Kind of spoiler for Rogue One ahead.

In the second Darth Vader scene in the movie there was a shootout/massacre of rebels, but I do not exactly understand one moment there, when it looks like he shoots a laser bolt with his palm. A video online can be found of that scene of which I made three screenshots. I wondered that maybe he was able to pull Kylo-Ren-Bolt-Catch-Trick, but couln't find such frame in the video.

What exactly happened there?

enter image description here

  • 5
    Kylo Ren Bolt-Catch-Trick? Darth Vader did that in Empire Strikes Back on Cloud City. Dec 30, 2016 at 19:35
  • 2
    @BilltheLizard He only absorbed the shot, but didn't reflect it. Do I misremember something? Dec 30, 2016 at 19:39
  • Did Kylo Ren absorb a shot or reflect it? I don't remember the scene. Vader only blocked a few shots with his hand (robotic, of course) in ESB. Dec 30, 2016 at 19:47
  • @BilltheLizard Kylo Ren froze it mid-air and made it hang. Dec 30, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    Oh right, that scene! Ok, I guess it's ok to refer to that as his trick. :) Dec 30, 2016 at 19:55

3 Answers 3


It was almost certainly a variation on the "Bolt-Catch-Trick". It happened quite quickly, but it clearly seemed to be a deflection of a blaster bolt back into the ranks of the defenders.

Nothing against Kylo (he's a total freak and I mean that is the best possible way!) but at this stage of the game he's nowhere near as powerful as Darth Vader was in the original Star Wars, so that kind of use of the force would not be beyond Vader's powers.

  • 1
    There isn't a shot of him catching the bolt in the scene but only shooting back, which is very suspicious if they wished to show him able to do that. Dec 30, 2016 at 19:28
  • There was not catch that I saw either, but it was clearly a deflection of the bolt back into the opponents' ranks. (Answer modified)
    – DukeZhou
    Dec 30, 2016 at 19:29
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    You are right, he definitely deflects the second beam. Dec 30, 2016 at 19:46
  • That's just not what is being shown. Jun 8, 2017 at 13:04
  • I wouldn't say he was less powerful--that mind meld thing is something we didn't see Vader do! I think Vader cearly comes off as more BA, but I don't think we understand Kylo's and Rey's ultimate role in their respective stories, including just how powerful they are. They made a point that Luke was scared about "raw" power for a reason! Mar 18, 2018 at 19:18

Once again, Vader deflects the hand blaster bolt like he did in Empire Strikes Back. On Bespin, the city in the clouds, Vader deflects Han's hand blaster bolts back towards Han's general direction. In that instance, Vader needed Han alive, so he didn't deflect it right into Han.

Notice the blaster marks on the wall, the cloud of smoke and sparks.

It has nothing to do with Kylo's frozen bolt trick.

  • You are right! I haven't ever noticed that the blasts bounced back in this scene. Dec 31, 2016 at 14:07
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    To be fair it happens so fast it looks like he throws the bolt. But agreed its just deflection. This should be the accepted answer. Bonus trivia, Vader's hand armor were laced with Mandalorian Iron which enabled him to deflect Laser bolts even Lightsabers. But I believe that is legendary canon now?
    – Jared
    Feb 2, 2017 at 4:16
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    @jared half of R1 is legends canon ;)
    – cde
    Feb 2, 2017 at 4:22

We have seen that force users frequently gesture while invoking their force powers;

  • Young Obi-Wan makes pushing motions when knocking over droids
  • Old Obi-Wan make a dismissive gesture to accompany "these aren't the droids you're looking for"
  • Vader makes a pinching gesture while playfully crushing people's throats
  • Young Vader waggles his fingers while guiding his fruit into Padame's mouth.

Now let's consider the clip in question, with the cool stuff beginning around 50s in:

Vader ruins people's day

To start, he swats a few blaster bolts aside with his light-bat, sending them back toward the rebels. At about 1:05 he gestures at one of the soldiers and with a twisting crushing gesture force-slams him into the ceiling. He maintains his closed fist - and the guy stays on the ceiling - until about 1:10 when he releases his "grip" - at exactly which point ceiling-guy starts to fall - in order to stretch out and deflect an incoming blaster shot with that hand. He then makes a reaching gesture, disarms whoever's left, and proceeds to, in the vernacular, "whale" upon them.

Back to the gesture in question, the editing and framing in the scene make it clear that the intention is to show the closed fist gesture is absolutely connected to the fate of ceiling-guy, and has nothing to do with "catching" blaster bolts.

  • for the record, I was careful to say "variation on the Bolt-Catch-Trick." That said, you raise an important point about the variety of expressions of the force among Jedi and Sith, so I'm upvoting.
    – DukeZhou
    Jun 8, 2017 at 15:59

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