In the Star Wars universe, the lightsaber is a weapon that holds a lot of significance. The incredibly powerful energy blade is the weapon of choice for many Jedi, Sith, and other highly trained Force-users.
In terms of design, this melee weapon appears to be a fairly simple sword comprising a handle with a glowing blade protruding out of it. However, the design and construction of lightsaber is far from simple, and in this article, we shall be taking a closer look at the anatomy and various components that make up a lightsaber’s hilt or handle.
The Lightsaber Hilt: What Is It?
A lightsaber hilt or body is the all-encompassing part of a lightsaber that also serves as its handle. It is the part that a wielder grips while swinging the lightsaber around. It is the part that also houses and protects the lightsaber’s power source (kyber crystal and diatium power cells) and all the internal components that work to produce the distinctive blade of the lightsaber. The outer casing of the hilt is where a lightsaber’s blade emitter and activator switch are located.
There are many different types and styles of lightsaber hilts, each one uniquely designed to suit its wielder’s style and preferences. Some of the known lightsaber hilt styles used in Star Wars include the standard-style hilt (most common), the electrum hilts, collapsible hilts, adept hilts, adjudicator hilts, double-bladed hilts, dual-phase hilts, and curved hilts.
There were also some unique and distinctive hilt designs, such as the forked hilt design of the Kylo Ren lightsaber, which had lateral vents attached to both sides of its hilt, and Gungi’s unique lightsaber hilt that was made of the wood of a Bylark tree.
Lightsaber Hilt Components
A lightsaber hilt contains a variety of different components, and in the Star Wars universe, these components were hand-picked by Force-users, who then adapted them to be in harmony with each other upon the completion of the saber’s construction. Below are some of the components of a lightsaber hilt/handle.
These include the saber’s power cell or energy core, its kyber crystal, focusing lens or ring (which controls and aligns the kyber crystal to emit a blade), and the emitter matrix.
This is typically made from a strong and durable material like metal. However, the choice of material boils down to its owner. Most Jedi prefer metal because of how easy they are to mould and shape. The design (appearance, colour, accents, trims) of the outer casing also depends on its owner’s personality, style, and preferred combat form.
The controls of a lightsaber are usually placed on the hilt’s outer casing. The other lightsaber hilt components that are placed on the outer casing include;
The Emitter – Positioned at the end of the hilt, the blade emitter is the component that projects the plasma blade from inside the hilt. It contains energy modulation circuits that control the intensity and the amount of plasma that makes up the saber’s blade. It also contains a magnetic stabilising ring that controls the length of the blade. This stabilising ring can be adjusted by a simple dial or a dual-phase control (like in Darth Vader’s lightsaber).
The Pommel – This is another saber component that is placed at the bottom of a lightsaber’s hilt. The enlarged fitting serves as a decorative element for the lightsaber. It often comes with a ring that allows the hilt to be hooked to a wielder’s belt.
The Activation Switch – The activation switch or stud is the component that activates or ignites the lightsaber’s energy blade. It is usually very prominent and placed near the upper middle part of the hilt’s outer casing.
The lightsaber hilt is one of the most important parts of a lightsaber. The saber’s handgrip, activation switch, blade emitter, and pommel are all parts that make up the hilt. The hilt is also the part that protects and houses the lightsaber’s electronics and power source. There are many different types and styles of lightsaber hilts, and most of the time, a Force-user’s hilt style and design is a reflection of their personality and preferred combat form.