Study Guide

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spirituality

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REY: The Jedi were real?

HAN: I used to wonder that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo—magical power holding together good, evil, the dark side, and the light. Crazy thing is, it's true. The Force, the Jedi, all of it. It's all true.

This is a big deal because Han was always the doubting Thomas. He never actually said that he believed in the Force, even when he saw what Luke and Vader could do with it. Even he seems to have gotten with the program.

MAZ: If you live long enough, you see the same eyes in different people.

This is a subtle way of saying that everyone is connected, that souls share common links through shared experiences. In other words, that the Force is always there.

MAZ: Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku, they're never coming back. But...there's someone who still could.

REY: Luke.

MAZ: The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes. Feel it. The light. It's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it.

There's something very comforting about that, something similar to what many religious people feel: a sense of warmth and belonging, a light to show the way. Rey is afraid of it because it will lead her into danger…but also that it's taking her in a direction that she's not sure she wants to go.

KYLO REN: She's strong with the Force, untrained but stronger than she knows.

Even the bad guys can rely on the Force to show them who the dangerous ones are. That provides conflict between darkness and light, ensuring, over the long run, that the balance of the Force is maintained.

REY: You will remove these restraints. And leave this cell, with the door open.

STORMTROOPER: I will remove these restraints. And leave this cell, with the door open.

REY: And you will drop your weapon.

STORMTROOPER: And I'll drop my weapon.

This is the big difference between the Force and our earthly religions: you can see the effects of the Force in Star Wars. Here, we need to make a leap of faith.

KYLO REN: You need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!

REY: The Force.

The Force is always a very personal connection in Star Wars. Notice the difference between the way Kylo Ren offers training (or how Darth Vader offered training in Empire) with, say, Yoda or Qui-Gon Jinn, who usually offer their students a choice (or, in Yoda's case, are actively reluctant).

KYLO REN: At night, desperate to imagine an ocean. I see it—I see the island...

Like earthly religions, the Force often speaks through visions or dreams, bringing messages we can't always understand and may not even be sure come from God but which affect us like Rey's visions clearly affect her.

HAN: People are counting on us! The galaxy is counting on us!

FINN: Solo, we'll figure it out! We'll use the Force!

HAN: That's not how the Force works—!

Any parent knows Han's tone of voice here: the same tone they use when they try to explain why God won't make cookies appear just by praying for them. The Force isn't a catch-all solution to every problem. It's something very, very different and needs to be understood as such.

LEIA: May the Force be with you.

Believe it or not, this is the last line of dialogue in the film. Frankly, we'd be really disappointed if it were anything else. It's not only the best tagline in the history of everything, but a reminder that these jumped-up space cowboys are actually touching on something more spiritual and profound.

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