Darth Vader’s Version of Force Lightning Redefines the Iconic Force

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The old Star Wars expanded universe gave Darth Vader his own version of the Lightning Force. Darth Vader may be the Chosen One, but unfortunately, he has suffered several crushing defeats. His worst was in the hands of his old teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, when they fought a duel on the volcanic planet Mustafar. Vader made the mistake of attacking Obi-Wan when he was on top, and the Jedi master struck with his lightsaber, cutting off the Sith Lord’s arms and legs.
Palpatine had spent a lot of time trying to seduce Darth Vader to the dark side, and he wasn’t going to waste it. He transformed Darth Vader into a creature that was more machine than human, replacing his limbs with cybernetic parts. However, this affected Vader’s combat effectiveness. This meant that his new limbs were heavy and clumsy, and he had to adapt his lightsaber style to suit them, abandoning his previous agility and instead adopting a style in which he depended on the crushing weight of his punches. Cyborg hands had another side effect; they meant that Darth Vader couldn’t use the Lightning Force.
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However, the old Expanded Universe provided Darth Vader with a different power. Alan Dean Foster’s novel “The Shard of the Mind’s Eye” was published in 1978, before the creation of “The Empire Strikes Back”, and it tells about the duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. At one point, Darth Vader summons something called “kinetic,” described by Foster as a “contained energy sphere” that explodes on impact. A comic book adaptation published in 1995 by Terry Austin and Chris Sprouse contained images suggesting that this force is related to Force Lightning. It is interesting to note that in Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke Skywalker reflects the kinetic energy in the same way as a lightsaber reflects the Lightning of the Force.
It’s hard to say whether kinetit should be considered the canonical force of the Star Wars Force. The expanded universe was declared non-canonical after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, but the new canon seems to have retained core elements such as the Powers of the Force, and some of the more exotic abilities, such as Mace Windu’s Point of Destruction, are even explicitly mentioned. However, it has never been seen in use, which means that it is impossible to say for sure.
The name “kinetic” seems to suggest that this sphere of energy is not electrical in nature, but rather derived from kinetic energy, which explains why the cyborg Darth Vader can wield it. Any attempt to generate Lightning Power will burn the chains of his cyborg arms, leaving him crippled again, but kinetic energy will not have such a destructive effect. It will be interesting to see if Darth Vader will ever use his version of the Lightning Force, Kinetic, again in the Star Wars canon.