Force Awakens Trailer and Lightsaber Crossguards: I am Dissappoint

2014-11-28 Useless Lightsaber Crossguard

I am not a fan of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser. It was so bad that I didn’t believe it was the real trailer at first. Alas, it is. Of all the things that annoyed me, however, there is one that stuck out the most: the absolutely useless and silly design of the crossguard for the lightsaber.

The purpose of a crossguard is simple: to protect the hand of the person using the sword (or, in this case, lightsaber).

2014-11-28 Sword_parts_no_scabbard

In order to be effective, the crossguard therefore has to be tough enough to stop an opponent’s blade. In an ordinary sword (made of metal), you just accomplish this by also making the crossguard out of metal. Simple. But the entire point of a lightsaber is that the blade cuts through just about anything. So the only thing that you could possibly make a crossguard out of would be the actual light blade. Anything else is just going to get lopped off instantly, offering absolutely zero protection. This can actually be done. If you look at the entry for crossguard light sabers in the Wookieepedia[ref]Yes, there’s a Wookieepedia, and yes, it has an entry for crossguard lightsabers.[/ref]you can see how it’s been pulled off in the past.

2014-11-28 Useful Crossguard Lightsaber

Notice how the crossguard in that image is recessed so that a strike of an opponent’s blade that slid along the user’s blade would be intercepted by the blade of the crossguard. Not by the vulnerable housing for the crossguard blade. But in the crossguard lightsaber from the trailer, the blades of the crossguards are offset from the grip.This makes the crossguards about as useful as if a Viking went into battle with a crossguard make out of tissue paper.

2014-11-28 Crossguard Comparisons

The whole idea of a lightsaber crossguard is a little dumb to begin with because what makes lightsabers awesome is their elegant simplicity.[ref]”An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, A New Hope[/ref] Double blades, intricate handles, all these additions detract from that simplicity and elegance. But if you’re going to put on a crossguard, at least think about it for 5 seconds and don’t make something that looks like a 7-year old glued the pieces together.

2014-11-28 Useless Lightsaber Crossguard - ZOOMED

Look, I get that Star Wars isn’t exactly supremely realistic, not even when it comes to lightsabers and their practical utility.

The Ewoks were always kind of dumb, even when I was a kid, and the idea of individual pilots zooming around in space fighters exactly as if it were a World War 2 era dogfight was outdated by the technology of the Korean War (jet engines and guided missiles), let along by the time we’ve got FTL spaceships. The originals had flaws, but they were still great. The prequels were so egregiously horrible as to be nigh unwatcheable.[ref]Brief personal Star Wars history: I loved the originals so much that I waited overnight in line to be #5 to get tickets for Phantom Menace. I won Star Wars trivial pursuit in that line, with those super-fans. I watched it six times, willing it to be good. It wasn’t. I never watched Episode II all the way through, and I watched Episode III just once, for old time’s sake. I also read several of the tie-in novels, but they all suck except for the ones by Timothy Zahn. The Clone Wars series is pretty good, and I’ve read a couple of comic books that were OK.[/ref]

We’ve all got to draw our own lines for what fits the spirit of the films, and what doesn’t. For which unrealistic detail is just part of the show, and for which is a violation of artistic integrity. The dumb crossguards cross a line of basic common sense for me. Even if my wife thinks I’m crazy and obsessive. But I’m not ruling out the new movie based on just a teaser. In the final product the good could very well outweigh the bad, and like I said, the originals had some pretty glaring flaws of their own. [ref]”But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!”[/ref] But between the dumb crossguard and all the other issues with the trailer[ref]The narrator’s voice sounds like a parody, for starters.[/ref], my hopes for the franchise’s attempted resurrection are not getting any higher.

12 thoughts on “Force Awakens Trailer and Lightsaber Crossguards: I am Dissappoint”

  1. You’ve got it all wrong. The cross-guards are sort of a vestigial aesthetic addition and this Sith is such a Bad-A** that he knows he can win a duel without even nicking the things.

    It’s not like Darth Maul’s horns could do any damage.

