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Pros and Cons: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ “Trisaber”

Yes, we’re calling it a Trisaber now.

The Force has awakened, and by now we’ve all seen the trailer enough times to cover the running length of the movie coming out next December. Now the dissections have begun. Rolling droids aside, the one piece of tech that has our midi-chlorians tingling is what looks like the Sith’s new three-beam lightsaber. What are the pros and cons of such a civilized weapon?

First, the cons. According to a weapons expert interviewed by The Washington Post, the trisaber design — though it is seemingly emulating the “crossguards” of a large sword, which protect hands from sliding blades — is likely to do more harm than good. Large crossguards snag the user as often as they protect hands from Skywalkerification. “That hilt would just take you apart if you started to do a lot of complex spinning,” he told the Post.

Furthermore, if hand protection is the real advantage of the trisaber, it’s not implemented very well. Look closely at the featured image above. If an opponent’s lightsaber slid down the beam, it would go right through the part of the trisaber that is projecting the crossguard beams. We know that lightsaber material can indeed be cut by another lightsaber (e.g., when Obi-Wan cut Darth Maul’s lightsaber in half), so maybe the Sith is using a very inefficient, if elegant, weapon.

Trisaber GIF

What about the pros? Given that the lightsaber is a close-range weapon, consider what getting up close and personal with a trisaber means. One precise shove from the user will drive a hot plasma crossguard into the chest of an opponent. And since the classic blades-crossed position happens in nearly every duel we’ve ever seen in Star Wars, having an extra offensive implement isn’t that terrible of an idea.

Another article from the Post suggests that maybe J.J. Abrams really did his homework, and that the trisaber is made of a material resistant to the beams of energy that lightsabers are made of — like “phrik.” Then slicing right through the crossguards becomes less of a problem and the offensive capabilities could make a real difference.

Of course, the trisaber design could just be something flashy to entice audiences (which is exactly what it did) and move the lightsaber into a new trilogy. That’s the easy answer, but let’s go for another possible advantage: If you threw a trisaber it would be much more dangerous than the traditional one-beam design.

When you throw anything, it tends to move in a parabolic arc and rotate around its center of gravity — the point where you can assume all the Earth’s gravitational force acts through in calculations. So when you throw a hammer, for example, it looks like a wild wiggle through the air, but if you imparted any spin to it, it would rotate around an imaginary point an inch or so below the hammer’s head. Adding extra material to the bottom of a lightsaber (the extra beams and outlets) then would effectively move the trisaber’s center of gravity closer to the user’s hand. If a Sith threw it, there would be much more of a chance for one of those beams to cut through a Jedi than a spinning single-beam lightsaber.

Or maybe the trisaber really is just for show. Or maybe it needs more beams! Pentasaber! Can you think of more pros and cons? Let the battle rage below.

UPDATE: Maybe we can all agree that going full-on anime might be the best possible version of this:


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  1. Jim says:

    Is that the Siths Bankai in the last image 😉

  2. Justin F. Gabrie says:

    Stephen Colbert finds your lack of trisaber faith disturbing:

  3. Jeo says:

    It makes lightsabers explode. No spins. No twirls. You just go in expecting to have a duel, the sabers connect, and the trisaber overloads the standard lightsaber to the point where it just… blows up. 

  4. Trevor R. says:

    As the logic behind the trisaber has been thoroughly discussed so far in the comments, here’s a comic about it

  5. Chrisfs says:

    Sword combat expert  says crossguard not all that bad actually.

  6. Just speculation, but maybe it was designed specially for experts of Form 3 or 5. The crossguard blades would make sense for the defensive nature of these forms, and he subtle sweeps and dodges utilized by these forms would make it less likely to injure yourself.

  7. Thomas Louis says:

    This is very wrong. A lightsaber cannot cut through the saber of another lightsaber, only the hilt. The trainer would indeed protect the persons hand from another saber.

  8. fred says:

    This is only the beginning..

    Have you seen the trailer spoof, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Lightsaber Awakens” on youtube

  9. Gabe says:

    Whatever it’s supposed to be, it’s one badass way to light a cigarette after carving up a Jedi. 

  10. steve says:

    I still don’t understand.  First, with a rgualr claymore…isn’t that just poor design if the sword is constantly snagging you?

    Second, with the lightsaber…don’t Force sensitives use the Force when whirling their blades around, so as not to accidentally slice off their own arms anyway?  I don’t see how adding this would change any of that.

  11. Raymond says:

    In several instances there are materials resistant to light sabers like Mandelorian armor. But besides that point,  has anyone thought that possibly the cross guard might be detachable?  If so that would make it even more formidable and all the more awesome. 

  12. Oldfashioned says:

    Its obviously very cold out there, maybe the Trisaber is designed to keep the  sith-lord’s hands warm.

