The Star Wars universe has shown a wide variety of weapons that utilize the kyber crystals so commonly associated with lightsabers. From pikes to axes and even whips that serve their purpose in the midst of combat.
In an advanced age of blasters, it makes sense that kyber-weapons would take a ranged approach. The most notable of these is what is commonly referred to as a lightsaber rifle.
The lightsaber rifle has had a complicated history which resulted in its obscurity. In this article, I’ll explain the few cases it has shown up in cannon and why it is such a rare kyber-weapon.
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The Lightsaber Rifle
The lightsaber rifle’s design is easily recognizable to that of any other type of blaster. The primary difference relies on its power source.
Normal blaster weapons use the standard plasma and particle-based energy powered by gas munitions. Kyber crystals, as expected, acted as the primary firing mechanism for these blaster type weapons.
Powered by energy cells just like a normal lightsaber, the lightsaber rifle used the kyber crystal at its center to amplify the power and release a devastating blast of plasma. The burst is capable of cutting directly through durasteel and duracrete.
The method of constructing the rifle and inserting the kyber crystal depends on the original craftsman. The lightsaber rifle has been designed differently depending on the time period and individual working with the concept.
Jocasta Nu and the High Republic Rifle
After the events of order 66 went into effect, Jocasta Nu–the Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives–had one goal: protect the force-sensitive children from falling into the hands of the Empire. By sneaking into the Archives and erasing the information on the Holocrons, she would save possibly hundreds of children from being trained as Inquisitors.
After infiltrating the Jedi Temple and being accosted by not only the Grand Inquisitor but also Darth Vader, she retrieved a model of lightsaber rifle from the forbidden sections of the Archives. This design required the user to slot their lightsaber into the top where it acted as an ammunition cartridge.
The usage of this weapon was powerful enough to cut through the walls of the Jedi Temple and knock Darth Vader off his feet after blocking the blast. The design was not sustainable for rapid usage as it overloaded the kyber crystal inside Jocasta Nu’s lightsaber and melted the casing.
The weapon was so volatile that it caused the kyber crystal to explode after only a few shots, blasting a sizable hole out of the Jedi Temple wall and destroying the weapon. Something notable about its design before its destruction is that it also had the symbol of the Jedi printed on its side.
The presence of this iconography shows that it is somehow linked to the Jedi specifically which clues into its origin. What further shows links to the Jedi Order is another model of this weapon appearing in the High Republic outpost on Elphrona.
During Ben Solo’s time as an apprentice under Luke, the two ventured to this outpost with Lor San Tekka. A duplicate of this same rifle was found hanging among the ruins before the group was attacked by the Knights of Ren.
Both of these facts indicate that the weapon was initially designed during the High Republic Era. This era saw great prosperity for both the Republic and the Jedi Order, and–more notably–the Jedi Order’s experimentation with kyber-weapons was much more prevalent.
This makes it clear that one of the first documented designs for the lightsaber rifle was by the Jedi Order. It is likely that the reason it was not widespread was due to a change in philosophy within the Jedi Council seen with a later version of the weapon.
Oo’ob the Apostate and Farkiller
Oo’ob the Apostate was formerly a Jedi Master that gained infamy for the weapon he helped create. With the help of Jedi Crystalist Var-Whill, the two would create the lightsaber rifle known as Farkiller.
After the events of the Corsair Wars, Oo’ob searched for less conventional means to eliminate enemies of the Jedi Order. He convinced Jedi Var-Whill to aid in the research and development of a cross between the lightsaber and sniper rifle.
By using a magnification attenuator, the two created an effective kyber based weapon that could kill from hundreds of kilometers away. Oo’ob used this weapon to kill hundreds of dangerous individuals who threatened the Republic and the Order.
Oo’ob and Var-Whil’s actions cost them greatly as the two were excommunicated for their development of the weapon. Farkiller, in the eyes of the Jedi Council, was a perverse tool of aggression and destruction.
The Jedi Council which declared these two renegades followed after the end of the Jedi Golden Age during the High Republic Era. It is clear then that their mindset had changed since their previous attempts at creating such a weapon.
After the events of the High Republic Era, the treatment of kyber crystals by the Jedi became much more sacred. Jedi purists refused to allow any who were not part of the Jedi Order to come in contact with them, study them, or experiment with them.
This focused the design of Jedi weapons into the standard lightsaber which fit in line with the general philosophy of the Jedi Council in terms of combat. The lightsaber was intended for self-defense only and was intended to be a tool of peace rather than war.
On the occasions which the lightsaber was needed, the Jedi was meant to understand the weight of their actions. Taking a life was the last resort option that needed to be avoided as much as possible.
Oo’ob’s solution to combat becomes a clear violation of that idea and of the rules set in place by the Council when it comes to kyber crystals. The Farkiller’s impersonal method of defense was preemptive and the first action rather than responsive and the final action.
Oo’ob and Var-Whil would later be killed within the decade that followed their ex-communication. Their lives and technology eventually faded into obscurity until Farkiller was found by archaeologist Chelli Aphra who would sell it on the black market.