- "How does it feel, Lord Vader… to be so weak? To feel such pain? To know such fear?"
- ―Darth Sidious, to Darth Vader
Force choke, a variant of and, at times, synonymous with Force grip, was a dark side Force power where one would use the the Force to choke or strangle a victim, oftentimes with a grip-like gesture. It was a technique of telekinesis that was frequently employed by the Sith and other users of the dark side of the Force, although there were some cases where Jedi or other users of the light side would use the technique.
- "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fort…"
- ―Conan Antonio Motti
The Force choke was a dark side Force power, meaning that the power was fueled from dark emotions such as fear, anger, and hatred. As the name suggested, the Force choke was used to telekinetically grip, squeeze or crush a victim's throat with the Force and restrict blood circulation or airflow. Some who used the ability demonstrated being able to lift their victim off the ground, holding the victim up by their necks. The technique could also be aimed to break the neck of a victim, either by twisting, bending or crushing it.
The power was generally used at close range, but in rare instances the target could be choked at greater distances if they were seen through a viewscreen. However, this power could be applied even if the user did not have a direct line of sight to the target, or even if the target was light-years away, viewed though a holocomm. Upon becoming a victim of the Force ability, a very distinctive sound could be heard resembling a person taking a deep gasp, usually followed by a low pitched bass-sound that ended when the user of the Force choke released their grip. However, there were very many instances of the technique being used without the sound occurring.
Depending on the degree of power applied, the effects of a Force choke on a person would result in either death, unconsciousness, or simply leaving the person gasping for air or unable to speak, with the ability sometimes being employed to incapacitate or subdue rather than to kill. However, the ability could be used to leave a victim mortally wounded even after releasing them, resulting in their death without the user having to do so directly.
The Force choke was generally used against one target at a time, while in some instances, perhaps involving an increase of dark side power fueled by intense emotions, such as rage, two targets could be grabbed in a Force choke at the same time; Asajj Ventress, and Savage Opress, demonstrated this on different occasions. However, both Darth Sidious and Darth Vader demonstrated the ability to choke at least two separate individuals simultaneously in relatively casual situations. Vader in particular was able to use the ability on numerous people simultaneously, and on one occasion used the ability to crush the throats of five Imperial officers to make a point.
- "Whatever conclusions you ultimately draw about the incident taking place between myself and Lord Vader during yesterday morning's briefing, he was wrong, and trying to crush someone else's windpipe doesn't make you any less wrong, if you're wrong to begin with. Which he was. I do not concede the argument."
- ―An unrepentant Motti after being telekinetically choked by Darth Vader
The Force choke was used to inflict harm or injury for various purposes, such as forcing a person to obey the user's commands. Sometimes it was used simply as an expression of anger or displeasure. Other times, it was used to kill outright. The Force choke was an effective tactic when engaged in lightsaber combat. Related to this, a Force choke could also be used as a display of power.
- "And before she could reveal the Jedi's name, Letta Turmond was strangled to death by way of the Force."
- ―Padmé Amidala, during the trial of Ahsoka Tano
Generally, Force choke was used by the Sith and other dark side users like Sixth Brother, Snoke, or Quinlan Vos after he became apprenticed to Dooku. However, despite their strict adherence to the light side of the Force, several Jedi were known to use this power, as although it was considered a dark side ability, it was also a technique of telekinesis. Its use, however, was forbidden by the Jedi.
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
As Anakin Skywalker
- "Mind tricks? I don't need mind tricks to get you to talk."
«I will never talk, Jedi.»
"We'll see about that, Poggle!"
- ―Anakin Skywalker, as he Force chokes information out of Poggle the Lesser
Anakin Skywalker began using Force chokes while he was still in his youth as a Jedi. He used it to an even deadlier effect when he assumed his Sith Lord persona, Darth Vader. Those under his command who failed him and were deemed in his opinion to no longer be worth their weight to the Galactic Empire would be executed in the relatively clean way of being Force choked to death. While many Imperial officers were paralyzed with fear when in the presence of the Dark Lord of the Sith, knowing his tendency to dispose of those who made even the slightest mistake, Vader himself took no pleasure in using the move and even considered it more forgiving than what the Galactic Emperor would do.[source?]
