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Why Can’t Jedi Fly?

Why Can’t Jedi Fly?

In the Star Wars universe, the Jedi can do amazing things. They can levitate massive objects by using Force. Yoda does this with Luke’s X-Wing Fighter in Stars Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. 

By using the Force, Yoda lifts this enormous fighter out of the Dagobah swamp and onto land. Jedi-turned-Sith Lords can also throw enormous items without touching them. That’s what Darth Vader did to Luke Skywalker in the same movie. 

It would seem likely that the Jedi could take flight with such powers. But they don’t. Not really. It begs the question: why can’t the Jedi fly?

Jedi seem to fly, at least for short periods of time. However, they are not flying. What they do is better described as levitation. By using the Force, Jedi can levitate their own bodies for periods. There is a key distinction between this form of levitation and flying. 

Can Jedi Use the Force to Fly? 

The Jedi obtain their magnificent abilities through the Force. They use telekinesis, in particular, to move heavy objects. They can also tap into the Force to make tremendously long jumps. 

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Star Wars Jedi Jumps

In The Clone Wars television series, Anakin Skywalker especially uses the Force to jump quite high, or drop down from very high locations. These so-called Force jumps are very close to flying. 

Luke Skywalker, for example, tapped into his Force Jump ability while fighting Darth Vader at Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. He seemingly flies through the air while desperately wielding his lightsaber against his father.

And some of the Jedi have been recognized for having an especially strong power of telekinesis that mimics flying. During the height of the Galactic Republic, Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus had such power

Jedi Vitus was witnessed floating above the floor and levitating while meditating. Yet, this again appears more as a temporary hold in space, not moving through it. 

Jedi instead uses levitation that results in something close to flying, but not the sustained, controlled movement aligned with actual flying. 

Jedi Levitation

Some contend that Jedi do use the Force to fly. In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi flies up after hanging from a generator shaft to slay Darth Maul. He draws on the force to take revenge for Darth Maul’s killing of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. 

The following video refers to this moment as an act of flying. Obi-Wan appears to rise up without the use of his arms or fingers. Yet, the commentary also adds that in the end, Kenobi is levitating.  

CAN JEDI FLY? Star Wars Explained

Levitation implies more of a brief suspension in space. Flying would mean more controlled movement over a longer period of time and space.

Princess-turned-General Leia floated through space in Star Wars Episode 8: That Last Jedi. Some Star Wars fans think this amounted to flying. This scene occurs after Kylo Ren fired upon and destroyed most of the Resistance flagship that Leia was aboard.

Indeed, it does look like she is flying. Leia moves through space in a more controlled manner and reunites with her fellow resistance fighters.

However, while this scene is very close to flying, it still fits the description of levitation better. Jedi, or those in touch with the Force, are levitating themselves. Leia channeled energy to allow herself to move through space for a short burst of time.

Another great example is when Luke Skywalker flies up out of the carbon freeze chamber in The Empire Strikes Back. He appears to fly, but he is channeling energy into himself. This scene is perhaps best described as a Force Jump.

Levitation and Force Jumps capture what is happening with the Jedi more accurately than flying.

Why Can’t the Jedi Fly?

Jedi General Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker with lightsabers in battle

If the Jedi cannot actually fly, why is that so? Some explanations point to the amount of energy that would be needed to fly. It may require too much constant concentration and energy to pull it off. 

Other explanations call this presumed act of flying, Force flight. This close-to-flying is reflected in meditation moments and when Jedi cover large terrain in the air. It is again not quite actually flying.

And the reason why goes back to the first explanation. Force flight takes too much energy to be maintained at a level considered to be actual flying. It would drain that Jedi to the point of depletion.

With the example of Leia above, she is completely worn out from using the Force after moving through space. Although her accomplishment mimics the act of flying, she is still using the Force to move through space, for a brief amount of time.

Others point to George Lucas. Lucas may not have wanted the Jedi to be too powerful.  Some Star Wars fans indicate that Lucas restricted their abilities to some degree. 

Can the Sith Fly?

Like the Jedi, Sith Lords can manipulate the Force. For example, they can use telekinesis to Force Push objects. Darth Vader, and his secret apprentice Galen Marek used the dark side of the force to throw heavy objects at opponents. 

All Darth Vader Choke Scenes (1080p)

Hence, Sith Lords can also channel Force energy into moving themselves. They too, seem to take flight. They jump over long distances, or levitate for periods of time.

Darth Vader is the best example of a Sith Lord who can almost fly. He can levitate, keep himself afloat, and even steer to a degree.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader channels the Force into himself and swings through the air while battling Luke in the carbon freeze chamber. He also uses the Force to throw various heavy objects at Luke.

Vader can also summon a Sphere Shield. Vader casts this pure form of energy around himself for protection. He sometimes levitates while forming this shield. Talk about a double advantage in a fight. 

The Powers of Levitation and Flying

The Jedi and Sith thus use the power of levitation to move through the air. These brief moments take on aspects of flying but ultimately are not the same thing. Impressive powers, for sure, but they do not produce actual flight. 

Sustained flying would zap the Jedis’ energy. They would have nothing left to fight the Dark Side of the Force.

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