Star Wars Confirmed Emperor Palpatine's Lightning Was His Weakness

In Star Wars, aside from red lightsabers, there's nothing more synonymous with the Dark Side than Force Lightning. As a concept, its simplicity shows both the immense power of the Dark Side as well as its unpredictability. However, from a narrative perspective, it represents power in its rawest form. This also explains why so few Sith are shown using it in the films compared to a Force Push or Force Choke. The same power it represents is also why Emperor Palpatine enjoys using it so much; however, in its use, it has also been the instrument of his defeat on more than one occasion.

Force Lightning is the primary offense of the Emperor, but has also been used by the likes of Supreme Leader Snoke and Count Dooku in the films. Rey has also accidentally tapped into this ability when trying to save Chewie in The Rise of Skywalker. However, her particular instance of using the ability was more to show the immense power and capacity for good or evil that is dormant within her. Force Lightning has often been shown to torture and is the primary way the Emperor has used this ability to achieve his goals.

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Force Lighting comes in many colors beside blue, including red, purple, yellow and green. Each color also has different meanings; for example, the Son's lighting color is red because he embodies the Dark Side. Because the Dark Side represents the accumulation of power, solely relying on lighting also represents a person's complete devotion to power and its use.

When Palpatine is first outed as a Sith in the films, he initially fights with a lightsaber. However, following the battle, he is only ever shown using lighting, as if he's abandoned the last remnants of his humanity to commit to the Dark Side fully.

During Palpatine's fight with Mace Windu, he also shows how liberating the power can feel. While he was still seducing Anakin to the Dark Side, he used the lighting to show him what the Dark Side offers, but in doing so, he leaves himself open to reveal his true, uglier face. The moment Anakin betrays the Jedi, Palpatine uses his lighting at full power, and it wouldn't be until Return of the Jedi that Palpatine would once again use his lightning to torture someone, but this time would mark his first defeat from hubris.

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While electrocuting Luke Skywalker, nearly killing him, the rush he feels from the power leaves him distracted. During his slow execution of Luke, Darth Vader finally stands up to his master and throws him down a reactor. In a cruel irony, Palpatine continues to fire his lighting as he falls, as if to symbolize that his power must not be forgotten even in death.

Upon his return in The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine is shown, fully resurrected thanks to the essences of Rey and Ben Solo. With the power of the two strongest Force users coursing through his veins, he uses his lightning to destroy Resistance ships. In retaliation, Rey, using Luke and Leia's lightsabers, stands up to the Emperor and deflects his lighting blasts, sending them back to him. Like before, Palpatine cannot stop his display of power, which ultimately leads to his demise a second time.

The Emperor is undoubtedly one of the strongest Force users in Star Wars, but the hubris that comes with power and the Dark Side is still greater than he could realize. Ultimately, his confidence leads to his downfall on more than one occasion and continues to serve as an example of why unlimited power may seem fantastic but could lead to a person's ultimate destruction.

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Nicholas Brooks (1045 Articles Published)

CBR Features Writer Nick Brooks has been writing for over ten years about all things pop culture. He has written for other sites like Animemojo.com and Gamefragger.com. When not writing you can find him with his lovely girlfriend, cooking, reading comics, or collecting any new Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legend, or Transformer. For more of his thoughts on pop culture check out his blog, The Next Panel with Comic Brooks.

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