I understand that the Jedi use the Force for self defence, but still, couldn't they just use the Force to snap their foes' necks and be done with it? Like when Jaina Solo was hunting down Darth Caedus. Or even when Caedus was duelling Grand Master Skywalker. If he just used the Force to snap Skywalker's neck (like he did to poor Lieutenant Tebut), it will all be over very fast.

Is there a canon reason why Jedi and Sith don't use their powers to directly harm their opponents?

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    To misquote from Harry Potter: "The trouble, mr Prime Minister, is that the OTHER side can do magic, too". In other words, you can't snap someone's neck with the Force if they can use the Force to block it. Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 14:31
  • How do they use the Force to block it, though? Is there a name for that Force ability?
    – nyrondi29
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 14:40
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    @nyrondi29 - "Force block neck snappy thing". Seriously - the whole thing about specific force powers with precise names is straight out of RPG books and computer games; to quote from an answer to another question: "Jedi conflicts are not like players in a video game with a series of pre-programmed responses".
    – user8719
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 14:48
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    @nyrondi29 - Force is analog, not digital Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 15:05
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    @nyrondi29 well a force neck-break would probably be a special case of telekinesis. IE pushing the bones in the neck out of position or something. So if you were physically trying to break my neck, I would would push your hands away. If you are trying to use a telekinetic force, I just push against the force you are using, or I just hold the things in place that you are trying to move. Assuming of course that we are somewhat equally skilled in telekinetic manipulation.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 17:26

6 Answers 6


There is at least one case of a Dark Jedi using the Force to snap an enemy's neck; in the novel The New Rebellion, Kueller snaps his traitorous second-in-command Femor's neck in front of his troops as a display of his power. This is shown as being difficult for him to do, however - though Kueller forces himself to show none of this difficulty at the time, he was sweating profusely from the effort involved - and Femor was not Force-sensitive, and completely incapable of defending herself.

One would imagine, therefore, that snapping the neck of a Force-sensitive individual would be considerably harder, and there wouldn't be much of a point. Kueller only broke Femor's neck as a message to his jittery troops not to turn on him. When he later duelled with Luke Skywalker, he did not make any such attempt, as the effort he would expend to snap Skywalker's neck is less than the effort Skywalker would expend simply holding Kueller off for a few seconds while he used the Force to impale the younger man on his lightsaber, or smack Kueller in the head with a flying brick.

Think about it this way; in a physical confrontation, it is very unlikely for a person to die from a broken neck. Beating, stabbing or choking a person to death is far more common. Why should using the Force be any different? Especially as the Force gives one an innate "danger sense" that virtually eliminates the possibility of a sneak attack to break an opponent's neck.

  • As for the effort involved, that may be a poor example since Kueller was not a fully-trained Sith, nor was he ever very strong in the Force to begin with. He did have a knack for easily picking up new tricks, true, but even he himself considered most of the other students - and especially Luke - to be much stronger than himself. This is why his plans always included softening up the target before personally confronting them. The only reason Luke had any problems with him 1-on-1 was because of his injuries during the crash-landing.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 13:37
  • Brakiss was no slouch, and he was terrified of the man. Brakiss also believed that Kueller was capable of at least going toe-to-toe with Skywalker, as did Kueller himself. Kueller was not a Sith, but he was certainly a Dark Jedi of great power, albeit admittedly little skill. Kueller's trouble was always his immaturity, not his power or control of the Force. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 13:41
  • Agreed. Why does Darth Vader choke people to death instead of snapping their necks? Because it is a lot easier and achieves the same result.
    – joshbirk
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 19:42
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    @joshbirk It also appears to be more painful. A snapped neck kills relatively quickly, though it is shocking to witness. Witnessing a choking would evoke less shock, but I think more terror that lasts longer too. Not to mention, you can change your mind and let the person live with the constant reminder that their breath might be closed off at any moment if they lose Vader's favor.
    – user15742
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 0:44

One of the better stories in Star Wars: Tales centered around a man hunting down a Sith who had amnesia. My favorite part is where the Sith is using the force to cheat at gambling, and the entire bar full of patrons gets aggressive when he's found out.

The Sith is very matter-of-fact about the whole situation, and announces that every humanoid species in the galaxy has an artery - or something similar - that, when closed off, causes instant paralysis & death. He then demonstrates by killing almost everything in the place with a hand gesture.

Although we never saw anything close in the movies, this single moment (for me) defines why Jedi & Sith are so feared and considered so dangerous.

The Tales comics aren't considered canon, however. There were a few cases in the games where a Sith or Dark Jedi broke someone's neck using the Force, but I'm not sure what canon level the games are considered at these days. As mentioned above, doing it to an alert Jedi or Sith is probably a different story altogether.

UPDATE: I finally found this story again - it's called "Nomad" and it's featured in Star Wars: Tales #21-#24 (or TPB Volume 6). The Dark Jedi in question was named Lycan.

