2005-06-04

Lightsaber Inconsistency?

In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan picks up Anakin's lightsaber. The two had fought with them earlier, the two blue blades dramatic against one another.

In A New Hope, Obi-Wan gives "your father's lightsaber" to Luke. Not counting those times when it still looks white in the DVD, it generally looks green.
The main exception is when Luke first activates it in Obi-Wan's house on Tatooine. There, it does indeed appear blue, though not so richly blue as Obi-Wan's.

Either:

1. Obi-Wan mixed up which lightsaber in the case was which.
2. Obi-Wan was just randomly lying again.
3. Lightsaber colors are variable with tuning. (This would mean that the lightsaber was only briefly blue as it 'warmed up', then went to its de-tuned green. Green lightsabers might de-tune to some other color.)
4. Lightsaber color changes with age. (This would mean that crystals or other components would change over time, so that a blue lightsaber would become green over the years. While an interesting idea (think of Yoda), I don't think it works given Luke's new lightsaber that was green, or Obi-Wan's blue one.)
5. Lightsaber color changes with battery life. (This would mean that after a brief burst of battery power making the saber blue, it went back to the low-power green. But again, we have the issue of normally-green sabers. Perhaps the blue sabers were a newer technology.)
6. (other)

I'm against #2 on general principle. #1 is a possiblity, but a disappointing one that I'm against on aesthetic grounds.

That would seem to leave the technological issues. Pity Bob Brown isn't around to help guide us as to which is correct. Perhaps at some point I'll do some further research to see what can be gathered about the situation. As it stands, though, I'm somewhat fond of #5.

18 comments:

  1. I have a question relating to that. Does *any* SW canon evidence tell us where Luke got his second lightsabre?

    As far as I can tell, there are three possiblities:

    1. Luke was given Yoda's lightsabre during a training session between TESB and ROTJ.

    2. Luke learned how to make one from Yoda, happened to have the necessary components, and made the new one.

    3. Luke found the discarded lightsabre of one of the Jedi killed in the Clone Wars, refurbished it, and used it.

    I personally like either 1 or 3, as you said, given the aesthetics of SW and the significance that can easily become attached to lightsabres. but 2 is the most logical choice.

    As for your observation, I personally like option 4 (especially in that it could tie in with my third theory nicely - blue lightsabres need constant maintenance or refurbishment or they will become green. If theory no. 3 is correct, the lack of replacement parts in the Empire would explain how Lukes' "new" one would be green.

    What do you think?

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  2. To Anony: I believe Vader says something like "I see you have constructed a new lightsabre" to Luke in ROTJ, so I'd go with #1

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  3. Luke makes his new saber in Shadows of the Empire using Jedi texts he found in Ben's hut on tatooine.

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  4. In my DVDs, Anakin's sabre looked blue mostly, though it looked blue in the wampa's cave, but green when Han used it and blue when Luke fought Vader on Bespin and swipes at the AT-AT and green on the under side with blue on the upper side when he brings his sabre up at first when Luke's fighting "Vader" on Dagobah. But, in either case, there is blue and green seen.

    On Bob brown old lightsabre page, he favored the virtual light made real model provided by Albert Forge, which involved a spinning metal that is deformed into a tube and spun at near light speed that stripped electrons from materials.

    If that is what is used in lightsabres, the color may be determined by blade core speed. With all the stuff on Anakin's sabre, one of those could be a blade speed control. Luke could have adjusted the speed off screen in ANH and ESB. Han could have hit the control accidentally in his desire to warm Luke up fast in ESB.

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  5. Interesting, though I'm not sure that reconciles with a reference to blade plasma I seem to recall in the RoTS novelization. I'll have to find it again on my way through the whole thing.

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  6. According to unconfirmed rumors, the next SW DVD release will have several fixes, among which are the bleeding-arm severed by Obi-Wan in E4, and also the lightsaber color glitches... anyway, in episode three, they make it a point to have Obi-Wan grab the lightsaber.

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  7. Well, if he's planning to change ANH yet again then the point will become moot. As it stands, though, it's just a detail offering interesting possibilities in regards to lightsabers.

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  8. I don't remember a blade plasma reference in the novel. I may have missed it. However, with the model Forge gave, there would be plasma. As the core spins, the surrounding atmopshere would get drawn in. Think of when you have a bowl of water and you swirl your finger in it around real fast. You quickly pull your finger out and the water is still spinning for a bit. There's also the heat friction from a solid spinning that fast and any electrons that are taken by the blade from objects, energizing the plasma more. It's a low temp plasma, so your face doesn't get burned off when you use it. A sabre would also work in space and have the glow because there are subatomic particles and gases in space, too.

