Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn wielding their activated lightsabers in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace; note the lightsaber trace in the metal door in the background.
|Plot element from the Star Wars franchise|
|First appearance||Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)|
A lightsaber is a science fiction weapon in the Star Wars movies and the Expanded Universe. The lightsaber consists of a polished metal hilt which projects a blade of plasma about one meter long. The lightsaber is the signature weapon of the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts, both of whom can use them for offense, or to deflect blaster bolts. Its distinct appearance was created using rotoscoping for the original trilogy, and digitally for the prequel trilogy. The lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film (1977) and every Star Wars movie to date (except The Star Wars Holiday Special) features at least one lightsaber duel. In 2008, a survey of approximately two thousand film fans found it to be the most popular film weapon in history.
The lightsaber’s blade cuts through most substances without resistance. It leaves cauterized wounds in flesh, but can be deflected by another lightsaber’s blade, or by energy shields. Some exotic saber-proof materials have been introduced in the Expanded Universe. An active lightsaber gives off a distinctive hum, which rises in pitch and volume as the blade is moved rapidly through the air. Bringing the blade into contact with an object or another lightsaber’s blade produces a loud crackle.
The term “lightsaber” has been applied to other similar weapons in science fiction.