Star Wars has just reintroduced the Battle Meld, one of the greatest Force powers of the Jedi in the old Expanded Universe before it was non-canon!
Star Wars has just made one of the Jedi’s greatest Force-powers from the old Expanded Universe canon again – but with a creative new twist. When Return of the Jedi released in 1983, it seemed to be the end of Star Wars on the big screen. And so Star Wars entered what some fans jokingly call its own “Dark Times,” an age with precious little original content. That came to an end in 1991, when Timothy Zahn’s Heir of the Empire and Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire kicked off the old Expanded Universe.
Over the next few years, Star Wars would grow like never before, with a range of popular comics and New York Times bestselling books. Countless writers and artists took the opportunity to play in George Lucas’ sandbox, and naturally many of them were enthralled by the idea of the Force. Every new piece of content attempted to expand the lore, with creative new Force-powers introduced with striking frequency. A resurrected Palpatine created Force storms that swept across the entire galaxy, and Luke Skywalker brought down an Imperial Star Destroyer with the Force alone. All this was erased from canon when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, branded “Legends” so they could wipe the slate clean and tell new stories.
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Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi has just brought back one of the Expanded Universe’s greatest Force-abilities. The book is set 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, at the peak of the High Republic Era. The Jedi of this time were encouraged to embrace their individuality in the Force, and the star of the book is Jedi Master Avar Kriss, who experiences the Force as music. As Charles Soule explained at the High Republic Panel at New York Comic Con 2020, “all the different Jedi have their own tones and instruments, and it all comes together into this great symphony of dissonance and assonance, and all these beautiful things that she is able to perceive.” The potential of Master Kriss’ power is demonstrated in one stunning feat when she becomes the nexus of what can only be called a Force Meld, drawing together the power of all the Jedi in the galaxy to save an entire star system from destruction when a canister of liquid Tibanna strikes the sun at near-lightspeed.
Avar Kriss uses her lightsaber as a tool in order to focus, and she draws all the power of the Jedi in the star system into unity.
“Across the system, Jedi reached out to the Force. Some closed their eyes, some lifted their arms, some stood, some sat meditating on the ground while others hovered above it. Some were in starships, others on the surface. Many were alone, but others were with members of their Order, or were surrounded by small groups of people who could sense, somehow, the import of what was happening, even if they themselves could not touch the Force.
Dozens of Jedi, acting as one.”
Anyone familiar with Star Wars Legends will recognize this as an extension of the Battle Meld that allows Jedi to act in concert, but Light of the Jedi reveals just how formidable a power this is. At first Avar Kriss is unable to deflect the canister heading for the sun like a bullet, but gradually all the Jedi in the galaxy sense her need and join the song. Some sacrifice their lives, giving everything they have; using the Force can be exhausting, after all. It is a stunning moment of heroism, easily the greatest feat of the Jedi seen since Disney purchased Lucasfilm. The scene is absolutely breathtaking, with writer Charles Soule using all his skill to convey the power of the Jedi Order united, and Avar Kriss’ perception of the Force as music giving the Meld a unique style. It’s easily one of the most exciting moments in Star Wars to date.
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