During the Clone Wars, the ship Padawans Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee were aboard was infected with the parasitic Geonosis brain worms. Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu attempted to gain intelligence from captured Separatist leader Poggle the Lesser, who had vital knowledge that could save Tano and Offee. However, the Jedi Masters' attempts to extract that information were unsuccessful. An angry Skywalker decided to take matters into his own hands, and entered Poggle's cell alone. Skywalker attempted to use a mind trick to get Poggle to talk, but it was unsuccessful. Poggle informed Skywalker that mind tricks wouldn't work on Geonosians, as the other Jedi had already discovered. Skywalker angrily knocked him down, telling him that he wouldn't need mind tricks to get him to cooperate. Skywalker then gave in to the dark side and grabbed Poggle using a Force choke, lifting him off the ground and throttling him until he finally explained that the brain worms were vulnerable to cold temperatures. The Jedi Masters were curious as to how Skywalker had managed to get Poggle to cooperate, but he refused to elaborate, keeping his dark actions secret.
While working undercover on Zygerria, Skywalker was captured by Queen Miraj Scintel, and awoke from a thrashing of electro-whips to find himself alone in her chambers. Realizing his apprentice Tano and former master Kenobi were missing, Skywalker angrily grabbed Scintel in a Force choke, demanding to know where his friends were. While choking in his grip, Scintel responded by telling him that his friends would die if he continued to misbehave. At this, Anakin reluctantly released her from the Force choke.
While searching for Kenobi's "killer" Rako Hardeen, who was in fact Kenobi himself, impersonating the bounty hunter, Anakin employed a Force choke against the bartender in the saloon where they were last seen.
During the trial of his Padawan Ahsoka, Skywalker went looking for Asajj Ventress in the dark underlevels of Coruscant in an attempt to gain information that would clear his Padawan's name. Anakin stalked Ventress and overpowered her, then Force choked her, demanding answers about her involvement with Ahsoka Tano and the rogue Jedi who framed Ahsoka for murder. Anakin was able to use the information he extracted from Ventress to expose Barriss Offee's involvement in the conspiracy.
As Darth Vader
- "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
- ―Darth Vader
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, Senator Padmé Amidala journeyed to Mustafar to confront her husband, unaware that Anakin Skywalker was now Darth Vader. Vader, who was bidden to destroy the Separatist Council by the Emperor, contemplated his chances of overthrowing Sidious. Vader was convinced that the dark side had made him more powerful than the Emperor; he rejected Amidala's pleas to run away together, and declared that they would rule the galaxy in Sidious' place. Amidala refused to join him moments before Kenobi appeared, causing Vader to give into his anger under the belief that his wife had betrayed him. Vader seized Amidala by the neck using the Force to strangle her in spite of her pleas and Kenobi's demand to release her. Although Vader eventually relented, Amidala lost consciousness and had to be taken to recover.
Following Vader's defeat and reconstruction as an armored cyborg, he inquired about his wife's condition. Sidious told his apprentice that he killed Amidala in anger, leaving Vader confused and distraught as his rage boiled over. Vader attacked Sidious with the Force, telekinetically slamming the Emperor into the wall and attempting to strangle him, though to no avail as Sidious shielded himself with his own powers. After disciplining his apprentice, Sidious warned Vader that he would finish what Kenobi did not if Vader ever tried to use the Force on him again.
Around nineteen years later, Vader met with Director Orson Callan Krennic in his personal retreat on Mustafar to discuss the secrecy of Project Stardust. When Krennic had the audacity to make a direct request of Vader, who was not surprised, for an audience with the Emperor and asked if he was still in charge of the project, an irritated Vader responded by Force choking him, bringing the Director to his knees. Rather than kill him, however, Vader sardonically warned Krennic not to "choke on (his) aspirations" before releasing him.