    The only thing I'm not really sure of with this model is if we would see sparks fly when the blade comes in contact with an object, like we saw with Luke's shot to Vader's shoulder on Bespin or both their blows to the surrounding catwalk. Maybe it's just an example of "not long enough" close enough proximity. Electrons get drawn off the object, but the blade was close enough them for long enough and they just got lost to the surrounding enviornment.

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  9. It might be due to an object's electron density, too.

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  10. From what I understand about lightsabers is that they are a re-curving blade of energy (electrons) that go aroun the core of the blade. I got this information from one of the Star Wars visual dictionaries and a novel (need to find). Lightsabers aren't supposed to generate any heat and they only lose battery energy when they come in contact with an object. I think it's described like a circut that's always running and when it comes incontact with something the circut is temporarily broken and loses energy. Which is why lightsaber batteries last rather long. They only generate heat when they are cutting as a result of friction. Perfect example. Take a garden hose with variable settings. Choose either the flat stream or concentrated jet. Cold yes? Now try to pinch the water. If done properly you'll feel heat as a result of friction between your fingers.

    As for the color. I've watched the movies again an have noticed that the colors between AHN and TESB are that in TESB the saber is a bit bluer (haven't seen DVD edition so if there was a change I apologize). ANH sabers were rather white because of the process used to make saber blades appear in the movie. ANH it was a spinning stick that had reflective edges and was spinning at high speeds (see here http://www.partsofsw.com/ob_luksab.htm ). In TESB they had tried different method, a primitive form or rotopscopy combined with the method described in ANH. And by ROTJ they had gotten lightsabering down

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  11. Luke's lightsaber (the one that was originally Anakin's) is clearly meant to be blue, since it's blue throughout ESB and it's the same saber he had in ANH.

    Anakin never asked Obi-Wan to give it to Luke, so there's the inconsistency... but the saber Obi-Wan picks up off the ground on Mustafar is supposed to be the one he gives to Luke, and the one that Luke uses to fight Vader on Bespin in ESB.

    In the Original Star Wars, Luke's saber only appears blue once, when he's taking practice swings with it in Ben's hut. Everywhere else it's white.

    The DVD screws this up by taking all the instances of it being white and making them green, with one exception... when Luke has the helmet over his face (with blast shield down) his saber appears blue in one shot (if you pause it freeze frame you can even scene a few frames right before or after that the saber has blue AND green on it!).

    In the theatrical Special Edition I had noticed that the scene in Ben's hut actually made the saber appear a bit green (bad color timing due to the restoration process I imagine).

    Some other anomalies appear on the DVD's as well, such as the Death Star 1's explosion having all color removed (there's also a blue haze behind it which appears to be a bluescreen artifact). Compare to the properly red/orange Deathstar 2 explosion and similarly colored explosion of Alderaan.

    Lowry Digital obviously had to rush to get the set out "on time" and made some mistakes. They also made Vader's saber pink most of the trilogy (and orange in a few shots in ESB).

    I don't know where you heard the rumor of removing the Panda Boba blood, but I'd take that with a grain of salt. We've seen lightsaber cause bleeding, such as the red mist that shoots up from Darth Maul when Obi-Wan bisects him in TPM. Some of the comics feature saber bleeding too, if anyone cares (Heir to the Empire grahpic novel version and possibly other example from the Thrawn Trilogy graphic novels).

    If anything, Panda Boba's arm itself is wrong. He had flippers/hooves, not werewolf hands. An early version of the Cantina scene (the one that had faded all the way to black & white, with Han's "old flame" etc) was featured on the Behind the Magic CD-ROM released back in '98 and it showed the original arm.

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  12. There's no canonical evidence to support Albert Forge's speculaiton about a lightsabre having some spinning lightspeed rod or any other such thing. The RotS novelization refers to plasma, while the ANH novelization refers to the action of lightsabres clashing as being two "energy fields" trying to "override" each other.

    As for lightsabre color inconsistency, Luke's lightsabre is meant to be blue. Lowry digital ballsed it up. No need to come up with explanations for a goof brought about by incompetence. This is like saying the Empire all decided to go to one rank insignia in RotJ rather than a simple costuming error, or Rebel snowspeeders really have transparent cockpits.

