Recently I was watching the duel between Yoda and Sidious and I started wondering on one thing. As we all know, Palpatine hit Yoda's hand with lightsaber which caused the Jedi Master to lose his lightsaber. We also know what happened later. My question however is, would Yoda still have a chance to defeat the emperor after he lost his weapon? Because to me it seems like Yoda (and Jedi in general, with a few exceptions) had no lethal abilities. The Sith had Force choke, Force lightning, etc. But what about the Jedi?

I guess I'm more interested in what could Yoda do to defeat Darth Sidious without using lightsaber. Sure, he could use telekinesis to crush him with some monstrous thing or he could force push him into some abyss should the fight move into some other place. However I was thinking of something lethal in a more direct way. Like emperor's Force lightning or for example Darth Nihilus' Force drain. Could Yoda pull off something like that?

The answers can be both canon and Legends.

  • 9
    Force choke isn't an "ability" in the RPG sense of the word - it's sinply a creative use of telekinesis, which should be available to both Sith and Jedi. Jun 23, 2017 at 11:20
  • @Gallifreyan In theory, yes. In practice, force choke was a power coming from one's anger and hate towards the other being. Hence the Jedi could not use it in my opinion. Jun 23, 2017 at 11:23
  • 4
    @user5178972 they more likely had moral guidelines to not use it than being physically or mentally incapable of using it (though maybe using it effectively needs training and they'd lack that as well). It's like muscle power, just because you're not a trained heavyweight boxer doesn't mean you don't have the ability to punch someone in the face, you just won't be as efficient in doing it.
    – jwenting
    Jun 23, 2017 at 11:31
  • 4
    You fall to the dark side for reasons such as using the abilities. You dont suddenly gain abilities just because you've fallen to the dark side.
    – phantom42
    Jun 23, 2017 at 12:10
  • 3
    Isn't pushing someone into a reactor or throwing a boulder on someone's head a lethal ability?
    – TimSparrow
    Jun 23, 2017 at 13:18

2 Answers 2



The Jedi don't have many abilities which directly cause death in the same way that Force Lightning does, but Jedi can of course use the Force to indirectly cause death in a multitude of ways:

  • Push someone off a nearby cliff. There's bound to be one nearby.

  • Move a heavy object to crush someone.

  • Deflect Force Lightning back toward the dark side user who conjured it.

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While the Jedi do not have Force Lightning they can use a version of Force Choke, which is after all just a form of telekinesis. Luke demonstrates it on Jabba's Gamorrean guards in Return of the Jedi:

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Luke did not kill those guards because he didn't want/need to, but there's no reason why he couldn't choke them long enough to kill them if he wanted to. Since Luke could do it I see no reason why Yoda (or any other reasonably powerful Jedi) wouldn't be able to.

Yoda could theoretically have dealt a lethal blow to Palpatine even after he'd lost his lightsaber, either directly (by choking Palpatine) or indirectly (deflect Palpatine's Force Lightning, crush him with a heavy object, etc.). However, it's very unlikely that Yoda would have succeeded in dealing such a blow before being killed himself, which is why Yoda retreated.


There are definitely examples of Jedi using Force abilities that are directly lethal in Legends. For example, the Jedi have a version of Force Lightning which they call "Electric Judgment":

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(Apparently a change in the name of the ability is all that's needed to make it all good for the Jedi.)

In Legends, Mace Windu gave General Grievous his cough by crushing Grievous' lungs. Windu probably would have been able to kill Grievous with this technique alone if Grievous hadn't managed to escape in a gunship.

The additional light side Force abilities from Legends means that Yoda would have had more direct Force abilities to use against Palpatine ("Electric Judgment", a more powerful crush), but it's still unlikely that Yoda would have prevailed. After all, Force Lightning is one of Palpatine's favorite abilities so he uses it much more often that Yoda would have used "Electric Judgment" or similar. Fighting fire with fire is not such a good idea when your opponent is a pyrotechnician.

  • Are those artifacts from Yoda's right ear and left hand from the movie or from it becoming a gif? I like them either way. Jun 23, 2017 at 16:28

    In Canon, offensive Force powers are either kinetic or "electric" (i.e. Force Ligtning used by Sith and Bendu ). In Legends, situation is much more chaotic, because basically every author tended to run his imagination wild. So we have Electric Judgment for Jedi, various mind attacks (crushing someone with fear for example), poisoning someone with Force, Dark Side Force tendrils, opening rifts ins space with Force, severing someones connection with Force etc ... It is better to avoid Legends in this answer, because you could get something silly like Yoda planed to open wormhole in space so he could push Palpatine directly to Mustafar to fry with Vader :)

     So let's return to Canon. Jedi do not use Force Lightning. Reason for that is unclear, possibly because this requires intense hatred and taps into Dark Side. That leaves us with various kinetic abilities. Basically, Jedi would either use something against their opponent (throw at him, pull under him ...) or they would try to use their opponent as object (throw, push, pull or even choke him) . Problem for Yoda and any other Force user that fights against another Force user is various Force Shield or Force Barrier techniques that prevent directly manipulating with your opponent. Yoda did manage to push Palpatine once at beginning of their duel (mostly because Palpatine underestimated him) and in the end they were both pushed back by accumulated Dark Side energy bulb. More reasonable strategy for Yoda, when he lost his lightsaber, would be to throw something at Emperor. Of course, this is all academic, moment he lost his lightsaber Yoda was struggling to contain Palpatine's lightning with his bare hands. And when they were separated he decided it would be not very wise to continue fight without his lightsaber.

  • So basically the conclusion is that Yoda (in canon) could not do a thing and therefore retreated, am I right? Jun 24, 2017 at 12:31
  • @user5178972 He could throw stuff at Palpatine, or he could search for his lightsaber. Of course, he could try to push him but I doubt that would do much good. Jedi depend on their lightsabers, without them they are far less capable. On the other hand, accomplished Sith like Palpatine almost had no use for them .
    – rs.29
    Jun 24, 2017 at 16:10

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