Ask anyone born around 1970 or later what the most iconic sounds of their childhood are, and a sizable portion of them are bound to mention the buzz of a lightsaber. Before the release of Star Wars, such an imaginative weapon had scarcely been put to screen, and never had one looked so real. Today's audiences may take it for granted, but the iconic weapon was a massive part of why the franchise is so highly regarded. At the very least, it stands as a tangible representation of the filmmakers' unbridled creativity. Lightsabers themselves may be an "elegant weapon" from "a more civilized age," but they helped usher in a new era of cinema.
The movies divulge all the necessary details about the Jedi's weapon of choice, but that is not even half of all the information that is out there about them. An endless array of stories and anecdotes regarding the deadly beams of energy exist, both in regards to the canon and the real world. If one wanted to commit every detail of the weapon to memory, it would probably take the better part of their life.
In the following list, we'll dish out twenty tidbits of lightsaber trivia that only the most avid fans would know. Those who are already aware of the obscure facts before reading can take comfort in knowing that they are a true sage of Star Wars wisdom. Those less versed in the franchise's deeper workings will surely come away having learned a few new interesting things.
So get ready for some fighting, because here are the 20 Facts Only True Fans Know About Lightsabers.
The biggest appeal of a lightsaber is its ability to cut through any material. However, this far away galaxy from a long time ago is a big one, and within it lies a handful of fibers that cannot be pierced by the sci-fi blade.
Most notably, the hide of the Zillo beast is invulnerable to most attacks, including lightsabers.
Fortunately for Jedi, the creature is extremely rare and was thought to be extinct until one showed up in an episode of The Clone Wars. The list of these types of materials is short and most of the items are scarce, but it is invaluable information for anyone to have if they wish to face off against a Jedi.
Jedi are typically the only people seen wielding lightsabers, so one could easily deduce their scarcity. What is less known, however, is just how a Jedi goes about getting one of their own.
The Clone War's episode "the gathering" details how sacred of a process obtaining one can be. Jedi Younglings have to construct their own, but it is not as simple as gathering the necessary ingredients. The task contains several arduous trials that test a padawan's bravery and compassion. Since the lightsaber is generally reserved for Jedi, it makes sense that the mere act of making one is only possible by those with the potential to become a part of the order.
As mythical an object as they may seem, even the most fantastic of creations have to be made from something, and lightsabers do not just grow on trees or sprout from the ground. While the hilt itself is made from several different parts, the main ingredient is the Kyber Crystal.
Power cells, energy gates, and modulation circuits are vital too, but they are nothing without the crystal to actually power up the energy beam.
While the rare resource is found in several different locations, the planet Ilum was mainly where Jedi younglings would go to harvest their own crystal while making their sabers. The crystals also may have powered legendary Sith superweapons in ancient times.
Chocolate and soda generally don't mix. Both are delicious on their own, but combining the flavors will make for a poor experience. Unlike the previous example, marrying a lightsaber with a rifle sounds awesome. It might even seem too good to be true, but they did exist in the Star Wars galaxy. The weapon would use the saber's energy to fire extremely powerful shots. Unfortunately, it could only be fired about five times before rendering the saber useless.
Jocasta Nu used the devastating armament in duel against Darth Vader shortly after the Jedi Purge. Unfortunately, even this incredible tool of destruction was not enough to stop the Sith lord, and the Jedi lost her life.
With a weapon that can effortless cut through almost anything, one would think the Star Wars films to be an unrelenting gorefest. Obviously this is not the case, as the series is for the whole family. While being accessible to children is as good a reason as any, the universe itself provides an explanation for the clean cutting.
Because lightsabers are pure energy, the extreme heat instantly cauterizes any wound, even dismemberment.
Since Jedi are peacekeepers, it makes sense that their weapons, as deadly as they can be, would have a feature that prevents fatal wounds. Admittedly, this still doesn't explain why Ponda Baba bleeds in A New Hope when Obi Wan cuts his arm off.