Not long after, in a meeting of Imperial officers aboard the DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti boasted of the battle station, claiming that the Death Star was the preeminent power in the galaxy. However, Vader rebutted this claim, warning Motti not to underestimate the power of the Force. Motti mocked Vader, insulting his devotion to the Force, contending that it had not helped him recover the stolen Death Star plans or locate the Rebels' hidden base. In response, and in a similar manner to how he had dealt with Krennic, Vader Force choked him and said, "I find your lack of faith disturbing." At Wilhuff Tarkin's command, Vader released Motti from the Force choke, though only at the last moment.
At the battle of Hoth, Admiral Kendal Ozzel attempted to surprise the Rebel Alliance by bringing the fleet out of hyperspace near Hoth rather than approach from the system's outskirts. However, his plan backfired and the tactical blunder only alerted the Alliance to the Empire's arrival, prompting them to raise their base's energy shield and evacuate the planet. Realizing that they would now have to waste resources in fighting a costly ground battle rather than simply destroying the base from orbit as a result of Ozzel's actions, Vader contacted the admiral from his meditation chamber aboard the Executor. Via a viewscreen, Ozzel announced that the fleet had arrived in the Hoth system, but his report was cut short when Vader began to Force choke the admiral as punishment for his blunder. Deciding that the man had made his final mistake, the Dark Lord executed Ozzel by Force choking him to death and immediately promoted captain Firmus Piett, who witnessed the gruesome execution, to fill Ozzel's position.
While in pursuit of the Millennium Falcon, Captain Lorth Needa was in command of the Avenger, one of the Imperial Star Destroyers. After the Falcon emerged from the asteroid field, the Avenger resumed its pursuit, but Captain Han Solo was able to outwit Needa, making it seem as though the Millennium Falcon had escaped. When Vader demanded an update on the Avenger's progress, Needa decided to travel to the Super Star Destroyer Executor to personally apologize to the Sith Lord for losing track of his quarry. Needa did just that, whereupon the Sith Lord Force choked the captain to death as penalty for his failure. Vader mockingly accepted Needa's apology before a pair of Imperial soldiers dragged his lifeless body away.
Confronting Luke Skywalker created conflict within Vader, as did his encounter with Sabé, a former handmaiden who resembled the late Amidala. The Emperor sensed as much from his apprentice, and decided to punish Vader in order to keep him strong with the dark side. Despite having his lightsaber taken away, Vader continued to fight back against the Emperor's Royal Guards. Grand Vizier Mas Amedda pulled a blaster on Vader, to which the Sith Lord called him a fool before telekinetically choking Amedda and the Royal Guards. Sidious approved of Vader's display of power, though it was not enough to stop the Emperor from overpowering Vader through his own command of the Force.
- "The punishment for a slave who does not obey her master."
- ―Dooku, to Miraj Scintel, as he Force chokes the defiant queen
On the planet Florrum, Darth Tyranus was captured by a gang of Weequay pirates for ransom. One of the pirates, Turk Falso, decided to go behind his leader's back and get the ransom for himself. However, his plans failed. Knowing that his leader would figure out his betrayal, Falso attempted to flee in a shuttle when he and his accomplice encountered Count Dooku, who had escaped from the pirate prison. Falso's escape was suddenly halted as Tyranus grabbed him in a lethal Force choke and manipulated his body to force him to shoot his accomplice with his blaster pistol. Dooku then escaped Florrum in the waiting shuttle.
On Naboo, while luring Skywalker into a trap in the order of his master Darth Sidious after General Grievous was captured by the Gungans, Tyranus Force choked Anakin and lifted him in the air after the latter Forced pushed his IG-100 MagnaGuards in anger.
