Lightsabers – staples of the Star Wars franchise. “Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” But how much do you actually know about lightsabers, beyond the obvious (i.e. what we see/hear about them in the films)?
Thankfully, we here at Epicstream have you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about lightsabers:
*Note: This article pertains to lightsabers as they’re depicted in-canon, as opposed to Legends, in which they differ in some regards.
The Inner And Outer-Workings
The iconic plasma blade of a lightsaber is powered by a kyber crystal, which is housed within a hilt made from metal, Brylark tree wood, or even gems. In addition to the kyber crystal, the hilts also include a power cell, modulation circuits, an emitter matrix, and an energy gate. Meanwhile, the outsides are often equipped with handgrips, an activator switch, and in some cases, a blade length and/or power adjuster.
A lightsaber that’s constructed improperly can be incredibly dangerous. For example, an inverted emitter matrix could cause the lightsaber to short out, but it could also cause it to combust. Additionally, a cracked or otherwise unstable kyber crystal could have the same effect if the hilt isn’t fitted with vents to reroute the excess energy, as is the case with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber.Advertisement
They Weren’t Always Associated With The Sith
When Obi-Wan first handed Luke Skywalker his father’s old lightsaber, he referred to it as “the weapon of a Jedi Knight.” And while lightsabers are also quite common among the Sith, that wasn’t always the case.
When and where the first lightsaber was created remains a mystery, but they’ve long been synonymous with the Jedi, who used them in both combat and peacekeeping missions thousands of years before the formation of the Republic. Additionally, the Jedi were also known to use lightsabers ceremoniously, such as cutting a Padawan’s braid upon graduating to the rank of Jedi Knight.
They Can Cut Through ALMOST Anything
One would imagine that a blade made of pure plasma could cut through just about anything, and that’s exactly right – just about anything, but not everything. For example, energy-conducting weapons such as an electrostaff, a Z6 riot control baton, or even another lightsaber can deflect an incoming strike without being cut through. Other materials that are resistant to lightsaber blades include the rare Zillo Beast hide, as well as armor crafted from genuine Mandalorian iron.
On a related note, although a lightsaber can cleanly sever a limb, the plasma blade cauterizes the wound upon doing so. As such, lightsaber wounds rarely lead to blood loss.
Lightsaber Combat Has Seven Different Forms
Traditional lightsaber combat – as developed by the Jedi Order – has seven distinct forms, each with its own set of benefits.
Form I (Shii-Cho) is regarded as the original form, dating all the way back to the beginning of lightsabers, themselves. It’s considered the easiest form to learn.
Form II (Makashi) is a more elegant and graceful form of combat, commonly used when dueling against the Sith. However, it was also the preferred form of Count Dooku, the Jedi-turned-Sith Lord. Rather than brute strength and power, Form II relies heavily on steady, concise strikes.
Form III (Way of the Mynock or Soresu) is primarily a defensive form. Kanan Jarrus was proficient in this form thanks to the instruction of Jedi Master Depa Billaba.
Form IV (Ataru) is the athletic, acrobatic form of combat used by the likes of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda in the prequel trilogy. It’s particularly effective in large, open spaces, and it’s also useful when it comes to deflecting projectiles.
Form V (Djem So or Shien) is the form that allows the combatant to deflect blaster fire away, or even back at their opponent. This form also favors defensive maneuvers followed by strong counterattacks. The reverse grip of the Shien style was a favorite of Ahsoka Tano.
Form VI (Niman) is less traditional than the previous forms of lightsaber combat. It’s typically used to combine Force abilities with strikes from a double-sided lightsaber, as in the case of Darth Maul.
Form VII (Juyo or Vaapad), in stark contrast to Form II, is an aggressive form of combat that relies on heavy, unpredictable strikes. This was the preferred form of Mace Windu, though he was also proficient in other forms.
They Became A Rarity In The Galaxy
The Jedi served as peacekeepers for the Galactic Republic for over a thousand generations. As such, the number of lightsabers in existence was equal to, if not more than the number of Jedi. However, when Darth Sidious executed Order 66 and virtually all of the Jedi were killed, lightsabers were rarely seen or used. Aside from Darth Vader, who used his regularly, most of the few remaining Jedi refused to use their lightsabers for fear of drawing unwanted attention from the Empire.
It wasn’t until the formation of Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi Order that lightsabers became somewhat commonplace again – at least in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, as Kylo Ren all but exterminated the Jedi once again, and with the destruction of Rey’s lightsaber, Kylo is currently the only one known to possess one.
There Are Several Variations of Lightsaber
Much like the forms of combat, lightsabers themselves come in several different varieties.
There are standard, double-bladed, spinning double-bladed, crossguard, curved-hilt, and Shoto-style lightsabers, as well as those that resemble and operate in the similarly to pistols, rifles, and pikes. Furthermore, there’s the Darksaber, which has a black blade that’s flat and comes to a point, much like a traditional sword.
And speaking of color, the color of the lightsaber blade depends entirely on the kyber crystal used to make it. Aside from the black Darksaber, lightsaber blades can be blue, green, purple, white, red, or yellow.