'Star Wars' Confirms That Force Lightning Is A Dark Side Power

"The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."
This quote was spoken by Sheev Palpatine / Darth Sidious in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, and he repeated it in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. As obvious as it may have been for a while, it seems that we can firmly place Force lightning in this category, especially considering that a new book from DK, simply titled The Star Wars Book, says as much. A Twitter user with the handle @OldManBlinks shared pages from the book, including a section titled "Unlimited Power: The Sith Order." This particular section includes the following:
“The Sith’s focus on the dark opens up powers that a Jedi dare not wield, such as the ability to corrupt the Force through focused rage to launching deadly lightning from their fingertips.”

This falls in line with the StarWars.com databank entry, which reads along the same lines:
“Force lightning is a dark side ability used to torture, disfigure, and even kill one’s victims. Blue in color, Sith shoot Force lightning from their hands by calling on their hatred and aggressive feelings.However, while a deadly weapon, it is not unstoppable. Force lightning can be deflected and absorbed by a lightsaber, and select Jedi have proved able to neutralize the technique through the power of the light side.”

While Force lightning has been often seen as a dark side power exclusively, Legends called into question the ability for light side users to perform powers along these lines. Notably, Jedi Master Plo Koon was able to cast Electric Judgment in the video game Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles. Grand Master Luke Skywalker also seemed to be capable of such a feat much later on decades after the events of Return of the Jedi. However, we have not seen any Jedi use Electric Judgment in canon.

Despite that, we did see Rey use Force lightning in The Rise of Skywalker. Rey is, of course, a Jedi who practices the light side. We never see her train in the dark side, which makes her use of Force lightning feel odd. In the scene, it seems accidental, perhaps a result of her succumbing to the anger that she harbors toward Kylo Ren as they try using the Force to take control of the ship that is in the air. In the previous film, The Last Jedi, we also saw a moment where Rey, in the company of Luke Skywalker, has her eyes closed and goes straight to the dark. Even though she does not intentionally practice the dark side, it seems as if the dark side powers happen beyond her control.

In the context of The Rise of Skywalker, it feels evident that her use of Force lightning was inserted simply to prime the audience for the revelation that she is related to Palpatine, given that Force lightning is most closely associated with him, as he was the first character that we ever saw use the power. One might come to believe that the bloodline is the reason that Rey is able to use this power, but this does not really make sense. People can choose whether to be on the light side or the dark side, so for a bloodline to determine which side she is on and, therefore, which powers she may be able to use, simply does not jive with the messages generally presented by Star Wars. This is a franchise about choosing. Anakin chooses to follow the dark side when he has the chance to stop evil. Luke chooses to remain in the light side even when he has the chance to strike down his own villainous father. The bloodline should not matter. By the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey, unsurprisingly, chooses the light, despite moments here and there where she loses control and dips into the dark.

Overall, Rey's use of Force lightning may muddy the waters a bit. However, it seems that Lucasfilm's assertion going forward is that Force lightning can only be used when people focus on the dark side. As cool of a power as it may be to use in a video game, it would not really make sense for Jedi to use it against other living beings. It is a tortuous power and goes against the Jedi way.

Source(s): Bounding Into Comics