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In the scene where Master Yoda fights Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus on Geonosis in Episode II, Dooku uses Force lightning on Yoda.

Here's a relevant clip. The lightning starts around 3:22

In a recent question, it came up in the comments that this was an Disney canon example of absorption/tutaminis.

It looks like the energy of the first bolt is concentrated and redirected. The second assault shows the arcs of lightning shooting off away from Yoda before striking him, and then dissipating.

I would like a Disney canon only explanation of this mechanic.
In what way is Yoda using the Force to counter Tyranus's attack?

I'm interested in the full path of the "energy" of the lightning attack after it's produced by Count Dooku, including any conversions of that energy to other forms (if they occur).

If there are no canon sources on this particular scene, then a similar scene in any other canon media, if such a scene exists, that sheds light on what happened would be acceptable. Preferably, it would still be with Yoda, but the attacking Sith is irrelevant to me.


Aside from the Yoda vs Sidious scene in Episode III, I also found this scene from The Clone Wars where Yoda fights Sidious. Lightning attacks start around the 1:00 mark and at 3:05 & 3:18.

  • While certain actions are typically aligned with Dark or Light side, there are times when the opposite side uses them for various reasons. Qui-Gon uses it to gamble, and tries to use Force Persuasion to get Watto to give them a better deal. Just because Yoda is a Jedi, he's not restricted or unable to use Dark Side attacks. – phantom42 Mar 25 '15 at 5:01
  • See also: Sith using the light side of the Force. – phantom42 Mar 25 '15 at 5:02
  • @phantom42 I get that, but wouldn't that imply that Yoda at some point studied and learned how to use this Dark-affiliated technique (supposing that's the case?) That may end up having to be a separate question, I suppose, but since I don't even know yet if Yoda did that, I'm not ready to ask it. – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 5:04
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    Absorption and redirection would be the exact opposite of a Dark Side attack. It's just redirecting energy. Now, if Yoda was using Force Lightning, that would be a different story. But, again - why shouldn't Yoda know how to use it? Theres's a big difference in learning how to do something, and using it out of anger. Martial artists learn to seriously injure or kill others - not so that they can go around doing so, but so they can defend themselves and be able to do so if absolutely necessary. – phantom42 Mar 25 '15 at 5:08
  • I wasn't saying absorption/deflection with be Dark side, but absorbing then casting his own Lightning is a different story. As to why shouldn't Yoda, that's really something to discuss in an answer. It's a conditional part B to the question. I tried to keep the wording neutral in my question: I'm not saying Yoda can't do it, I'm not saying didn't, I'm not taking a stance either way. I just want an official explanation. – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 5:16
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If we take only disney canon we can't say for sure what the power is exactly. But lets take a look at two of the films there. Star wars 2, 3 and star wars 5.

In these films 4 instances of force lightning or energy bolts being used and countered are being seen. According to the novelisation of star wars 6 there was a fifths attempt when luke was electroluted by the emperor but utterly failed.

In all other 4 instances the jedi either use their lightsabers or their hands to counter the lightning. From what we see there are 2 instances (Yoda vs. dooku and mace vs. Palpatine) where the force lightning is sent out again against the source (the sith who created it). In the other two instances there is the blaster bolts hitting walls after being redirected by Vaders hand / seemingly absorbed (according to the screenplay only a redirection occurs) for the Han Solo vs. Vader scene in Episode 5. The other is Yoda vs. Palpatine where Yoda absorbs the lightning into his hands again with the same glow as in Episode 2 against Dooku but does not unleash the lightning against its owner in this case but instead created sort of a force explosion / force push.

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

  • The force user defends himself against the energy and gathers it in his hands or mediums
  • The force user then releases the energy in a way (be it by redirecting the blaster blots effectively, or unleashing the lightning again or making a force explosion / force push)

If we take the newer special effects into account and the glowing ball of energy which yoda has in his hands which resemble the lightning he just "absorbed" it seems very likely that they defend themselves by stopping the energy like a falling piece of debris and then releasing the energy into a different form / direction. Thus just from the films it looks way more like solely redirection of energy than absorbing it (or a combination of both).

