full display during his duels with both Count Dooku, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and with Emperor Palpatine, in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Given that he was approaching 900 years old at the time of these duels, the level of agility on display seems staggering, yet this fluidity is thanks to his connection with the Force. Yoda’s capability to perform Force acrobatics empowers him with increased levels of speed and the capacity to perform Force-enhanced jumps.
Deflect, Absorb, And Create Force Lightning
Few Jedi possess the ability to deflect Force lightning, and only Yoda is depicted absorbing Force lightning. Mace Windu blocks Palpatine’s Force Lightning during their duel in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Rey also exhibits this same ability against Palpatine in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, no other Jedi has been seen absorbing Force lightning as Yoda has. Although it’s unknown how Yoda achieved this unprecedented feat, it’s plausible that given his age he had trifled with a powerful dark-side practitioner that had used this ability against him in the past. Yoda’s awe-inspiring ability to absorb Palpatine’s Force lightning and reverse it back in the Sith Lord’s direction in the form of a shockwave epitomizes his unmatched strength in the Force. Further, in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Yoda is also shown to be capable of producing Force lightning of his own, as he destroys the tree containing the ancient Jedi texts.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 2, episode 19, “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back,” Yoda utilizes a Force barrier with the help of Aayla Secura and Anakin Skywalker to shield Chancellor Palpatine and Senator Amidala from poisonous gas. The gas was being deployed against Palpatine’s Zillo Beast in an effort to prevent further destruction on Coruscant. This ability has been used by other characters in the Star Wars canon, including Kanun Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, Ahsoka Tano, and Grogu.
Yoda employs Force stasis in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 1, episode 1, “Ambush.” The opening episode of the series sees Yoda and three clone troopers square off against Asajj Ventress and the Separatist droid army on the moon of Rugosa. This intimate introduction to Star Wars: The Clone Wars showcases the familiar duality of Yoda’s character. His shrewd tactical genius is on full display, along with his innate ability to bring the best out of those around him. With the danger looming of losing the support of the Toydarian King Katuunko, Yoda is able to win back the king’s trust through collaboration with the clones and a swift dispatch of Ventress by freezing her in place during her attempted assassination.
Yoda is seen practicing meditation on multiple occasions in Star Wars canon, including just before his conversation with Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. Later, Yoda is also seen meditating in the asteroid field Polis Massa just before Luke and Leia Skywalker are born. Force meditation is an integral part of the Jedi way, as it allows Force users to obtain a sense of calm and strengthen their connection with the Force. Force meditation can also be used in instances of combat to put one’s mind at ease and sharpen focus, as evidenced during Qui-Gon Jinn’s duel with Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Yoda’s bond with the Force also allows him to sense turbulence across the galaxy, including great disturbances like Order 66. Force sense has also been represented as a more abstract aptitude, including Yoda’s intuition about the ominous presence of a Sith Lord before the prequels. Ultimately, Yoda’s Force sense about Palpatine never came to fruition, as Palpatine was practicing a dark side skill known as Force concealment to shroud himself from the Jedi.
The final arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 6’s “The Lost Missions” sees Yoda begin his path to immortality through a series of Force visions. These visions introduce Darth Bane into Star Wars canon, as Yoda faces his fear and confronts the entombed Sith Lord on the planet Moraband. Visions are a recurring theme for Force users, as opening oneself to the Force channels alternate perceptions of the past, present, and future. Yoda warns both Anakin and Luke Skywalker of the dangers of placing too much faith in these visions, as he asserts that forthcoming events are, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”
In Star Wars Rebels season 2, episode 18, “Shroud of Darkness,” Yoda communes with Ezra Bridger from afar using Force telepathy. Ezra Bridger is able to make contact with Yoda multiple times throughout the series. At first, he is only able to perceive Jedi Masters of old through their voices, but as Ezra Bridger’s strength in the Force grows, so does Yoda’s physical depiction. Yoda’s ability to transcend the physical dimension and that which is perceivable through the known senses once again speaks to his immeasurable strength in the Force. He utilizes this ability to issue Ezra Bridger a warning about the dangers of combat and to seek out the planet Malachor.
Yoda’s Force powers in the Star Wars canon culminate with the mastery of Force immortality. Yoda’s path to immortality begins in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as Qui-Gon Jinn aids in Yoda’s journey by teaching him the means to manifest his presence through both the Cosmic Force and the Living Force. Through the visage of a Force ghost, Yoda is able to visit Luke Skywalker on multiple occasions. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he imparts possibly his most important piece of wisdom: “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Despite his vast life experience and the numerous Force powers that Yoda possesses, ultimately, his greatest strength is the ability to learn from the mistakes of his past. Yoda encourages Luke to cast aside the old Jedi ways, as they were dominated by fear of the dark side of the force. Instead, Yoda emphasizes the importance of the present, not the past or the future. In Yoda’s trademark stoic manner, he reiterates the need for Luke to pass on what he has learned to Rey, as she possesses arguably the most important power in the Star Wars canon: the ability to bring balance to the Force.
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