Was Force Healing Present In ‘Star Wars’ All Along, Or Does It Introduce Problems For The Past?
Considering Star Wars started in the ‘70s, and continues to today, the elaborate arcs and stories had to be built on top of each other. Just like how the prequels were made after the original trilogy, but happen prior to it in the timeline, Star Wars works backwards a lot. So that leaves more room for continuity errors, or for a moment to be retconned. Force healing, which was heavily used in The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian (and brought with it a lot of fanfare within the fandom), would have been helpful in the past. So is this a problem when looking at the grand picture of Star Wars?
Past instances where healing took place in ‘Star Wars’
To start off, Force healing has existed in the expanded universe of Star Wars, but not often within canon. In Legends, Anakin and Luke Skywalker, Barriss Offee, and others use Force healing. Even before Rey and The Child used it recently, it wasn’t the very first instance in canon where a Force wielder used the Force to heal something. In Ahsoka the novel, Ahsoka Tano uses the Force to purify kyber crystals that were corrupted and bled by a Dark Side Inquisitor.
Even though it wasn’t through Force healing, Anakin also brought Ahsoka back to life in Season 3 of The Clone Wars. After the Son infected Ahsoka with the Dark Side and took over her body, she died on Mortis. However, the Daughter sacrificed herself and life energy to Ahsoka, which the Father helped Anakin use to bring Ahsoka back.
This is, of course, different from Ben Solo using his life force to bring Rey back from the dead. In this case, it is Force healing, and can only be done because these two were a part of a dyad in the Force. It’s because of that bond that Ben was able to transfer all of his life energy to Rey. Anakin used the Daughter’s energy, however, it was because of a whole other part of the Force, not Force healing.
But there were moments where Force healing would have helped a ton
With that noted, it explains why Anakin didn’t automatically jump to this when he had dreams of Padmé dying. He and Padmé weren’t a dyad, and he also didn’t have another being he would have been able to siphon energy from if his wife did die.
However, if he did have knowledge of Force healing — something that can be done to heal major wounds — he probably would have been a lot less worried and might not have turned to Palpatine’s enticing promises. So this does show that this introduction of Force healing doesn’t mesh well with the past. And if Yoda was able to Force heal or knew about it, he could have saved Padmé if he wanted to after she gave birth. It also would have been the perfect remedy for Smhi Skywalker when she was dying on Tatooine due to Tusken Raiders.
With this new existence, does it mess up the past?
Even though Baby Yoda and Rey used Force healing in a way that canon Star Wars never showed, it’s not necessarily a continuity error. It could have existed all this time but was hidden away in one of the ancient texts Rey was studying for a year between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
However, Yoda is 900 years old by the time he dies in Return of the Jedi. He should have known about it, if that’s the case. But, then again, knowing Yoda, he wouldn’t use something so potent and life-altering unless absolutely necessary. And unfortunately for Padmé, she was not important enough to Yoda to bring her back from the brink of death.
As for The Child, there’s no way he was reading Jedi books at his age, even if he is 50. But Season 2 of The Mandalorian might give more insight into where he comes from. Maybe there will be some explanation there.
So even though Force healing would have been helpful for many major character deaths in past Star Wars, it’s new existence doesn’t necessarily retcon past movies. But more explanation from canon media would be greatly appreciated.