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Jedi Mind Trick / Star Wars

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Star Wars is the Trope Namer for Jedi Mind Trick, a form of mild Mind Manipulation Jedi knights and masters can use via the Force on weaker minds to hide their presence of even coerce said minds into doing something they normally wouldn't. The trope has appeared prominently in the franchise ever since Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi first demonstrated the technique in A New Hope.


Films

  • Obi-Wan's statements that get him past the Stormtroopers in Mos Eisley during A New Hope are the most famous example.
    TD-110: Let me see your identification.
    Obi-Wan: You don't need to see his identification.
    TD-110: We don't need to see his identification.
    Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
    TD-110: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
    Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
    TD-110: You can go about your business.
    Obi-Wan: Move along.
    TD-110: Move along. Move along.
    • In a more subtle use, while evading guards in the Death Star Obi-Wan can be seen pointing in a specific direction and two talking Stormtroopers suddenly think they heard something coming from that way, giving Obi-Wan an opening to slip past. Much of the use of the force in A New Hope was more along the lines of Coconut Superpowers rather than the Supernatural Martial Arts it became: misdirection, precognitive, added situational awareness. Even Darth Vader's force choke could have been described as mental projection of the pain of choking rather than direct telekinesis.
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  • Luke uses the trick successfully in Return of the Jedi on Jabba the Hutt's majordomo, but fails when he tries to influence Jabba himself; explained in the Expanded Universe as Hutts, one and all (but particularly the successful ones like Jabba), having the opposite of a weak mind.
  • The Phantom Menace:
    • Defied by Watto:
      Qui-Gon: Credits will do fine.
      Watto: No, they won't! What, you think you're some kinda Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian! Mind tricks don'a work on me, only money.
    • Qui-Gon pulls one on Boss Nass, saving Jar Jar Binks' life and getting them transport.
  • In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan uses this to get rid of a guy named Elan Sleazebaggano (yes) trying to sell him death sticks. According to Wookieepedia, he really did go home and genuinely rethink his life as he was told to, even breaking his own addiction to death sticks, though for a period he fell back into his old ways. During a conversation with Padmé, Anakin again clarifies that the trick only works on the weak minded.
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  • The Revenge of the Sith novelization portrays this from the perspective of the tricked, a guard at Senate. The guard rationalizes his letting the Jedi in by thinking that since the Senate is so secure the Jedi couldn't possibly escape or cause trouble, and they're being so reasonable about it that he doesn't want to come off as an unreasonable fellow himself by trying to arrest them just now when it can be done later.
  • In The Force Awakens, this is one of Rey's first conscious uses of her powers. As she's just become aware of them, it takes three efforts to do it on a Stormtrooper (played by none other than Daniel Craig!) before it clicks—the first couple of times, the target is just annoyed.
    Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open.
    FN-1824: What did you just say?
    Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open.
    FN-1824: I'll tighten those restraints, scavenger scum.
    Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open.
    FN-1824: I will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open. [releases the restraints, opens the door, and starts to leave]
    Rey: And you'll drop your weapon!
    FN-1824: Annnd I'll drop my weapon. [drops weapon]
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  • In The Last Jedi, when Kylo Ren and Rey make telepathic contact from across the galaxy, Ren tries the mind trick on her ("You will bring Luke Skywalker to me"). It doesn't work.

Expanded Universe

  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Yoda uses the trick on Padmé's security chief, who takes on Yoda's speech patterns. Padmé sees through it, but agrees with Yoda's request anyway.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In the Pilot Movie, the one and only time we see Ventress use a mind trick, on Captain Rex, it actually fails — he resists it and plays along to make her think it worked, taking the opportunity to slip in an Out-of-Character Alert in the process.
    • When Count Dooku, Obi-Wan, and Anakin were all captured and had to do an Enemy Mine to escape, Obi-Wan used a mind trick to make a guard open their cell.
    • When the Jedi are interrogating the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane, who certainly does not possess a weak mind, he is easily able to brush off a single Jedi's attempt. It takes a second Jedi joining in for him to notice it, and a third for him to really start feeling the effects. In the end, he still manages to resist, though doing so nearly tears his mind apart.
    • A Jedi Padawan attempts a mind trick on a Trandoshan, who resists it; Chewbacca slugs him, and the Trandoshan suddenly becomes much more susceptible to persuasion.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Rise of the Old Masters": Kanan uses a variant on two stormtroopers involving making them talk to each other, instead of the usual "Jedi makes a statement, victim repeats it".
    • Ezra repeatedly tries and fails, usually resulting in Kanan stepping in and doing it himself. In "Homecoming", Ezra finally gets it right on an Imperial captain, but the first try still fails.
  • The short story "Bump" from From a Certain Point of View is told from the perspective of the stormtrooper who falls for the mind trick in A New Hope. A mind trick seems to be most effective when it aligns with something the target wants; in this case, the stormtrooper was stressed and wanted to get a drink instead of do his job, so he was easily swayed. He later notices he has a headache for some reason and starts to realize what happened earlier in Mos Eisley.

