Stuff We Love: Krull’s The Glaive, one of the top two throwing weapons in all of ‘80s fantasy filmdom

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Sep 13, 2017

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers linger below, Slayers and all.

As sure as The Beast is mighty, today’s object of glorious affection is the Glaive -- equal parts throwing star, switchblade, phaser, and radiated fidget spinner, and easily one of the two most totally awesome throwing weapons in all of fantasy filmdom, or at least ‘80s fantasy filmdom (the other being The Beastmaster’s Caber, which I’ve already gone on and on about).

For those pour uninitiated souls, the Glaive is Prince Colwyn’s (Ken Marshall) weapon of choice in Peter Yates’ 1983 fantasy swashbuckler, Krull. The plot’s all sorts of crackpot, in all the best ways, and the budget was huge for its day. Which basically meant the designers, particularly the weapon designers, went wild. You can get a good feel of just how wild in the trailer below, including the Glaive at glorious work near the end.  

The Glaive’s basically a five-pointed throwing star with mini-polearm blades that swoosh out, but it glows with great power, is steeped in ancient magic, and comes back to the thrower like a boomerang. And, most importantly for Colwyn and his merry band of “thieves, bandits, fighters, and brawlers” (including young and stout Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane), it’s the only weapon around that can kill The Beast, the uber alien who may have Swamp Thing blood somewhere down the line, who teleports around in a mountain-like spaceship, the Black Fortress, menacing planet Krull and kidnapping Colwyn’s fiancé and future queen, Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony, though she was rudely re-dubbed by “more mature-sounding” Lindsay Crouse).

The coolest throwing star ever is also good for slaying Slayers, The Beasts’ black-armored, laser-spear-wielding alien minions, who would otherwise totally outclass the rest of Colwyn’s sword-and-ax-swinging princess savers. (Of course, that's excluding the trident-slinging cyclops, Rell.)

What’s perhaps most excellent about the Glaive, though, is that it’s vital to the plot. First Ynyr the Old One (I’m not making that up) tells Colwyn that the weapon is their only hope for killing The Beast, which basically kicks off the whole quest, then they have to track it down in the Krullian equivalent of the Himalayas, and then once the final confrontation finally goes down, the Glaive seems to be doing its magic trick, right up to the point where it gets embedded in the belly of The Beast. Which gives Princess Lyssa an opening for her quick thinking to rule the day (even though her part mostly involves being awfully distressed)!

Interestingly, as the Krull Wiki points out (and why wouldn’t there be a Krull Wiki?), once the Beast dies with the Glaive embedded within his innards, the Black Fortress gets "pulled into space to its destruction,” so “the ultimate fate of The Glaive remains unclear.” In other words: Can a Glaive lover get a sequel?

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