What is the Purpose of a Force Vision?
Force visions are the most observable way that the Force provides some insight into the Will of the Force through direct influence on someone. Many inside the Star Wars universe are hesitant to give too much credence to Force visions; even the venerable Master Yoda tries to urge Anakin AND Luke to just move on after their visions. But to rework what Anakin said for my own purposes, “Why else do you think we were given Force visions, if not to be guided to something? Simple recording is a job for historians, not Jedi. It’s overkill, friends. Interpretation and action are implied in all Force visions.”
If Force visions are the way that the Force gives direct influence to certain individuals, then there must be a logical interpretation of those visions and a clear reason for why that specific person was given that vision. Since Star Wars is an observable faux-reality for us, we have additional insights into the Force that those in the Star Wars galaxy would not have.
As far as I have seen, all natural Force visions are a call to action and not a mere observational exercise. That call to action can also specifically be whittled down to a call to move towards something. Trying to figure out what will happen when you get there or anything along those lines is where the efforts to interpret a Force vision can cause people to get ahead of themselves and perhaps even exacerbate any potential negative consequences.
Let’s get into specific examples to show that this theory holds up.
Rey and the Island
We can start with an easy one.
“You are so lonely. So afraid to leave. At night, desperate to sleep, you imagine an ocean. I see it. I see the island.”
Considering they made a point of including this in the film, it seems clear to me that at some point she had a Force vision of Ahch-To. The Force wants her to go to this island.
Anakin and His Mother
Anakin: “I don’t sleep well anymore.”
Obi-Wan: “Because of your mother?”
Anakin: “I don’t know why I keep dreaming about her.”
Obi-Wan: “Dreams pass in time”.
-Anakin and Obi-Wan, Attack of the Clones
And then later with Padme:
Anakin: “I saw my mother. She was suffering. I saw her as clearly as I see you now. She is in pain. I know I’m disobeying my mandate to protect you senator, but I have to go. I have to help her”.
Padme: “I’ll go with you.”
Anakin: “I’m sorry, I don’t have a choice.”
-Anakin and Padme, Attack of the Clones
Anakin had recurring dreams about his mother and Obi-Wan dismisses them, as seems to be the Jedi way. When these dreams were discussed later between Anakin and Padme, there was at least something different that made Anakin feel that he no longer had a choice. He had to go find his mother.
Anakin goes to Tatooine to try and find his mother. Which eventually, of course, he did. They have a moment, she dies in his arms and then he slaughters everyone in the tribe. I believe this to be his first solid steps into becoming Darth Vader. You can see his countenance change after his mother died.
From this point, there are two arguments you could make. 1) The Force guided him there in that moment to start his turn to the dark side, which would culminate in him throwing Palpatine down a shaft and bringing balance to the Force. Or, 2) the Force was trying to get him there sooner with enough time to actually save his mother. I side with option two, but both options support the base theory that Force Visions are granted to guide someone to something.
Rey’s Force Vision After Touching the Lightsaber
Maz: “The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes. Feel it. The light. It’s always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it.”
Rey: “I’m never touching that again. I don’t want any part of this.”
-Maz Kanata and Rey, The Force Awakens
We get to see all of Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens and we have now seen the sequel trilogy, so we can take a look at the overall significance of each sequence. Let’s take a look at each segment and what it should mean to Rey.
Scene 1: Luke and Vader’s hallway scene
Purpose: There is a fight between the light and dark and you shouldn’t run away from it.
Scene 2: Luke mourning at his fallen temple
Purpose: Go to Luke
Scene 3: Kylo killing people
Purpose: Go to this strange figure
Scene 4: Rey being left behind as Ochi’s ship flies away
Purpose: Ochi of Bestoon’s ship. Find it.
Scene 5: Starkiller Base with Kylo
Purpose: Seriously, this strange figure is important and you two are connected. Find him
Scene 6: Obi-Wan saying “these are your first steps”
Purpose: How more direct can you be than this line? These are your first steps, so take them.
Every scene shows something that Rey should be moving towards and at the end of these steps Rey will destroy Paalpatine and become THE Jedi in the galaxy. There is likely more that could be gleaned from this vision, but the focal point of each segment should be sought out.
I could go on about many different visions, but let me rapid fire a few:
- Anakin dreaming of Padme’s Death: Focus on Padme and not yourself.
- Ezra Bridger’s vision of Gall Trayvis: He misinterpreted why he should go to find Gall, but because he did go anyway, Ezra started the Bridger Transmissions which had a huge impact.
- Luke seeing his friends in pain on Cloud City: In short, because he went there and declined Vader’s offer, the old Anakin started to come back which led to Vader throwing Palpatine down a shaft. Kind of a big one that likely wouldn’t have happened had Luke not gone to Bespin.
- Qui-Gon’s vision in Master and Apprentice: He correctly went about it here. He had a vision of a bloody battle at a coronation event and he had his own interpretation of it, but went into the event flexible regarding what would actually happen.
- Luke’s vision at the cave: This was induced by the dark side and not induced by Force users using the dark side. The difference is important since the dark side and light side of the Force want to be in balance, it’s just that dark side Force users like to muck that up more often. The dark side induced visions just start from a dark perspective. Luke should seek out Vader and if you go with hate you will find yourself wearing that mask.
Well, maybe more than a few examples but I just can’t help myself sometimes. The Force isn’t going to make someone a trivial psychic to warn someone about an ice cream headache for 8 or 9 seconds. Every natural Force vision wants the recipient to take action towards something. It might feel like the consequences of this are negative, as Luke might have felt after going to Bespin, but they will all lead towards balancing the Force. All the Force really wants is to be in balance. So next time we see a Force vision, know that the best outcome for the Force is for the recipient to go towards what is seen. And if this turns out to not be true, well, then that creator ruined Star Wars and there is of course no moving on from that.
Dante enjoys both the casual and encyclopedic nature of Star Wars. Along with taking Star Wars too seriously, he enjoys playing board games, Lego and lightsabers with his family.
You can find Dante on the Cantina Cast Discord server as UtinniUtinni!
Great article Dante!
It’s really interesting to think about the force’s “reasons” for Anakin’s visions about his mother and the path that led him on.
I’m hoping for some more force visions, and maybe some world between worlds stuff in the Ahsoka series.