On Zygerria, Queen Miraj Scintel received Dooku in her throne room and detailed her plot to enslave the Jedi as she did Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. She stated that an army of Jedi slaves would make Zygerria invincible. However, Dooku deemed her plan too ambitious and made it plain he was interested in eradicating the Jedi Order, not enslaving it. Dooku sensed her emotions for Skywalker and demanded that he be disposed of. Infuriated by Dooku's brash statements, Scintel drew an electro-whip and threatened the Count. Without even turning around to face her, Dooku throttled her with the Force. As she struggled to breathe against the Count's hold, Skywalker burst into the chamber and demanded that Dooku release her. Dooku did release Scintel from the Force choke, and dropped her to the floor. Before losing consciousness, she reached out to Skywalker and spoke his name softly.
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker traveled to the planet Oba Diah to investigate a new lead on the mysterious death of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, the Jedi who supposedly ordered the creation of the clone army. There, Skywalker and Kenobi found a man named Silman, who had been held captive for many years. Unfortunately for them, years of captivity had taken its toll on Silman's mental health, making it difficult to get any coherent information from him. However, Silman did reveal that someone powerful was behind the death of Sifo-Dyas, someone who wanted to steal his identity. Outside the cell, Dooku, who had arrived on the planet, Force choked two of the guards. Then, just as Silman was about to explain more about what happened, he was lifted off the ground in front of the astonished Jedi and Force choked to death by Dooku. Despite this, the Jedi were able to learn that Dooku and Darth Tyranus were the same person, and that he was actually behind the creation of the clone army.
Aboard the Separatist flagship, the Invisible Hand, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker found Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who had been kidnapped by Count Dooku. Just then, Dooku entered the room, and after verbal jousting, a lightsaber duel ensued between the three. Dooku held off both Jedi with his swordsmanship, then he grabbed Kenobi in a Force choke and hurled him away, knocking him out and effectively taking him out of the fight, leaving Dooku to face Skywalker alone.
During the battle of Teth, Ventress Force choked Clone Captain Rex in order to coerce him to give Skywalker's location in the B'omarr Order Monastery. However, Rex refused until she used a mind trick on him. During the Battle of Kamino, she Force choked ARC trooper commander Colt before she Force pulled him onto her lightsaber and kissed him. In a space battle in the Sullust system, Asajj Ventress's starfighter crashed on a Separatist flagship. Injured, Ventress was confronted by Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. A heated lightsaber battle ensued. After battling both Jedi, Ventress was brought to her knees and seemingly defeated. Refusing to surrender, she reached out in a final desperate fit of rage and Force choked both Jedi at the same time, momentarily halting their attack. Ventress was barely able to escape and seek refuge on her home planet, Dathomir.
After being betrayed by the Sith, Ventress got involved with some bounty hunters, including a young Boba Fett. Towards the end of a bounty hunting mission, Ventress and Boba began to argue about their part in the mission and their share of the bounty. Tempers quickly flared, and Boba brashly told Ventress that she did not know who she was dealing with. At that, Ventress lifted Boba in a Force choke and informed him that he did not know who he was dealing with. After this encounter, Boba found himself bound, gagged, and locked inside a box.
After completing the first stages of his Sith training, new apprentice Savage Opress was sent by his master Count Dooku to kidnap Katuunko, king of Toydaria. Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, who had been hunting for the apprentice, found Opress on Toydaria with the unconscious king slung over his back. While they engaged in combat, King Katuunko awoke and attempted to flee. Despite being nearly pinned by both Jedi, Opress caught Katunko in a Force choke, eventually crushing his throat and killing him.
After escaping the Jedi, Opress brought the dead king before Dooku, who became enraged that his orders were not followed and that the king was killed. Just then, Ventress entered Dooku's cabin. She reasserted her control over Opress, and they attacked the Count in concert. During the fight, Opress was repeatedly hit and weakened by Dooku's Force lightning. After Ventress and Dooku each criticized him for being weak, Opress snapped and turned against them both. In a fit of rage, he reached and grabbed both of them in a Force choke at the same time, then hurled them into the wall. This forced Ventress and Dooku to team up to repel his furious onslaught. They eventually left him to face Skywalker and Kenobi. Opress fought off the Jedi and the battle droids who turned against him by Dooku's order and managed to escape, although badly injured.