Star Wars Legends

Comic Books & Literature:

  • In a Star Wars: Legacy comic, the imperial princess reveals herself when she tries to use a mind trick on Cade Skywalker, a former Jedi. He pretends it works, and then leaves to go check who she is and how much the bounty the Sith placed on her is worth.
  • There’s one scary bit in Star Wars: Republic where Aurra Sing, an assassin with Force training, uses the mind-trick to make an unlucky Trandoshan bash his own skull in with a frying pan. Similar to the Cad Bane example above, the poor guy knows that he’s being affected; it seems he’s strong-willed enough to retain a degree of self-awareness, but not enough to actually resist. He begs for mercy and tries to fight it, but no matter what he physically can’t stop hitting himself and is aware the whole time.
  • Literature:
    • Corran Horn, at a point where he's unaware of his Jedi heritage, succeeds with a nonverbal mind trick in the X-Wing Series, making a searcher pass him by. After he learns of his Force abilities, he tries it again more conventionally, gets cocky about it, and fails miserably.
      Stormtrooper: Come with me so I can check you out.
      Corran: I don't need to go with you.
      Stormtrooper: You don't need to go with me?
      Corran: [thinking] Hey, it's working. I'm influencing his mind. [aloud] I can go about my business.
      Stormtrooper: You can go about your business? [shakes head] Your business is my business, void-brain.
    • In Outbound Flight, Jorus C'baoth's version of the Mind Trick isn't nice enough to distinguish between the weak-minded and the not. When he says that he doesn't have time for this, everyone, with the exceptions of Commander Thrawn and Senator Palpatine, gives way and looks back on what they agreed to with frustration. In a rather nice bit of quiet characterization, a young Anakin Skywalker is impressed.
    • In The Thrawn Trilogy, the clone Joruus C'baoth is, if anything, worse, since his Mind Trick apparently works by tearing apart the mind of the target and rearranging it to suit. He does this to a general, and it's... well, Mind Rape at its finest. This extreme version apparently takes time, but the end result is that the general is reduced to nothing but an extension of C'boath's will who dies of cortical shutdown a few hours after the disruption of the Force cuts him off from C'baoth's mind. He doesn't go as far with Captain Pellaeon, but the readers still see that while Pellaeon's mouth is agreeing, his thoughts are resisting in vain. The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook states that Pellaeon's willpower was permanently eroded by this, although considering that this is Gilad Pelleaon, this is still akin to eroding a few centimeters off the face of Everest.
    • In Galaxy of Fear: Army of Terror, Tash Arranda, guarded by two stormtroopers, manages to call on the Force to make one think the other had just insulted him. While they argue, she escapes.
    • The Courtship of Princess Leia has Luke try to use this to get a maintenance worker to unlock a maintenance panel and let them out after their attempt to infiltrate the enemy base that way hits a dead end. Leia complains that this never works for Luke, and instead just asks the man nicely.
    • In Dark Rendezvous, Yoda, fed up with how long the Padawans are taking to get lunch, uses a mind trick to swipe a soft drink from a kid (it's okay, 'cause the guy's kind of a jerk). However, he refuses to do the same while haggling over the cost of a used starship, a far more important task, saying it would disrespect the Force and his opponent. The Padawans suspect that the real reason is that Yoda thinks haggling is fun, and doesn't want to ruin the experience by cheating.
    • Labyrinth of Evil is about the Jedi's hunt for Darth Sidious, which gets interrupted when General Grievous kidnaps Chancellor Palpatine, leading into Revenge of the Sith. Grievous doesn't realize that Palpatine is mind-tricking the general into playing out the kidnapping his way, since he is Sidious himself.
    • Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader: Utilized by Bol Chatak and Olee Starstone in order to hold onto their Jedi equipment while disguised as ordinary prisoners. Roan Shryne, seeing the diminishing of the light side of the Force as a personal failure, isn't sure he can pull off the mind trick at all, but successfully uses it on a guard in order to escape when the prisoners are set to be transported offworld.
    • In Star Wars: Kenobi, Ben attempts the trick twice against Sand People to avert imminent violence and convince them to release captives. It works the first time against a young warrior, but completely fails to affect their leader A'Yark, forcing Ben to try and reason with her.
    • The novelization of The Force Unleashed has Palpatine pull a nonverbal trick on Starkiller during his Sword over Head moment against Vader, in the hopes of making Starkiller kill Vader and then become Palpatine's new apprentice. Fortunately, Starkiller resists the compulsion long enough for Kota to attack Palpatine, distracting him enough to break the mind trick. In the game proper this doesn't happen, Palpatine's suggestion being a verbal taunt instead of a mind trick, likely because of Rule of Perception.
  • Star Wars d20:
    • The Mind Trick force power has been expanded to allow you to create a momentary distraction, make an unreasonable suggestion seem reasonable, and cause the target to run away from you at top speed while screaming, among other things.
    • Hutts are a playable race (anything is); one of their racial abilities is a huge bonus to rolls to resist mind tricks. Toydarians, too. Twi'leks, on the other hand, get a penalty to their will, following the example of Bib Fortuna, Jabba's Twi'lek majordomo.

