The Strangest Lightsabers in the Star Wars Universe: From Dark Rey to Vernestra Rwoh

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Acolyte Episode 5!

The lightsaber is undoubtedly one of the coolest (albeit sadly nonexistent) weapons in all of pop culture. What’s not to love about a laser sword that can cut through anything yet easily stow away in your pocket when not in use? Though as we’ve seen many times in the Star Wars universe, some Jedi and Sith aren’t content to stick to the traditional lightsaber design. The Acolyte is just the latest Star Wars project to continue that proud tradition.

From double-bladed lightsabers to lightsaber pikes to a lightsaber rifle (?), here are the strangest and most noteworthy lightsaber designs in the Star Wars franchise, including a few from the classic Legends continuity.

Lumiya’s Light-Whip

You have to give Marvel Comics credit for thinking outside the box on this one. Long before the days of villains like Darth Maul and Kylo Ren, 1985’s Star Wars #95 featured one of the most unusual lightsaber designs ever conceived. Lumiya, former protege of Darth Vader himself, constructed a whip based on ancient Sith designs. Built from a combination of unbreakable Mandalorian iron and lightsaber crystals, this weapon is the only lightsaber that creates a flexible beam. Lumiya nearly overwhelmed Luke with this deadly weapon, forcing him to wield two sabers at once to stand a chance in battle.

The Double-Bladed Lightsaber

The concept of a double-bladed lightsaber was introduced prior to The Phantom Menace, but this movie brought that weapon into the mainstream thanks to Darth Maul. Maul showed how deadly this weapon can be in the right hands, dominating two powerful Jedi at once. Similar doubled-bladed sabers have been used by characters like Savage Opress and Satele Shan.

The Lightsaber Pike

One of the more interesting variations of the double-bladed lightsaber is the lightsaber pike, a weapon used by the guards at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. With a longer hilt and shorter blades, these sabers are designed to be used more like a staff than a traditional sword. The hilts also fold in half in a switchblade-style design, one that’s started becoming more popular in the Star Wars universe.

Pong Krell’s Sabers

Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced a corrupt Jedi Master named Pong Krell who puts his own spin on the double-bladed lightsaber design. Krell’s saber blades are longer, like Maul’s, but the hilts fold in half, like the lightsaber pike. Krell is also the rare Jedi capable of wielding two double-bladed sabers at once, a feat only possible because of his incredible strength and extra arms.

Mace Windu’s Purple Saber

Canonically, there’s only one Jedi cool enough to wield a purple-bladed lightsaber. Lightsaber crystals almost always come in green, blue or red varieties, making Mace’s saber quite the collector’s item. We can’t help but wonder what became of the weapon after Anakin sliced Mace’s arm off in Revenge of the Sith.

Count Dooku’s Saber

Count Dooku was regarded as one of the finest swordsmen in the galaxy before defecting to the Sith. His lightsaber hilt features a unique, curved design, allowing for precise motions and strikes. This enhances the fencing-inspired fighting style Dooku has perfected. His protege, Asajj Ventress, wields a pair of similar sabers, though never quite as skillfully as her master.

Darth Sidious’ Sabers

Darth Sidious’s sabers stand out both for their ornamental design and the fact that the hilts are so short. That makes sense, given that Sidious has taken great pains to conceal his Sith powers and keeps his sabers concealed within the folds of his robes.

Ahsoka Tano’s Sabers

When Ahsoka Tano first appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she wielded a traditional green saber. But as the series progressed and Ahsoka became more confident in her abilities, she switched to the Jar’Kai style of combat, which focuses on dual sabers. Like a samurai, Ahsoka carries a standard-length blade and a shorter blade known as a shoto. Star Wars Rebels further sets her apart by making Ahsoka one of the rare Jedi to wield white lightsaber blades, with the blades also appearing in the live-action shows The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Ahsoka.

Maris Brood’s Sabers

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed introduced Maris Brood, a Jedi Padawan who falls to the Dark Side after the death of her master, Shaak Ti. Brood’s twin sabers are inspired by tonfa sticks, with a perpendicular hilt design that allow her to hold her sabers at unusual angles.