- "Our combined strength will be rewarded. Mandalore will be yours, and Kenobi, this Sith pretender Dooku, and all our enemies... will fall."
- ―Maul making a point as he holds Bo-Katan Kryze in the air with a Force choke in front of the Death Watch
At the Death Watch camp on Zanbar, Maul proposed an alliance to their leader Pre Vizsla, telling him and his assembled soldiers that he can help Death Watch reclaim Mandalore and kill Kenobi. Death Watch member Bo-Katan Kryze spoke out against this possible alliance, stating that they had once allied with a Sith, Dooku, who ended up betraying them. She expressed her mistrust to the Sith and stated that they were no better than the Jedi. She stated that the Sith claimed to be powerful, but pointed out that Maul and Opress were put back together only after they were "gutted" by the Jedi. At this, Maul grabbed her in a Force choke. As Bo-Katan gasped for breath, the Death Watch soldiers in the tent raised their weapons toward Maul. Pre Vizsla ordered his solders to hold their position. While choking Bo-Katan and holding her in the air with the Force, Maul declared that together, all their enemies would fall under their combined strength. At this, he released Bo-Katan, who fell to her knees. Despite this ordeal, when Maul left, Bo-Katan and Vizsla smiled at each other, as if all was going according to plan. Maul later left Satine Kryze suspended in the air by the neck while taunting Obi-Wan Kenobi and attempting to turn him to the Dark Side. He caused her to glide towards him so he could impale her with the Darksaber. Much later, while on Malachor, Maul choked the Seventh Sister and urged Ezra Bridger to kill her, but when the orphan refused, Maul threw his lightsaber at her, killing her instantly.
After Ahsoka was kidnapped and trapped in the harsh environment of Island Four to be hunted by Trandoshan hunters, she resolved to help her fellow prisoners. After witnessing the hunters killed two of the prisoners who arrived with her, she took action and ambushed a lone Trandoshan, briefly grabbing his neck with the Force to slam him down, only for him to gain the upper hand. This action inspired the youngling Kalifa to use the technique herself to try and to kill him out of hatred. Ahsoka convinced Kalifa to let him go, saying it was not the Jedi way.
Ahsoka Tano was investigating the bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar. The suspected bomber, Letta Turmond, was in custody and requested to speak with Tano alone. When Tano arrived, Turmond asked her for protection in exchange for the name of a Jedi involved in the temple bombing. However, before Turmond could reveal the Jedi's name, she was Force choked to death. Clone Commander Fox, who had seen the exchange on the security cameras, believed Tano was Force choking the prisoner, when in fact Tano was reaching out to Letta in an attempt to save her. Fox rushed into the cell, but Turmond was already dead and Tano was arrested for her murder. Tarkin came to visit Tano and showed her the security footage that made it looked like Tano was Force choking the prisoner. However, the sound had conveniently been disabled so no one could hear that Tano was trying to help.< It was later revealed that the person who Force choked Turmond to death and framed Tano was disgruntled Jedi Barriss Offee.
- "This is not the first time you have proven to be clumsy, Lord Tyranus. You know the price of failure."
- ―Sidious to Dooku as he Force chokes a lesson into him
Upon feeling a disturbance in the Force regarding the situation on Mandalore, Darth Sidious as Sheev Palpatine called Mas Amedda to prepare his ship. Upon arriving in Sundari, Sidious casually choked to death two Mandalorian super commandos who attempted to stop him as he did not have a landing permit, before heading to the Sundari Royal Palace. There, he announced his presence to his former apprentice Maul by Force choking two Mandalorian guards in the throne room from outside, levitating them up the side of the wall.
