The first book in the Star Wars: The High Republic narrative, Light of the Jedi, reintroduces an ability to the official canon that previously belonged to the Expanded Universe, or as Disney rebranded it in 2012, the Legends timeline.
George Lucas always intended the Force to be more of a symbol of a spirituality that exists within the galaxy than a physical manifestation of space sorcery. And so, the way the Skywalker Saga handles this mysterious entity is more often than not subtle, leaning on philosophy and religious ideas as opposed to a more conventional and clearly defined “magic system,” the likes of which we usually see in other works.
As fans of the former EU would tell you, though, the many writers and creative talents that expanded the Star Wars universe and its lore would not always agree with that sentiment. Indeed, we have instances in some of the older stories where Force-sensitive individuals perform extraordinary feats that even our modern CG technology would fail to properly depict in live-action, namely when a resurrected Palpatine summoned a Force storm that swept the galaxy or that time Luke Skywalker brought down a Star Destroyer through the sheer power of his connection to the Force.
Now, Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi has brought one of these godly Force abilities back, which the Legends timeline recognizes as the “Battle Meld.”
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In one of the novel’s more defining scenes, Jedi Master Kriss becomes a nexus through which she draws the power of all the Jedi in the galaxy to save an entire star system from annihilation when a canister of explosive gas approaches the sun at near light speed. Here’s an excerpt from the book that describes the moment:
“Across the system, Jedi reached out to the Force. Some closed their eyes, some lifted their arms, some stood, some sat meditating on the ground while others hovered above it. Some were in starships, others on the surface. Many were alone, but others were with members of their Order, or were surrounded by small groups of people who could sense, somehow, the import of what was happening, even if they themselves could not touch the Force.
Dozens of Jedi, acting as one.”
Avar Kriss fails to stop the canister at first, but slowly, Jedi from across the galaxy sense her terror and reach out, all contributing to the effort of stopping the devastation. Some even sacrifice their lives, making the scene all the more breathtaking to behold.
The Battle Meld allows the Jedi of yore to join their minds, drawing on each other’s strengths to defeat an adversary. Reading about the potential of this devastating Force power in Star Wars: The High Republic is exhilarating, to say the least. But it also shows that Disney is gradually adopting elements from the Expanded Universe, which in itself is great news for diehard fans of the franchise.