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With its flaring blade and warm signature hum, the crackling lightsaber is the traditional sidearm of a Jedi Knight in the Star Wars universe. As noble Obi-Wan Kenobi once explained to a young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, it's "an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age." Now we get a deep dive into what makes them tick.
From Master Luke's emerald-tinted energy sword and Darth Maul's double-bladed crimson saber, to General Grievous' whirling green and blue foursome and Mace Windu's violet broadsword, lightsabers and their prospective crystals reflect the personalities and intentions of those skilled enough to wield them.
To delve deeper into the long history and various styles of Star Wars lightsabers, a deluxe new coffee-table book from Insight Editions will aid in exploring the many models and customized versions of these wicked weapons — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview to share.
Written by Daniel Wallace and illustrated by Lukasz Lisko and Ryan Valle, Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection (October 20) is a 156-page hardcover acting as a complete visual guide exploring all the iconic lightsabers glowing within the Star Wars galaxy, starring fan-favorite hilts from the entire Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, comic books, prose novels, and video games.
Wallace considers himself lucky enough to have been working in the Star Wars universe since the '90s, having grown up as a lifelong fan and then landing his first professional assignment with the book, Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons. He sees lightsabers essentially as swords, and that makes them personal weapons of one-on-one combat and ritual honor codes.
"It's impossible to see a Jedi holding a lightsaber without your unconscious evoking the image of a Grail Knight wielding a broadsword, or a Samurai unsheathing a katana," Wallace tells SYFY WIRE. "In Star Wars, a person who carries a lightsaber has mastered a very specific set of skills, and that makes them very dangerous! From the films I'm a big fan of Luke's green-bladed saber from Return of the Jedi. It's now considered a classic design, but at the time it appeared it was different enough from the lightsabers in A New Hope that it felt startling and fresh."
"When it comes to Star Wars animation and video games, I'm always interested in the lightsaber hilts that are carved out of weird materials like wood and stone, or super-ornate hilts that are gilded with silver and gold and carved with intricate patterns,” he explains. “Online, you can find museum archives where you can view high-resolution photos of swords from many different cultures and many different centuries, so I love it when that degree of artisan expression gets expressed in a fictional setting like Star Wars.”
Artists Lisko and Valle contributed the stunning photo-realistic renderings of this gala grouping of famous lightsabers, including Ezra Bridger’s blaster-saber hybrid, the Grand Inquisitor’s spinning blades, and a brand new lightsaber straight from The High Republic.
"The goal of a book like this is to recreate museum-quality photography like you'd see in a coffee-table book about the relics in King Tut's tomb or the British Museum's Medieval collection," Wallace adds. "In other words, the goal is to reproduce the item in painstaking detail with minimal artistic license, and in this book the artists absolutely over delivered on this promise. Some of these lightsabers are barely seen in the movies themselves, and others have only been shown through imprecise mediums like comics and video games. This book is a bonanza for fans, cosplayers, and prop builders who always wanted to get an up close and personal look at lightsabers seen in the Star Wars saga."
Insight Editions' Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection arrives in bookstores on October 20.