(WARNING: Major spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian.)
The Rise of Skywalker is the first Star Wars movie to hit theaters since The Mandalorian premiered, and while a Disney+ subscription isn’t necessary to enjoy (or not enjoy) the film, it sure adds helpful context. This is the new normal with Disney. Get used to it.
While visiting Passanna to obtain a Sith artifact, Rey, Poe, Finn, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO sink into a below-ground tunnel where they encounter some sort of worm/snake creature straight out of Beetlejuice. (You’ll have to forgive the lack of an actual name, but unless it’s Babu Frik, my new mentor, there’s not much information out there yet.) At first, the crew thinks the alien is going to eat them, as Star Wars worm/snakes are wont to do, but it’s actually in pain from an injury. Rey sees the wound, puts her hand on it, and uses her Force-healing powers to heal the underground dweller. Sound familiar?
It’s the same process that helped Greef Karga recover from a winged beast attack in the latest episode of The Mandalorian, courtesy of Babu Frik’s number-one cuteness rival, Baby Yoda. Force healing, a process that helps the body quickly recover from injury, has long existed in the Star Wars expanded universe, a.k.a. “Legends,” but The Mandalorian was its canon debut, followed by The Rise of Skywalker a day later. (There’s some debate whether Obi-Wan used the Force to heal Luke in A New Hope after he’s attacked by the Tusken Raiders, but that’s in-retrospect headcanon.) From Wookieepedia:
Initial levels required meditation, but greater aptitude usually granted faster regeneration, without need of meditation. Greater levels of attainment were also able to mend far more severe injuries, even major damage to flesh and bone and even going as far as to mend internal damage, such as damage to the heart and lungs; even to the point of sustaining functions of lost organs.
Rey’s Force healing powers were also used on Kylo Ren/Ben Solo later in the movie, after he’s stabbed in the gut by her lightsaber (it’s complicated with those two), and again when Ben, in essence, transfers his life essence to Rey to save her following her electric run-in with Palpatine, sacrificing himself in the process (like I said, complicated). This is a huge concept to introduce in the ninth and final film in the Skywalker saga — kind of like how it took five movies before George Lucas let R2-D2 fly — but it opens up exciting possibilities on The Mandalorian, where Baby Yoda can save Mando from future mudhorn attacks. It’s also potentially harmful, as Rey notes (and Ben proved) that Force healing costs the healer some of their life — protect the Baby Yoda at ALL costs.
For more on The Rise of Skywalker, click here.