Believe it or not readers but, somehow, I've managed to get through the first half of the year without writing an article directly about Zombies - an astounding feat for a person totally obsessed with the living dead like me. In order to rectify this situation (the restless dead must never remain neglected for too long), I am going to attempt to answer a question of epic proportion - one that has been on my mind, and quite possibly the minds of some of the more quizzical Zombie fans, for years; Would a Jedi Mind Trick work on a Zombie?
That is a pretty big question, I think you'll agree - its awe-inspiring magnitude is really quite daunting. However you may spot a problem right away. Both Zombies and Jedi are fairly uncommon on the celestial body the human race calls home, especially the latter. This, I'll admit, made me stop and think, for a second, of the importance of solving this cosmic conundrum - only for a second, mind you. Jedi exist in the Star Wars universe and who doesn't like Star Wars? My destiny was sealed. The question must be answered.
And, just before I get into the blood-curdling meat of this article, for anyone not yet convinced of the validity of this theoretical exercise, consider the recent discovery of The Force right here on Earth by the European Organization for Nuclear Research - CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force. This is no mere joke, no comical belly-laugh - this is real science people, performed by people who know what they are doing. They made this groundbreaking revelation on April 1st. Huh - April 1st? You couldn't make this stuff up.
Well, youngling (and I will refer to you, dear reader, as a wayward youngling seeking knowledge from a learned Master, keeping with the Star Wars theme of this article of valour), I'm glad you asked. A "Mind Trick" is the application of a Jedi's Force power of mind control to influence or significantly alter the behaviour of another sentient lifeform. Most "Mind Tricks" are performed to elicit withheld information from a subject or to encourage them to witness a hostile action and not react in the usual manner. The most notable example that I know of - I'm sure that true Star Wars boffins will be able to inform you of far more pertinent examples in the universe's extremely long history - is when Luke Skywalker travels, his two loveable droids in tow, with Old Ben Kenobi to Mos Eisley spaceport on Tatooine.
Obi-Wan later says that Mind Tricks only work on the weak-minded (those of slow wit like the "just following orders" Stormtroopers - quite a rude thing to say about the forces of the imperium, but I like to think they get these sort of accusations all the time and can brush them aside fairly casually). If you know anything about Zombies - and being an avid The Dead Times reader, you do - you will know you can't get much more 'weak-minded' than the walking dead.
In the goretastic 1985 Zombie film, Day of the Dead, arguably the best movie ever made in terms of the gut-wrenching accuracy of the gut-wrenching Zombies and one of indisputable fact due to direction from the Godfather of the Dead himself, George A. Romero, Dr. Logan performs various experiments on the living dead. His ultimate goal is to domesticate the dead, a plan solidified in possibility (to his mind at least) by the produce of his last and most successful experiment; the near-humanisation of the Zombie he lovingly names "Bub", after his father. However, an earlier, more grisly, experiment, one driven by Captain Rhodes' ambition to annihilate the undead by force, shows that Zombies only utilize the base sections of the brain - unless this area is damaged, even a headshot will not render the dead ineffective. These brain-centres govern the most basic functions - walking, chewing, hand movement - and the most primitive of desires - the need to feed.
© Dr. Logan explains the anatomy of the Zombie brain | Mad doctor horror movies
In all my wide experience of these things, there is no example of a "Mind Trick" ever influencing these areas of the mind. For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi never uses the Force to manipulate somebody into walking off a cliff, opening a door or chewing their best friend. If Jedi could manage this form of true Mind Control, why go into battle at all (not that peacekeeping Jedi would willing start a scuffle)? Surely they could just hijack the, admittedly small, intellect of Stormtroopers and control their bodies to do all the dangerous fighting for them - staying in cover while the blaster shots phizz by. Still, saying that, even with their higher-level 'just influence thoughts' Mind Trickery, why do Jedi get into fights in the first place - can't they just Mind Trick everyone into getting along, working together in peace and harmony? Questions, so many questions. It would appear the Force is not strong with me. Or is my quizzical nature about the fabric of the universe and creatures within it proof that, the Force is indeed strong with me? I must consult with the Jedi Council… when I find it...
The answer to the question of whether a Jedi Mind Trick would work on a Zombie is dubious. There is simply not enough science surrounding this dilemma. The main problem is that we have never seen a Zombie and a Jedi in the same room - if we had, we would discover the truth (or a Zombie feasting on the corpse of a Jedi). Now a lightsaber on the other hand...
© What if lightsabers were used in a Zombie Apocalypse? | hbd chick
It is time for me, the knower of all things Zombie, to address the eternal question of whether a Jedi Mind Trick would work on a Zombie. In this article I struggle to find and document an answer, starting, as you might expect, with a description of what a Jedi Mind Trick actually is and why it is at least plausible, that it could work on a Zombie.