Force Lightning is generated from a Force user's body channeling powerful Force energy. It can be blocked/absorbed/reflected by the use of Force (Yoda showed it twice in the prequel series without using a lightsaber).

For a lightsaber to work, there's no need to channel the Force. In fact, it can be even used by a non-Force user (like Han Solo or Grevious). It's a pure chunk of technology which requires no knowledge of the Force. But: Can a non-Force user also block Force lightning using a lightsaber? Is it a physical property of the device itself?

Or does one have to apply the Force to block Force Lightning with a lightsaber?

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    If the lightsabers attracted lightning, there would be lightsaber lightning rods on every hut and building across the galaxy. They would also double as pest control devices if installed that way.
    – Mufasa
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 2:56
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    @Mufasa :D I think, lightsabers were too much expensive and DIY project for making it was very difficult.. :)
    – user931
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 11:32
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    Hmm... I was under the impression that the lightsaber attracted the lightning due to the negative charge that draws the saber blade back into the hilt? Commented Jan 17, 2015 at 13:43

4 Answers 4


It was NOT the lightsaber that deflected the lightning that Palpatine threw at Mace Windu (which is the episode I assume you meant from prior questions). The lightsaber was merely a tool, something to catch the energy on. The main part was Windu's Vaapad, not the lightsaber.

Lighting blasted the clouds above, and lightning blasted from Palpatine's hands, and Mace didn't have time to comprehend what Palpatine was talking about; he had time only to slip back into Vaapad and angle his blade to catch the forking arcs of pure, dazzling hatred that clawed toward him.

Because Vaapad is more than a fighting style. It is a state of mind: a channel for darkness. Power passed into him and out again without touching him.

And the circuit completed itself: the lightning reflected back to its source.

(source: Revenge of the Sith novelization by Matthew Stover)

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    No.. No.. its general question (previous questions are just inspirations). Kenobi & Anakin both did this against Dooku (from movie and TV shows).
    – user931
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 18:18
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    Just to be clear, apart from Windu only Obi-wan has been seen absorbing force lightning with their light sabre not Anakin. Yoda didn't use his lightsaber to deflect or absorb force lightning. If Vaapad was the reason Windu could deflect force lightning, does this mean Obi-wan employeed Vaapad against Dooku?
    – Jared
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 20:29
  • @Jared - His specific form (perfect defense, I forgot the name) probably helped, but I don't have the source to prove that Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 20:52
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    @Jared Anakin also blocked force lightening of Dooku with his lightsaber in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" TV show.
    – user931
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 23:04
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    @DVK Soresu I believe
    – The Fallen
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 20:23

No, they don't need the force to block it.. but the stronger the force lighting, it can require more physical strength to be able to hold the lightsaber out against such powerful lightning.

In the book of "Revenge of the Sith", Mace' saber was being physically pushed back against his face. He was saying to Anakin that he was "toos strong" and the saber was being inched ever closer to his face. He was using Vapaad to send the lightning back into Palpatine, which palpatine seemed to not expect. It also says that Mace did get the advantage in the actual saber fight with Palpatine, something else that he didn't expect since he thought that he was so much more powerful than Mace and Yoda.

In the fight with Yoda, Palpatine grudgingly admitted to himself that Yoda's defense was perfect as he could find no holes in his technique. That is why it was Palpatine that stoped the lightsaber fight and started throwing the senate pods at Yoda, because Yoda was just too good at the Ataru style to keep up with the lightsaber battle.

When ObiWan's saber absorbed Dooku's lighting, it didn't require any extra strength to do so since Dooku was no where near as strong as Palpatine.

In the Star Wars universe, there are only 4 people known to have been able to deflect force lightniing, Palptaine, Dooku, Yoda and Luke. Up until Yoda did it, it was considered "Impossible" for a light side user to deflect force lightning. That is why when Yoda sent Dooku's lighting back to him.. Dooku was in complete Shock and had to quickly raise up his own hand to deflect his own lightning coming back to him. He was told that Yoda was old and weak and would fall under force lightning. He could scarely believe that Yoda was actually that strong to be able to stop it. Of course Dooku kept trying and eventually gave up once he saw that Yoda had no problem at all deflecting it.

The same is also true for their saber battle, as later on in their fight, Yoda's Ataru style was beginning to confuse Dooku and he knew that if this kept going much longer, he WAS going to lose. That is why he created the distraction with the stack that he pulled down towards Obi Wan and Anakin, so that he could use the distraction to escape and report these things to Palpatine.

Yoda of course had a far harder time with Palpatines lightning since he was much stronger than Dooku... Yoda was able to repulse it eventually..but it took all of his reserve power to finally accomplish it, which is why he didn't go back to continue trying to take Palpatine out after he fell from the force explosion.

In "Return of the Jedi" book, Luke was also able to repulse Palpatines force lightning for the first few salvo's, but then Palpatine got even more pissed off and amped up the power which eventually overcame even Luke's abilities and went into him. That is why Palpatine said to Luke "You're feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side".

This shows you the great potential that the Skywalker line has, because Luke was not even an official Jedi yet, but he was already more powerful than most Jedi Masters most of whom can not deflect force lighting as only Yoda, as far as is known, was ever able to do so, then Luke after him. Sadly this short scene was never in the movies, but it SHOULD have been for sure.


If we can assume that force lightning acts in even a vaguely similar way to real lightning then a light saber probably functions as a very effective lightning rod. If the blade of a light saber is conductive to electricity at all or capable of absorbing the energy then with very little effort on the Jedi's part it would be capable of blocking the lightning. The reference to Mace's Vaapad style in the novel seems to be more about his light saber technique than any magic force power he's tapping into.

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    Don't forget: lightening rods are grounded (Earth is zero potential).
    – user931
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 20:27

I will tell you my answer not based on my knowledge of the Star Wars Universe, which comes almost 100% from the movies (not books!) and from my study of eastern martial arts and energy techniques, which would probably be the closest thing to the force in this world!

If you read about samurais, a lot of the lightsaber fight scenes were choreographed to simulate this, their weapon is an extension of themselves. I.e. the weapon is only as good as it's user, cheesy as that sounds. It also means, though, that their force sense would extend up into the sword and they would be able to use it differently than someone who was relatively new to the weapon. Like when Luke is trying to deflect the laser blasts coming from that tiny droid-thing blindfolded when he was first learning how to use the force. Some samurais claimed their swords (or sabers) had their own spirit after this usage. Not everyone I can assume repulse a force-lightning blast as Yoda did by sheer "knowledge of the force alone" as Dooku put it.

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