In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Sheev Palpatine or Darth Sidious says this:
“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
Now, it might have been obvious for some time, but now it looks like we can finally put Force lightning firmly in the dark-side-only category. Also, a new DK book titled just The Star Wars Book pretty much says just that. Twitter user @OldManBlinks shared some pages from his book, and in a section titled “Unlimited Power: The Sith Order,” there is an interesting excerpt. We have listed it below:
“The Sith’s focus on the dark opens up powers that a Jedi dare not wield, such as the ability to corrupt the Force through focused rage to launching deadly lightning from their fingertips.”
This line basically says the same as the StarWars.com databank entry. It says:
“Force lightning is a dark side ability used to torture, disfigure, and even kill one’s victims. Blue in color, Sith shoots Force lightning from their hands by calling on their hatred and aggressive feelings. However, while a deadly weapon, it is not unstoppable. Force lightning can be deflected and absorbed by a lightsaber, and select Jedi have proved able to neutralize the technique through the power of the light side.”
So Force lightning has been always seen as a power that was wielded by the dark side users. But Legends asked a question that not many did before- can light side users use this power? Let us explore that here:
Know thatJedi Master Plo Koon was able to use an ability called Electric Judgement in the Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles videogame. Also, it seemed like Grand Master Luke Skywalker was capable of using such lightning powers after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as well. Albeit it might have taken him decades to master this power. However, we still haven’t seen any Jedi use Electric Judgement in canon.
But we did get to see Rey use Force lightning in The Rise of Skywalker. Now, Rey is a Jedi who falls in the light side. Also, there’s one important thing we should note with Rey- we don’t ever see her training in dark side powers. So it does feel odd that she can wield Force lightning powers.
When Rey is shown using Force lightning, it does seem accidental and maybe a result of her succumbing to the anger that she has towards Kylo Ren as they are trying to take control of the ship that’s still in the air. Now, in the previous movie, The Last Jedi, we all saw a quick moment where Rey is with Luke Skywalker, and her eyes are closed. After that, she goes straight to the dark side.
So even though Rey doesn’t want to be part of the dark side, and neither does she practice it, but it seems like the dark side powers are beyond her control. However, in The Rise of Skywalker, it does make sense that the creators gave her Force lightning powers to foreshadow the fact that she’s a descendant of Palpatine.
After all, Force lightning is most clearly associated with him, and he was the very first character that we saw use this power. This might mean that bloodline is the reason behind Rey being able to use her Force lightning powers. However, even this doesn’t make much sense as well.
This because people can voluntarily choose whether they want to be on the light side or the dark side. So Rey’s powers or the side she will be on getting decided all due to a bloodline doesn’t match the message of Star Wars as a whole. After all, Star Wars has always focused on choosing. For example, Anakin chose to go to the dark side when he had the chance to prevent evil.
Also, Luke chose to stay with the light side even though he could have chosen to murder his villainous father responsible for widespread death and destruction. So the bloodline shouldn’t play this big a role.
By the end of the movie, The Rise of Skywalker, Rey chooses to stay in the light even though there are moments where she doesn’t have control, and strays to the darkness. Overall, Rey’s lightning powers do muddy waters a little especially since it doesn’t seem to be in line with the overall message of the Star Wars saga. Maybe if Rey appears in The Mandalorian season 3, then this issue might get explained.
But, Lucasfilm’s assertion from now on is that Force lightning can be used just by people who are on the dark side. So the Rey situation might just be an anomaly. After all, even though it’s a really cool power to use in a video game, but it really doesn’t make any sense for the Jedi to use it against other living beings. After all, it fundamentally goes against their Jedi ways and beliefs.