All 17 Lightsaber Types In Star Wars Canon Explained
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All 17 Lightsaber Types In Star Wars Canon Explained

Summary

  • Lightsabers are more than weapons – they reflect the Jedi who wield them, and are highly customizable to fit individual fighting styles.
  • Unusual lightsaber types like the dual-phase saber and switchblade offer unique tactical advantages that require skill to wield effectively.
  • From the traditional battle saber to the Darksaber and unique designs like Ezra’s makeshift saber, each lightsaber tells a story in the Star Wars universe.
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    In the Star Wars universe, all lightsabers are highly coveted weapons for several reasons. When Luke Skywalker first held Anakin’s lightsaber, Obi-Wan Kenobi told him it was “an elegant weapon for a more civilized time.” Ever since then, the lightsaber has been a symbol of Star Wars – the brilliant blues and greens have been an expression of hope, while the blood–red hues of the Sith lightsabers have sparked terror across the galaxy. Elegant they may be, but the lightsaber is far from simple.

    The mechanical construction of a lightsaber is relatively straightforward, but its power comes from the rare kyber crystal contained within. According to various projects from Star Wars canon, wielding a lightsaber is less like holding a sword than it is directing a current of power. This bond between Jedi and lightsaber explains why specific blades have become venerated. Many lightsabers are customized to serve the strengths (and limitations) of their wielders, and are best used with specific lightsaber combat forms. Here is every canon lightsaber model in Star Wars.

    Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars The Phantom Menace, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars A New Hope, Daisy Ridley as Rey from Star Wars The Force Awakens
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    17 The Standard “Battle Saber” Lightsaber

    Seen in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, etc.

    Best-known examples

    The Skywalker lightsaber (used by Anakin, Luke, and Rey); Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber

    The most famous lightsaber type is the standard blade. This is the stance used by the likes of Luke, Anakin, and Rey Skywalker to name but a few. George Lucas chose to give Jedi lightsabers in part because he knew swords have historically been seen as ritualistic objects, imbued with mystical significance, or used as proof of birthright. That makes this lack of customization seem rather odd.

    This is explained in Star Wars The High Republic: Shadows of Starlight #1, by Charles Soule, Ibraim Roberson, and Phil Noto. This reveals Huyang, a droid created 25,000 years ago to help Jedi construct their lightsabers, established guidance on constructing quick, efficient “Battle Sabers” in times of crisis. These Battle Sabers were built in the field, and they required minimal effort, meaning their loss in battle wouldn’t be so distressing. Obi-Wan may have insisted Anakin’s Battle Saber was his life, but Anakin can be forgiven for not having that kind of emotional attachment to his lightsaber.

    Some lightsabers have bent hilts, helping to improve the design for dueling; some have different nozzles to give the blade a slightly different shape; and, of course, lightsabers come in all sorts of different sizes. No doubt these customizations were added with time, as a Jedi bonded to the kyber within their blade and began to adapt it to their own purpose. All lightsabers are in some way or another reflections of their respective users, down to Star Wars’ many lightsaber colors.

    16 Dual-Phase Lightsaber

    Darth Vader’s modified lightsaber made him even more dangerous

    Best-known example

    Darth Vader’s lightsaber

    Darth Vader was proficient with all lightsabers, but he personally wielded the unusual and highly versatile dual-phase model. Considered a relic of an older, more violent time, the dual-phase lightsaber possesses two kyber crystals. At the flick of a switch, Vader can rotate the kyber crystals into a new alignment to change the length of his blade. This can be useful in taking an opponent by surprise, although the lengths require different combat techniques – meaning only a true master of combat should attempt to use a dual-phase lightsaber.

    It’s unwise to change the alignment in the middle of a battle, because there will be a moment when the kyber crystals rotate and the lightsaber is therefore deactivated

    Darth Vader uses this with care. It’s unwise to change the alignment in the middle of a battle, because there will be a moment while the kyber crystals rotate and the lightsaber is therefore deactivated. In theory, Vader could have incorporated this brief deactivation into his combat style, throwing an opponent off-balance; this is a classic technique called Tràkata, which tended to be mixed with the lightsaber form Jar’Kai. But Vader chose instead to switch lengths before a battle, or during an interval, presumably disliking the moment of vulnerability.

    15 Training Lightsaber

    Seen in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

    Yoda trains a group of Younglings in Star Wars Attack of the Clones

    Best-known examples

    Wielded by Jedi Younglings in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Young Jedi Adventures

    The Star Wars prequel trilogy included a scene in which a group of Younglings were shown training with lightsabers. It’s important to understand these were not ordinary lightsabers, but rather ones designed for training. These blades are shorter than a typical lightsaber, designed to fit in young hands, and their energy is set to low intensity to prevent injury. According to Lucasfilm’s book Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, a solid hit will still deliver a shock that temporarily numbs muscles.

