Superman vs. Jedi
He's the man of steel, but could he beat a master of the Force?
It all started with a reader's e-mail. "Please help," wrote Ian Booth. "There's a huge argument between me and my mates. Who would win - a Jedi Knight or Superman?" In his 771-word response, HowStuffWorks staffer Robert Valdes examined the scenario from several angles. He shared his thoughts with the rest of us, and that was all it took. Before long, break-room and lunch talk revolved around who could take on Superman.
In this article, we'll look at what it takes to beat Superman and whether a range of foes could win against him. Like Superman, our opponents are all stars from big-name movies, books and comic books. Let the games begin
We'll begin with the question that started it all -- would Superman win in a fight against a Jedi Knight? Booth's e-mail raised several specific questions. Would a Jedi be fast enough to sense Superman's approach? Could the Jedi manipulate Superman in mid-air? Could a lightsaber be made from kryptonite?
Jedi are fast, and part of their training involves fighting without using their sight or other senses. But they don't quite reach Superman's speeding-bullet status. Physically, Superman has the upper hand.
Because of Superman's strength and speed, using the Force to manipulate him mid-flight would be a lot like manipulating a starship. If the Force could manipulate starships in flight, Darth Vader could have crashed all the X-wings during the Battle of Yavin. Or, Luke Skywalker could have destroyed all of the Star Destroyers during the Battle of Hoth. The logical conclusion is that Jedi are not capable of stopping something as strong and fast as a speeding starship. Some portrayals, like the "Clone Wars" series, do show Jedi performing extreme feats with the Force, but those feats come with a price. To even attempt to stop Superman in mid-flight could seriously injure or kill a Jedi.
Finally, there are two reasons why a Jedi wouldn't have a lightsaber made from kryptonite:
A lightsaber uses crystals to focus the blade, and gathering these crystals from the planet Ilum is a rite of passage for a Jedi. Under certain conditions, the crystals emit light and energy. Kryptonite is not typically crystalline; it's usually a metal or a rock. The crystalline versions of Kryptonite that have existed have emitted radiation, just like Green Kryptonite, rather than light or energy.
Kryptonite affects Superman because of its radioactive properties. Adding kryptonite would only make a lightsaber more deadly to him if the resulting weapon emitted the same radiation.
However, a lightsaber may be useful against Superman even without the presence of kryptonite, since magical weapons can harm him. If the Ilum crystals are by nature magical, then the blade might slice through Superman just like it can slice through Vader's arm. You can read more about lightsabers in How Lightsabers Work.
With these points in mind, it seems unlikely that a Jedi could defeat Superman, regardless of who has the high ground unless lightsabers are magical.
Phone Booth Wars
Suppose Superman took on the other person best known for creative use of a phone booth -- the Doctor of the BBC TV series "Doctor Who." To survive, the Doctor would need to rely on his ship, the TARDIS (really shaped like a police box, not a phone booth). The TARDIS is a time machine, and with it, the Doctor could avoid the fight, prevent it from happening or even prevent the planet Krypton from exploding.
A Sith Lord, on the other hand, could be a formidable opponent for Superman. Unlike Jedi, Sith Lords don't hold themselves to a code of balance or fair play. They give in to powerful emotions like passion and rage, and they use the Force with a vengeance. Sith Lords also use synthetic crystals and make other adjustments to their lightsabers. They may be more likely to entertain the idea of making a kryptonite or magical lightsaber. Failing that, a Sith Lord may tune his lightsaber in such a way that it bypasses Superman's protective field.
A Sith Lord's no-holds-barred approach to wielding the Force also provides a potential advantage. So while he might not be able to stop Superman in midair, a Sith Lord could act first, unleashing the Force while Superman was on the ground. The ensuing fight between a Sith Lord and Superman has the potential to be long and brutal, especially as the Force weakens Superman. A Sith Lord could win, depending on:
How effectively and repeatedly he can strike Superman with a lightsaber or Force lightning
Whether these weapons have an effect on Superman If the Force and lightsabers can affect Superman, they could allow a Sith Lord to overcome the natural advantage Superman seems to gain when fighting evil.
Introduction to Battling Blockbusters: Fighting Against Superman 2. Superman vs. a Jedi 3. Superman vs. the Death Star 4. Superman vs. Superheroes 5. Superman vs. Magic 6. Lots More Information 7. See all Movies articles