The Force is a powerful ally in almost all situations. It can be wielded defensively to stop an attack, it can be used to influence the weak-minded, and it can bring the remote control to your hand when you don’t feel like leaving the couch. We first saw the Jedi mind trick used in Mos Eisley in A New Hope. Obi-Wan’s “You don’t need to see his identification” is a line I hear on a regular basis, usually accompanied by a practiced wave of the hand. Watching Obi-Wan demonstrate the mind trick ability opened my eyes to the possibilities of the Force — I think it had a similar effect on Luke.
I don’t know much about the curriculum at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, but I like to imagine there was an entire course about the ethics and proper usage of the mind trick. It has to be tempting to use the skill whenever you want instead of when it’s necessary. But, we’re not here to judge when it’s the right time for Jedi to influence someone else. We’re here to discuss the five best uses of the Jedi mind trick.
The first time we saw Obi-Wan use his powers was certainly memorable, but it wasn’t as cool as when he flexed the skill in Attack of the Clones. When Obi-Wan and Anakin were searching for Zam Wesell, they followed her into a club. When Elan Sleazebaggano tried to sell death sticks to Obi-Wan, the Jedi changed Elan’s mind and then told him, “You want to go home and rethink your life.” Right or wrong, you can’t deny it was funny.
When Luke arrives at Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, it’s apparent he’s leveled up in the Force. He gained all sorts of XP in the time between his fall on Cloud City and his return to Tatooine, and talked his way into Jabba’s presence by using the Jedi mind trick repeatedly on Bib Fortuna. When he told him, “I must be allowed to speak,” Jabba caught onto the gag, but still, it illustrated how much Luke has developed.
Rey’s resourceful. We saw evidence of that in her living situation on Jakku — she made a home out of a downed AT-AT! Her determination shined when she broke free of her bonds on Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. She was testing her Force abilities and tried the Jedi mind trick on a stormtrooper, telling him, “You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.” It didn’t quite work at first, but second time was the charm.
Ezra tried to use the Jedi mind trick unsuccessfully in Star Wars Rebels for most of two seasons. He was finally triumphant in “Homecoming,” even if it took him a couple tries. He influenced the mind of the captain of an Imperial cruiser the rebels wanted to steal and got the commander to order an evacuation of the ship, leaving it empty and ready to be taken for the Rebellion. Well done, Padawan.
Fun ironic Jedi fact: Dark side wielders don’t really use the mind trick all that often. (They prefer good ol’ fashioned psychological manipulation and violence.) Asajj Ventress, however, used the mind trick and more Sith-like forms of persuasion to try to influence Captain Rex in The Clone Wars film. He resisted a Force choke but succumbed to a mind trick when Ventress told him, “You will contact Skywalker now.” Or did he? Rex isn’t weak and wouldn’t fall for it — he only pretended. It’s a cool example of both the dark side using the mind trick and a strong-minded individual resisting it.
And for something completely different:
How about a spectacular Jedi mind trick fail? Qui-Gon apparently missed the class where the instructor explained which species the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work on, otherwise he never would have tried tricking the Toydarian Watto in The Phantom Menace. The “Credits will do fine” scene makes me giggle every time I see it.
If you could use a Jedi mind trick for some noble purpose, what would you do? Tell us in the comments below!
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.