I don't understand how a Sith's Force Lightning can be possible.

I understand that the other Force abilities such as Force Choke, Force Push, and telekinesis are possible through influencing the midi-chlorians on and around the object you are trying to manipulate. But how is it that the Sith can manipulate static electricity and channel it through their hand and aim it at a target? It doesn't seem to be related to any other Force ability. Can the Sith control energy? And if so why not just shoot fire or super heated plasma out of your hand? It seems like those would be harder to defend against and still be just as effective as Lightning.

Both canon and EU/Legends answers are acceptable for this.

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    You don't understand the power of the dark side! Also, I don't think your assessment of the telekinesis abilities is correct.
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:06
  • 4
    Why are you assuming that Force Lighting is "electicity"? Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:08
  • 1
    Well I just made an educated guess with what I knew. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:08
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    @DVK Evreything points to it being electricity. Like how, I don't know, it's called LIGHTNING wich is just a form of static electricity. And whenever we see somebody being shocked with it they look like their being electrocuted. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:11
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    ...Except in Legends. Which you accept. Ok, I stand corrected.
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


I understand that the other Force abilities such as Force Choke, Force Push, and telekinesis are possible through influencing the midi chlorians on and around the object you are trying to manipulate.

This is not really true. The canon explanation for what midi-chlorians actually do is:

Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that reside within all living cells and communicates with the Force...Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to you, telling you the will of the Force.

Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

The Legends novel Darth Plagueis also provides a nice explanation of what midi-chlorians do:

A common misconception held that midi-chlorians were Force-carrying particles, when in fact they functioned more as translators, interlocutors of the will of the Force.

Darth Plagueis, p. 17

The Force itself, however, is an energy field:

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

The Force is created by living things but it is an energy field which can affect inanimate objects. This is how Force-sensitive individuals are able to exert a force on non-living objects (such as when Luke pulled his lightsaber to himself in the wampa cave, Darth Vader pulled Han Solo's blaster out of his hand, etc.). The midi-chlorians themselves don't exert any force -- they simply "translate" the will of the Force to an individual so that the individual can call on the Force to exert a physical force.

As an energy field, the Force can perform work. For abilities like telekinesis, Force users perform mechanical work on objects (whether living or not). For Force Lightning, Sith perform electrical work -- they move electric charges, which creates the electric current that is visible as lightning.

  1. It has presidence in nature
    Biological Phenomena

    Short-lived electrical events called action potentials occur in several types of animal cells which are called excitable cells, a category of cell include neurons, muscle cells, and endocrine cells, as well as in some plant cells. These action potentials are used to facilitate inter-cellular communication and activate intracellular processes. The physiological phenomena of action potentials are possible because voltage-gated ion channels allow the resting potential caused by electrochemical gradient on either side of a cell membrane to resolve.

  2. Energy Generator
    A basic law tells us that energy cannot be created, hence the Force practitioner must be generating this lightning (by use of the Force presumably). It would be a simpler to use an existing field rather than generate something (fire plasma) that's not already there.
    Note that there are instances where superheros use fire etc as projective offense.

  3. It looks great from this question

    So going with the films it seems like it works in this way...

  4. You are correct in the telekinetic ability (Master Yoda raises Luke's ship). That the Sith can control the energy, I'd say any sufficiently adept practitioner will be able to focus this energy via the Force. Master Yoda did.

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    The thing is, energy is being created: by giving stationary objects a velocity (i.e. kinetic energy) ex nihilo.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 6:04

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