Today I finally realized why there are so many Star Wars fanboys: there's a lot of shady pseudoscience behind everything in the Star Wars universe, and it's pretty fun to argue about.
Today's preeminent fanboy argument is over the crazy new lightsaber in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. In the darkest vignette from the trailer, we're shown a cloaked figure who stumbles down a snowy slope in a dark forest. The figure reaches the bottom, enters a defensive stance, and whips out a lightsaber that looks like a medieval claymore: a two-handed longsword with a crossguard.
The only problem is that this design is pretty stupid for a lightsaber, at least when it looks like this:
I'm not a sword expert, but I've played enough EverQuest and watched enough Lord of the Rings to tell you that crossguards are meant to catch an enemy's sword and protect your hands — something this lightsaber would be unable to do unless it's made of some mythical bullshit supermaterial that nobody's heard of because it's in a Star Wars book nobody's read. An enemy's energy blade would, in all likelihood, slice right through the base of the crossguard and end your lightsaber party pretty quickly.
A lightsaber crossguard is also really dangerous to the person holding it. Don't just take my word for it; The Washington Post weighed in on the issue after I called out the design on Twitter, and asked master bladesmith Kevin Cashen about it. "That would be very bad to have around your hand," Cashen tells the Post. "That hilt would just take you apart if you started to do a lot of complex spinning."
"You'd be in grave danger of searing yourself," Cashen says.
So after an argument about the lightsaber with The Verge's own Star Wars fanboy, Rich McCormick, I decided to take a break and get coffee next door. In the two minutes I stood in line, I came up with a better design.
2b/ advantage here is that an enemy's sliding blade will get hella trapped in there and give you lots of leverage.— tc (@chillmage) November 28, 2014
Disney still has two more Star Wars movies to make. Incidentally, my lightsaber design consultancy is now open for business.
I rest my case, nerds— tc (@chillmage) November 28, 2014