The New Rules Of The Force In 'The Last Jedi,' Explained By Rian Johnson

It seems like Rian Johnson will spend the few weeks following Star Wars: The Last Jedi's release meticulously explaining every tiny detail of the film. Some of them don't need much clarification, but there are a few reveals — like the drastic new changes to the rules of the Force — that could change the Star Wars universe as we know it. No biggie.

Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow.

The Force has undergone a drastic rehaul since it was first introduced in the original trilogy. It wasn't about "moving rocks" like Luke Skywalker says, though it wasn't too far from it — Jedi had the ability to move, push, choke, or mind-control others within a close range and sense great disturbances in the galaxy, but not much beyond that. The rules of the Force would eventually be expanded in the prequels and in the extended universe, but Johnson went in a vastly different route. The Last Jedi director went back to the mystic, spiritual roots of the Force, particularly the idea of sensing great galactic disturbances, and ran with it.

In The Last Jedi, it's revealed that every person in the galaxy is in touch with the Force to some extent, but a select few have the innate ability to hone in on that power. Then there are some nifty twists, like Luke's astral projection, the Force connection between Rey and Kylo Ren (which turned out to be a scheme by Snoke), Leia flying through space, and Yoda's new weather tricks.

In an interview with the LA Times, Johnson explained that these new shifts in the rules of the Force came about because the story required it:

"With the Force connections between Rey and Kylo I thought, 'OK, I need to get these two talking. But if I put them face to face they're going to either fight, or one of them has to be tied up.' I knew I wanted them to talk, and to talk enough to where we could go from 'I hate you,' to her being forced to actually engage with him. That's where the idea of these 'Force connections' came from, which is kind of a new thing. It's a little bit of a riff on what happens with Vader and Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, but it's entirely new in some regards."

Johnson went even further with the idea of 'Force connections,' with Luke's astral projection, which he said was "like a hardcore variation of what Kylo and Rey have been doing." It's a clever extension of what we've already seen and known about the Force since the original trilogy:

"When Luke shows up [on the planet Crait] he's projecting, it's like a hardcore variation of what Kylo and Rey have been doing the whole time and that's why it takes so much out of him. In the version that we play, no. We tried to play really, really fair. In terms of his footsteps — we removed all of his foley — there are no footstep sounds. They never touch. And if you look, the salt flakes that are falling are sparking off of Kylo's saber and not off of Luke's."

Johnson got the permission of Lucasfilm Story group key member Pablo Hidalgo to run these changes. "It would always be a conversation, and if the story required it and if it felt like it stretches into new territory but doesn't break the idea of what the Force can do, Pablo was down — I got the blessing," Johnson said.

So what could this mean for the rest of the Star Wars universe? It could look hugely different when we return in Episode 9, with the power disseminated to the people and a new order of Jedi rising. The Force is no longer relegated to a select few, and that's scary! But it's one of the most exciting things that Johnson could do for the series.