  • 1
    "Nomad" is definitely C-Canon within Legends continuity. While early issues were non-canon by default, later issues changed that. From the Wookieepedia page: "Jeremy Barlow became the next editor, and edited Issue #21 to Issue #24. All the tales from these issues are considered to be canon, unless labeled otherwise." Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 22:58

They absolutely can

It’s worth noting that there are several obvious reasons that Force users rarely use the Force to snap their opponents necks in combat:

  1. First, using the Force in combat is difficult. It requires concentration, and much of the time, it’s hard to find an opening: i.e., enough to time to concentrate in order to use the Force against one’s opponents. We certainly do see people employing the Force against Force-sensitive opponents, but usually only when there’s a lull in the lightsaber combat, which supports this hypothesis.
  2. It’s not easy to do fine manipulations with the Force even outside of combat. Throwing one’s opponent across the room is easier than snapping their neck, which is easier than turning off their lightsaber, which is easier than pinching a nerve, and so forth.
  3. Most important, what can be done with the Force can be blocked with the Force. We see several examples of Force telekinesis being blocked with Force telekinesis, including the famous scene where Anakin and Obi-Wan try to Force push each other.

    enter image description here

    We can reasonably assume that, during combat, Jedi and Sith are on guard for the most obvious and game-ending moves, such as using the Force to grab the other person’s lightsaber, turning off the other person’s lightsaber, snapping their neck, and so forth. When someone tries to use one of those moves, their opponent simply blocks it. So they generally don’t, unless they can find an opening. When Count Dooku throws Obi-Wan across the room in Revenge of the Sith, for example (already not particularly common), it’s probably because Obi-Wan is stopping Dooku from breaking his neck or stopping his heart.

    When we do see such a move, it’s often evidence of how amateur one Force user is relative to the other. For example, it’s obviously possible to use the Force to snatch someone’s lightsaber away, as Vader demonstrates in Star Wars 2: Skywalker Strikes, Part II:

    enter image description here

    We’re clearly supposed to see this as evidence of just how little Luke knows about the Force at this point (this is right after Obi-Wan’s Force spirit has told him to run): he can’t even stop Vader from taking his lightsaber. Worth noting is that Vader doesn’t try this on him in, say, Return of the Jedi: presumably Luke has reached the point where he can at least keep his lightsaber in his hand. There are innumerable other examples of Force powers being used against the inexperienced, but not the powerful: Yoda freezing Asajj Ventress in place (The Clone Wars: “Ambush”), but not Darth Sidious (Revenge of the Sith); Darth Vader trying to make Ezra cut his head off with his lightsaber (Rebels: “The Siege of Lothal”), but not Ahsoka (Rebels: “Twilight of the Apprentice”)….

    That’s why we more often see Force choke and similar techniques used as a punishment or so forth against non-Force-using characters: because the Force users can block it.

All that said, though, the Force can certainly be used to snap someone’s neck, as we see in Star Wars #2.

enter image description here

The Force can also be used to kill people in other interesting ways. For example, Vader used the Force to, most likely, crush the heart of a wayward Imperial prefect:

Vader came to an abrupt stop, scanning his audience and certainly sending shivers of fear through everyone—Toydarian, Dug, and Devaronian alike. As his raised right hand curled slowly into a fist, many of them began nervously tugging at the collars of their tunics and cloaks. But it was the Twi’lek prefect, standing not a meter from the Dark Lord, who unexpectedly gasped and brought his hands to his chest as if he had just taken a spear to the heart. Phoca Soot’s lekku shot straight out from the sides of his head as if he were being electrocuted, and he collapsed to his knees in obvious agony, his breath caught in his throat and blood vessels in his head-tails beginning to rupture. His eyes glazed over and his red skin began to pale; then his arms flew back from his chest as if in an act of desperate supplication, and he tipped backward, the left side of his head slamming hard against the blood-slicked floor.


Vader crossed his thick arms across the illuminated indicators of the chest plate. “A pity. Tasked with controlling crime in his sector, he succumbed to temptation by hiring himself out to the Droid Gotra.”

“Well, clearly his heart wasn’t in it,” Tarkin said. “Strange, though, that the Crymorah crime syndicate had no representation in your audience.”


Both the examples are against non-Force-users, adding yet more evidence that such techniques are generally ineffective against Force users, due to their ability to counter them.


In the canon comic book Skywalker Strikes, Darth Vader in fact snaps the neck of a stormtrooper that saw him unmasked.


Its difficult to utilize these force powers when in the middle of combat, where everything is happening so fast. Luke is too powerful an opponent for Caedus to do that to anyway. Luke could block that ability or even turn it against Caedus. When Caedus unleashed a Force Wave on Luke, it only pushed him back and a Force Wave could destroy a group of mechanical battle droids.


Vader snaps the neck of a stormtrooper who sees his face in one of the first few issues of the canon marvel Vader comic. Twists his head around. It is much harder to do to a force user because they protect themselves both consciously and unconsciously

  • Hey, welcome! Thanks for the answer; but this would be much improved if you could include an image of the comic in question.
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 22:59

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