Video Games

  • The various games in the Dark Forces Saga naturally allow you to use the Mind Trick.
    • Its effectiveness varies depending on how far along you are in the game, from providing a brief distraction to one enemy, to convincing an enemy that you're on his side and his actual allies are bad guys for several seconds. There is also a cheat that allows Kyle to use the Mind Trick to outright possess someone for some time.
    • As per the "only on the weak-minded" clause, the mind trick is mostly useful on non-Force-capable Mooks. Force-wielders and strong enough non-Force-wielders will shrug it off, or even laugh it off. Desann, the Big Bad of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, will even say "Do you think me weak-minded?" if you try it on him.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has the "Force Persuade" (unlocked by having the powers "Affect Mind" or the stronger "Dominate Mind"), a Force-powered More Than Mind Control way of convincing people to do certain things you want them to do, usually ignoring technicalities to allow you to get away with virtually anything. Like the Jedi Mind Trick, it's not always successful, and has a lower chance of succeeding if the person you're pulling it on has a high mind or will stat compared to your Force stat. Much of the dialogue written involving it is some of the most utterly chilling in the game.
    • The sequel possess a power explicitly called "Mind Trick," but this one just distracts the target enough that you can sneak by them without having to use stealth.
    • At one point in the sequel, you can attempt it on a Toydarian dock worker to convince him you are authorized to land here. It doesn't work.
    • Canderous actually lampshades this, by commenting, "I'm always amazed how many people that works on. The galaxy must be filled with weak-minded fools," when you cheat your way out of a landing fee.
    • Between the two games this is played with: Bastila, Juhani and Jolee can use it successfully on a Hutt, but the Exile will fail trying it on a loyal Onderonian guard. Then there's that dark side option of using Zaalbar to kill Mission.
    • If you pick Jolee to get you out of prison on the Leviathan halfway through the game, he uses the Force to trick the guards into giving him a separate cell, leaving only one man to watch over him, and then tricks that one into letting him out and locking himself into the cell instead.
    • The player can attempt to mind-trick their way into the Sith Academy on Korriban when talking to the Academy's second-in-command. It doesn't work, but she's impressed by your chutzpah.
    • The second game has a darkly hilarious example on Narr Shaddaa where players can choose to force a pair of Exchange thugs to hand over all their credits and leap off a very, very high place.
      "Jumping into the pit is a good idea. Get to ground faster that way."
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • Subverted; a Jedi Knight tries to use the mind trick on the Bounty Hunter to get him to drop his weapons and come quietly. It fails miserably and just pisses the Bounty Hunter off who mocks him. However, it works on their rival Tarro Blood, who proves to be Weak-Willed enough to be persuaded into walking into a prison cell.
    • It's actually a Berserk Button for one of the Consular's companions. Tharan Cedrax will greatly disapprove if the Consular uses the mind trick in his presence, even if you're using it to prevent violence. Tharan prizes logic and rationality and greatly distrusts the Force; using the Force to override someone's capacity for rational thought is doubly unsettling to him.
    • This trope appears all over the place in dialogue in the game; it tends to be played straight when the player is the one pulling the mind trick and subverted when Non Player Characters try it on the player.
    • For an example of the first:
      Sith Inquisitor: [Force Persuade] Why don't you just turn your weapons manufacturing over to me?
      The Veil: Lord, please allow us to join your cult.
      Sith Inquisitor: Excellent idea. I wish I'd thought of it myself!
    • And the second:
      Vaverone: Enough of this! [Force Persuade] Kill the Jedi and the pirate!
      Nariel: [Force Persuade] No. You want to kill the Sith.
      Smuggler: Ladies, would you stop waving your hands around? You both look ridiculous.
    • Two Companion characters can even make use of it; the Smuggler's companion Guss Tuno (a failed Padawan) and the Agent's companion Raina Temple (who was sent to the Chiss to prevent her from being conscripted into the Sith). In both cases, that's roughly the extent of their Force abilities. It's established as a very rudimentary trick.
  • In the sequel to The Force Unleashed, Starkiller has the ability to mind-trick Mooks. This will cause the mook to either betray his allies, or, if all alone, will cause him to commit suicide by jumping into the nearest danger, and the results can be quite funny.
  • Parodied in universe in Empire at War: Forces of Corruption:
    Stormtrooper: Look, this one thinks he's a Jedi. Tell me, why won't I need to see your identification?
    [Urai Fen de-cloaks behind him]
    Tyber Zann: Because you'll be dead.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a real-time strategy game, Age of Empires Recycled INSPACE. Jedi Masters can only be seen by other masters and by Bounty Hunters. They can also use the Force for the Enemy Exchange Program. Even the Force is insignificant next to the power of Wololo!

Other

  • During the Star Wars Weekends event at Hollywood Studios, two Stormtroopers are located on top of the entry to the park. At one point, one of them references the trick by saying, "These are not the tourists you're looking for."

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