When George Lucas started crafting the next trilogy in the series, he wanted to take lightsaber duels to new heights. While the fights of the original trilogy are all compelling and brimming with tension, they are generally not fast paced
Nick Gillard ended up choreographing all three of the prequels, and did a bang up job by most accounts. However, the task almost went to legendary Hong Kong action star Sammo Hung. Lucas was apparently a fan of his work and apparent knowledge in sword play. Unfortunately for Hung, Nick got the job instead. The world will never know what Sammo's fight scenes may have looked like, but he surely would have done some impressive things with the task.
People like to knock on the showdown between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in A New Hope because of its less than stellar choreography. One has to remember that the two Jedi are not exactly at their physical peak. One is an old man and the other is being kept alive by circuits and wires.
To convey this feeling of two tired elderly folks dueling it out one last time, many of the moves were based on the Kendo martial art from Japan.
While actual Kendo matches are visceral and fast, one can see the inspiration in the iconic bout between the two men. Every swing feels like it has the attackers full weight behind it.
David Prowse has a rocky relationship with the franchise. He initially believed he would provide the voice Darth Vader, but Lucas opted to have James Earl Jones dub the lines. He was then supposed to be the face of the character at the end of Return of the Jedi, but Sebastian Shaw ultimately played the part. It's understandable if he feels cheated out in any way.
Maybe he took out all of his frustration on the props used for lightsabers, because he infamously destroyed tons of them while filming. The props themselves were notoriously fragile, but Prowse was said to shatter the most of them among the cast. This concerns mainly A New Hope, as Vader's fights in the following films were done by a stuntman.
The prequel trilogy gets a lot of flack for its ridiculous production techniques, including digitally altering characters facial expressions in the middle of a shot. While this example may be extreme, changing an idea in post production is par for the course for George Lucas. Even back in the legendary, universally beloved original trilogy changes were being made after filming.
For example, Luke was originally intended to wield a blue lightsaber, and it is even that color in the trailers.
Unfortunately, the color clashed with the clear sky in the battle above the Sarlacc pit. The filmmakers ultimately decided to just change the color to green. It makes one wonder how many people noticed that it was changed from the tv spots they saw.
Even in a movie overflowing with unique ideas like Star Wars, what showed up on screen was usually influenced by something that came before it. The biggest inspiration for George Lucas when creating the world and characters were the serials he enjoyed in his childhood. Many of these often featured sword fights, which first sparked the idea to include blade like weapons in the science fiction story.
Of course, the idea underwent many transformations, the most notable being that they were more ubiquitous. Making them only the weapon of Jedi added an aura of mystery around them, something the viewer could relate to as their jaws dropped in awe of the marvelous effect appearing before them.
In the movies, there is never any mentioning of lightsabers changing their color. It is not possible to do this on a whim or as a fashion statement, but red sabers can be changed to white.
This is not an easy process, as it takes immensely strong concentration from a powerful Jedi.
For an example of this, look no further than Ahsoka Tano, first introduced in The Clone Wars. In Ahsoka, a novel that details parts of her life not shown in the animated shows, she purifies two lightsabers previously wielded by an Inquisitor. At the end of the process, the sabers turn from red to bright white, a color not yet seen in the films.
For years, the weapon only came in two colors, blue and green. Then, Luke showed up in Return of the Jedi with his green one. The prequels then showed that they came in a whole variety of pretty hues.
These differences were not just for aesthetic purposes though. Long before even the prequels, the color of one's saber was an indication of their class as a Jedi. The Guardians were warriors, and they sported blue beams of light on their weapons. Sentinels also specialized in fields outside the force and were identifiable by their yellow sabers. Finally, the Counselors who specialized in politics and diplomacy often used green ones, but they rarely ever brandished them.
Like how real world inventions go through prototype phases and different creations entirely before reaching its final form, so do fictional products have their own backstories. In a universe as fully realized as Star Wars, one could bet their lucky stars that lightsabers have an origin of their own.
Before lightsabers, there were forcesabers. This weapon still used a crystal, but the beam was powered by pure dark side energy.
