Disney+’s Star Wars: Visions gets at the heart of what makes the franchise magical by stripping away most of the narrative trappings of the live-action movies, series, and other animated projects, and instead focusing on the most quintessential elements of Star Wars myths. Visions’ shorts wouldn’t be proper Star Wars stories without some exploration of the iconic laser swords that are synonymous with the Force, and each of the series’ nine episodes more than delivers.
Visions introduced a slew of new fancy weaponry to marvel at — all of which will likely be recreated as intricate collectibles sooner than later — and there’s something to like about each of the lightsabers the miniseries showcased. But some definitely stand out as being more imaginative and novel for Star Wars in ways that almost come across as challenges to future storytellers to step their games up. Take a look at how we think they rank.
15. Masago’s Lightsaber, Akakiri
The machete-like lightsaber wielded by Masago, the antagonist of director Eunyoung Choi and Yuichiro Kido’s Akakiri from Science SARU, is deadly enough in its own right, not to mention a new form factor for Star Wars. But because Masago’s a powerful Sith Lord with a deep understanding of the importance of having patience and perspective as one pursues their goals, her lightsaber isn’t actually what makes her such a formidable adversary for a Jedi named Tsubaki — who foresees that his confrontation with her will somehow end in tragedy.
14. Padawan Dan’s Lightsaber, The Elder
Because Dan, the Padawan training under Jedi Tajin in Studio Trigger’s The Elder, is so inexperienced, he isn’t really able to hold his own in battle against the titular Sith Lord when their paths cross. Dan’s lightsaber’s classic in its design and construction, and might actually be quite useful in combat once he learns how to properly use it. But in his hands, it doesn’t seem like a blade that might one day become legendary.
13. Jedi Tajin’s Lightsaber, The Elder
Like his Padawan’s, Tajin’s green-hued lightsaber is nothing to write home about. But one of the first ways that The Elder telegraphs how much more proficient he is in battle is through the subtle steam that begins to form around the blade as it begins to rain during Tajin’s battle with the Elder.
12. The Elder’s Lightsabers, The Elder
Even though the Elder’s pair of medium-length, katana-like lightsabers are simple like Tajin and Dan’s, small details like the wraps dangling from the lightsabers’ pommels, and the burst of harsh, jagged light radiating from the swords’ guards give the weapons a classical touch of style fitting for a wise (but, you know, malicious) old man.
11. Jay’s Micsaber, Tatooine Rhapsody
After damaging his lightsaber while running away from a massacre back when he was a child — before the events of Studio Colorido’s Tatooine Rhapsody — former Padawan Jay is never able to get the weapon to function properly, which always reminds him of his traumatic past. While the broken saber brings him some grief, it also ends up becoming a reminder that there are multiple paths in life that the Force guides people along. For Jay and his fellow bandmates, that path involves becoming the latest sensation in the galaxy after putting on the performance of their lives for Jabba the Hutt.
Conceptually, the idea of a would-be Jedi deciding to become the lead singer of a rock band who sings into a lightsaber is cool as hell, and Jay’s micsaber is, to be fair, pretty snazzy. But every time he holds it up to his face, you can’t help but worry that the thing’s finally going to start functioning as it was made to, and lead to a terrible, terrible accident.
10. T0-B1’s Lightsaber, T0-B1
Equal parts Astroboy and My Life as a Teenage Robot, Science SARU’s T0-B1 tells the story of a young android boy who calls himself “Tobi” and dreams of one day becoming the sort of real boy on his way to being a Jedi who could make his creator, Professor Mitaka, proud. Despite T0-B1 being an episode of Visions that skews a bit younger, it’s a story that explores some of the more philosophical ideas about droids that the Star Wars franchise has always kind of skirted around.
Instead of ruminating on whether droids like T0-B1 have souls that might give them a way of connecting to the Force even though they aren’t “living” beings, T0-B1 pivots by revealing that a kyber crystal (that may also act as a kind of power source for him) has been hidden within his body for his entire existence. By releasing the crystal in a magical transformation-like sequence, T0-B1’s able to fulfil at least part of his dream, which then becomes the heart of his new modest yet chic lightsaber.
9. The Ronin’s Lightsaber, The Duel
The impressiveness of the lightsaber owned by the Ronin seen in Kamikaze Douga’s The Duel has more to do with the dramatic, dynamic angles used throughout the short rather than the blade itself. Out of the many lightkatanas seen in Visions though, the Ronin’s is definitely one of the more elegant and understated, especially as he whips it about to fend off a fellow Sith.
8. The Inquisitor’s Lightsaber, T0-B1
There’s something immediately classic about the bold simplicity of lightsabers like the one belonging to the Inquisitor seen in T0-B1. With basically no adornments or accents aside from its gleaming, metallic grip, the sword almost appears to be a solid blade that tapers into a clean edge on both ends, without a hint of the jaggedness often seen in Sith lightsabers.