  13. Derp says:

    It’s still no match for having a blaster at your side

  14. Richard says:

    I still they’re exhausts for a very old, very primitive, very inefficient lightsaber.  That’s why the blade looks so ragged.

    • drparadox says:

      Dude, lightsabers are meant to look like that. They’re not solid, but instead made of a beam of moving light particles (or waves, depending on which model you like better). Earlier star wars films were made before CGI was advanced enough to show a visible sign of the beam’s fluctuation. This film apparently uses that capability, which is why the blade looks ragged in that particular frame

  15. ken says:

    What if… the hilt is made of Mandolorian steel?   Just a thought…

    • Vektorr says:

      Fourth paragraph. They made that exact point.

      • Jacob Fisher says:

        Or maybe its Cortosis, considering that stuff is completely immune to lightsabers, anyone remember Knights of the Old Republic on the Xbox?

  16. sabre says:

    In a real sword fight any kind of crazy spinning or what not would get you killed instantly so the cross guard would be used in a Germany long sword fashion to block an incoming strike and be completely beneficial. 

  17. Matt says:

    Let’s get a real nerd in here. The crystals in sith lightsabers are synthetic. They are also produce a hotter blade. (So hot in fact that they have been known to break though Jedi blades) The side “beams” here are nothing more than vents.

  18. J L says:

    You know. I’ve always wondered what keeps a force user from force pushing the on/off button on their opponent’s lightsaber.

    • james says:

      they are most likely holding the button down themselves. for instance when luke had his hand cut off the blade turned off and when obi wan lost his the blade turned off. now if your thinking about the sabres being thrown then they are using the force to hold the button down and most likely direct them (which kinda defeats the point of gravity they were trying to make)

      • mcjstar says:

        Actually many sabers had a kill switch to deactivate the saber when it was no longer gripped.  The activation switch on most of the sabers was probably a push to activate and a push and hold to deactivate.  This would also help prevent others from turning your saber off with one little flick or push.  For those that threw their sabers, they most likely had a lock switch of some sort to keep it on during the throw.

  19. Curtis says:

    The biggest flaw, aesthetics aside, I see with this design is simply this:  you are dividing your power output into three separate processes.  And, unlike Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber, this one doesn’t appear to have an over-sized hilt to account for the extra energy capacity necessary to do so without compromising the strength of the primary blade.  Which means, in a pinch, a single-bladed lightsaber would have more power and could potential ‘break through’ or in some other way compromise the blade and render the weapon useless.

    Like I said, that’s aesthetics aside.  I won’t get started on what I think of the actual design.  I don’t need to.  Just in sheer terms of practicality, it’s a compromised, flawed weapon.

  20. Josh says:

    It activates independently from the other beam so he has no need to always have it on. It could be used as a trick/surprise if used mid combat when the opponent is close enough for the cross guard beams to come out and take him out. I doubt he has it out all the time and he wouldn’t have much trouble wielding it no matter what some expert says. This is a movie and force wielders are like super heroes almost and this i’m guessing sith looks like he is no joke so I doubt he would injure himself with a weapon he has been trained to use his whole life with adding the fact that he is no mere average person who would yes kill themselves using it. His mental and physical abilities go so far beyond.

  21. Dan Mancini says:

    I need to point out that the latter theory about its usefulness as a throwing weapon assumes the beam of a lightsaber adds weight to the weapon and effects it’s center of mass which in fact it does not. Light saber beams are energy, not mass.

    • Virosh says:

      did you forget that it is force power that drives a light saber forward to begin with?

      • Brenson Humphreys says:

        No it really doesn’t, it is a device that utilized a crystal power source that is strong in the force in and of itself known as a force crystal. You do not have to be a force sensitive to wield a lightsaber. 

  22. Marklar says:

    I actually took the time to read a couple comments to see if anyone had already said what i was going to say. Nice work.

  23. Curtis says:

    Regardless of who else may be involved in the design of all this stuff, Abrams, as director, has to sign off on all of it.  Additionally, most designers don’t start designing until they talk to the director and get some idea of what direction the director wants to go.

    So, it may not be Abrams’ actual design…but it is almost guaranteed to be designed to match what he described.  And even if it was someone else who came up with the design, without any input from him, he’s the one who said, “Yeah, I like it, let’s use that in the film.”

  24. Sotto Prima says:

    This is why we can’t have nice thing.  

  25. mark says:

    “They’ve already established in Ep 1 that there are shields available to block lightsaber blades, so why not just rig one of those up as a crossguard?”
    What if that’s what these actually are and are simply colored red to match the blade? Why are we assuming they’re the same thing as the blade and therefore lethal?

  26. Matt says:

    when was there fighting in the trailer?

  27. spazweez says:

    It could also be a present-day Sith who recovered and is wielding an ancient weapon.

  28. Johnald13 says:

    No one’s complaining, just speculating on a movie most of us have loved our entire lives. Don’t read the comments if you’re going to get so worked up about it. Chill out breh.