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In Ep 9: Rise of Skywalker we see Rey accidentally using force lightning on one of the stormtrooper ships and thinks she killed Chewie later realizing he was on another ship.

But after this scene, it is implied that she is Sith. So is Force lightning something any force user could do or can only Sith do it?

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  • 1
    Didn't Mace Windu use force lightening on Palpatine? Jul 11 at 14:28
  • 2
    @BinaryWorrier Wasn't that reflecting Palpatine's own power back at him (with L-Sabre)? Jul 11 at 14:29
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    I think you might be confusing Sith with the dark side in general.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 11 at 14:41
  • I'm pretty sure Rey isn't a Sith.
    – Valorum
    Jul 11 at 15:32
  • "Only" a Sith? Only a Sith speaks in absolutes!
    – Adamant
    Jul 11 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

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Canon Answer: No. While Force Lightning in Canon is currently considered a Dark Side power, one does not need to be a Sith to use the Dark Side of the Force. Case in point, Rey is not a Sith and her use of the Dark Side was either accidental or the product of her anger and desperation and not out of Sith training. Mother Talzin was a Nightsister and not a Sith, although the canon Nightsisters by default appear to be associated solely with the Dark Side. The Son, while an embodiment of the Dark Side of the Force, was likewise not actually a Sith and was fully capable of using Force Lightning.

Legends Answer: No. Legends Force Lightning is likewise considered a power of the Dark Side, but unlike current canon, it's been explicitly used by both Jedi (including Luke Skywalker) and their predecessors, the Je'daii. Both the Jedi and the Je'daii considered it to be dangerous and that it possessed an increased risk of turning the user to the Dark Side, but the Jedi at least believed that its corruptive influence could be mitigated. However, it should be noted that in the novel Darth Plagueis, the titular character claims that what the Jedi were able to produce was a mere "facsimile" of "true Sith lightning".

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  • So you're telling me Rey's force lightning was caused due to anger?
    – shanu
    Jul 12 at 14:35
  • So you're telling me Rey's force lightning was caused due to anger?
    – shanu
    Jul 12 at 14:35
  • Anger, desperation, fear, a subconscious desire for the ability to do something, anything, that could help rescue Chewie that ended up backfiring. The Dark Side latches onto those emotions and feeds them and is fed by them in turn. She just reached out, whether aware or not, and the Dark Side took her hand. Jul 12 at 15:24
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In a word, no. Snoke isn't a Sith, but he was able to use Force Lightning on his apprentice, Kylo Ren.

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Mother Talzin isn't a Sith, but she's able to use Force Lightning to attack Mace Windu, nearly (but alas not actually) killing Jar Jar in the process.

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What users of Force Lightning have in common is that they're always users of the dark side of the Force. Lightning is a way of channelling "the abundant energies generated by the dark side", and in canon, it's invariably described as being intimately linked with aggression, anger and a desire to cause harm.

LIGHTNING

The abundant energies generated by the dark side can be made manifest, channeled into concentrated bursts of electricity capable of incalculable devastation. With this power, I have made the strongest of Jedi Masters beg for mercy. And I have shown them none. "Even the greatest of Sith Lords is not immune to the destructive effects of this dark display.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Sith

Those who use the Force appropriately (such as the Jedi) can defend against it, but they can't summon it without turning away from their training, as seen in Dooku: Jedi Lost.

DOOKU: In my vision. I saw…lightning, coursing through bodies…

LENE: Dooku, you’re going to be all right…

DOOKU: It’s a mark of the dark side.

LENE: Not always.

Rey was apparently in the grip of the dark side when she inadvertently used her aggression and hatred to power her lightning.

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  • In the very episode with Mother Talzin you reference she specifically declares that she is not a vessel for the Force, like the Sith or Jedi or whatever race Jar-Jar's sugar mama is. She says she uses Dark Magic, instead. Her phrasing in particular suggests it is completely different to the Force, and has a different source and rules. And Snoke is questionable, given the nature of his creation and creator. Jul 26 at 5:43

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