When you think Star Wars the odds are good that you’ll be thinking about lightsabers (and want some). But how do they work?
We know that the blade is plasma and can cut through almost anything. So, how do you keep it from melting through the hilt, or stop it from making a hole if you get disarmed?
Sadly, this has nothing to do with the force and everything to do with a simple, yet effective way of controlling one’s weapon or weapons.
Because in a galaxy far, far away, they use anywhere from two or more buttons/switches to safely turn on an elegant weapon for a civilized age.
Table of Contents
How Do Jedi Turn On/Off Lightsabers?
One thing worth mentioning here is that we never see a Force user use the Force to turn on their lightsabers. They always do so manually.
I found a video of the Darth Vader ending scene in Rogue One, (2016). It shows Darth Vader turning on and off his lightsaber (and killing some poor people, but some got away).
Can only Jedi Turn On Lightsabers?
Not by a long shot. Sith uses lightsabers all the time, and in the sequel trilogy, Finn uses a lightsaber (the highly coveted blue lightsaber that belonged to Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker).
A lightsaber is a simple and elegant weapon. But it’s not linked to its owner. Anyone can wield a lightsaber, but it’s going to be difficult unless you can use the Force.
The “blade” is a plasma beam that’s produced due to a crystal in the hilt. Though it can’t cut through everything, it can be used to melt through doors.
This is why lightsabers have a safety switch installed under the ignition button, (even the Sith have them). This prevents the blade from being active if the lightsaber falls out of a Jedi’s hands.
Some have argued that this can affect the Jedi’s grip and can cost them in battle. (But there’s a good chance the blade could cut through the mantle and hit the core of a planet if it’s still on).
Can Anybody Turn On A Lightsaber?
Yes. Finn did it a lot in the sequel movies. But here are five other non Force users who used a lightsaber.
- Cad Bane. He’s a bounty hunter in the clone war era and used twin LL-Blaster pistols.
- General Grievous. He had a habit of taking lightsabers from fallen enemies as trophies, and he could wield up to four with ease.
- Pre Vizsla. He led the Mandalorian terrorist group called Death Watch. His lightsaber was special, as it’s the Darksaber (a Mandalorian turned Jedi to make it. There’s only one, and must be won through combat).
- Han Solo. This was the first time we saw a non Force user turn a lightsaber on. Instead of using it in battle, Han Solo used Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber to slice open the belly of a dead tauntaun.
- Jar Jar Binks. I don’t mind his character, but I don’t see him as a Sith. (Who came up with that idea)? Jar Jar Binks uses a lightsaber to kill two droids, but Captain Rex takes it away from him a second later.
Are Lightsabers Powered By The Force?
Yes and no. Inside every lightsaber is a crystal which is tuned to the Force. (Either naturally or by the Force user).
There are many kinds of crystals in Star Wars lore, and each one can help determine the color of the blade, (Kyber crystals are the main type in canon).
Why Don’t They Use The Force To Turn Off Lightsabers?
I only have theories on this, but the most likely is the risk of breaking the crystal inside the lightsaber. A Jedi wouldn’t want to use this technique unless they had no choice, since breaking a crystal would cause an explosion.
Which would seriously harm the opponent, if not outright kill, or cause harm to anyone else in the area. The other theory is that one of the first things a Force user learns is to create a type of Force bubble (shield) around themselves.
It comes up in a Darth Bane book, so I hope they expand on this in the future.
Other Points Of Interest
Lightsabers remain one of the most interesting weapons in sci-fi. Many websites sell high-quality lightsabers, and more designs are coming out all the time.
It’s said that only a small portion of Force users have truly mastered fighting with a lightsaber.
Jar Jar Binks remains one of the most hated characters in Star Wars.
Han Solo dismissed the lightsaber as an ancient weapon and preferred his blasters.
Each lightsaber makes a unique sound when turned on.
Though anyone can use a lightsaber, only those with the Force will be able to use it easily (or as easy it can be). Thank you for reading, and may the Force be with you.