- "How does one defend against such power?"
"A wise master does not reveal all his secrets at once. In due time, my apprentice."
- ―Savage Opress and Count Dooku, after assaulting Opress with a barrage of Force lightning
Description[edit | edit source]
Power of destruction[edit | edit source]
- "If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Luke Skywalker
Force lightning was an offensive technique which involved a discharge of electrical energy from the practitioner's hands and was capable of killing or inflicting severe pain on the target of this attack as well as possible disfigurement or even disintegrating them.
In some cases, the intensity of Force lightning was so high that the victim's skeletal system glowed and could be seen through his or her skin—as demonstrated with Mace Windu—or even through heavy armor. Force lightning could also have other effects in rare instances. During the mission to Pasaana, while battling Kylo Ren, the Jedi Rey released a burst of Force lightning so powerful it was able to obliterate a First Order troop transport ship. Shortly after, during the Battle of Exegol, Darth Sidious unleashed a barrage of Force Lightning that completely disabled the ships in the citizens' fleet above.
Variations[edit | edit source]
A variant of the ability, known as chain lightning, involved a burst of lightning that would spread from the first target to those around them. Another variant used by Sidious was the power Dark Aura, a miniature storm of malevolent Force energy and lightning surrounding its producer that tortured and slowed the movement of all caught within its radius.
Force lightning occurred in at least four colors; blue, green, yellow, and red. The typical form was a bluish-purple version as demonstrated by Darth Sidious, Darth Tyranus, Snoke, and Rey; Nightsister magick equivalents were green like magical ichor as demonstrated by Mother Talzin. Darth Momin's lightning glowed yellow, and red lightning was used by the Son—a represention of the dark side—and the disembodied spirit of Darth Vader when he entered a portal in his castle on Mustafar.
Counteractions[edit | edit source]
- "As you can see, my Jedi powers are far beyond yours. Now, back down."
"I don't think so."
- ―Count Dooku and Obi-Wan Kenobi
A Jedi and Sith could deflect the lightning with a lightsaber; a powerful Jedi Master such as Yoda was capable of deflecting the attack using Force deflection but only for a short while and with immense effort. Gungan personal energy shields were also capable of repelling Force lightning. Mace Windu and Rey were both able to deflect Sidious' lightning back onto him using lightsabers. In Rey's case, the force of his own reflected lightning was what ultimately destroyed Sidious. Quinlan Vos was able to deflect the Force lightning of Tyranus back onto him with his lightsaber.
Usage[edit | edit source]
- "Now you will experience the full power of the dark side."
- ―Darth Sidious, to Yoda
Vader blasted an illusion of his Sith Master, Darth Sidious, with red Force lightning before confronting the visage of his late wife, Padmé Amidala. Momin planned to pour the Force into his engine via his version of Force lightning, at the moment of ignition to use it to slow down time, trapping the expressions of horror and pain on the city's inhabitants forever.
Other dark side wielders besides the Sith were able to harness the ability. Mother Talzin conjured her own version of Force lightning that was powerful enough to block Sidious' lightning. Supreme Leader Snoke used it to subdue his apprentice, Kylo Ren when the young knight lost control of his anger. Snoke's use of Force lightning varied from previous practitioners, as he projected energy against the floor, causing it to bounce upward and knock the target off their feet.
Although its use was officially forbidden by the Jedi Order, light-siders like the Jedi could also use this power. Dooku, during his time as a member of the Jedi Order, utilized it spontaneously during a painful Force vision to kill some Presagers of Hakotei, without any known prior training and also used it on Shenda Mol to save his Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn while on Numidian Prime, although Qui-Gon was unaware of it.
During the mission to Pasaana, in a skirmish with the First Order, the Jedi Rey was trying to bring down a First Order transport she believed was carrying Chewbacca. She and Kylo Ren were both trying to bring the transport to themselves with the Force, and in her anger, she accidentally unleashed lightning upon it, destroying the ship immediately.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Conception and development[edit | edit source]
As sound designer Ben Burtt wanted sounds for sparks and artificial lightning akin to those in Frankenstein films during the production of the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Burtt tracked down Ken Strickfaden, the person who built and kept the props of Frankenstein, and asked if he could record sounds from the still-functional Frankenstein props. Strickfaden initially denied the request, but, during the production of the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, was stunned after watching the 1977 Star Wars film and drove Burtt to his house in Santa Monica, switching on all his props and allowing Burtt to record the sounds. Much of the Emperor's Force lightning attack on Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi made use of sounds recorded from Strickfaden's Frankenstein props, with the sound effects being used in subsequent Star Wars media.
Disfigurement[edit | edit source]
There has been a debate about the consequences of Force lightning in an individual. In Revenge of the Sith, after having been bested by Mace Windu, Darth Sidious uses Force lightning against the Jedi Master, who repels it with his lightsaber, deflecting it onto Sidious and disfiguring and scarring the Sith Lord's body. However, previous to the Force lightning's appearance in Sith, Sidious blasted Luke Skywalker with Force lightning in Return of the Jedi several times and Skywalker wasn't disfigured or scarred. Though an official explanation of this inconsistency has yet to be given, Lucasfilm Story Group's Matt Martin has shared his thinking for what the explanation could be, as he never saw it as an inconsistency. In his mind, it was Sidious' own fault that his disfigurement took place, assuming that he overexerted himself, causing the Force lightning's voltage to be higher, unlike when he later attacked Skywalker.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Kyber Saber"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Trouble on Tibalt"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "The Pit and the Pinnacle"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Flight of the Arrowhead"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Return of the Jedi"
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Gambit on Geonosis" (In flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Sources[edit | edit source]
- (First identified as Sith Lightning)
- (Set: 75093 Death Star Final Duel)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 14 (Weapons & Uniforms: The Sith; Highlights of the Saga: The Second Death Star)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 15 (Highlights of the Saga: Palpatine Unmasked)
- Star Wars: Destiny Two-Player Game
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 49 (Databank A-Z: Serenno–Anakin Skywalker)
- Star Wars: Destiny – Across the Galaxy (Card: Burst of Lightning)
- Star Wars: The Dark Side
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 72 (Databank A-Z: Mace Windu)
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, New Edition
- Star Wars: How Not to Get Eaten by Ewoks and Other Galactic Survival Skills
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi
- The Star Wars Book
- Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian – "Legacy"
- Star Wars Bust Collection 4 (Star Wars Universe: Jedi vs. Sith: An Imbalance in the Force)
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Dooku: Jedi Lost
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Altar of Mortis"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Massacre"
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 22
- Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 25
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Dark Disciple
- Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 4
- Star Wars Expert Guide
- Master & Apprentice