Yoda Using Lightning in ‘The Last Jedi’ Was More Significant Than You Thought

The new Star Wars installments are full of symbolism. Sometimes they reference the original trilogies, other times the symbolism is more artistic, like the red sand on Crait in The Last Jedi. 

Even though The Rise of Skywalker came out more than six months ago, fans are still decoding all the secret messages in the film. Some are more likely than others, but the use of lightning by Yoda and Palpatine is a fan favorite. 

Both Palpatine and Yoda use lightning 

A sculpture of yoda
A scuplture of Yoda | Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a recent Reddit post, one fan put two photos side by side. In the first, Yoda uses lightning to the Island of Ahch-To in The Last Jedi. In the second picture, Palpatine tries to breathe life into the Sith by sending lighting up into the sky. Yoda succeeded in saving the Jedi order, while Palpatine failed to revitalize the Sith. 

Fans can’t help but compare these two moments, and the symbolism here is likely intentional. The two images side by side look incredibly similar, but with one bolt of lightning coming down, and another going up to the heavens.

The opposition of the direction of the two bolts mirrors the opposition of the motives of each character. As one Redditor said, “Love that Yoda used the lightning for good to help Luke move on Palpatine did it to turn Rey by hurting her friends.”

Both these characters are using lightning to achieve a goal, but their goals are polar opposites, just like the direction of their bolts. As another user pointed out, it’s a perfect tie-back to the previous Star Wars movies. Yoda took a technique from the Sith, but used it for good. “Beautiful example of Yoda learning from the mistakes of the Jedi. The lightning itself was not bad, and his use of it was for good.” 

Not all fans are on board with Yoda’s lightning usage in ‘The Last Jedi’

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While a lot of fans were impressed with the lightning bolt symbolism, not all were on board. For some fans, Yoda’s ghost appearance on Ahch-To was problematic.

One fan wrote: “I actually didn’t like ghost Yoda conjuring lightning, since it begs the question of why he or other Force ghosts never intervened during the conflict with the First Order.” It’s true that Yoda’s appearance does beg the question, why don’t all Jedi appear all the time? Why did Luke have to be the last Jedi at all, if ghost Jedi can appear and physically act in the world? If ghost Jedi can show up whenever and wherever they want, the Resistance should have a whole army of Jedi at its disposal. 

Another fan pointed out that the explanation likely has to do with the significance of Ahch-To itself. Since the island was the site of the first Jedi temple, the Force was stronger on the island. Yoda could do more than he could in other, less Force-connected locations. Plus, each individual Jedi must have a strong connection to the Force in order to appear as a ghost. Not all can. 

Fans think that some theories are a stretch 

Some fans thought the dual lightning bolt theory is too much of a stretch. It could be a coincidence. After all, The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker had different directors, so they may not have coordinated the moment. 

One fan who just wasn’t buying it wrote “I love this kind of stuff but I really think this one is coincidental.” Another fan was undecided, but did have an opinion on another Star Wars theory. “I could go either way with this one. I did see one though about Luke’s cloak dragging behind him being a reference to him being ‘a little short for a stormtrooper’ and I’m like… egh.”

In the original Star Wars movie, Leia’s first words to Luke are “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” when he breaks into her cell to free her.