On The Topic of Light Sabers

If you have clicked on the link to this page you have probably read my interview with the Washington Post here:

Washington Post Light Sabre Article

First things first, if you are one those people who are actually having heated debates about the merits of a light saber designs, or even spending more time with it than it takes to just enjoy a movie I have only one thing to say- please step away from the keyboard, get out of your mothers basement for a couple of hours and make serious attempts at living a life, you know, go for a walk, maybe talk to a real girl.

When I got a call from the Washington Post about Star Wars, I thought I must be in a galaxy far, far away, and in the three or four minutes I was on the phone all they wanted to know was whether I thought it was a good idea to have plasma beams protecting your hands on a sword. I didn't even know what this trailer was that everybody was talking about. Obviously I do now.

But one thing I didn't get to talk about, not that the Washington post would care what I think about it, were the aesthetics or appropriateness of a light saber that finally resembled a European sword. Not only do I like the look more than a simple kendo boken design, I find it entirely more appropriate for the Star Wars milieu.

Think about it, what sword style would be most appropriate for a story of swordsman devoted to a strict moral code and martial discipline in order to be the last hope for a civilization against the forces of darkness? A story where an incredibly old and wise being possessing arcane fantastic powers fosters and trains the young man who is the last hope for mankind due to his bloodline. The tale of the greatest warrior who falls into darkness because of his forbidden love for a queen, only to be redeemed and saved, along with the rest of mankind, by his forgotten son who is the one man with the purity and strength to accomplish the impossible.

Does that last paragraph sound like a setting in which a good western blade belongs? I hope so, since I was not describing Star Wars, I was pointing out just a few of the storylines of the Arthurian legends, of which Star Wars is such an obvious retelling of that Luke may just as well have pulled his light saber from a stone on Tatooine.

I never saw the Star Wars story to be much more than such a direct retelling of the knights of the round table that only the setting and the character names where different. But then I am different. Around the time the first Star Wars movies came out I was a young man reading Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, so I never really got what the big deal was, to me the original story was much more captivating. But today what percentage of people who know Darth Vader's deeds have ever even heard of Sir Modred?

So when you move Merlin to a swamp in the Degobah system, put a blaster in Tristram's hand and lose the round table for a ring of floating papasan chairs, why not still have Excalibur look the part? While I still wouldn't like plasma beams around my hands any more than I would like my hand guard replaced with another moving sharp chain on my Stihl, I must wholeheartedly applaud a light saber that finally looks like a sword that Arthur, Lancelot or Galahad would use.

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All images and text Copyrighted 2006 Kevin R. Cashen, www.cashenblades.com