    Training lightsabers have been around for centuries. Young Jedi Adventures even revealed Master Yoda kept his first training lightsaber, presumably meaning they were common within just 200 years of the Republic’s reformation after the fall of the Sith. There have been hints Luke Skywalker learned how to construct them for his Jedi Temple on Ossus, too.

    14 The Protosaber

    This may be the first lightsaber ever made

    Star Wars Vader Immortal

    Only known example

    The protosaber in Vader: Immortal

    The Vader Immortal VR game featured an intriguing weapon called the protosaber. It was far more ornate than most lightsabers, featuring corkscrew prongs twisting around the base of its blue energy blade and a fan-like structure connecting the crossguard to the hilt. The kyber crystal was actually exposed, mounted on an ignition ring of some kind that presumably testifies to the extreme age of this Force relic.

    The name “protosaber” implies that this was one of the first lightsabers ever constructed. There’s actually some evidence lightsabers predate the Jedi Order; the Star Wars: Force & Destiny sourcebook Knights of Fate hints this, with a comment about the first Jedi lightsaber form. “The early Jedi, and perhaps even their precursors, adapted the fighting style that would become Shii-Cho from existing swordplay,” it reads. James Mangold’s upcoming Jedi origin movie may well reveal more.

    Luke Skywalker stood in front of the Prime Jedi insignia
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    13 Shoto Blades

    Seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka

    Best-known example

    Ahsoka Tano’s second lightsaber blade

    The Jedi Ahsoka Tano’s two lightsabers include what is known as a shoto blade. This kind of shorter lightsaber is typically used by a more aggressive Jedi warrior, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni intended this to indicate Anakin’s influence upon Ahsoka. She traditionally held the Shoto blade in her off-hand, and it made her a fierce combatant. Sourcebooks have mentioned a further sub-type of the Shoto called a “Guard Shoto.” This features an additional hilt set at a 90-degree angle, helping the Jedi transition smoothly from attack to defense.

    Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka.
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    12 Double-Bladed Lightsabers

    Seen in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels

    Best-known example

    Darth Maul’s dual lightsaber

    When Darth Maul made his first appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, he used a weapon like nothing fans had ever seen before. This double-bladed lightsaber has an extra long hilt and apparently incorporates multiple kyber crystals. According to Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, Maul discovered how to make this by poring over ancient Sith records.

    Obi-Wan simply sliced his blade down the middle, cutting the hilt apart

    The greatest weakness of the double-bladed lightsaber was revealed in Star Wars Rebels season 3, episode 20, when Darth Maul went up against Obi-Wan Kenobi for the last time. Rather than deploy traditional techniques, Obi-Wan simply sliced his blade down the middle, cutting the hilt apart – and also striking a deathblow against Maul. This weakness perhaps explains why the Sith stopped using this in ancient times.

    11 Switchblade

    Seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Dark Rey in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

    Best-known examples

    Pong Krell, Dark Rey

    One unusual double-bladed lightsaber is known as a switchblade. Here, the two blades can be folded up so they are side-by-side, or switched down into the traditional double-bladed configuration. This was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with a switchblade used by treacherous Jedi Master Pong Krell. A live-action version was seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, wielded by a dark vision of Rey. Interestingly, the brief scene showed how a switchblade could be used quite effectively in a duel, as Dark Rey used it to trap Rey’s weapon between hers, which could have easily disarmed her.

    10 Lightsaber Pikes

    Seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels

    temple guards Cropped

    Best-known examples

    Jedi Temple guards

    Not to be confused with double-bladed lightsabers, the lightsaber pike is seen in Star Wars animations such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. It was used by the temple guards at Coruscant, and the yellow lightsaber blades are symbolic of the eternal flame of the Jedi Order, and the vigilance of its protectors. There were single-bladed variants of the lightsaber pike, with Luke Skywalker discovering one in the comics.

    9 Crossguard Lightsabers

    Kylo Ren’s famous lightsaber

    Best-known examples

    Stellan Gios, Kylo Ren

    The crossguard lightsaber is an interesting design incorporating three blade emitters. Kylo Ren used an unstable crossguard lightsaber, and he quite enjoyed the sinister crackling emitted by the blade. Another variant of the crossguard lightsaber has been seen in the High Republic Era, wielded by Stellan Gios. This appears to be a refinement of the older crossguard design Kylo Ren developed, with physical quillons to control and direct the energy streams at the sides. These quillons point forward toward the emitter when the saber is not in use, and the weapon rests in a specially designed holster.

    As seen in the High Republic Era, the crossguard lightsaber was very popular when the Jedi were at the peak of their power. Many High Republic Jedi have been revealed as crossguard wielders. Similarly, the recent video game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor introduced the crossguard variation as a stance Cal Kestis can use during combat. The stance was utilized in-game as a more power-based stance, with heavy, crushing blows being used to break opponents’ defenses.

