Can Darth Vader use Force Lightning?

Today we’re going to investigate can Darth Vader use Force Lightning. To do this we’re going use sources from both Star Wars Legends and also from Canon.

Vader’s use of Force Lightning in Star Wars Legends

For a long time, it was unclear why Darth Vader never used Force Lightning. That is, until the Legends comic Splinter of the Minds Eye was released. In the comic, it is stated that Vader could actually use Force Lightning due to his strength in the dark side, but he refrained from using it because it would harm him more than person he would use it against.

After Anakin Skywalker was defeated on Mustafar by Obi-wan Kenobi, much of his living tissue was destroyed forever. He lost both his arms and legs and his skin was burned away. This was devastating for Anakin not only physically, but also in terms of the Force. The Force flows through living things, and Anakin lost a significant amount of his power as a result of his injuries. Despite this, he was still able to come back and become an incredibly powerful Force user.

According to this Legend’s source, yes, Vader was able to use Force Lightning, but doing so would have caused more harm to himself than the person he was using it against. The real issue here is not just that the lightning would short out his limbs, but also his life-support system. The life-support system is what keeps Vader alive, and without it he will eventually die. In fact, this is how he died in Return of the Jedi – the Emperor’s Force lightning shorted out his life-support system, meaning Anakin had nothing to keep him alive anymore.

Vader cannot use Force Lightning in Star Wars Canon

The best canon source which details this is Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith junior novelization. It irrefutably states that Darth Vader cannot use Force Lightning. This is because he does not have organic hands. Instead, his hands are made from mechanical parts.

Darth Vader would never be able to cast blue force lightning. That required living hands, not metal ones, and with so much of his body replaced by machinery, he would never come close to the potential he’d had.

Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Junior Novelization

Since the Force is what connects all living things, organic tissue is required to wield it. Something that Anakin lost a lot of back on Mustafar.

In conclusion:

  • Darth Vader can use Force lightning in Star Wars Legends
  • Darth Vader cannot use Force lightning in Star Wars canon

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