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    The Yoda vs. Sidious scene is very illuminating. His stance there really seems like he's stopping the bolts as he would stop falling debris. That's a great analogy, and not a way I've thought of it before. – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 20:18
  • Same here that is until I read your question and rewatched the scene before writing the answer (it reminded me a lot of a scene in the dragonball anime where the protagonist catches an energy ball takes a few moments and manages to return it). – Thomas Mar 26 '15 at 7:57
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Here are some .gifs and images from the lightning attack.1

First, Yoda "catches" the lightning and, after a noticeable pause, sends it back to Dooku:

enter image description here

If you look closely, the bolts appear to come from his fingertips just as they do from Dooku's fingertips:

enter image description here

Dooku attacks again, and this time Yoda deflects the lightning like a lightsaber deflecting a blaster bolt (no pause after he "catches" it):

enter image description here

Finally, we see the lightning enter Yoda's hand and disappear (he "catches" it but does not return it). We see him for several seconds after the lightning disappears, yet there is no visual indication that the energy goes anywhere.

enter image description here

Based on the first case -- when he "catches" the lightning and then sends it back -- it makes no sense for him to have dissipated the energy externally only to have to re-create the energy in order to send it back. It makes more sense that he temporarily absorbed the energy within himself, and then directed it back to Dooku. The fact that the lightning bolts leave his fingertips is further evidence that Yoda absorbed the bolt temporarily.

In the third case he "catches" the lightning and does not send it back to Dooku -- whereas he temporarily absorbed the energy in the first case, here he permanently absorbs it. The light from the lightning bolt enters the palm of his hand and he closes his hand into a fist around it, so all the visual cues indicate that he absorbed the energy internally.

The third case fits the definition of absorption/tutaminis. Merriam-Webster includes the following definition of absorb (emphasis added):

4 a (1) : to receive without recoil or echo (2) : endure, sustain (3) : assume, bear

b : to transform (radiant energy) into a different form especially with a resulting rise in temperature

This seems to be as clear of a case as possible of Yoda absorbing the energy from the lightning into his body.

Of course, for all we know, Yoda converts the energy from the lightning into heat on the surface of his hand (which we obviously can't see), or he uses an invisible Force barrier of some kind, or something else to (invisibly) avoid absorbing the energy internally. The script doesn't even mention the lightning attack, so it's no help. The best evidence from the visual cues in the movie is that Yoda did indeed absorb the energy internally.

1Captured from this video, with the lightning attack starting at 3:22. Due to file size constraints the .gif images only cover the most relevants part of the lightning attack, and every second frame was removed from them.

  • Visually, it looks like in could also be a Force containment field or a Force shield. Do we have any evidence that Yoda took on the energy internally, versus dissipating it to the ambient environment? Does he use that energy for something else? – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 17:02
  • @CreationEdge See my updated answer. Dissipating the energy into the environment is still under the definition of absorption. And earlier he does use that energy for something else (he directs it back to Dooku) yet you don't consider that to be "absorption", either. It seems you are artificially constraining what you consider "absorption". – Null Mar 25 '15 at 17:20
  • Earlier when he redirects it, isn't that the case you are saying is reflection? Reflection isn't using energy. For the other, it may be a communication issue here. I will update my question with different terms, so we can all be on the same page. – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 18:18
  • I do believe you make a good argument for absorption as a term, but I'm interested in a distinction between Yoda himself absorbing the energy, or some sort of Force projection absorbing the energy. If Yoda and Dooku are systems, we can assume the Dooku system lost energy to put it into the universe towards Yoda. Did A) The Yoda system gain energy from the absorption B) The universe keep the energy. (Both A and B occurring at the time before the blasts that come from Yoda, such as the one that hit the ceiling). – user31178 Mar 25 '15 at 20:32
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A great simile to what Yoda does, seems similar in the result, to the way Iroh redirects lightning in Avatar The Last Airbender. Possibly same principle, different methodology? Using the Force as a conduit instead of chakra paths?

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    Welcome to the site! Thanks very much for your contribution :) This is very speculatory, though, and refers to an entirely separate and unrelated work, which Star Wars fans and aficionados won't necessarily be familiar with. Would it be possible to expand on this a bit, ideally with some references to Star Wars canon to back you up? – Au101 Nov 15 '16 at 16:03

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