    8 The Inquisitors’ Lightsabers

    The unique blades used by the Imperial Inquisitors

    Best-known examples

    All Inquisitors

    The Imperial Inquisitors are former Jedi who served the Empire by hunting down Force-sensitives. They wielded unusual and distinctive lightsabers, which they could actually spin as a sort of helicopter. The spinning can grant a tactical advantage in any lightsaber duel, and the sight of spinning lightsaber blades can be highly intimidating – useful for a variety of Inquisitor work. The Eighth Brother’s saber incorporated additional buzz-saw teeth that give him a further edge in both combat and intimidation.

    7 The Great Lightsaber

    Possibly seen in Ahsoka

    Possible example

    Baylan Skoll’s in Ahsoka

    The Great Lightsaber is an unusual lightsaber type mentioned in the Star Wars: Force & Destiny sourcebook Knights of Fate. These are oversized lightsabers built for use by beings who have large, powerful frames; they have heavier hilts and more powerful blades, meaning strikes carry much more kinetic force than is usually the case. Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka appears to use a Great Lightsaber, with the lightsaber droid Huyang claiming this is the only one he’s seen in 500 years.

    6 The Lightfoil

    Possibly seen in Ahsoka

    Shin Hati wields her lightsaber in Ahsoka episode 8.

    Possible example

    Shin Hati’s in Ahsoka

    The lightfoil is another unusual lightsaber type, and it’s possible this weapon is used by Shin in Ahsoka. Lightfoils are smaller, slimmer blades designed for dueling, and it’s believed the first lightfoils were created by the Sith roughly 5,000 years ago. They’re rapier-like, perfect for swift duels.

    5 Lightsaber Whip

    A unique lightsaber from the Expanded Universe that’s now part of canon

    Lumiya uses her lightsaber whip

    Best known example

    Vernestra Rwoh’s lightsaber

    In Star Wars: The High Republic, the lightsaber whip from the old Expanded Universe made a comeback. Strongly associated with the Nightsisters of Dathomir, the lightsaber whip is an unusual weapon that the Jedi are uncomfortable with. Jedi Knight Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh nonetheless constructed one at the guidance of the Force; it means she can transform her lightsaber into a whip in a moment. At the hands of a master, the lightsaber whip might be the most versatile out of the different blade types.

    4 The Darksaber

    Seen in Star Wars Rebels, The Mandalorian

    Only example

    The Darksaber

    The rare Darksaber in The Mandalorian is a unique lightsaber, created a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Knights. Although the weapon is clearly related to the typical lightsaber, its energy blade is a strange, shimmering black – one that is flat rather than cylindrical, giving the Darksaber a distinctive appearance. Whoever holds the Darksaber is believed to have the right to declare themselves ruler of the Mandalorians.

    Curiously, the Darksaber’s weight and efficiency in combat largely depend on the mental and emotional state of the user. Apart from just Force mastery, the Darksaber can be properly wielded through sheer willpower, which is how Moff Gideon was able to swing it freely. As of the ending of The Mandalorian season 3, the Darksaber was destroyed, begging the question of whether it will be reforged in the future of Star Wars.

    Sabine Wren and Pre Vizsla with the Darksaber.
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    3 Ezra’s Unique Lightsaber

    A custom-built lightsaber unlike any other

    Ezra shows off his new lightsaber in Star Wars Rebels

    Only known example

    Ezra Bridger’s lightsaber

    In Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger constructed one of the most remarkable lightsaber designs seen to date. Jedi had always built lightsabers using whatever they had in hand, and in Ezra’s case, he fashioned his lightsaber using his blaster. Powered by a blue kyber crystal, this allowed Ezra to alternate between blaster shots and the traditional melee weapon that is a lightsaber. In truth, it was more a testimony to Ezra’s doubt in his own skills, and after it was destroyed by Darth Vader, he replaced it with a standard, single-bladed lightsaber.

    2 Kanan Jarrus’ lightsaber

    A surprising collapsible lightsaber

    Kanan Jarrus from Star Wars Rebels holding his lightsaber.

    Ezra was taking after his master, who also used a unique lightsaber. Kanan’s lightsaber was essentially collapsible, in that he could split it into two parts. According to the Star Wars Rebels: Season 2 Sourcebook, Kanan wore “the main body and grip of the hilt on the small of his back, and the top portion that produced the blade on his left side.” All he needed to do to assemble his lightsaber was snap the parts together and twist. This was the perfect lightsaber to use during the Dark Times of the Empire’s reign.

    1 The Lightspear

    Referenced in Star Wars: The High Republic

    Star Wars Light of the Jedi Cover

    Apparently, the ancient Sith used another type of lightsaber, known as a lightspear. This was never seen in the Expanded Universe and has only once been mentioned in canon – in Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi. The Sith lightspear has never been described in any detail, so nothing is yet known about this design. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the lightspear reappears alongside a deeper explanation about its specific differences as a lightsaber variation in the Star Wars galaxy.

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