When all was said and done, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser not only sold us on the upcoming film, but left us a bit stumped about the new lightsaber that the villainous Kylo Ren wields at the end of the video. But since then, we’ve learned a few things about the lightsaber.
Director J. J. Abrams, speaking to EW, revealed the new crossguard lightsaber’s origin, “The lightsaber is something that [Kylo Ren] built himself, and is as dangerous and as fierce and as ragged as the character,” Abrams continued. Add to the equation that Kylo is actually a member of a new evil order known as the Knights of Ren, which means that he might be this trilogy’s “Sith” bad guy.
The new variation of the classic weapon made us very excited, and we quickly dove into Star Wars lore to find some other weird lightsaber designs you might not have seen before.
The concept of a crossguard lightsaber isn’t anything new. In fact, it made its first appearance in Star Wars lore over ten years ago! Here’s a quick look at seven lightsaber designs that are a bit weird, but awesome at the same time:
Let’s start with the lightsaber that drove us all crazy this weekend. The crossguard lightsaber first appeared in the pages of Dark Horse Comic’s Star Wars: Republic #61 by the great John Ostrander (writer) and Brandon Badeaux (penciller). Considered a very rare weapon, the variation was Jedi Roblio Darte’s weapon of choice during the Clone Wars. His lightsaber had two blue blades. One was a regular length blade while the other was dagger-sized and emitted at a 90-degree angle from the hilt. In theory, it made way more sense than J. J. Abrams’ design for the weapon. The crossguard hasn’t shown up all that many more times since then, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the sword’s first canon appearance since the EU continuity was restructured.
The lightwhip isn’t weird, really. It’s just super cool. The weapon first appeared in Marvel’s Star Wars #95 in the hands of the Dark Lady Lumiya. In their first duel in #96, Lumiya quickly defeats Luke Skywalker and captures him. The only way Luke can defeat her later in the issue is by constructing a shoto aka short lightsaber that he dual-weilds with his regular saber.
While Lumiya is the most famous wielder of the lightwhip, the weapon has been used by several agents of the Dark Side throughout Star Wars lore. The first documented wielder of the weapon was the Sith Lady Githany, who was around a million years before the Battle of Yavin.
Yes, this variation is also considered exotic. A force to be reckoned with in the hands of experienced wielders, but a dangerous weapon for a rookie. In simplest terms, it pretty much acts like a regular whip, only it has a plasma blade that can slice your head off at the first touch. Yikes.
In case you ever need to escape a nursing home, the sabercane is here to help! I wonder why this wasn’t Master Yoda’s weapon of choice…This isn’t as much a variation as it is a method of concealing a standard lightsaber. Still, if they ever make a Jedi spy thriller, this could be one cool gadget! Although you might remember the sabercane from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, the weapon first appeared in the work of John Jackson Miller. Dark Horse’s Knights of the Old Republic series introduced the sabercane in #32.
The tonfa is a type of shoto that has a second handle extending from the main hilt at 90 degrees. The perpendicular handle is especially useful when blocking other lightsabers. It’s usually a dual-wield weapon.
This variation hasn’t received a whole lot of love in Star Wars lore. It first appeared in Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Darth Maul #2 in the hands of Sinya, a member of the Black Sun crime syndicate. It’s most notable appearance is probably in The Force Unleashed video game. Maris Brood, a former Jedi Padawan who turned to the Dark Side after the Jedi Purge, wields the weapon. You get to duel her at one point in the game!
* Photo and lightsaber model created by Darth Alice.
Even the lightsaber had a beta test. The original lightsaber was connected to a power pak, which was worn on the user’s hip, via cord. Apple just hadn’t figured out the whole self-sufficient energy thing back then. I kid. But it really was connected to a power pak via cord, which restricted the user’s movements during a duel. It wasn’t ideal, but hey, it was the Hundred-Year Darkness.
The protosaber was first introduced in the Tales of the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith comic book series from Dark Horse. The weapon was widely used during the Great Hyperspace War, which saw the fall of Naga Sadow’s Sith Empire. Actually, have you noticed how many of these designs were introduced in the comics? Neato.
I’m only really mentioning this one because it does look like Daisy Ridley’s character in The Force Awakens teaser might have one strapped to the side of her speeder. This is speculation, of course.
For all intents and purposes, the weapon is basically a lance with a plasma blade on one end. It’s usually the weapon of choice for guards during the era before the Battle of Yavin. The Jedi Temple Guards used them during The Clone Wars and the Emperor’s Shadow Guard used them during the Jedi Purge.
The variation was first introduced in The Force Unleashed series.
Double-bladed spinning lightsaber
The name pretty much says it all. So far, the variation has only been used by the Sith Inquisitor in the Rebels animated series, which makes the weapon canon. I wonder if this lightsaber will make an appearance in The Force Awakens…
Fun fact: this weapon was originally going to be introduced in The Force Unleashed, but the design was abandoned during development.
Did I miss any designs that should be added to this list? Tell me in the comments!