Star Wars: Let’s not call it a ‘lightsaber broadsword’

J.M. Aucoin . Movies/TV, Swords 6597 4 Comments

Teaser trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens debuted this morning, much to the glee of scifi nerds everywhere.

The big reveal in this video was the new lightsaber, many of which are calling it a “lightsaber broadsword”, “light broadsword” or a “laser broadsword.” Something along those lines.

lightsaber_reveal-forceawakens

 

This, of course, irks the sword nerd in me since the general republic calls any sword that looks like it’s from the Medieval era a broadsword. In reality, a broadsword is just another name for a basket-hilted sword like mortuary swords, schianovas, and Waloon hilts (just to name a few). They’re called broadswords because their blades are noticeably broader than the popular civilian weapon at the time — the rapier.

These are broadswords

These are broadswords

So you might be asking yourself: Self, what historical sword is that crazy looking new lightsaber based off of then?

Glad you asked, Self. Historically speaking, that new lightsaber looks something closer to a longsword. This is generally the weapon people think of when they use the term “broadsword” anyways. It’s your basic cross hilt sword with a long, broad blade about 40″ in length.

english-longsword

The idea of a laser crossguard must be terrifying to wield.

lightsaber-forceawakens

One fun move with a longsword is called the murder stroke. It’s where you hold the sword by the blade and swing the guard/hilt/pummel downward like a hammer. It seems silly until you realize that quillons are gonna do a lot of damage when they land. And should the defender parry that blow with their sword, the quillons made for a nice little trap to pull the blade away and then pummel the opponent in the face.

Ouch

Ouch

Of course, in the Star Wars universe that would mean putting your hand on the laser and that, from what I gather, is bad news.

There’s also the risk of quilloning yourself, which means thrusting the mini lasers into your own flesh. On the bright side, you’ve also cauterized your wounds, so yay? Then there’s the whole debate on if hand protection is even needed with a lightsaber since the blades never glissade. Yea, Jedis seem to keep losing their hands — a professional hazard  — but most lost of limbs didn’t come from a lack of a crossguard, but just a poor guard to begin with. But I digress… as pointed out by many on the Internet, this crossguard design is impractical since a sliding blade would go right through the metal laser stumps (technical term) and into your hand to begin with.

Star Wars fan Rich McCormick over at The Verge designed his own lightsaber with quillons and, gotta say, it seems a lot more practical than what The Force Awakens is using.

His end-design is basically a lightsaber version of the claymore, a Scottish variant of the longsword but with forward sloping crossguard. They were beasts of weapons.

Claymore

Claymore

 

Like McCormick’s design, a claymore lightsabre would lessen the chance of a Jedi quilloning themselves and could trap (if that’s even possible with these made up weapons) the adversaries lightsaber. Yay physics and engineering!

And cross-guard lightsabers isn’t all that new. They’ve been used in the extended universe in the past.

lightsaber crossguard

Plus they even have lightsaber pikes. PIKES!

Lightsaber Pikes

I demand historically-inspired lightsaber pike and blaster rifles formations at some point. Absolutely demand it.

Now that we have that settled, when do they debut the “light swept-hilt”?

H/T to my buddy Donovan for the lightsaber pike and cross-guard lightsaber links.

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J.M. Aucoin

Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. I write swashbucklers & historical adventure novels.

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