Nothing is as iconic as the lightsaber. The elegant laser sword wielded by both the Jedi Order and their sworn enemies, the Sith, are some of the most recognizable weapons in science fiction and popular culture. Depending on which side of the Force its user practices, a lightsaber is the crucial symbol of the Jedi’s quest to bring peace and order to a chaotic galaxy, or a Sith’s bloodthirsty desire power and subjugation of the weak. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi said it best in Star Wars: A New Hope, “This was the formal weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. More skill than simple sight was required for its use. An elegant weapon. It was a symbol, as well. Anyone can use a blaster or a fusion cutter—but to use a lightsaber well was a mark of someone a cut above the ordinary.”
Throughout the Star Wars franchise, the lightsaber has taken many forms: Darth Maul’s crimson double blades, Ahsoka’s shorter shoto-style green lightsaber, the pointed black with white tinge Darksaber, and Kylo Ren‘s crossguard red blade. Perhaps one of the strangest and most bizarre forms of the lightsaber is the relatively rare lightwhip, a unique variant of the weapon wielded by a select few in the galaxy. What is the lightwhip, and who’s wielded it throughout the franchise? Let’s take a closer look at the light whip and its history in Disney’s canon and Legends, which is material existing outside of Disney’s established canon following their acquisition of Lucasfilms and Star Wars in 2014.
The Sith famously used their lightsabers for darker purposes- such as slaughter and domination—while the Jedi used their blades to establish order through grace, control, and defense. The Sith desired to out-duel any Jedi they’d encounter, and they became more unorthodox and creative with their lightsaber designs as a result. No weapon signified their drive for chaos and bloodshed better than the lightwhip, an extremely unstable variant of the lightsaber forbidden by the Jedi. Lightwhips possess several small crystals allowing the blade to move freely; dozens of small emitters create thin blades that reached several meters in length.
The lightwhip is a cruel and savage weapon, and its sole purpose was to obliterate any other lightsaber duelist. It makes parries and blocks almost impossible as the lightwhip can entangle around any other lightsaber. The thin blades made the lightwhip weaker than a typical lightsaber, and it has limited cutting capabilities. The volatile and unstable nature of the lightwhip is just as dangerous to its wielder as any opposing duelist, and the lightwhip could extinguish if hit with enough force. Still, those skilled with the lightwhip enjoy considerable leverage over their opponents, given the weapon’s rarity and exoticness.
Former Jedi Knight turned Sith Lady, Githany, wielded the lightwhip during the New Sith Wars, a thousand years before the births of Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia and killed several Jedi with it. According to the Sith Bladesmaster Kas’im, she wielded the lightwhip not out of any tactical advantages it presented in battle but to exploit its unfamiliarity and rarity to most Jedi duelists, as the Jedi Order forbade the usage of lightwhips. The weapon was the best at killing Jedi, and the only way they could hope to defeat a lightwhip practitioner lay in the use of Force abilities or by attacking in numbers. The Night Sisters of Dathomir commonly carried the lightwhip for the sole purpose of killing Jedi.
Other famous practitioners of the lightwhip included Sith Lady Lumiya, Darth Vader’s former secret apprentice who constructed her weapon from Mandalorian iron and flexible metal. In several duels with Luke Skywalker, Lumiya nearly killed him, despite his outstanding skills with lightsaber combat. Her variant of the lightwhip was incredibly deadly as it contained multiple tassels and blades. Luke finally defeated Lumiya by creating a shorter version of the lightsaber known as the lightsaber shoto, which Ahsoka would carry in The Clone Wars.
The lightwhip makes its Disney canon debut in the upcoming young adult novel A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, as part of the High Republic publishing event. In the book, a teenage Jedi named Vernestra wields a lightwhip but is conflicted over her weapon choice. Given its dark roots, I’m curious to see how Vernestra will utilize the lightwhip, and I look forward to the weapon making its official canon debut.
What do you think about the lightwhip? It has several advantages and disadvantages, making it a challenging but rewarding weapon to master. Let me know what you think in the comments, and stay nerdy!
The lightwhip makes its Disney canon debut in the upcoming young adult novel A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, as part of the High Republic publishing event. In the book, a teenage Jedi named Vernestra wields a lightwhip, but is conflicted over her weapon choice. Given it’s dark roots, I’m curious to see how Vernestra will utilize the lightwhip and I look forward to the weapon making its official canon debut.
What do you think about the lightwhip? It has several advantages and disadvantages making it a tough but rewarding weapon to master. Let me know what you think in the comments and stay nerdy!
BY MACK VELTMAN