How The Lightsaber Has Changed Over Time


In many works of fiction, the main characters have certain items, called “props” that the characters always carry, that are associated with the character, or are otherwise usually present with the character. Typical examples are Long John Silver's parrot, Frodo's Sting or Indiana Jones' whip. These items are essentially extensions of the character, and are used not only as a tool or weapon but often for characterization and as an icon for which the character is remembered. In pop culture, the lightsaber is the iconic weapon of a Jedi, and although there are characters who are not Jedi who carry them, it has become a recognizable symbol of Star Wars and one that has evolved from a basic, metal tube to many other, more interesting and exotic designs.

Possibly inspired by previous laser sword weapons, Star Wars creator George Lucas originally came up with the idea for lightsabers because he intended the Star Wars saga to be a space age Arthurian epic. The weapon needed to be elegant, defensive, futuristic and also iconic, a legendary weapon that would echo down through the ages of pop culture. The result was the lightsaber, and although Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber does reflect these qualities, aesthetically it doesn't look like much. 



In The Return Of The Jedi, Luke constructs his own lightsaber, and this is a different and more interesting design. Although traditionally Jedi are equipped with blue lightsabers, Luke's is green, and that, in addition to the design, gives it a bit more spunk and character.


In the Phantom Menace, we are treated with a new design of lightsaber: that of Darth Maul's red, double-bladed lightsaber. Although still essentially a metal tube, the fact that it has two blades changes the fighting style completely. Actually comprised of two separate lightsabers welded together, Maul's lightsaber is a fearsome weapon and one that has grown to be a fan favourite and iconic of the Sith.


Continuing the trend that villains often have the coolest stuff, another Sith lightsaber is that of Count Dooku from Attack Of The Clones. Far superior to the generic and rod design of most Jedi lightsabers, this lightsaber is possibly one of the most interesting and coolest of all, with a curved handle, a blade-like spike emanating from the handle, and a grip that actually looks comfortable to hold. Inspired by studying the Jedi archives, Dooku constructed his own lightsaber for greater finesse and precision in combat and to this day the design of Dooku's lightsaber is one of the best. 

On the topic of curved lightsabers and their superior aesthetics, interestingly the other well known curved lightsaber belongs to Asajj Ventress, private assassin and apprentice to Count Dooku. While not actually a Jedi or Sith herself, she not only wields one but two lightsabers of the same design. These were created by Komari Vosa, and were gifted to Asajj Ventress by Dooku. Both twin lightsabers can connect, forming a double-bladed lightsaber in the style of Darth Maul. With a curved design, dual-wielding, and the potential for double-blades, as well as being wielded by one of the more interesting and less cliché characters in the Star Wars universe, Asajj Ventress' lightsabers are definitely among the most creative lightsabers.



Another really cool and popular lightsaber is that of Mace Windu. Among the most distinctive and fancy lightsabers, Mace Windu's is most recognizable by its purple blade, a feature requested specifically by Samuel L. Jackson. In-lore, the purple Hurrikane crystal used as a power source was gifted to Windu by the natives of Hurikane, in exchange for helping them. Windu's lightsaber hilt is also constructed from Electrum, a rare metal that was only permitted among high-ranking Jedi, and which gives it it's distinctive gold colour.


 Now we come to what is possibly the most creative and innovative lightsaber of all. Although it lacks the electrum finish or purple blade of Windu's, or Dooku's curved hilt, it incorporates a second weapon into the hilt: a blaster. The lightsaber-blaster hybrid of Ezra Bridger from Rebels is unlike anything that had come before. Built from spare parts donated by Ezra's companions onboard the Ghost, it incorporates a projectile attack capacity and allows the wielder to stun enemies at range as well as fight in melee. This gave Ezra an advantage that other Jedi wouldn't have, and although the weapon has a rather beat up and utilitarian appearance, it is far more practical than a Jedi's usual weapon.



But while Lightsabers have evolved over the years, not all of the new ones have been flashy or practical. Kylo Ren's lightsaber, introduced in The Force Awakens, is the most ridiculous, unrealistic and criticized of all weapons in the Star Wars universe. With a crossguard hilt based on ancient design, it has three blades, with the additional blades being emitted from two vents on the hilt sides. The blade itself has an unstable and serrated appearance, due to the weapon's cracked kyber crystal and Ren's inexperience in constructing a lightsaber. Because of the flawed crystal, the weapon relies on the side vents to allow excess heat to escape and prevent the crstyal from overheating. The lightsaber also appears damaged and has inner workings exposed – these all work for the characterization of Kylo Ren himself. However, the impractically of having three blades made from pure laser so close to the wielder's hand has resulted in this weapon being scoffed at by many fans. Such a weapon could never be used in real life, without some measure of lightsaber proof material being worn at all times. 



Lightsabers have evolved from basic metal tubes to cylinders covered in ornate finery, from scraps that look like they've been scavenged from a junk yard to some of the finest film props ever made. And with the reintroduction of the Darksaber in the last episode of The Mandalorian, there is a whole wealth of possibilities to explore in the everchanging look and feel of Star Wars laser swords. What is your favourite lightsaber, and what colour lightsaber do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 


Source(s): CBR


  1. Not that it gets much attention, but I have to say that Gungi's lightsaber is the most innovative design and in my opinion the most beautiful.

    1. Wow I totally forgot about that one, it definitely takes the cake! :D


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