Because of this, anybody who dared to use it risked succumbing to its power. Some legends even suggest that the reluctance by many Jedi to use it was the catalyst for the divide between the two sides of the Force, thus planting the seeds for the conflict the whole series is based on.
When a franchise's most iconic weapon is a blade, the stories are sure to have their share of slashing and cutting. Dismembering the hand is a particular favorite of the franchise, and it even has its own name. Cho Mai is the technique of cutting off the weapon wielding hand of an opponent. There is also a technique called Cho Sun, which does away with the whole arm.
The wound will usually not prove fatal, due to the sterility of a lightsaber cut. With the available technology of the Star Wars galaxy, getting an artificial arm does not seem to be a hassle. Hopefully Jedi are covered under a good health insurance plan - maybe "Jedicare."
With the plethora of colors that lightsabers come in, it is easy not to notice one glaring omission - black. A black lightsaber does exist, however, and it is the only one of its kind.
The Darksaber was created thousands of years ago by a Jedi named Terra Vizsla.
After his life ended, the blade managed to live on, and fell into many peoples' hands, both good and bad. Darth Maul wielded it in The Clone Wars and Sabine dished out damage with it in Rebels. The last known whereabouts of it saw it in the possession of Bo-Katan Kryze. The animated shows are great, but it would be nice to see such a cool weapon in a live action feature film.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger said "if it bleeds, we can [destroy] it" in Predator, he probably did not realize he was talking about Lightsabers too. That's right, the weapon can also "bleed" through force manipulation.
Given a Kyber Crystal's propensity towards the light side of The Force, they have to be forced into submission by a Sith. This process of pouring massive amounts of Dark Force energy into the crystal is what gives a Sith's lightsaber its color. the change in color is referred to as bleeding. It takes a strong Sith to transform a Kyber Crystal. Even Darth Vader himself was brought to the brink of madness when a crystal resisted his dark Force energy.
These days, its quite easy to walk into a toy store and buy a imitation lightsaber to fool around use and play Jedi Knight. When making the movies the producers couldn't simply go to a shop and buy a completed prop, since the mere concept of a lightsaber was barely around. The props department had to get creative, and their ingenuity in crafting the legendary weapon is inspiring.
The hilts of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader's lightsabers were mainly composed of the tube from a camera flash attachment and buttons from calculators.
Obi-Wan's was bit more complex, also containing parts from a hand grenade and a jet engine. The crafting of these props is movie making magic at its finest.
It does not seem possible to improve upon an idea as cool as a blade of light that can cleanly slice through anything. However, some people with actively vivid imaginations managed to make the weapon even more stylish.
They are never shown in the movies, but dual-phase lightsabers that shorten and extend the blade do exist. Sabers that do this contain more than one Kyber Crystal, and they could grow or decrease in size almost instantly, even in the middle of combat. One second a Jedi could cut loaves of bread with ease and precision, while the next moment they could step into a dual, all with the same weapon. It's like a swiss army lightsaber.
No one can wield a lightsaber like a Jedi. This is mainly due to their connection connecting them to everything and everyone around them, resulting in enhanced reflexes. The force's connection with lightsabers go far beyond that, however.
A powerful enough Jedi is actually able to pour force energy into the blade in order to make it stronger.
Sith do this already to Kyber Crystals in order to control them, but doing it to an active saber is a whole other level. Most notably, Starkiller, the player character, does this in the highly underrated Force Unleashed video game series from 2008 and 2010. Darth Vader also utilizes this technique when he is fought as a boss.
Kyber Crystals are not only the raw ingredient that give life to the lightsaber, they also are in tune with the Force itself. They are even sometimes referred to as living crystals, and not without good reason. The special crystals can be considered sentient. They are naturally sided with the light side of the Force, which is why Sith must force them to adhere to their commands. Additionally, Jedi Younglings are chosen by a crystal and the Force when they start to make their own saber.
With this information in mind, it is easy to see why lightsabers are considered so sacred, and not just a cool weapon for anyone to use at their leisure.
What are you favorite things about lightsabers in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!