Gather around Padawans, you are about to be instructed about a decision you shall all have to face. How long should a lightsaber be?
For one of the most iconic weapons throughout the entire pop culture universe, the lightsaber is also one of the most variable ones. From differing lengths and colors to different lightsaber combat styles and lightsaber stances, this weapon has loads of questions that need answering.
By the end of this article, you will know more than just how long a lightsaber is, but also what factors the length is dependent on and how different lengths have different applications in combat. Then you can go one-up on your friends and turn them into your padawans when it comes to your knowledge of lightsaber blades.
Throughout this article, we will be exploring the different sizes, forms, and variations of lightsabers in detail. From the iconic sabers of characters such as Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, and Master Yoda. To the less recognized variations such as those of the Jedi Temple Guards and Shoto Blades used in dual-wielding combat by Ahsoka Tano.
Now you might be wondering:
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Are all lightsabers the same length?
Lightsabers are shown throughout the Star Wars universe as the weapons of both the Jedi and the Sith. They serve as sources of hope to those who recognize them, but also as a source of fear to those who face them. And while most lightsabers are approximately the same length, the length of this extremely powerful blade usually varies from user to user.
Seen throughout the galaxy in the hands of some of the most iconic Force wielders out there, the lightsaber serves as a dangerously offensive weapon much like a sword, except it weighs almost nothing compared to their more realistic counterparts. This allows the user to create a blade of any practical length without having to worry about additional weight or lack of balance in the weapon.
So no, all lightsabers are not identical in length. Like their hilts, the blade is both a representation of the person using it and their fighting style. The lightsabers of iconic warriors such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Rey fall into a similar category where the length of blades stays around 3 feet.
Nonetheless, this serves as a standard and the length of the blade can be varied according to the height and build of the user. The lightsabers of taller Jedi, such as the Kaminoan Jedi Master Yarael Poof, have been known to exceed over 4 feet in length to accommodate for their height and reach.
But then the question becomes:
How many categories of lightsaber lengths are there?
The categories of blade length vary from the different lightsaber designs. While a lightsaber’s design might change due to the hilt, the blade and its length depend on its usage and energy consumption. So, let us dive right into the categories.
1. The Standard Lightsaber
This class of lightsaber is perhaps the most common in both the Jedi and the Sith along with other Force users. Most Jedi would use this variation of the blade which would average around 3 feet in length.
It favored a decent reach for stabs and thrusts while the length was long enough to offer a variety of movement combinations and fighting stances. All the Lightsaber Forms taught in the temple were based around this blade variation.
Iconic wielders of this class include famous Jedi like Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker along with most Sith warriors such as Darth Vader, Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. The hilt beneath this type of blade was either curved, to favor a more fencing oriented approach to lock blades, or straight to match the blade.
Users of the standard lightsaber blade length would usually end up favoring one of the seven main forms of lightsaber combat. Its omni edge cutting and deflecting capabilities lead wielders to favor forms like Shien, Ataru, and Soresu.
2. The Shoto Lightsaber
The Shoto Lightsaber is what is a design more commonly referred to as a short sword. This variation is significantly shorter than a standard lightsaber and is mainly used as a secondary weapon in combat. Lightsabers of this length have mainly been seen in the hands of Jedi that favor dual-wielding combat.
The most noticeable user of this strategy is Ahsoka Tano who uses a Shoto blade as a compliment to her primary lightsaber. The other application for the Shoto Blade is for force users of a shorter stature. The most recognized user of this form is the iconic green Jedi Grandmaster, Yoda.
Users of this length of blade rely heavily on parrying and secondary strikes to follow up their initial blows. While the shorter reach requires the wielder to get extremely close to their opponent, this particular length of lightsaber allows for quick successive strikes to whittle down an opponent’s guard.
While Jar-Kai serves as the primary combat form for dual-wielding fighters, the shoto blade takes away from the offensive capabilities of the form in favor of a more defensive role for the secondary blade.
The only other form favored by Shoto blade users was Ataru, also known as Form IV. This is due to the highly offensive practices of the form and its ability to allow quick movements and faster strikes while compensating for shorter reach and height.
3. Dual Phase Lightsabers
Dual Phase Lightsabers are one of three special categories when it comes to the lengths of lightsaber blades. These special lightsabers utilize a unique mechanism where two Kyber crystals are used in the construction of the lightsaber.
While one crystal serves as the primary emitter for the blade, the second crystal serves as a focuser to allow the length of the blade to be adjusted whenever necessary. While this is extremely rare, it allows for extreme degrees of variability in both practical usage and fighting techniques implemented by this lightsaber.
While the lengths of all lightsabers could be adjusted with the right amount of time and engineering, the advantage offered by Dual Phase Lightsabers is that the length can be adjusted in tense situations such as in the middle of combat.
Lightsaber whips, more commonly known as light-whips, are an extremely rare form of the lightsaber that is rarely ever used by practical force users and are the second of our special category of lightsabers. The so-called ‘blade’ can range from 2 to 3 meters in length while allowing extreme flexibility in usage.
The whip itself can have multiple prongs and can be very lethal. The glaring disadvantage of the Light-Whip is that it offers little to no defensive capabilities in the way of parrying attacks or deflecting blaster fire.
5. Lightsaber Staff
This type of lightsaber blade is perhaps even rarer than the Light-Whip but is more recognized due to its wielders. This type of Lightsaber is almost exclusively used by the Guards of The Jedi Temple. The Lightsaber Staff is also the final category of Lightsaber blades.
With their yellow blades and extremely short lengths, the lightsaber staff is more of a ceremonial weapon. It has notable appearances in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars show and was used to bestow knighthood upon Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels. The staff features an extended hilt with a short blade at the end to serve as either a staff or pilum.
But after reading all of these, you might be wondering:
How long should a lightsaber blade be?
The ideal lightsaber blade, whether you are designing one for yourself or creating a character to fit into your Star Wars centric fanfiction, will always depend entirely on its wielder. Factors such as the height and build of the wielder, along with their preferred fighting style will all be crucial in the final design and decision of how long your saber is.
Suffice it to say, if you have made it this far, you definitely know all the advantages and disadvantages that come with every variation in the length of a lightsaber blade.
Good luck, young ones. May the Force be with you.