In the extensive history of science fiction, there are few weapons that live up to the iconic lightsaber. Lightsabers are the elegant and powerful weapons seen in many of the epic duels in the Star Wars universe.
Watching lightsaber battles is stimulating in itself. But learning exactly what lightsabers are and how they work is even more interesting.
For example, there is the question of who can use a lightsaber. Does one need to be a Jedi or Sith to use the weapon? Can non-Force users wield this weapon?
To answer these questions, it is first important to understand the nature of the Force in the Star Wars universe.
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What is the Force in Star Wars?
Although it is easy to describe the characters and history of the Star Wars universe, one aspect of this universe has baffled fans for decades: the Force.
The Force is described in many ways. It is described as a field of energy that holds the universe together. Obi-Wan Kenobi explains this to Luke Skywalker in one of the earlier Star Wars movies.
The Force is also called a cosmic life that is fed by the energy of everything that has ever lived. Yoda is told that when he dies, his energy becomes part of this ecosystem.
So what is the Force? The idea of this energy is closely tied to one of the world’s major religions, Hinduism. In Hinduism, the whole universe is held together by a singular bond that connects all living and non-living beings.
The Force is divided into many categories. The most prominent one is the moral side of the force, made up of the Light Side and the Dark Side.
The Light Side of the Force manifests itself in the compassion, selflessness, and benevolence of its users. On the other hand, Dark Side users align with negative attributes like greed, anger, and hatred.
Beings in the Star Wars universe are also divided into Force-users and non-Force-users. Force-users have special midi-chlorians within their cells that give them powerful abilities. These include healing, levitating objects, and even cheating death.
Non-force-users, conversely, aren’t connected to the Force in this way. They lack Force-awareness and don’t have any special abilities.
Do You Need the Force to Wield a Lightsaber?
This question has sparked controversy between many Star Wars fans.
Some say that because of the nature of lightsabers, it is impossible to use them without the Force within. Others contradict this view with proof of non-Force users wielding them in a few battles.
The answer is that although wielding a lightsaber is difficult for a non-Force-user, it is possible. There have been some examples of this in Star Wars battles.
For example, in the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo (a non-Force user) once uses a lightsaber in a time of need. This occurs in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker suffers in the Hoth from extreme frostbite. Han Solo uses Luke’s lightsaber to cut open his tauntaun and save the day.
Another example is General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith. General Grievous is a being who has achieved special brain enhancements. He is able to wield up to four lightsabers at the same time, using them in a slow dance of power.
Lastly, there is Finn in The Force Awakens. Finn is a non-Force user who is able to turn on and wield a lightsaber.
So both non-Force users and Force users can fight with lightsabers.
Who Can Use a Lightsaber besides a Jedi and a Sith?
Since there are no requirements for the use of a lightsaber, this weapon is accessible to almost anyone. But there is a reason why the weapon is most commonly used by the Jedi and the Sith.
The Jedi have gone through extensive training to harness the power of the Force within them. With that, they are able to forge their own lightsabers and choose the crystals that go into their handles. Jedi training also helps with lightsabers in battle – it is possible to predict the enemy’s movement through the abilities given by the Force.
The Sith also goes through extensive training to harness the power of the Dark Side of the Force within them. The Sith create their own lightsabers (usually with red crystals) and learn how to use them powerfully in battle.
But it is not Jedi or Sith training that gives a person the highest ability with lightsabers. It is the Force within.
One great example of this is the scavenger Rey. Rey has never had any Jedi training, but she wields Luke Skywalker’s ancient saber with skill far beyond her station. Because Rey has the Force living strongly inside her, she instinctively knows how to fight with a lightsaber.
So although members of the Jedi and Sith orders are the most common lightsaber users, persons with strong Force-awareness feels this weapon speak to them from within.