One of the most surprising new aspects of the Force in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the ability to heal objects or people through the willful use of Force-based energies. While Force healing comes in handy at some of the most crucial moments in Episode IX, this seemingly new ability was hinted at in The Mandalorian far sooner than you might realize.
Spoilers ahead follow for The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker.
We first see Force healing in Rise of Skywalker when Rey uses it on a wounded sandworm on the desert planet Pasaana. She uses it again after stabbing Kylo Ren through the gut during their fight on the remains of the Death Star. Then in one of the film’s last scenes, Ben Solo sacrifices himself to heal Rey after she dies while fighting Emperor Palpatine.
We see the same power on display in The Mandalorian Episode 7, released two days before Rise of Skywalker on December 18. After Mando returns to Nevarro to meet with Greef Karga, their group is attacked by flying dinosaur-like creatures. Karga is poisoned and wounded in the battle, but Baby Yoda uses Force healing to heal him.
This happened less than 48 hours before the earliest public Rise of Skywalker screenings, but The Mandalorian hinted at Force healing even earlier. We just didn’t realize it.
In the opening to Episode 2, “The Child,” right after Mando has acquired Baby Yoda, he’s attacked by a trio of Trandoshan warriors who cut his arm. In the next scene, Baby Yoda looks on with concern as Mando uses some kind of mechanical device to mend the wound. Baby Yoda exits his pod and reaches out towards the wound, concentrating with such intensity that he trembles.
Mando grabs Baby Yoda and puts him back in the pod before anything of note can happen, and the entire process is repeated another time. In retrospect, the explanation is clear: Baby Yoda was trying to Force heal his new dad.
If there’s one clear connection between The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker, it’s in the way they both establish Force healing as something that’s canonically possible in Star Wars at around the same time. But it was already on display back in November in The Mandalorian Episode 2.
After all, this was even before Baby Yoda used the Force to subdue a Mud Horn, so we didn’t know for sure whether or not he was Force-sensitive at this point. By now, we’ve seen him do everything from Force heal and Force choke to displaying almost supernatural agility. There’s also the possibility that he uses a certain kind of persistent Jedi mind control that makes sentient creatures want to protect him.
In other words, The Mandalorian might be introducing us to a whole bunch of previously unknown Force abilities. We just don’t know it yet.
Long before that, old “Ben” Kenobi used the Jedi equivalent of Force-based smelling salts to wake up an unconscious Luke Skywalker in A New Hope after he’s knocked out by some Tusken raiders. The abilities appear to be somewhat similar but remarkably different. After all, waking up a teenager with a concussion and healing them from life-threatening injuries are two different things, but who are we to dwell on the mysteries of the Force?
The Mandalorian Season 1’s final episode hits Disney+ Friday, December 27.