Internet freaks out about new lightsaber in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer

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It was the “bwuh?” heard around the world—not the familiar electromagnetic hum of the old Star Wars lightsaber, but the confused utterances of millions of geeks reacting to, well, this:

Lucasfilm

What is that? Is it an advanced sword? An ill-designed cross? A new and improved way to amputate your own hand?

“This subreddit for the next year,” joked r/StarWars redditor Mr_Murdoc shortly after the trailer for The Force Awakens landed on iTunes this morning. He was referring to redditors’ immediate reactions to the trailer, which he pithily summed up with this screencap from the reactions thread

Reddit

And so it went across the Internet:

Okay, okay. Surely if Darth Maul can wield a broadsword lightsaber, Sith Lords should be able to wield a sword with a flaming laser hilt, right?

Right?

Er. 

Believe it or not, however, this lightsaber has its roots in a weapon that was already a part of the Star Wars universe. It’s called a crossguard lightsaber and it appeared briefly in Dark Horse’s Clone Wars comics, where it belonged to a Jedi named Roblio Darté. Darté’s lightsaber was actually a full-length dual-bladed weapon, with the second blade extending from the hilt at an angle.The crossguard approach to the lightsaber hilt was meant to help fend off attacks from other blades. 

The Clone Wars comics are not part of the official Star Wars canon that the movies have to follow, but it is possible that The Force Awakens‘ creative team had this weapon in the back of their minds.

So if the no-hilt lightsaber has appeared in the Star Wars franchise before, why all the controversy now? Here’s how superninjaturtle on Tumblr described it:

I think the problem is, we’re sitting there wondering what the PURPOSE of the cross saber is.

When Maul broke out that dual saber, it was wizard because we’ve never seen it before. And it was a testament to the Sith’s superiority, being able to create a saber with two crystal. That and, well, it’s fucking useful in a fight. Unless, whoever that is is going to be taking on a bunch of force wielding vampires, I’m just confused right now.

Let’s not kid ourselves: Force-wielding vampires would be awesome. But while half the Internet was overthinking the new weapon’s look, the other half was clearly just here to enjoy the whole trailer experience.

Screengrab via iTunes Trailer

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.