Lightsaber: 5 Upgrades It Desperately Needs

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The lightsaber, the most iconic weapon of the Star Wars universe, is badly in need of upgrades.

A catalogue of elegant weapons for a more civilized age.
Lightsabers throughout the uncivilized ages.

The lightsaber, for those few of you who’ve somehow not heard of Star Wars, is an energy-based melee weapon that’s become the iconic weapon of the franchise as a whole. It cuts objects and people alike using intense heat, leaving molten material and cauterized wounds in its wake. It’s widely used by the Jedi Knights and their archenemies: the Sith. Their use of the Force is required in order to unlock its full potential, although non-Force users are perfectly capable of using it as well.

A cutaway of Luke's old lightsaber. You know, the one he dropped into Bespin?
I wonder if lightsabers still work when chopped in half?

Although the lightsaber is such an iconic weapon, it’s not perfect by any stretch. Aside from the obvious limitations of a melee weapon, the lightsaber itself lack certain features that would make it a better weapon. Thus, I propose the following upgrades to it to make it an even more elegant weapon for this uncivilized age they seem to live in.

1. Safety Switch

The most oddly disturbing thing to me is the lightsaber’s apparent lack of a safety switch. While lightsabers appear to automatically turn off when dropped, this is by no means enough. Having a grip safety alone is not enough to ensure that a Jedi doesn’t accidentally turn on the lightsaber and cut off something vital, whether to themselves or to someone else.

Look at the bright side, 3PO. At least your name isn't Marvin.
Oops. Sorry, C-3PO. Didn’t mean to impale you.

All it’d take to prevent that scenario is a single button that when pressed, simply keeps the lightsaber from turning on. No matter what you do with the power button, as long as the safety is on, the lightsaber will not light. While you might argue that this would hinder the user from igniting the lightsaber during sudden fights, this shouldn’t be a problem. As long as the user keeps a basic awareness of their situation, they should know when to turn the safety on or off. If soldiers in our world know how to do this, it should be easy-peasy for Jedi knights and Sith alike to do the same.

2. Handguard

I honestly had some trouble deciding if this should go first or second, but this is definitely one of the big problems with the lightsaber. What the heck is keeping the user’s hand from slipping up the hilt? Or keeping an enemy’s lightsaber from sliding down the hilt?

This lightsaber duel could've ended really quickly.
Epic scene, but why didn’t either of them just slide the blade down and chop off some hands?

In Star Wars canon, certain materials are able to block lightsaber blades. Cortosis, beskar, and any material that conducts energy like electrostaffs or the Z6 riot control baton will stop or at least hinder the blade. A crossguard lightsaber like the one Kylo Ren uses could also work wonderfully, but would still need to be covered with a handguard facing the hilt to keep the hand-sliding problem from occurring again.

Why couldn't they have made Kylo Ren be a great villain with a terrible weapon?
Terrible villain, but great weapon.

At the very least, there’d be a lot less handless people in Star Wars.

3. Diameter Control

The lightsaber has dials that control the blade length and power level. We know this because the cutaway of Luke’s old lightsaber has them clearly labelled. But what about blade diameter? Why don’t lightsabers have a dial to control that?

I bet the yellow lightsaber is also slower to ignite.
The yellow one had a bit too many Twinkies.

While normal lightsabers appear to have their diameter built into the design and cannot be changed, a dial to adjust that would be very useful. A thinner blade could be used more precisely, such as in surgery or to cut a wire amidst other wires. A fatter blade could have more power behind it, and make it easier to block blaster bolts. If they had a dial to control that, it would become a much more flexible weapon.

4. Sights

This may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. We know that lightsabers can adjust their length due to that length adjustment dial. We also know that they can reach out to a great distance, since the Death Star’s lightsaber beam can hit planets many millions of kilometers away. So, what if we combine those two, and add in a button that would suddenly and rapidly increase the blade length with a single push?

Definitely funnier than anything I could come up with.
This cool idea is the property of xkcd.

This would turn the lightsaber from a melee-only weapon, into a melee and ranged weapon. Now you effectively have a blaster-saber with more penetration than a normal blaster. Not only that, but unlike a normal blaster bolt, an enemy lightsaber user can’t deflect the blade back at you. They’ll either have to parry or dodge the incoming blade.

In order to make this work though, the blaster-saber would need sights. Without sights of some kind, it’d be impossible to aim the blade. A simple pair of iron sights could be built into the hilt, or even a shotgun-style bead sight if you want to avoid cluttering up your lightsaber.

Mm, beady.
Literally a bead on the end of the gun.

5. Bayonet Clip

Okay, this is definitely a personal opinion, mind you. However, I think this needs to be said because it’s just too useful. The point I’m trying to bring up is: why hasn’t anyone in Star Wars ever made a lightsaber bayonet?

Did you know the Norwegian Army issues you lightsabers? Me neither.
The Force is strong with them. And the 5.56mm bullets.

All you’d have to do is attach a bayonet ring to the lightsaber hilt, and add a bayonet lug to a blaster. Now you have your lightsaber bayonet, ready for that glorious charge into enemy armor. Sure, it’s a much more clumsy weapon than a standalone lightsaber, but it’s a bayoneted blaster now. What more do you need?

When life gives you lightsabers, make them into bayonets!
They shall beat their lightsabers into bayonets.

And the best part? When you don’t need to do a bayonet charge at the moment, you can just take it off the blaster and get a normal lightsaber back. Easy-peasy.

Conclusion

It should be obvious: lightsabers are cool, but lightsaber bayonets are cooler. Now go out there, fix those lightsaber bayonets, and make those rebel scum die for your emperor!

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