A furious Darth Sidious contacted Dooku via a holocomm regarding the Jedi, who seemed to be investigating a new lead on the mysterious death of Sifo-Dyas. Dooku expressed that he did not know what trail the Jedi were following. Sidious ordered Dooku to tie up these loose ends lest their plans be exposed, then he grabbed Dooku in a Force choke and lifted him off the ground, reminding him of the dangerous consequences of clumsiness and failure. After the communication ended, Dooku was released from the Force choke and picked himself up while coughing from the punishment and went to fulfill his assignment. At the time, Dooku was on Serenno in the Outer Rim and Sidious was on Coruscant in the Core Worlds.
During his reign as Emperor, Sidious applied the Force choke technique on Vader to demonstrate how weak the apprentice was compared to the master. Vader struggled helplessly as his master taunted him about his past as the Jedi Order's prophesied Chosen One. The Emperor asked Vader how it felt to be powerless, hurt and afraid as he relentlessly strangled him with the Force, reminding Vader of the various individuals that he had used this technique on throughout his time as a Sith Lord, from Amidala and Sabé, to the many Imperial officers who suffered his wrath. Though Sidious spared Vader from death, he considered him to be no different than a tool that was discarded once its usefulness ended.
- "That is not okay!"
"Curious? It almost killed me!"
- ―Cara Dune and Kuiil, after Grogu choked Dune
While returning to Nevarro to put an end to the bounty placed on Grogu, Din Djarin, and Carasynthia Dune passed time with an arm wrestling match. Mistaking their playful competition as a genuine threat to Djarin's safety, Grogu grabbed Cara in a Force choke that lasted until Djarin managed to defuse the situation. This event shocked Djarin, as it was the second known clear use of the Force he had seen from Grogu. Kuiil, who also witnessed the choke, remarked that it reminded him of something he had heard about when working in the Empire, but was interrupted before he could elaborate on this. Grogu also used Force choke as well as telekinesis on two stormtroopers on Moff Gideon's light cruiser.
- "The Supreme Leader is dead."
"Long live the Supreme Leader."
- ―Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux
During the Battle of Oetchi, General Armitage Hux entered the Supremacy throne room where he found Supreme Leader Snoke and his Elite Praetorian Guards dead. Unknown to Hux, it was Kylo Ren who killed Snoke and helped Rey defeat the guards. Ren ordered Hux to deploy the First Order Army to Crait, determined to end the war against the Resistance. When Hux refused to comply, Ren started to strangle the general with the Force, using the dark side ability as a tool of intimidation. Unable to resist Ren's powers, Hux capitulated to Ren, whom he acknowledged as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order.
At the climax of the hunt for the Colossus, Ren grew annoyed with Agent Tierny and Commander Pyre's repeated failures to capture the Colossus refueling station. After Pyre was killed by Kazuda Xiono during the rescue of Tamara Ryvora, Ren contacted Tierny via hologram. She begged him for reinforcements, but he refused, telling her the First Order did not tolerate weakness. He then Force choked Tierny to death as punishment for her repeated failures.
After Darth Sidious revealed himself to have revived after his death during the Battle of Endor, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren informed the First Order High Command about the phantom emperor's proposal to seize control of the galaxy with a massive armada to form a new Sith Empire. When General Domaric Quinn expressed his doubts on the Supreme Leader's faith on the Sith Eternal, dismissing them as cultists and soothsayers despite Allegiant General Enric Pryde's opinion that their resources could benefit them, Ren cut Quinn off by choking and slamming him into the ceiling of the conference room.
Behind the scenes
During the episode "Brain Invaders," while Anakin Skywalker was Force choking Poggle the Lesser, the background music played a variant of "The Imperial March," a somber musical piece that is frequently associated with Darth Vader, perhaps hinting at the darkness that resided in Anakin and his eventual fall to the dark side.
In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the distinctive Force choke sound effect introduced in The Clone Wars film was used on the big screen in live-action for the first time, as heard in the section of the film where Vader chokes Director Krennic, warning him not to "choke on [his] aspirations."
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Zander's Joyride" (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "The Tower of Alistan Nor" (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Flight of the Arrowhead" (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Escape from Coruscant"