  2. no one here so far has given an intelligent rebuttle so far, so I think ill start. before i do i want to say i respect your opinion, but there are key points you are missing.
    first off, i want to point out your source for Wookieepedia has no mentioning of catching a lightsaber. instead it only mentions his lightsaber having a dagger like second blade on a 45 degree angle. the source means nothing but one photo of his very simalar lightsaber.
    second, i want to point out that yes, having a guard made completely out of light, would be much more efficient. however, Darte’s lightsaber does not demonstrate a full “light” crossguard and neither does your drawing. In fact, Darte’s design is worse. You acted like his lightsaber crossguard would catch a lightsaber if it were to slide down it. Thats incorrect. You can still see in the drawing that there is still a gap where the lightsaber can be cut, so you still have the same exact problem. Actually, since the guard is at a 45 degree angle, it gives the attacking lightsaber no escape room, and literally funnels the attacking lightsaber towards the weak point. Hell theres a good chance it will even chop off the literal blade of the lightsaber if the crossguard is struck! both designs have the same flaws, exept the trailer gives the opposing lightsaber some breathing room to escape.
    third off, how do you know what material the “weak” points are made out of? there are lightsaber resistant materials like cortosis and mandalorian steel that can stop a lightsaber dead in its tracks. because these materials have no distinct features, how can you know what the lightsaber is made of? and this is just a follow up arguement for alot of people that have already might mention this here, but if they made the crossguard purely out of these materials, the internet would break. riots would start about how stupid of a director jj abrams is and the star wars world would be thrown into chaos. everyone would automatically assume its just some regular metal and it could be easily cut.
    fourth, this is my theory and this is just opinion, but i think this crossguard serves more of a purpose than just blocking. It could be used for attacking as well. especially in those stupid locks where two enemies are pressing their sabers against one another. the one with a crossguard could fuck the other person up. And the fact the referenced Dartes guard to a dagger also makes me wonder.

    Anyways, aside from that i respect your opinion on lightsabers and agree they should remain simple. i just really dissagree that the prequels ruined star wars. honestly i dont get why peole bitch about cgi shit. i watch all the movies from 1 to 6 and actually liked the prequels better. puppets just made it look dumb for me. and i really cant tell when cgi is implimented honestly. it looks very very real. though i will admit there is a large contrast between both trilogies in style and filming, which is probably why people hate one over the other. oh well. sorry for the incredibky large comment but this whole arguement of the next star wars movies really pisses me off. my advice to everyone is to look at not only movies, but everything with an open mind and a positive outlook. have a nice day or night.

  3. Alex-

    You’re swimming against a heavy current, my friend. You raise some good points, but it’s not near enough to rescue what is already a pretty universally reviled design. In the movies, lightsabers cut through everything. I suppose they could bring in some Mandalorian steel or whatever, but why do that when you can just fix the design? The Wookieepedia design isn’t perfect, either, but it’s not like there aren’t better alternatives already.

    But this is where you’re really gonna lose folks:

    i just really dissagree that the prequels ruined star wars.

    The CGI is the very, very least of George Lucas’s many and nefarious disastrous mistakes with the prequels, starting with the fact that the man can’t write dialogue. At all. I’m not going to rehash any more than that. There have to be some people who like Star Wars just by dint of having a lot of human beings alive, but they just aren’t good. On so many levels.

  4. Nathaniel –

    I think were forgetting technology here. A quick study of the hilt and chambers where the energy is discharge outwards to create the lightsabers leads me to believe the entire design concept was redone on the inside.

    The bottom hilt more then likely holds the traditional Power Field Conductor, Diatium Power Cell, Power Vortex Ring, and Inert Power Insulator. From there, I would assume that energy created there would then go through the Primary Crystal and Energy Gate and in to the Crystal Chamber. Next, it would go through the Cycling Field Energizers, Blade Energy Channel, Energy Modulation Circuit where one can do the adjustments as needed on the blade.

    Here is where the similarities end. I would believe that it would then hit a secondary Primary Crystal chamber where it is refocused (notice the energy strength output) and redirected towards three blade arc tips and blade emitter shrouds. Hence, what’s running through the “hilt” (or more the arc tips and emitter shrouds) is actually the lightSaber energy. So, in essence, when and if the lightsaber was to cut through the shroud or arc tip it would hit the focused energy being emitted outwards and stop.

  5. Yeah I saw that on FB lastnight after I posted this lol… But, am I wrong? By time it hits this secondary chamber and refocused to the arc tips and emitter shroud, it is basically the LightSaber plasma or energy.

  6. Actually with the cross saber there is a single laser that splits in to 3 it would get caught in the metal as there is a laser running throuh each side. So under the metal of the hilt there is a laser
    ——————————————- ][][][][[][][]

  7. In its defense, it can be assumed that the blade extends from within the hilt so you an cut though a considerable amount of the metal hilt and still hit blade. Beyond that we don’t know what the use of this lightsaber is or why it looks the way it does. For all we know (and this is just speculations) it can be an intentional design flaw that may or may have a part in the story or that of the character. Presumably this design and the light saber effect is only for the character of Kylo Ren and not every lightsaber wielding character. This would make the most sense IMHO but I could be wrong. We should all stop hating and trying to bring negativity to the film for something as small and a lightsaber, we know very little about at this point.

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