The Darksaber

The Darksaber is one of the oldest known lightsaber weapons in the Star Wars universe. Its archaic design results in a flat, angled blade that glows black and makes a distinctive hum. This blade has a long history with the warriors of Mandalore. Its creator, Tarre Vizsla, was the first Mandalorian inducted into the Jedi Order, and it’s since been used by Mandalorians like Pre Vizsla and Sabine Wren. The Darksaber also shows up in The Mandalorian’s Season 1 finale and played a key role in subsequent seasons.

Darth Malgus’ Saber

Ancient Sith Lord Darth Malgus has one of the few lightsabers that can probably kill a man even when it’s deactivated. The top of the hilt features two blade-like protrusions that make it seem as though Malgus carries an ax on the battlefield.

Darth Chratis’ Saber

Another powerful Sith Lord of the Old Republic era, Darth Chratis is notable for carrying a metal staff than can collapse in half and emit a lightsaber blade. The unusually long hilt gives Chratis extra reach in battle.

Darth Bane’s Lightsaber Pike

While the weapon the Jedi Temple Guards wield is called a lightsaber pike, The Clone Wars almost introduced a weapon even more in line with a traditional pike. This concept art shows the weapon intended to be used by Darth Bane in the Season 6 episode “Sacrifice.” It’s basically a long staff that emits a broad, tapered blade. But while Bane himself did appear in that episode, his weapon never made the cut.

The Grand Inquisitor’s Saber

Star Wars Rebels introduced the Inquistorius, an order of Dark Jedi charged with helping Vader wipe out the last of the Jedi. Each of these villains is equipped with a multi-purpose lightsaber. The hilt resembles nothing if not an identity disc from Tron, though it can also fold in half so that it looks like the hilt of a cutlass. These sabers can be used in either single or double-bladed mode. These weapons can also double as, well, personal helicopters.

Kylo Ren’s Saber

Kylo Ren wields an unusual crossguard saber that reflects his own unstable nature. The crystal powering his saber is cracked, requiring ports on either side of the hilt to vent the excess heat and plasma. The advantage is that Kylo’s saber has two extra blades (or quillons) that he often uses to his advantage in battle.

The Lightsaber Rifle

Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu may not seem capable of going toe-to-toe with Darth Vader and his Inquisitors, but she’s a surprisingly scrappy fighter when the need arises. Jocasta leveled the playing field by attaching her ordinary blue lightsaber to a specially designed rifle. That rifle uses the lightsaber as fuel for its incredibly destructive blasts. Unfortunately, the rifle can only fire so many shots before the lightsaber burns itself out.

Rey’s Switchblade Saber

In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey has a vision of herself wielding this deadly double-bladed lightsaber. This special weapon folds in half like Pong Krell and the Jedi Temple Guards’ weapons, but the twist is that it can still be used as a twin-bladed weapon even folded. Now that it’s been shown in the films (albeit as a vision), it’s only a matter of time before we see someone wielding a similar blade for real.

Vernestra Rwoh’s Light-Whip

While Lumiya has yet to make the jump from the classic Legends timeline to Disney’s official Star Wars universe, the lightsaber whip has been canonized thanks to the High Republic initiative. A young Vernestra Rwoh wields one of these weapons in the books, while a much older version of the character appears (along with her saber) in The Acolyte.

Qimir’s Modular Lightsaber

The Acolyte introduces Qimir/The Stranger, a Jedi-hating villain with a few tricks up his nonexistent sleeves. In addition to wearing a helmet and gauntlet made of the lightsaber-shorting substance known as cortosis, Qimir wields a red saber with a detachable secondary hilt. This allows Qimir to fight with a standard saber and a shorter shoto, similar to Ahsoka Tano.

For more on The Acolyte, check out our review of the first four episodes, then find out how the show continues the most important theme of The Last Jedi and learn why The Acolyte has us questioning who the real villain is.

Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

 

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