The first season of Star Wars: Rebels has grown into a solid addition to the franchise’s canon, but one of the most interesting things it introduced came in the form of a new-look lightsaber. Now, the show’s producer has finally explained the story behind Ezra’s bizarro Jedi weapon with a gun.
In an interview with /Film, producer Dave Filoni told the behind-the-scenes tale of how Ezra’s lightsaber-blaster hybrid came to be, and the story-based explanation really makes a lot of sense. Ezra’s quest to build his lightsaber played a bit part in season one, and Filoni explained that his decision to build in a blaster component came as a necessity — since he’s still not really good at fighting with a lightsaber.
So, instead of the show’s writers having to make an excuse for how this young padawan is able to duke it out with seasoned baddies with minimal experience, they decided it made sense for Ezra to build a blaster into the saber so he could keep attackers at arm's length while he’s learning how to fight.
The craziest part? According to Filoni, it was a relatively easy pitch in the writers' room (and to Lucasfilm) to add this new twist to the classic weapon. Considering how crazy people went about a crossguard, that’s no easy task:
"The lightsaber itself as it exists is perfect. There’d be no reason to change it. So Kanan has a kind of classic lightsaber. For me, when challenged with looking at a character like Ezra I thought, ‘There’s no way I can believe this kid can fight one to one with any sort of real character we’re gonna have.’ You know, he’s gonna get his butt kicked. So we had him build into his functioning saber. ‘What if it was like a revolver saber where it could actually fire a bit’ And that way he can keep people at range and only saber fight as the last resort.
And for [art director] Kilian Plunkett and I, we try to limit ourselves and say, ‘If we only had the devices to make a saber as they did in the ’70s as a prop, let’s go down to the hardware store and see how we would build this thing.’ And we instantly started looking at nail guns and staple guns. If you look at a silhouette, it reminds you of those things and we kind of fashioned it [that way]. And what I like is that it looks like something that’s from the era of the original trilogy in its shape. That ‘It’s a lightsaber’ is a bit surprising more than ‘It fires as a blaster’ is a bit surprising. I think it’s a function that, as Ezra gets better, would go away. But for now it’s something he actually needs to survive…
No, I don’t think [it was a hard concept to sell]. I mean, everybody seemed to be in favor of it. Any time you change something like a lightsaber, obviously it’s a flash button. You know, you put a little guard on the lightsaber and suddenly it goes nuts for a while. But in a way that’s good ’cause it means it’s new. It means you hadn’t thought of it and it challenges you. And as I’ve said before, we have to keep challenging the Star Wars viewer not just keep doing what we’ve always done. But add new and interesting twists of things. Even like lightsabers."
The second season of Star Wars: Rebels is set to debut this fall on Disney XD. What’d you think of Ezra’s new-look lightsaber?