The Force is far more than “what gives a Jedi his power” in Star Wars, but what is its origin? Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi defined the Force as an energy field, but it is clearly far more than that. The Force has a will, and different groups such as the Church of the Force and the Guardians of the Whills understand it in completely different ways to the Jedi. The fact some cults – such as the Nightsisters – wield such unusual powers suggests the Jedi have a far from complete understanding of the Force.

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If the Force is what gives a Jedi his power, then the Force clearly existed before the Jedi, and James Mangold’s Dawn of the Jedi era movie will most certainly cover this. Star Wars canon and Star Wars Legends have differing interpretations of when and who discovered the Force, but both of them place this event tens of thousands of years before the Skywalker Saga. Because the Force is tied to life itself, it’s possible the Force has existed since the creation of the Star Wars galaxy. But when beings discovered the Force’s presence and existence is a different story entirely.

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The Force Existed Before The Jedi In Star Wars Canon, But How Long Is Unknown

Kanan Jarrus kneeling before the Bendu in Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars canon is extremely vague on when the Force was discovered, but it definitely existed before the Jedi Order was founded. There are some hints of mystical Force beings—such as the Force Wielders in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Bendu in Star Wars Rebels—who may have been around during the Force’s creation. The Star Wars: Timelines book puts the origin of the Jedi Order at 25,025 BBY. Because the Jedi rely on the Force, the Force had to exist before them.

The Order of the Dai Bendu was a precursor to the Jedi Order, apparently (but not definitively) unrelated to the Bendu in Star Wars Rebels. The Bendu clearly visited Coruscant in ancient times, because the fifth and final day of the week is named “Benduday” after them, while they are known to have constructed a temple on the planet Kijimi in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Little else is known about the Dai Bendu in canon, but given they studied the Force before the Jedi, it means the Force existed before 25,025 BBY.

The Force Existed Around 10,670 Years Before The Jedi In Star Wars Legends

Tython in the mandalorian

Star Wars Legends is a little more straightforward about when the Force was first discovered and recorded. According to Legends, the Jedi Order was founded in 25,783 BBY, almost 700 years before the canon Jedi Order was founded. According to several of the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi comics by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, the Force may have been discovered in 36,453 BBY, almost 10,000 years before the Jedi even existed. During an event known as the Tho Yor Arrival, several pyramid-like ships traveled the galaxy in search of Force-sensitive individuals from a variety of planets and species.

Related: Dawn Of The Jedi Era In Star Wars Legends (& How Canon Will Be Different)

After collecting several Force-sensitives, the Tho Yor ships brought the group to the planet Tython. On Tython, several philosophers and scientists observed and studied the Force. This was one of the earliest examples in Legends where a group of beings got together and recognized their unique Force power. And while it may not have been the origin of the Force itself, it proves the Force existed over 10,000 years before the Jedi in Star Wars Legends. Shortly after gathering, the Je’daii Order was founded, which was the direct precursor of the Jedi Order in Star Wars Legends.

New Star Wars Movie Can Properly Explain The Force’s Origin

James Mangold and the Prime Jedi.

Star Wars Legends places the origin of the Force around 10,000 years before the Jedi, and Star Wars canon places the origin some time before 25,025 BBY, but both of these timelines are somewhat vague, and could easily be replaced or redefined by a weightier piece of canon material. Director James Mangold has called this Jedi origin movie the Ten Commandments of the Force, suggesting it will tell the story of the first person to ever connect to the Force. This changes many of the theories being spun about Mangold’s Dawn of the Jedi Era film, as the Jedi might not even be involved in the story.

Both canon and Legends place the discovery of the Force before the founding of the Jedi Order, which means Mangold’s movie could go back even further than anticipated. Furthermore, in his interview with Gizmodo, James Mangold specifically stated he didn’t want to be fettered by what has already been established in canon, which is likely why he’s chosen to go back so far in the timeline. In all likelihood, Mangold’s Dawn of the Jedi Era film will redefine the origin and discovery of the Force in Star Wars once and for all.


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