Unravelling the Stories and Symbolism Behind Lightsaber Names

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As the signature weapons of both the Jedi and the Sith, Star Wars lightsabers come in a variety of colors and models, each with its own specific name and backstory.

If you’re a lightsaber enthusiast looking to boost your knowledge of Star Wars lightsabers, here are some of the stories and symbolism behind the different lightsaber names.

The Shoto Lightsaber 

Also known as “the short sword of a Jedi”, the shoto lightsaber is a variation of the standard lightsaber that is only about 2 feet long. Its name is thanks to its shorter blade and scaled hilt.

This type of lightsaber was created to serve two purposes. The first is to accommodate the needs of a shorter Jedi. Master Yoda was the Jedi who famously wielded a shoto lightsaber. He was quite formidable with this weapon, and in his hands, the shoto lightsaber was shown to be quite effective for the aggressive lightsaber combat form known as Ataru (Form IV).

The second use of this type of lightsaber is to serve as a secondary defensive weapon for Jedi (Ahsoka Tano), who preferred dual-wielding combat styles such as Jar’Kai. The wielder uses the shoto lightsaber to counter the attacks made by an opponent’s weapon while using their primary lightsaber (which is usually a standard lightsaber) for return strikes.

The Double-Bladed Lightsaber (Saberstaff)

The double-bladed lightsaber, also known as the Saberstaff, Lightstaff, or Lightsaber Lance, is a specialized type of lightsaber commonly associated with the Sith. Just as the name implies, the Saberstaff is made up of two blades joined together by a single hilt to form a staff. This type of lightsaber which was first invented by Sith Dark Lords featured a design that was inspired by the Zhaboka or Zabrak quarterstaff.

The design of this lightsaber allowed for attacks to be delivered more rapidly with little to no body movement. They also served as excellent defensive weapons as their doubled length provided more room for parrying and deflecting.

Its creation was the Sith’s own way of symbolizing their mastery of the Force, although many Jedi would later go on to adopt the design.

The Switchblade

This is an unusual variation of a double-bladed lightsaber. It has two blades that can either be folded up to stay side by side or switched down to create the traditional Saberstaff. The lightsaber style is quite formidable in duels, as can be seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, where in a vision, Dark Rey very easily used it to trap Rey’s weapon.

The Crossguard Lightsabers

This ancient lightsaber design was very common during the time of the Great Scourge of Malachor. The crossguard saber features three blades- one regular primary blade and two small blades or vents called quillons located right at the top of the hilt at 90-degree angles. Kylo Ren was the character who notably wielded this type of lightsaber. The Sith Lord Darth Atrius and Jedi Master Stellan Gios also wielded crossguard lightsabers.

The Inquisitor Lightsaber 

As the name suggests, these were the lightsaber designs used by the Jedi-hunting Inquisitors who were introduced in Star Wars: Rebels. These distinctive and unusual lightsabers featured a single hilt connected to a disk that held the saber’s light beam emitters. The double blades of the saber would spin around when activated and in use. This type of lightsaber offered a great tactical advantage during dueling as it was incredibly difficult to land a strike on the person wielding it.

The sight of the spinning blades was also very intimidating, which tracks with the intimidating nature of the inquisitors’ work.

Conclusion

The Star Wars franchise has no shortage of incredibly powerful and interesting lightsabers, each with its own unique name and story. Above are just some of the lightsaber types from the Star Wars universe and the stories behind their names.

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