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  13. Perhaps Obi-wan simply tuned down its power, before giving to Luke, i.e. "practice mode;" he wouldn't want to hand Luke a full-powered lightsaber without training. When he turned it on and started swinging it around, I thought this would be like giving someone a loaded gun and letting them take a few shots with it, however in ANH Luke is likewise swinging the saber around on the Falcon, which wouldn't make much sense if it could cut through a bulkhead (or a person) without much effort.
    Likewise in ANH, Luke cuts right into Vader's neck on the Bespin vent-pulpit, and it cuts him slightly but bounces off Vader's durasteel shoulder-brace; meanwhile in TMP, Qui-gon's saber cuts right through a three-foot blast door and begins melting through it. Assuming Vader's armor is not any stronger than a blast-door, this would indicate that Luke's saber was less powerful according to his
    According to the pictoral guide to AotC, Anakin's lightsaber is green because he chooses something of greater power, in keeping with his ambitious nature.
    Finally, in RotJ, Luke's new lightsaber is green, reflecting that he's completed his training.
    It's likewise stated on the Star Wars offical website (not the EU), that Mace Windu is the highest Jedi sabermaster other than the Sith; this would indicate accorance with his saber being violet in color.
    As for the sith's lightsabers, I don't know if their red color is reflective of their power, or rather symbolic of their evil nature. While the red might represent their purpose dramatically, scientifically I'm sure it represents how the Sith depend heavily on raw power rather than balance-- which is why exactly two Sith-lords exist at any time, and in a master and an apprentice relationship, in order to avoid any competition among them which destroyed the prior Sith order.

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  14. (Continued from above)
    Likewise, in AotC Obi-wan interrupts Yoda teaching some Younglings, who are wielding lightsabers; certainly he wouldn't be putting dangerous weapons in the hands of children.
    In ANH, Obi-wan's lightsaber is also blue-white, however he isn't trying to kill Vader; while Vader assumes that Obi-wan came aboard the Death Star in order to face him, the reality was that Obi-wan was simply headed for Alderaan with the secret plans, and was brought onboard the Death Star through no intention of his own; as such, his saber would be on a lower power-setting than if he was actually planning to face Vader in a battle to the death.
    While I doubt that the writers intended any of this, it IS a nice explanation.

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  15. i think Obi-Wan lied about Anakin wanting to give Luke his lightsaber.(Anakin didn't even know about the twins) Obi-Wan just lied so Luke would maybe want to be a Jedi more, which is what the galaxy needed.

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  16. Of course Obi-wan lied, not about the sabre being Anakin's, but about the circumstances that lead to Obi-wan having the sabre.

    As for what the pictorial guide for AotC says... Anakin's lightsabre has a blue blade (an interesting note is that the hilt of this sabre is the same as the hilt of Vader's lightsabre), the green-bladed lightsabre is given to him by another Jedi at the Geonosis Arena. So that comment is wrong.

    As for the green tint to Luke's sabre in the training scene... I noticed this too, and as weird as I thought this was, I chalked it to bad FX work. It is interesting that the blade does not stay green, rather it is almost totally white for most of the scene. Again, poor FX work.

    Now where Luke gets his second lightsabre from, I have thought that he built based upon Kenobi's lightsabre. Backing this up is the fact that Luke's lightsabre was supost to have a blue blade in RotJ. It was changed to green because the blue blade did not stand out well enough against the desert (imdb.com). Interestingly, if you have the DVD editions, check the Bonus Material disc. It contains the trailers for the original movies, including the "Renvenge of the Jedi" trailer. In that trailer, Luke's lighsabre has a blue blade.

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  17. I think we need to discrete between "Obi-wan lying" and simply continuity breaches; for example, in RotJ, Leia tells Luke that she remembers her real mother; this would indicate that the original story held that she died when Leia was 3 or so, but it would be impossible if she died shortly after childbirth.
    Therefore we need to take into account how the entire story simply wasn't complete at the time of the original trilogy, and so there are going to be some inevitable continuity breaches between the first and second trilogies.

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  18. actually instead of trying to blame things with in the realm of star wars lets think of the time period in which star wars was made and the things they were using to make lightsabers. they had a wooden rod thingy with reflective tape stuff around it that kept breaking every two seconds. They were building their own computers for their effects and they had a time crunch. Im saying that they were unable to decide on what color blue they wanted as "lightsaber blue" and because of poor special effects they were unable to make the lightsaber color look the same in every shot and only when they did the prequel trilogy did they decide that all lightsabers that were blue looked like what they now look like. and to the person that said obi-wan tuned down the power of the lightsaber and that is why it didn't cut through vader your wrong, the reason it didn't cut through vaders armor is because it had cortosis in it (whether it was cortosis weave or all cortosis i cant remember but that dosen't matter for the point i am trying to make) which is lightsaber resistant/proof/unable to be cut by a lightsaber, however you want to say it but a lightsaber would be able to pass through besides luke didnt event follow through.

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