Jedi’s favorite technique, the Jedi mind trick, is actually a dark side power, raising concerns of the Jedi’s potential involvement in dark arts.
Despite the Jedi being known as champions of the light side of the Force, the mind trick may have more in common with the dark side than previously thought. The ability has been a central part of the Star Wars canon since the beginning, with Obi-Wan Kenobi using it to manipulate weak-minded Stormtroopers in A New Hope.
Over the past 45 years, the Force and its abilities have evolved, with even the dark side gaining access to illusion-casting powers. In the High Republic era, this power was known as mind touch, and the Jedi were cautious of overusing it. However, when used with malintent, the mind trick can be extremely assertive and damaging. In some cases, if a Jedi is strong enough, they do not even need to speak – they can simply wave their hand and the victim will be under their control. This is more in line with the abilities of the Sith than the Jedi.
Furthermore, the mind trick can be a gateway to darker powers. When evolved, it becomes something more sinister, such as the mind probe. This is best exemplified by Kylo Ren and Maul, two of the best dark side users in the Star Wars universe, who favored the mind probe to steal information from their victims. While some have been able to resist the mind trick, a mind probe is another story. It takes an extreme level of concentration and an affinity with the Force to resist.
While the mind trick may be a favorite in a Jedi’s arsenal, it can easily lead to a descent to the dark side. In Rebels season 3, episode 1, “Steps into Shadow,” Ezra Bridger used the technique to force an Imperial AT-ST pilot to fire on their comrades and walk off a bridge to their death. This showcases the technique’s dark potential. As with most techniques in the Star Wars universe, the mind trick is in an ambiguously complex situation, with the practitioner’s intentions determining whether it falls on the light side or the dark side of the Force.