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View Full Version : Star Wars question- this time it's about light sabers



novaderrik
2010-Aug-16, 05:23 AM
i was watching the Star Wars marathon on tv yesterday, and i noticed that light sabers work different in the original trilogy than in the prequels- in episode 1, one of the first things we see was Qui Gon and Obi Wan using their light sabers to melt thru a thick steel door and hack a bunch of droids to pieces. this is the way they work in the prequels- they melt and/or hack anything they touch.
but in eps 4-6, they seem to mostly operate more like a wooden sticks with a sharp edge- that one guy at the bar, Vader, and Luke get their hands chopped off, Obi Wan gets killed (without cutting his robes), and Han guts that thing to keep Luke warm- but none of the bad guys in Jabba's party in the desert get chopped in half by Luke. instead, they act as if they were hit with a baseball bat and fall into the pit out of what looks like mostly surprise that some guy would hit them with a stick.

is there any sort of technical reason why they would operate differently? could they turn the power up to melt/hack things and turn them down to act like the clubs used by the cops on Futurama?

skip the obvious budgetary and technological film making reasons- and the gore factor of cutting people in half, even if they are bad guys- let's assume light sabers are real things.

Ronald Brak
2010-Aug-16, 05:41 AM
The galaxy was simply riddled with Jedi in the prequals. This resutled in more ambient force juice permating the fabric of the universe with the direct result that laser swords were zappier, glowier, sharpier and less basball battier than in the original trilogy. Interestingly, once Luke became a full Jedi in the third movie it suffused the universe with enough force juice to have an effect as his laser sword was much brighter than in the previous two movies, even if it did operate like a really hot baseball bat.

Jens
2010-Aug-16, 06:07 AM
Maybe there's a switch on the light sabers for "sharp" and "dull" settings. So that they can be used for practice as well as actual killing.

NEOWatcher
2010-Aug-16, 02:34 PM
Obi Wan gets killed (without cutting his robes)
I'm gonna have to see that again. I'm thinking that the strike might be quick enough that you don't see the separation in the cloth as it falls to the floor.


and Han guts that thing to keep Luke warm...
I'm glad you capitalized that... Otherwise it's Han keeping himself somewhat warm. ;)


... none of the bad guys in Jabba's party in the desert get chopped in half by Luke.[...] skip the obvious budgetary and technological film making reasons [...] let's assume light sabers are real things.
That's very hard to do. We all know that these inconsistancies creep into a movie. We can stretch things to help justify, but there's usually a point where you just have to accept it.
After re-reviewing the scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AELImg_jnBA), I can see 4 obvious instances (3:08, 3:55, 5:16, 6:22). Most, (including those 4 to some degree) have such quick cuts, that it's really hard to tell.

I think the film making reason is to highlight the Sarlacc, although maybe we can pass it off as some sort of force field in the uniforms or helmets or something like that.

Are there other scenes that show that?

Swift
2010-Aug-16, 05:14 PM
Maybe there's a switch on the light sabers for "sharp" and "dull" settings. So that they can be used for practice as well as actual killing.
< Vid commercial from the EBN (Empire Broadcasting Network) >


Yes, the NEW! Light Saber!
It slices, it dices, just look at these julienned carrots.
But wait! There's more!

Delvo
2010-Aug-16, 05:41 PM
Just like with lots of other blades in lots of other movies, they don't show the blood & gore mess that the weapons are implied to have caused.

And some substances appear to be less resistant than others, so the results could be affected by armor.

NEOWatcher
2010-Aug-16, 05:56 PM
... But wait! There's more!
It even toasts bread while you're slicing it.

Swift
2010-Aug-16, 06:06 PM
It even toasts bread while you're slicing it.
Cloned operators are standing by.

publiusr
2010-Aug-16, 06:51 PM
I'l have a go. Certain futuristic weaves/fabrics/patterns allow light to pass through so well they are unaffected--but offer no protection. I would submit that Ben never was killed, but somehow used the energy of the Force to absorb the light sabre so as to instantly ascend in a fashion. This puzzled Vader who kicked at the clothes showing no burn marks. I guess a Jedi "sutra" weave-pattern was incorporated into Ben's Jedi regalia that differed from standard robes. Now there was, at the end of the prequels a suggestion of a way to have life after death. That might have taken different forms. The Emporer was studying this character http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Plagueis

It might be that old Ben one-upped him, not with machines, but a weave--a pattern, which, after all, is all that we really are.

Without that, what is there to keep us from disappearing?

danscope
2010-Aug-17, 06:40 PM
" Makes mounds of jullien fries. And look, it can make cole slaw at the rate of five gallons a minute .
CALL ... 757-5647 that's 7575647 . Do it today while it's fresh in your mind . "

Buttercup
2010-Aug-17, 06:55 PM
< Vid commercial from the EBN (Empire Broadcasting Network) >


Yes, the NEW! Light Saber!
It slices, it dices, just look at these julienned carrots.
But wait! There's more!

LOL!!! :)

IT'S ALSO A JUICER! BUTTON HOLER! MENDS RIPPED HEMS! IS A CLOSET ORGANIZER!

**But Wait!**

Call now and receive a 2nd New Light Saber -- FREE! (just pay added shipping & handling costs)

Buttercup
2010-Aug-17, 06:59 PM
It even toasts bread while you're slicing it.

