Warning! Spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic #8
It has been proven that a classic Jedi power belongs on the dark side in the Star Wars galaxy. The Force is a pathway to many abilities, but this specific usage is amplified when a dark side user is in control.
The High Republic is exploring an era in the galaxy when there was peace, 200 years before the return of the Sith. As it paves the way for the Jedi to eventually become the familiar heroes that fans know them to be, it is weaving in classic Force abilities that haven’t been seen in the films. Since Disney reset the expanded universe of Star Wars when Lucasfilm was sold, there are many Force powers which have been left untapped in current canon. Recently, one of these old Jedi abilities resurfaced in Star Wars: The High Republic #8, written by Cavan Scott with art by Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, and Annalisa Leoni.
Jedi have been able to use the Force to create a special bond with animals, but the ability seems more fitting to the dark side. When the nature-centric villains known as the Drengir use the Force to weaponize arthropods, they prove that they have an advantage over the light side. Although Star Wars: Darth Vader is set many years into the future, it was recently revealed in Darth Vader #11 that Darth Sidious is able to similarly weaponize the beast called the Summa-Verminoth. In response, Darth Vader controlled a giant lobster-like creature to kill the monster on the Sith planet, Exegol.
It checks out that dark side users would have a deeper connection with nature, as they override the will of the Force to bend life to their desire. Since the Drengir are plant-like beings, it is only natural that they would have a unique advantage with such life forms. Throughout previous canon, “animal bonding” was a casual occurrence, with both Sith and Jedi using the ability. Central figures in the expanded universe used the Force on animals, such as Jacen Solo, Darth Talon, and even Darth Bane. For The High Republic to depict the Drengir as being able to control other beings, when Darth Vader recently showed the Sith being capable of the same power, sets a precedent for the classic ability to become more commonplace in new canon.
Although Ezra Bridger had performed the ability in Rebels, these two instances in recent comics seem to cement the power as a better fit for dark side users. With a Force ability that seems like a natural inclusion to the universe of Star Wars, it’s reassuring for longtime fans to see it resurface. As the Drengir continue to be a threat for the young Jedi of The High Republic, they’re likely to make weaponizing creatures a signature Force move.