The lightsaber has become one of the most memorable and creative weapons ever brought to life on film. In concept it’s simple, a large hilt from which a laser sword retracts. A weapon beautiful and destructive at the same time. The ultimate weapon of the Jedi and Sith.
Star Wars fan or not, everyone recognises the hum of a saber and the glowing coloured beam that emerges from the hilt with a pshhew. The lightsaber is however more than a visual treat, it is the perfect weapon, it completes a Jedi. Much like a Samurai’s blade the Jedi are rarely found without their saber, clipped to their belts ready for battle always.
Lightsaber duels are an enormous part of the saga, swordplay with a twist. The slightest touch of a saber could result in swift decapitation, there’s an added element of danger in an already deadly game. From Obi Wan’s duel with Vader in a New Hope to Kylo Ren’s duel with Rey on Starkiller base, Star Wars lightsabers duels have always been a glorious display of choreography and elegance.
Despite its violence, the best duels are almost dances, each swing of the saber met with the satisfying clash of the opponent’s. The original trilogy had no shortage of incredible duels, Obi Wan and Vader in A New Hope, Luke and Vader in Empire, Luke and Vader again in return of the Jedi. These duels were often slower, more contemplative, each swing calculated and precise, the intensity building gradually.
Lightsaber duels are an enormous part of the saga, swordplay with a twist.
The prequels however stepped up the game in the Phantom Menace. Darth Maul’s battle with Qui Gon and Obi Wan included the contemplative, gradual tension reminiscent of the original trilogy however with a dose of acrobatics and furious intensity.
Revenge of the Sith took the duels a step further, giving audiences one of the grandest and most explosive duels in the Saga, Obi Wan and Anakin. A Duel fuelled by rage and betrayal. The Force Awakens and Last Jedi pulled no punches either, improving the lightsaber designs giving them an intensity never seen before.
A lightsaber duel is as much a battle of minds as it is a clash of swords. The Jedi against a Sith, both mighty warriors with vastly different objectives driven by emotion and in the case of the Jedi, the force. The victor in these duels may not always be the more skilled fighter but often the calmer warrior, this justifies Rey’s victory of Ren on Star Killer base and young Obi Wan’s defeating Darth Maul.
A lightsaber duel is an art, a beautiful display of the constant battle between the light and the dark. Star Wars has given us some of the greatest, most engaging duels and while superficially these are incredible moments of action, the greatest lightsaber duels in the franchise tell a deeper story.