7. Tsubaki’s Lightsaber, Akakiri
Tsubaki’s lightsaber from Akakiri is, hands-down, one of the cleanest, most beautifully crafted lightsabers in Star Wars history. It’s basically two pieces: the blue blade, and the muted-grey grip, with just the slightest seam separating the two. Much of the lightsaber’s beauty can be attributed to Science SARU opting to keep its shots of the weapon somewhat distant, making it difficult to see any fine details, if there are any. Assuming that the lightsaber’s meant to look like a massive product designed in Cupertino, though, it’s a stunner.
6. Am’s Lightsabers, The Twins
Force-sensitive twins Karre and Am are able to pull off some of the most mind-bending feats of space magic in Studio Trigger’s The Twins as the two battle for control of a massive kyber crystal. After they rip the crystal in two and both use their respective chunks to enhance their powers, Karre’s able to amp up the energy flowing into her pair of traditional lightsabers significantly. The real show of the crystal’s power, though, comes in the form of the four tendrils of what appears to be kyber energy that she also controls and lashes at her brother within the void of space, absolutely wrecking a ship in the process.
5. Lop’s Lightsaber, Lop and Ochō
After Lop, an enslaved native from the planet Tau, is adopted by the planet’s clan leader, she grows up learning to love and lean on her new family as they all live under the Empire’s rule. Lop and her adoptive sister Ochō become close, but their ideas about how best to protect their clan from the Empire leads to an ideological split that tears their family apart. For different reasons, both Lop and Ochō are surprised when they first lay eyes on their family’s most sacred treasure: an ancient lightsaber that’s been passed down from generation to generation after its initial owner taught one of their ancestors the way of the Force. For Ochō, the shock’s due to the fact that their father deemed Lop worthy of inheriting the gift despite her being adopted, but for Lop, the blade’s significance goes much deeper. While Lop and Ochō doesn’t spend much time trying to explain what the Force is or how it works, it illustrates how it’s something that instinctively manifests in those who are open to the ways in which the Force tends to pool in families it wants to bring together.
4. F, The Village Bride
By the end of Kinema Citrus’ The Village Bride, we don’t really learn all that much about the keen-eyed Jedi called F who wields a stunning, golden lightkatana… other than the fact that she stays ready to kill at a moment’s notice. Generally quiet at F is, her sense of style and flair for the dramatic are evident from her cape and the colour of her blade, both of which manage to be simultaneously loud and whisper-silent.
3. Karre’s Lightsaber, The Twins
Though Karre’s aligned with the dark side of the Force when we first meet him, over the course of The Twins, it’s revealed he’s been planning to defect for some time in order to fight the good fight. While his lightsaber starts out being red, as most Sith’s are, once he smashes the kyber chunk into the grip of his lightsaber, its upper length turns a brilliant shade of blue/white, giving the weapon a smooth gradient. Multicoloured lightsabers — a bisexual-lightingsaber to boot — are a first for the Star Wars franchise and a nifty enough concept on their face. But The Twins makes sure you appreciate what a wild concept Karre’s lightsaber is with one of the most ridiculous, batshit space fights in Star Wars history.
2. The Sith Dark Lord’s Umbrellasaber, The Duel
By now, you’ve undoubtedly seen the umbrella-like lightsaber used by the Sith Dark Lord in The Duel because Disney and Lucasfilm immediately knew that the thing would make people lose their minds. The Mary Poppins-like way the Dark Lord flies around while taking out enemies feels like The Duel’s creative team saying “Mary Poppins slaps, actually.”
What’s really wild about the Dark Lord’s umbrella saber, though is the way the episode implies that the entire weapon isn’t multiple lightsabers attached to a staff, but rather a single lightsaber retrofitted with attachments that extend and refract a single kyber crystal’s light into multiple beams.
1. Kara’s Lightsaber, The Ninth Jedi
Lah Zhima, the sabersmith introduced in Production I.G’s The Ninth Jedi, is an important figure because of the rare set of skills he possesses and presumably passed on to his young daughter Kara while raising her on the planet Hy Izlan. Though Force users still exist in The Ninth Jedi’s universe, the art of forging new lightsabers has been all but lost — save for Zhima, who’s tasked by Hy Izlan’s ruler to craft new weapons for seven Jedi. Aside from their rarity, what also makes Zhima’s lightsabers so special is the way that they transform depending on who’s gripping them at any point in time. Unlike other lightsabers whose colours tend to be fixed, Zhima’s lightsabers are all capable of shifting hues as well as lengths in order to match the Force alignment and fighting styles of the person using it.
For people like Kara who aren’t quite as strong in the Force as full-blown Jedi and Sith, Zhima’s lightsabers manifest a visible, but dull hard light capable of deflecting basic attacks, and while they aren’t as dazzling as some of Visions’ other weapons, they’re great for a wholly different reason. As you watch Kara taking on baddies with her not-quite-lightsaber, Visions is tapping into that thing about Star Wars that makes kids (and frankly, many adults) want to get up and swing plastic swords around, even when the batteries in the toys have long since died. That alone makes it one of the most endearing of Visions’ new kits, and the sort of idea that Star Wars could really do with more of in the future.