The Star Wars: Episode VII Lightsaber Dilemma

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Today we received what we’ve been begging for months, a teaser for J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Wars film, Episode VII - The Force Awakens.

The trailer shows a little bit of everything. We get a helmetless stormtrooper looking bewildered on a Tatooine-like planet, a female protagonist rocketing across the dunes on a clunky speeder, a soccer ball-inspired droid, and the money shot, an Sith-looking figure in the woods with a brand new lightsaber.

There has been a lot of talk about the trailer this weekend. Most of the conversation has been focused on the new weapon. Rightly so. It’s really cool. It’s also really poorly thought out. 

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As a master bladesmith explains to the Washington Post, Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch highlights, and The Verge’s T.C. Sottek shows with coffee shop sketches, the medieval claymore design of the new saber is just not right. The cross guard, while an interesting and inspired addition, does nothing to protect the hands during a battle. The bases of each secondary emitter is completely open to the slicing of an opposing space sword (and your appendage of choice).

A change to the original 1977 design of the lightsaber isn’t new. We got a double-ended weapon in 1999’s Phantom Menace. We got another one with the new Star Wars: Rebels animated series. The mysterious villain of that show is called The Inquistor and has a Maul-like device with a rounded hand-guard around the centerpiece, giving full 360’ protection in battle. Pretty cool, actually.

I love the new design but for that one fatal flaw. I think a redesign is appropriate.

The proposed changes Sottek highlights in his article are actually pretty great. A follower of his was able to digitally fix the blade per his sketches and it looks like this.

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Totally better, don’t you think?

Read Part II of this series here.

Read Part III of this series here.