ROFL!!!! :D You guys are too much. :p

NEOWatcher
2010-Aug-17, 07:28 PM
ROFL!!!! :D You guys are too much. :p
I'm glad to see someone got the reference...

marsbug
2010-Aug-17, 08:43 PM
i was watching the Star Wars marathon on tv yesterday, and i noticed that light sabers work different in the original trilogy than in the prequels- in episode 1, one of the first things we see was Qui Gon and Obi Wan using their light sabers to melt thru a thick steel door and hack a bunch of droids to pieces. this is the way they work in the prequels- they melt and/or hack anything they touch.
but in eps 4-6, they seem to mostly operate more like a wooden sticks with a sharp edge- that one guy at the bar, Vader, and Luke get their hands chopped off, Obi Wan gets killed (without cutting his robes), and Han guts that thing to keep Luke warm- but none of the bad guys in Jabba's party in the desert get chopped in half by Luke. instead, they act as if they were hit with a baseball bat and fall into the pit out of what looks like mostly surprise that some guy would hit them with a stick.

is there any sort of technical reason why they would operate differently? could they turn the power up to melt/hack things and turn them down to act like the clubs used by the cops on Futurama?

skip the obvious budgetary and technological film making reasons- and the gore factor of cutting people in half, even if they are bad guys- let's assume light sabers are real things.

Well there are materials in star wars that will resist a lightsaber, cortosis and mandalorian iron being two. So Jabbas guys might have been a bit clued up and worn saber resistant vests, which would turn the lightsaber into a stick effectiely. And little jedis use 'training sabers' that will shock and bruise but not burn or cut, so I supose a saber with a training setting is logical. And I read somehwere that a lightsabers actuall cutting face is only a micron wide, so obiwans cloak might have been made of a synthetic fabric that was welded back together by residual heat. Or vader might have wacked him with the hypothetical non lethal setting in hopes of getting information out of him.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-18, 04:56 AM
Or maybe Luke didn't want to bloody up the place and force-pushed them away, or maybe his fighting style was more at slicing across, as with a regular sword instead of expecting the weapons to actually slicing through. Maybe he trained with regular sword combat as a method of learning restraint. A friend once told me that a samurai's wide-sweeping style of fighting would lose to an opponent who used quick pointed thrusts.

Jens
2010-Aug-19, 10:06 AM
A friend once told me that a samurai's wide-sweeping style of fighting would lose to an opponent who used quick pointed thrusts.

Clearly true, and I think anybody who has ever done fencing understands that. The sword-fighting in the movies is just that, sword-fighting in the movies. Real samurai didn't fight that way. Having armor is helpful, but there's really no point in exposing your whole front to your opponent by lifting your sword high above your head. Kendo is a bit complicated, because it's a judged sport, so you get points for hitting the opponent the "right way" rather than simply for hitting the opponent.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Aug-19, 01:14 PM
Clearly true, and I think anybody who has ever done fencing understands that. The sword-fighting in the movies is just that, sword-fighting in the movies. Real samurai didn't fight that way...

In fact, they often fought with spear or bow and arrow as well, in actual combat.

Nick

Solfe
2010-Aug-19, 10:05 PM
I recall that at age 6 or 7, I knew lightsabers had a laser moving really fast to the tip where they stopped and came back down the inside the beam. :)

I recall arguing with a grown up that X wings were real except they obviously couldn't get an airplane in to space. When they asked "Oh yeah, what about the laser pistols? Are those real?"
I answered "Of course, I saw a laser at the science museum".
The grown up hit me with "Don't you think that would kill the actors?"
I rolled my eyes and said "Are you nuts? They aren't real laser pistols, they are just a special effect."

Solfe

vonmazur
2010-Aug-20, 03:47 AM
Guys: "Spaceballs" had it right...."I see your Schwartz is a big as mine...."

Dale

NickW
2010-Aug-20, 04:06 AM
In "Splinter of the Minds Eye" there is a part in there where Luke made adjustments to his saber to change the diameter and length of his blade. Of course I haven't read that book in a very long time, so I can't remember the exact passage. I don't even know if it is canon.

Tog
2010-Aug-20, 06:03 AM
I'd rationalize the light saber issue with a switch that turned the light from particles (which cut), to a wave (which is only force). That way a tactical choice can be made based on the environment. On the barge, it would have been risky to have all those minion-bits bouncing around on deck.

After all, if a Parsec is a unit of time, surely wave and particle can be real, physical states of light.


Clearly true, and I think anybody who has ever done fencing understands that. The sword-fighting in the movies is just that, sword-fighting in the movies. Real samurai didn't fight that way. Having armor is helpful, but there's really no point in exposing your whole front to your opponent by lifting your sword high above your head. Kendo is a bit complicated, because it's a judged sport, so you get points for hitting the opponent the "right way" rather than simply for hitting the opponent.
I've seen that argument about rapiers vs. katanas before, but it seems to me that the history of warfare is such that the best way of killing functions like evolution. The ideas that work stick around, and eventually someone will test something that is the equivalent of a mutation. One of my instructors said of Chinese weapons that a lot of them look like a bunch of guy got stoned and started saying, "Dude, put a blade there".

The Japanese saw the value of thrusting weapons. The yari (spear) had a cross section like an isosceles triangle It was a lousy cutting weapon, but powerful at thrusting. At some point the tactics would evolve to deal with a short thrusting weapon, or the weapon use would change to reduce the effectiveness of them.

I was taught that the "pull back" for a direct overhead strike was just high enough to expose the bottom of the handle to your opponent. That put the blade and slightly past vertical. downward angle strikes rise tot he exact same point and only become angle strikes halfway through the down stroke. Horizontal slashes were to always end with the tip of the blade still facing the opponent, even if the follow-up move was a spinning strike, which were used sparingly because of the inherent risk in losing sight of your foe.