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"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 Darth Tyranus, after assaulting Opress with a barrage of Force lightning[src]

Force lightning was a power that Force users, such as the Sith, could conjure through the dark side.[6] It was an offensive technique which involved a discharge of electrical energy from the practitioner's hands[1] and was capable of inflicting severe pain on the target of this attack as well as possible disfigurement.[7] 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.[8]

A Jedi could deflect the lightning with a lightsaber; a powerful Jedi Master, such as Yoda was capable of absorbing the attack using only the Force[2] but only for a short while and with immense effort.[9] Gungan personal energy shields were also capable of repelling Force lightning.[10]

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 Darth Sidious' lightning.[11] 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.[3]

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[7]—or even through heavy armor.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

Adventures of Luke - Force Lightning

Darth Sidious blasting Luke Skywalker with lightning in Ralph McQuarrie artwork seen in The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

Force lightning first appeared in the 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, the final film of the Star Wars original trilogy.[1] In Star Wars Legends, a few Jedi, such as Luke Skywalker, used a variant of Force lightning.[12] The Databank entry for Force lightning, however, says that in current canon, it's exclusively a dark-side power.[13]

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 on Sidious and disfiguring and scarring the Sith Lord's body.[7] 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.[1] 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.[14]

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  2. 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  3. 3.0 3.1 Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
  4. 4.0 4.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Altar of Mortis"
  5. 5.0 5.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Massacre"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Encyclopedia-Logo Sith in the Encyclopedia (link now obsolete; backup link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  8. Star Wars Battlefront II
  9. Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
  10. SWCustom-2011 Poll: Which Star Wars Weapon Would You Use? on StarWars.com
  11. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir, Part Four
  12. Dark Nest I: The Joiner King
  13. StarWars-DatabankII Force Lightning in the Databank (backup link)
  14. TwitterLogo @missingwords (Matt Martin) on Twitter "This is not an official answer but I just always assumed there was more going on with Palps and it wasn't just a result of the lightning itself. Maybe he overexerted himself and that caused it? Maybe he had the voltage turned up higher? IDK, but I never saw it as an inconsistency"