Spoiler Warning! This article contains Star Wars Rebels episode details…
One of the many amazing things we were witness to in “A World Between Worlds”, an episode which altered the Star Wars universe forever, was a Force ability not yet seen in this new canon era. This new force ability could be one known as Pyrokinesis, which up until recently had only appeared in what we now of course call Star Wars Legends. This powerful ability was considered rare having been used by only a select few.
When Ezra Bridger opened the portal on Lothal and entered this new realm, several amazing things occurred. From the remarkable return of Ahsoka Tano to the discovery of space/time portals that connects to all things past, present and future, it was a spectacular sequence. As we know Ezra was able to save Tano by pulling her through a portal into the realm just before her death would have occurred on Malachor, during her fight with Darth Vader two seasons ago. In what can only be described as a casualty loop, since there’s still only one timeline, Ezra effectively changed the course of events thereby altering the future in some way. How and in which way we just don’t know yet.
This newly discovered ability led Ezra to believe he would be able to save his Master, Kanan Jarrus, in the same fashion if he could just find the right portal. As he witnessed again the events that would lead to the death of his Master, Ahsoka talked him out of interfering stating the circumstances were different this time. She informed him that by saving Kanan he would endanger the rest of the crew, including himself, ultimately resulting in their deaths. Adding, Kanan’s choice to sacrifice himself was something he needed to do, for himself, and for everyone. It was one final lesson for the young Padawan and Ezra made the difficult choice to close the portal, finally letting go.
As the two solemnly walked away from the portal, behind them we heard a very familiar voice and saw emerge a very familiar shape, none other than the Emperor himself, Darth Sidious. The Emperor was there looking for a way into the realm from the outside, from where we do not know. As Ezra and Ahsoka make a run for it; Palpatine uses a mystical and strange Force ability, using blue fire as a means to snare Ezra and consume Ahsoka. The former Jedi is able to cut through the flames with her duel lightsabers and the two narrowly escape through different portals, vowing to find each other on the other side.
Could this display of power be a rare force ability that we haven’t seen since the days before Disney owned Lucasfilm? Pyrokinesis is a neutral Force ability that allowed a Sith or Jedi to generate fire by rubbing air molecules together, additionally they could also manipulate fire if given a source. In this case, that source could be the cauldron sitting next to Palpatine emitting a blue flame. He did use this source to create an amazing blue flame which extended way beyond his own reach and in serpent like fashion, ensnare Ezra. Like I said, both he and Ahsoka were able to narrowly escape but this amazing display of power was something to behold and is a Force ability we haven't seen before in canon.
As for Pyrokinesis, its recorded uses prior can be found in the Star Wars Legends library including Star Wars: The Old Republic RPG. Notable practitioners of this ability throughout the timeline are Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Knol Ven’nari and even the Nightsisters of Dathomir. As for Sidious, he first used this ability in 52 BBY to kill Senator Pax Teem in the popular Legends novel “Darth Plagueis” written by James Luceno. As for Leia, she uses Pyrokinesis to light some candles, an ability she claims was taught to her by her brother Luke Skywalker in the book “Children of the Jedi” by Barbara Hambly.
According to the timeline, the earliest known users of Pyrokinesis were the Prophet of Vodal Kressh and the guardian of the Fount of Rajivari, the resting place of Jedi Master Rajivari. These two powerful force wielders were around during the time of the Old Republic Era and died thousands of years before the Battle of Yavin (0 BBY).
Up until know we’ve seen Sidious primarily use Force Lightning against his foes, but it’s clear this new ability can be used an offensive weapon as well as a means to trap or ensnare his enemies. And now that it has officially been introduced into the canon era, will we see more of it in the future? That’s of course up to the folks at Lucasfilm but it was quite a display of power on the part of the Emperor, Pyrokinesis or not.
The fact is the list of Force abilities is incredibly long, especially when you include those found in the Legends canon of books, comics and games. Controlling fire, levitation, doppelgangers, concealment, psychometry…the list is seemingly never ending. Whatever your mind can conjure up, more than likely there’s a corresponding Force ability.
And we’re starting to see more and more of these influences from Star Wars Legends creep into the current stream of ancillary products, especially Force abilities. Take Episode VIII: The Last Jedi for example and Luke’s powerful display of Force Projection. While it was alarming to a good number of folks and Rian Johnson was forced to defend the decision to use it, you can quite easily trace its roots back to the Legends catalogue of books.
Dave Filoni specifically has already shown his lack of fear when dipping into the Legends library for inspiration. And now that maybe Pyrokinesis is in his bag of tricks, I’d bet we’ll see this again at some point down the road.
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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