By now we’ve all seen the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. There were some cool things (unless you’re a racist), some weird things (unless you’re a soccer fan), and some stupid things (see above image). But while the Internet rages itself into a froth over Darth Abrams’s light-claymore, let’s take a moment to remember that this is nowhere near the first poorly designed and functionally useless lightsaber variant to grace the Star Wars franchise. Here are eight more, some of which are even dumber!
1. The Double-Bladed Lightsaber
I don’t claim to know much about melee weapons, but I’m pretty sure that one of the chief benefits of a staff is its reach. I’m also pretty sure that that advantage is completely negated when you can only touch the middle 20% of the weapon without cutting your hands off. Popularized by Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, the double-bladed lightsaber was actually an Expanded Universe invention, first used by the fallen Jedi Knight Exar Kun in the Tales of the Jedi comics. Star Wars lore would have you believe it’s much deadlier than the standard single-blade version, and that may be true, but only because the double-saber’s drastically limited range makes its user much more likely to cut himself in half than his opponent.
It looks freaking sweet, though, and that’s all that matters.
2. The Curved-Handle Lightsaber
George Lucas gave this weapon to Christopher Lee in Attack of the Clones because it was supposed to emphasize his elegant fencing style of lightsaber combat. I’ve never seen real fencers use a sword with a hilt shaped like a banana, but this is such a slight tweak of the basic lightsaber design it’s hard to find fault with it. Or at least it used to be, until, like so many other cool elements from the movies, the ceaseless Star Wars marketing machine took it too far and made it stupid. Asajj Ventress, a character from the animated series The Clone Wars and the Expanded Universe Clone Wars multimedia campaign, was such a badass she had to use two curved lightsabers, which she would sometimes link together to make an even more impractical double-bladed lightsaber.
It’s like the best of both worlds, if both worlds were made of garbage.
3.The Forked Lightsaber
One of the most infrequently seen lightsaber variants in the EU, this is basically a normal lightsaber with a second, much shorter blade emitted at a 45-degree angle just below the main blade. I have no idea what function it’s supposed to serve, besides severing your fingers if your hand slips too far up the hilt. Of all these weird variations, this is probably the closest to the one in the teaser trailer, but I’ll go on record as preferring the teaser version. I don’t even know what this one is supposed to be.
4. The Lightwhip
Somebody said, “You know, the lightsaber is pretty cool, but it just doesn’t violate enough laws of physics for me. How about a weapon made of light that’s not only a fixed length, but doesn’t even stay in a straight beam?” Personally, I don’t even mind this variation in principle, as it’s a fairly logical extension of the lightsaber concept in a science-fantasy setting. But if we’re taking J. J. Abrams to task for goofily improbable ideas, however, let’s consider everything he had to work off of.
5. The Light-nightstick
It’s a short-bladed lightsaber except you hold it by a little handle perpendicular to the main handle. Why not? Why not hold your sword like a gun and run at people with it? Unless you were planning to need your forearm or elbow afterward, I guess.
6. The Light-nunchuks
Easily the most useful lightsaber variant. I cannot foresee any possible negative outcome or disadvantage here.
7. The Light-What-The-Hell-Is-This
This is the weapon of the Inquisitor, the main villain on the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Although it looks like it was based on a children’s toy, this lightsaber actually originated as an unused concept from The Force Unleashed, a videogame best known for the sequences in which its protagonist catches a falling Star Destroyer with the Force, founds the Rebel Alliance, kicks Darth Vader’s ass, battles the Emperor to a standstill, and makes out with a hot blonde with a British accent. This lightsaber’s ring can rotate independently of the handle, rapidly spinning the blades. It probably looks awesome if you’re ten. In really dire straits, the Inquisitor can separate his weapon into two single-bladed lightsabers and a deadly Frisbee.
Seriously though how could this ever help you in any way?
8. Lord Nyax
“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.”
You know, suddenly that trailer doesn’t look so bad anymore.
(Are you the sort of reprehensible nerd that enjoys whiling away their life talking about Star Wars lore? Then check out Frank’s Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha articles where he attempts to examine and review the entire Star Was Expanded Universe. Also consider liking the U4E on Facebook or following us on Twitter or Tumblr.)