A Mandalorian Jedi created the Darksaber, but Mandalorians don’t have to be Force-sensitive to use that iconic weapon. Despite not having Force abilities, both The Clone Wars‘ Pre Vizsla and The Mandalorian‘s Bo-Katan wielded that one-of-a-kind lightsaber with deftness. That’s what Sabine Wren was learning to do on Star Wars Rebels before she gave the Darksaber away. But the first episodes of Ahsoka raised new questions about whether Sabine is actually a Force-user. It seems she did not merely resume her lightsaber training under Ahsoka Tano years ago, she briefly studied to become a Jedi. Does that mean Sabine Wren is Force-sensitive or that a non-Force user can become a Jedi?
Star Wars’ history doesn’t provide a definitive answer to either. What it does provide are intriguing possibilities for Sabine’s story that could change how we think about both the Jedi and the Force forever.
Was Sabine Wren Force-Sensitive on Star Wars Rebels?
Nothing on Star Wars Rebels indicated Sabine Wren is Force-sensitive. At least not the way Jedi and those like them are. The series seemed to confirm, in fact, that she is not Force-sensitive.
After she found the Darksaber, Sabine reluctantly agreed to train with it. Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus and his Padawan Ezra Bridger taught Sabine how to use her special lightsaber. It wasn’t easy. Kanan started her training with practice wood swords. That slow approach frustrated Sabine. When Kanan and Hera Syndulla discussed his decision to proceed cautiously, Hera questioned why he would use wooden swords with her when he never did with Ezra. Hera asked if the difference was because Kanan didn’t believe Sabine could learn “because she doesn’t have the Force.”
Kanan’s reply appeared to confirm Sabine is not Force-sensitive and he was merely teaching her how to use a lightsaber, not to become a Jedi. But his response also touched on an intriguing idea George Lucas made part of Star Wars lore from the very beginning.
Can a Non-Force User Still Use the Force?
When Hera questioned whether Kanan’s training methods had to do with Sabine not having Force abilities, he said no. But not for the reason you might expect. Kanan said of Sabine, “The Force resides in all living things, but you have to be open to it.”
That did not mean Sabine was/is Force sensitive. Kanan—who recognized Ezra’s strong Force-sensitivities instantly—was talking about a well-established concept that dates back to the franchise’s first film. In A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke the Force is “an energy field created by all living things” that “surrounds us and penetrates us.” The Force “binds the galaxy together.”
Everyone and everything has the Living Force inside of them. Unlike everyone else, Force-users (thanks to high midi-chlorian counts) can access, control, and manipulate the Living Force. That ability is what gives Jedi their powers.
As Kanan’s answer implied, non Force-users like Sabine Wren can still connect with the Force. George Lucas himself has said as much as far back as 1981. He once compared the Force to (of all things) yoga, saying anyone can use it. In 2015 Dave Filoni further explained this idea when he said everyone is Force-intuitive. As an example of what that means practically, he pointed to Han Solo. What Han called “luck” while flying was him “tapping” into the Force unconsciously. Turns out you don’t survive an asteroid field on just chance and skill alone, because everyone can use the Force. They simply can never be as adept or as powerful doing so as a Force-sensitive, high midi-chlorian count individual.
Filoni also provided a comparison that explains this concept better than Lucas’ yoga analogy. Filoni likened this idea to someone who trains as a martial artist. They might earn a black belt, but they’ll never be Bruce Lee because they don’t have the natural traits needed to reach those heights. (He said Anakin is Bruce Lee when it comes to the Force.)
Have Any Non-Force Users Used the Force in Star Wars History?
The sequel trilogy and Rogue One both featured characters who exemplify this idea. Maz Kanata and Chirrut Îmwe seemed capable of low-level connections with the Force despite not being naturally Force-sensitive like Luke Skywalker or Rey. But, as Filoni said in 2015 when discussing Rebels, the franchise has “only scratched the surface” of what this means.
All of this brings us back to the main question raised by Ahsoka about Sabine Wren’s potential Force abilities. Did Ahsoka Tano train Sabine as a Jedi Padawan because she is Force-sensitive? Or because you don’t need to use the Force to become a Jedi? Star Wars Rebels pointed towards the latter, but the live-action series gave us reason to think Sabine is innately imbued with Force capabilities.
Did Ahsoka Prove Sabine Wren Is Force-Sensitive?
Just as Kanan once said Sabine wasn’t “open” to the Force, Ahsoka walked away from Sabine’s training for the same reason. She told Hera Sabine “wasn’t ready” to become a Jedi. Ahsoka made no mention of whether Sabine has innate Force abilities she won’t/can’t access, but training her as a Padawan in the first place would suggest she might truly be Force-sensitive even if Sabine says she “doesn’t feel it.” Training Sabine as a Jedi without her having any chance of using the Force would seem reckless of Ahsoka otherwise. It’s hard to imagine a non-Force using Jedi defeating a Sith Lord, for example. (The not-fully-trained Sabine losing a duel to Shin Hati showed why.)
The centuries-old Jedi lightsaber building droid Huyang also seemed to indicate Sabine has some Force-sensitivity. He told her in Ahsoka episode two that her “aptitude for the Force would fall far short” of every other Jedi Padawan he ever knew. Not what any student wants to hear, but that comment at least means Sabine has some aptitude for the Force. That would explain why Ahsoka took her on as Padawan. (It might also explain why Sabine can slide under a parked E-Wing on her speeder Akira-style at roughly 500 mph.)
That circumstantial evidence is obviously far from definitive proof, though. Not when Star Wars, George Lucas, and Dave Filoni have established anyone can access the Force on some level. ( Without dark science, at least.) And Ahsoka‘s third episode also raised more questions about exactly what Ahsoka Tano hopes to accomplish with Sabine’s training. While she admitted “talent” has a lot to do with using the Force, she didn’t say a lack of talent was an impossible obstacle to overcome for Sabine. Focus and discipline are important, too. Ahsoka even cited Kanan’s comments about the Force living inside all things as a way to encourage her apprentice.
Except, something she told Huyang—who says the Jedi never would have accepted Sabine Wren as an apprentice—indicates she might not even be trying to train Sabine as a Jedi. Ahsoka Tano said she doesn’t need Sabine to become a Jedi; she needs her “to be herself.”
What exactly does that mean, and what does it have to do with Sabine’s Force capabilities? While we don’t yet know the level (or absence) of natural Force proclivities in Sabine Wren, whatever the answer to that question, it will be more important than any one character.
Why Does Sabine Wren’s Jedi Training Matter So Much?
Ahsoka wouldn’t train Sabine as a Jedi if she didn’t believe Sabine could join the ranks or at least learn to use the Force. So unless she’s flat-out wrong about what’s possible for a non-Force using Sabine to accomplish, there are two explanations for taking why she’d take her on as a Padawan.
If Sabine Wren has small levels of natural Force-sensitivities it lowers the threshold for who might become a Jedi someday. That could prove vital in a galaxy where the Order has only a handful of potential members, both now on Ahsoka and after Luke Skywalker’s death.
If Sabine has none but can still learn how to use the Force and become a Jedi (or something similar), it means anyone in the galaxy far, far away might be able to do the same. And if that’s true, the Force will no longer be the special purview of select individuals lucky enough to be born with high midi-chlorian counts. It will mean the Force will truly belong to everyone. Just as Obi-Wan Kenobi told us it does when we first heard about it.
Originally published on August 22, 2023.