If you’ve been on the internet lately (face it, it’s a high probability that you have), then you most likely saw the new Star Wars trailer and witnessed the internet collectively lose their minds regarding the new lightsaber design. One website unaffected has been NAG Online… until now! Hit the jump for in-depth ranting.
But first, an anecdote:
I haven’t seen the trailer. I’m not going to see the trailer. The only images of The Force Awakens that I will willingly watch will be at the screening of the film. I want to watch the new Star Wars movie with the same mindset that I watched my first SW: the completely blank slate of a child. As such, I only know two things about the movie.
1) There’s a character called Blackstorm Trüper (I think that’s how you spell it).
2) There’s a new lightsaber design.
The design of the cross-guard lightsaber has divided fans. Some say it’s flawed, others say: “Shut the hell up, it’s just a movie.” I fall into the first category. So, I’ve trimmed my neckbeard, I’m wearing a hat I incorrectly call a fedora, and I’m ready to participate in the greatest nerd pursuit of them all: bitching on the internet about something fictional. Here are the three major faults with the new lightsaber.
3: It fails as a cross-guard
A cross-guard functions to protect the user’s hands. It does this in two ways:
1: It prevents the user’s hands from sliding onto the blade.
2: It prevents the opponent’s sword from sliding down the blade and cutting your fingers.
Function 1 is invalid with a lightsaber. Seeing as it’s a beam of weaponised laser, it encounters no resistance when stabbing. Seriously, when the blade is stabbed into anything it cuts through it like a lightsaber through non-lightsaber. The argument could be made that resistance is encountered while cutting through metal doors (like in Episode 1), but it would take a concentrated effort to cut a door and a Jedi would definitely get a firm grip beforehand.
Function 2 is also negated. Yes, laser cross-guards would indeed block a blade, but the blades are being emitted through good old-fashioned machinery. The expertly designed image below illustrates function 2 of the guard, and why the laser cross-guard fails:
As illustrated above, the opponent’s weapon strikes at A, slides along B, and is blocked by the cross-guard at C. A regular sword works in this regard, because contact at C is metal-vs-metal. Lightsaber doesn’t work, because that contact is metal-vs-cuts through metal like butter. An enterprising opponent of Darth Claymore (name not final) would just have extra opportunity to disable the weapon.
Of course, any Star Wars fan would point out that lightsaber resistant metal does exist in the lore. And that leads to our second major flaw…
2: It can only be justified by laziness
Have you ever heard of phrik? It rhymes with “scriptwriter-laziness”, and you know you’re pronouncing it correctly when you burst out laughing.
According to the lore, there were several lightsaber resistant materials. The most notable were phrik, Cortosis, and Mandalorian Iron. They are employed at various points in the extended universe and are used to explain when something just can’t be cut through. You might recognise these materials by their other name: MacGuffins.
So this brings us to the laziness with the cross-guard lightsaber. That thing I mentioned earlier about it being destroyed? That flaw can be written away in a few lazy lines of dialogue:
The lighsaber’s clash. The blue blade is blocked by the handle of the cross-guard
JEDI MASTER T-REX BLASTER
What! Your lightsaber should be broken!
Yes, but it’s made of phrik!
JEDI MASTER T-REX BLASTER
Truly, I taught you well.
See? Laziness. And can you take any villain or actor seriously once they’ve been forced to say a word as gut-wrenchingly hilarious as ‘Phrik’? And bear in mind, Disney recently culled nearly all of the expanded universe lore, meaning phrik etc will need extra justification to be forced in here. The alternative is that this flaw is never exploited and we are left wondering why a trained Jedi wouldn’t disable their opponent’s weapon in such a simple way.
And this brings us to our main reason. The biggest flaw with the cross-guard lightsaber…
1: It’s a needless attempt to make something iconic
I get it. The Star Wars sequel is a big deal. It’s going to be compared to a series unlike anything known to cinema, and the team behind it clearly want to make it as unique as possible. Hence the cross-guard lightsaber. It’s new, it’s different, it’s got the internet talking and hyped. The cross-guard lightsaber is something truly iconic, but it doesn’t need to be. Here, look at these guys, they both had unusual lightsabers:
Now look at THESE guys.
What’s clear to see is that Disney is trying to make the most iconic weapon of all nerd-dom even more iconic. And it doesn’t need to be! The most famous lighsabers are the regular ones: the elegant weapons with the sense of refinement that could be weapons of peace or mass-murder. Another reason could be that Disney wants to make the fight-scenes more creative and awe-inspiring. However, if you think that regular lightsabers can’t make for an entertaining fight, then watch the clip below until you feel otherwise.[youtube]RATMJ8JH1qo[/youtube]
But don’t let any of this fool you: I can’t wait to see The Force Awakens. I grew up watching Star Wars back on VHS tapes before I could read. I’ve wanted to be a Jedi for longer than I’ve gotten funny feelings about girls. And come December 18th, 2015, I will be at the cinema ready to write a 1000+ word article bitching about the cross-guard lightsaber all over again.