Ever since the first Star Wars movie, it appears that some Jedi can become immortal.
In Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi famously says to Darth Vader, “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” He seems to indicate that he will live on even after dying during this lightsaber duel.
But, do some Jedi actually live forever? Do they become immortal? Although it appears that some Jedi become immortal, they probably do not. Jedi like Obi-Wan do live on in a sense by becoming Force Ghosts. Yet, that is not quite the same as immortality.
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Can Force Users Be Immortal?
According to some sources, some Jedi use the Force to become immortal. As the DorksideoftheForce explains, through a life dedicated to the Jedi code, some Jedi transform into Force Ghosts after death, into “a state of immortality.”
It takes a thorough commitment to the ways of the Force, and such ethics as selflessness, for this to happen.
A select few have done this. Not just Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker make the list of Force Ghosts. And they can engage with the living world. So, it seems like these force users do become immortal.
Obi-Wan, for example, talks to Luke after dying in the first movie. He warns Luke to run after his body disappears when Darth Vader strikes him down with his lightsaber. In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan comes back as a ghost to visibly talk with Luke.
This visible form is an indication of becoming more “one” with the Force. Master Yoda also reached this level of dedication and training with the Force and appeared to Luke, both in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
But, not so fast. Does this really indicate immortality? As Force Ghosts, Yoda, Luke, and Obi-Wan are also spirits after death. So, they could be seen as not really immortal, but in an afterlife of sorts that engages with the living.
Can Jedi Become Immortal?
Those Jedi who are especially in tune with the Force access what’s referred to as the Living Force. The Jedi are able to rely on their instincts and let go of their consciousness. By doing so, they tap into the deepest level of the world around them, or the energy of life.
These Jedi are able to engage with the Cosmic Force. This is the energy field that binds all things together through and beyond time and space. It is also partially made up of the Living Force.
This could be the pathway to becoming immortal. However, even Jedi who take this path and become Force Ghosts are not really living on eternally. First, they have become one with the Force and can appear to others, but eventually these Jedi are reabsorbed back into the Force.
Second, these Force Ghosts only appear to other Jedi, not everyone. For example, at the end of the Return of the Jedi, Luke, and possibly Leia, see Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin–an older version in the original film. Others, including Han Solo, did not see them.
Hence, these Jedi are not really living on in an eternal sense, but appearing more as ghosts to a select few who can see them. Immortality usually implies an ongoing bodily form.
Force Ghosts emerge collectively as Jedi voices for Rey in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. These voices bring Rey back from the point of death. Some of the voices have been identified as Kanan Jarrus, Mace Windu, Aayla Secura, and Ahsoka Tano.
They too do not permanently stay around, though. They come and go more like spirits or ghosts.
Is Qui-Gon Immortal?
In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn is killed by Darth Maul. However, Qui-Gon had connected with the Force in a very thorough way. And, he died while trying to protect the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker.
Before he died, Qui-Gon told Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Through his selflessness and dying to protect the Chosen One, Qui-Gon was able to combine his consciousness with the Living Force. He was later able to speak with other Jedi, such as Obi-Wan and Yoda.
Qui-Gon also passed on his knowledge about possible immortality to Yoda. Some argue that he became immortal, but he definitely became a Force Ghost, which is not quite the same as immortality.
Is it possible for a Sith Lord to Achieve Immortality?
Jedi who follow the light side of the Force are those ones who become Force Ghosts. They are the ones who could arguably be called immortal. Sith Lords do not follow this path. Why?
Sith Lords do not practice selflessness, but selfishness. They lust for power. So, they do not engage with the path of the Force that could allow possible immortality, or being a Force Ghost that is not quite immortal.
George Lucas has commented on this matter. He indicated during the Clone Wars that the Sith would not be able to attain immortality. They were too evil to become one with the Force.
Did Palpatine Achieve Immortality?
A great example is Darth Sidious, or the Emperor, or Palpatine. He claimed to have the power to become immortal, but what he actually did was transfer his spirit into a cloned version of himself.
This clone form of the Emperor is revealed in the last Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker. Most audience members believed he had perished after Darth Vader threw the Emperor down into a reactor core in Return of the Jedi.
The Story of Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis, a Sith Lord from before the Clone Wars, was reported to have the power to achieve immortality. Darth Plagueis presumably knew how to use microscopic lifeforms known as midi-chlorians to escape death.
Chancellor, later Emperor, Palpatine explains this story to Anakin Skywalker in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He also explains how Plagueis’s apprentice, Darth Sidious/Palpatine, killed him in his sleep. Hence, he did not become immortal.
However, there are those who subscribe to the Transcendence Theory. They believe that Darth Plagueis actually became immortal and continued to work secretly with the Emperor to overthrow the Jedi Order.
Force Ghosts and Immortality
In the Star Wars saga, we definitely have the emergence of Force Ghosts. This may convince you that Force Ghosts actually become immortal.
It seems more likely, though, that these Jedi are living in Force-spiritual forms that sometimes engage with the living world. They no longer live in the Jedi body form and are not immortal.
Debates among Star Wars fans over this topic will continue. The answer depends a lot on your definition of immortality.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.