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Who Can Use Force Lightning?

Who Can Use Force Lightning?

The Emperor, or Sheev Palpatine, was known for using Force lightning. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the Emperor mercilessly inflicts Luke Skywalker with these blasts of lightning. 

Other Sith were known for using Force lightning too. It is a power that coincides with the Dark Side, but can only the Sith use it?

Who can use Force lightning? Sith Lords are the ones who primarily use Force lightning. The Jedi can also use it, but usually choose not to do so.

The Power of Force Lightning

Force Lightning illustration

Force lightning is the ability to harness and direct a blast of electricity. This power is usually associated with Sith Lords and the Dark Side of the Force. 

The power of Force lightning depends on the skill and control of the user. Sith Lords like Darth Sidious would cast bolts of lightning that could kill an opponent instantaneously and throw them backward.

Force lightning comes in four colors, blue, yellow, green, and red. But the forms we see the most are blue-white and blue-purple, the colors that Darth Sidious casts on his opponents. 

Darth Bane is another Sith Lord who uses Force lightning and can kill a target upon hitting it. Lesser-skilled Sith Lords may shoot out less intense, shorter bursts of lightning from their fingertips. 

Because of the power of Force lightning, this form of energy is often used to torture opponents. For example, Darth Sidious tortured Luke Skywalker with Force lightning, causing him to writhe in pain on the ground in Return of the Jedi.

At other times, Force lightning has so much power that it can cause an opponent’s skeletal system to glow. Audiences could see this effect on Skywalker along with his glowing teeth and smoke rising. 

Luke Confronts The Emperor

We also saw this happen to Mace Windu when he tried to eliminate Palpatine in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but Anakin intervened. 

Mace Windu Vs Palpatine (Darth Sidious) Leg PT-BR, English Dub 1080p

Beforehand, Palpatine also felt the impact of Force lightning while Windu deflected it back at him–ultimately deforming him into the Emperor. 

The Dark Side and Force Lightning

The Dark Side of the Force and Force lightning correspond with one another. Darth Sidious is the best-known user of it. 

The Emperor also could use Dark Aura. This type of Force lightning creates a storm of energy and lightning that can be shot up in the air and inflict all those within reach. 

In Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Darth Sidious shoots Force lightning up into space, spreading out and decimating the Resistance Fleet. This use of Dark Side Force lightning is the most powerful example in the Star Wars saga. 

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker - Emperor Palpatine Force Lightning - Scene

Supreme Leader Snoke is another key Dark Side Force lightning user. In the sequel movies, Snoke is the first one to use Force lightning. In Episode VII: The Last Jedi, Snoke injects Kylo Ren with Force lightning as a punishment

In the prequels, we see that Count Dooku uses Force lightning. This Sith Lord’s ability to summon the Dark Side of the Force also makes him quite skilled and deadly. 

Before becoming a Sith Lord, Dooku was able to use Force lightning when he was abducted for a Dark Side ritual. He used this power to kill his captors and escape. 

Count Dooku and his force lightning

Dooku then became a Jedi and used his Force lightning powers to save his apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn. 

As a Sith, Dooku used Force lightning more frequently in battle. Yet, he had learned how to use it when he was a Jedi. Can other Jedi use Force lightning?

The Jedi and Force Lightning

Jedi can use Force lightning too. Grand Master Yoda is a prime example.

Yoda defends himself against Count Dooku’s Force lightning attack in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Yoda casts the lightning back at Dooku. 

This encounter does not show Yoda directly using Force lightning, but he does use it in this manner in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Jedi Master Yoda in the Star Wars universe

Yoda strikes the Tree Library on the planet Ahch-To. So, this shows Yoda using Force lightning. But Yoda did not actually produce this lightning internally – he pulled it from the environment around him. 

In both instances, Yoda indicates that the Jedi tend not to produce Force lightning, but can interact with it and absorb it. In Revenge of the Sith, for example, Yoda absorbs Darth Sidious’s Force lightning. 

Why don’t the Jedi use this power if they have the capability?

The main reason why Jedi do not usually use Force lightning is that it requires drawing on the Dark Side of the Force. Jedi do not want to follow in the pathway of the Sith, who summon their Force lightning by focusing on aggression and hatred

Using Force lightning counteracts the ways of the Jedi, who seek to protect others, not inflict harm. By extension, the Jedi usually do not use Force lightning because it seems to be immoral.

The primary example we have of a Jedi directly using Force lightning reflects this slip into the Dark Side.

In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey destructively uses Force lightning. As she battles with Kylo Ren over the control of a transport ship attempting to leave the planet Pasana, she throws a jet of lightning at the ship.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker - Rey Uses Force Lightning | Ultra HD

The ship explodes, and she believes initially that she has killed Chewbacca by mistake. She is shocked and horrified by how her anger became uncontrolled and led to the death of her friend.

This scene demonstrates that any Force user can tap into lightning by way of anger. Because of such incidents, the Jedi usually steer clear of Force lightning.

Force Lightning

Rey’s outburst of Force lightning demonstrates that the Jedi can use this power. Yet, this scene also indicates that Force lightning is mostly associated with Sith power.

The reason why Rey may have blasted lightning at the First Order transport is the shared bloodline with Palpatine. So, she may have been more readily capable of using Force lightning.

Like other Jedi, she uses this moment as a learning experience. It helps move her further to the Light Side of the Force. The Jedi will resist using Force Lightning. The Sith will embrace it.