"May the Force be with you."
Said just about everyone. Those magic six words have been impressed into the consciousness of planet Earth by the almighty behemoth of Star Wars. The forceful phrase of goodwill, meaning that the Force is in the addressee's favor, was first forced out from the (barely worthy) throats of Han Solo and General Dodonna in Episode IV — A New Hope (1977), and has appeared throughout the franchise.
But did you know the phrase in everyday parlance could almost have been:
"The Force will be with you. Always"
ALWAYS! IT WILL! FORCE! AAH! Now there's a ball curvier than BB-8. The suffixing of the phrase with 'always' and the interjection of 'will' is a rare beast — it only appears once, in Episode IV — A New Hope.
Watch the clip of Obi-Wan Kenobi dropping the 'always' bomb to Luke Skywalker:
What the fuck, Obi-Wan? The twist refers to Obi-Wan not having many words left. He is about to die under the lightsaber of Darth Vader. The phrase is the last thing he says to Luke. Boo-hoo right?
You may have met the word 'always' before, but I bet you don't know the origin. 'Always' is an adverb that can mean every time; all the time; forever; or at any time. It first appeared in the 14th Century as a compound of the Old English phrase 'ealne weg,' meaning 'all the way' of space or distance. This root fits with the Force being a metaphysical power spread across the universe.
The phrase ended with 'always' from Obi-Wan is prescient. It is a final lesson to Luke about what happens to true Jedi masters when they die. They have 'become One with the Force,' as is explained in the Expanded Universe novels, according to user Jeff on this sci-fi thread, and the reason why Obi-Wan (and Yoda) disappear when they die.
In this context the phrase may be seen as a conclusion of his teaching of Luke. By having mentored him about the Force he will live on, in a sense, through his disciple.
The implication is that they have now become part of the Force as Force ghosts! These ghouls are divorced (or diforced) from life but can still communicate with the living. They shed their body, get absorbed by the Force and become pure energy — hovering as milky energy a bit like Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Some of the traits of Force spirits:
- Cannot harm or be harmed by physical things
- Can pass through solid matter
- Some are pulled by gravity, others drift
- Can acquire temporary solidity by drawing on a living creature's Force
- Can wield some Force powers
- Can travel as if they were apparating in Harry Potter to anywhere in the galaxy
It all sounds a bit Ghost of Christmas Past to me.
May the Force be with you
The well-known phrase is often said to individuals as they impart on a dangerous challenge. Kind of like 'break a leg,' 'bon chance' or 'go get 'em tiger.' I wish Obi-Wan had said any of these. It also has undertones of religious incantations, like 'peace be with you' in the Christian Church.
In the six original films altogether the exact phrase has been unleashed a grand (Moff) total of 14 times. It was said just once in The Force Awakens last year, with Leia holding a candle to its mysterious power by saying it to Han Solo.
It is threaded throughout the franchise, the verbal glue of Star Wars. It also appears in the literature — in the intro for Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide Dave Filoni wrote: 'The Force will be with you, always.' In The Adventures of Luke Skywalker the Jedi Knight says: 'May the Force be with you' against a star-strewn backdrop. The last sentence of The Rebellion Begins says: 'May the Force be with them all.'
Other permutations in the cinema according to Jeffrey J. Stables on Quora include:
- 'The Force is [strong] with you' - three times
- 'May the Force be with us' - twice
- 'The Force will be with you' - twice
- 'The Force is [unusually] [strong] with him' - twice
- 'The Force is with us' - once
- 'The Force is strong with her' - once
- 'How strongly the Force was with him' - once
Death is part of life in the Jedi tradition. The groundbreaking deviation by Obi-Wan demonstrates the power of the original phrase, and in bending it, furthers our understanding of the Force.