Recently I re-watched the Star Wars prequel movies, and right away I noticed something that I overlooked many times before. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi use a power called Force Speed in The Phantom Menace. Check out the video below to see what I am talking about.
This is the first, and arguably the only time, we see Force Speed being used on film. When Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are cornered by Droidekas, they escape using Force Speed which, thanks to special effects in 1999, looks absolutely ridiculous, especially when it cuts to the shot of their lightsabers bobbing up and down as they run down the hallway.
During my re-watch of The Phantom Menace, I had to rewind this scene over and over again. Why would this be included in the movie and never be addressed again? This question started my investigation: Was Force Speed ever used again in the films? The quick answer is no.
There are some arguments online that Qui-Gon used Force Speed when he grabbed Jar Jar’s tongue in the dinner scene inside of Anakin’s home. There are also arguments Mace Windu used Force Speed in his fight against Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith. I read deeply into both theories and they just don’t hold up.
We do, however, see Force Speed being used in numerous books, comics, video games, and in The Clone Wars. That still doesn’t answer why Force Speed wasn’t used more often in the films. It’s a power that could have come in handy on a number of occasions.
Most notably is during the fight between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul. During the fight, Obi-Wan could have used Force Speed to catch up to Qui-Gon and Darth Maul. When the force fields open up, why didn’t Obi-Wan just quicky speed through the gates and jump back into the fight, effectively saving Qui-Gon’s life?
I looked into every argument against this, the only one that really holds any ground with me is that Force Speed expends a lot of energy. We don’t see the aftermath of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan running down the hallway, but in books and comics, we do see that after using this burst of speed the Jedi are wiped out and need a moment to recover, like a Cheetah. Using this power against Darth Maul wouldn’t be a good idea.
My favorite example of this is in the video game Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, when the player casts Force Speed it uses up half of the Force energy that a player has, further showing how much energy this takes out of the user.
This could explain why Obi-Wan didn’t use Force Speed to help Qui-Gon. The honest and more likely answer is George Lucas forgot that he included it in the beginning of the movie. If there is anything consistent about the prequel movies is that the writing is inconsistent.
Lucas included Force Speed in the beginning because it was a convenient plot device to get our main characters out of danger. But when it came to the final battle with Darth Maul, Lucas needed to kill Qui-Gon. He needed Obi-Wan to begin his journey to become the wise Old Ben we see in A New Hope, so he puts up force fields as an obstacle for Obi-Wan. It was the easiest way to separate the two Jedi from each other in the fight against Darth Maul.
But in doing so he forgot about the one power he used so easily, the one power that can overcome the obstacle he put in front of Obi-Wan. And we as Star Wars fans forgive this and come up with reasons why Obi-Wan couldn’t possibly have used this power to change the outcome of The Phantom Menace. In reality, we just want to defend the lazy and inconsistent writing of George Lucas.
Looking back, seeing Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon use Force Speed sticks out like a sore thumb, despite the power showing up frequently in other Star Wars media.