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In 2008, LucasArts launched The Force Unleashed, a tremendously popular Star Wars console game. Set between the prequel and original trilogies, The Force Unleashed introduced players to Galen Marek, a.k.a. Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice. It was a tremendous success, winning a Writer's Guild of America award for Best Video Game Writing, and earning a (less well-received) sequel.

The games are no longer canon, but intriguingly, it's becoming increasingly clear that they're still much-loved by insiders at Lucasfilm.

Luke Skywalker's Powers In 'The Force Unleashed' And 'Battlefront II'

The beta version of Star Wars: Battlefront II is now out, and leaked gameplay has given a sense of just how powerful Luke Skywalker actually is. The gameplay reveals Luke using the Force to project radial blasts in the Force, sweeping enemies off their feet and stunning them. It's a feat that will be familiar to anyone who's played The Force Unleashed, and is clearly a Force ability known as 'Force Repulse.' This is an intriguing Force power in which a Jedi draws the Force into themselves, and then releases it in powerful — sometimes fatal — blasts. There's an even more devastating version known as 'Force Maelstrom,' in which the most powerful Force users can hold enemies in place, while shielding themselves from attack as they prepare to unleash the radial blast.

But Lucasfilm is great at tying together its various properties and using them to support one another, just like its sister company, Marvel. Questions of canon aside, continuity is usually pretty solid in the Star Wars brand. So it should come as no surprise that what was revealed in the Battlefront II trailer likely won't be contained to the video game alone.

According to Mike Zeroh, one of the most well-respected YouTubers in the Star Wars community, Force Repulse will be making its way into The Last Jedi's third act. We'll see Luke confront his nephew, Kylo Ren, and use Force Repulse in battle with the Knights of Ren.

The Star Wars universe was rebooted after Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney back in 2012, but they've proven willing to incorporate key elements from the old Expanded Universe. Chuck Wendig's novel Aftermath: Empire's End already brought the concept of the 'Shatterpoint' Force ability back into the canon, but this is the first time we've seen one of the films exploit a Force power from another media. Intriguingly though, it's actually the third time Lucasfilm has considered bringing an element of The Force Unleashed back into the Star Wars canon.

'Star Wars: Rebels' And 'Rogue One'

In August this year, Sam Witwer — who voices Starkiller in the games — revealed that Lucasfilm considered bringing his character back into the canon. Speaking on his Twitch account, he told eager fans that Dave Filoni toyed with the idea of turning Malek into one of Darth Vader's Inquisitors. As such, Malek would have been incorporated into the new canon as one of Vader's elite agents, sent across the galaxy to hunt down Jedi.

It didn't happen though, and that's likely because Filoni realized fans would be far too distracted by Starkiller's presence. In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller was Vader's secret apprentice, part of his masterplan to take the Emperor's throne. Fans would no doubt have expected a similar arc in Rebels, with Malek a pawn in Vader's longed-for ascension. That, clearly, was not the direction Filoni wanted the series to take.

Fast forward to October this year, and filmmaker Marcos Cabota revealed that Rogue One almost featured a character from The Force Unleashed as well. Early drafts of the film featured a blind Jedi known as Rahm Kota, lifted straight from the games. He was a kick-ass character with a strong belief in the Force, and though he escaped Order 66 he was ultimately blinded in battle with Starkiller. Ultimately, Kota was rewritten to become the character of Chirrut Imwe, and the Jedi disappeared from Rogue One. They were replaced by the Guardians of the Whills.

It's becoming clear that Lucasfilm keep returning to concepts and ideas from The Force Unleashed. Luke Skywalker's new power is the first time an element has actually made it through into the canon, but we've had a couple of other notable near-misses.

Luke Has Grown In Power

By the time of The Last Jedi, Luke has been training in the ways of the Force for almost 35 years. What's more, after the events of Return of the Jedi he began a quest to scour the galaxy, seeking the lost secrets of the Jedi Order. That quest has ultimately led him to Ahch-To, and potentially even to the Journal of the Whills. It makes sense for Luke's power to have increased dramatically over the decades, and for him to have learned some pretty esoteric Force tricks.

That said, Force Repulse is an intriguing ability. It's generally viewed as morally neutral, available to adherents of both the light and dark side. We've been seeing consistent rumors that The Last Jedi will see Luke as a 'Gray Jedi,' one who bridges the gulf between light and dark, and it's interesting to note that this new Force-power is available to both sides of the Force. Some fans are taking this as another hint that their suspicions about Luke are correct.

Whatever the truth may be, the exciting thing is that we're about to see Luke Skywalker at the height of his powers. Although the last Jedi Master may initially be unwilling to join the battle, it's clear he ultimately dives into the thick of it. Supreme Leader Snoke was terrified of the Resistance finding Luke, and with good reason.

Do you think Luke will be a 'Gray Jedi' in The Last Jedi? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

[Source: Mike Zeroh]

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