The first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer features all kinds of things that make my diehard Star Wars soul quiver and dance, but the crossguard on the dark side lightsaber spotted in the teaser, while initially cool, increasingly isn’t one of them. It looks ultimately very impractical, and I couldn’t help but to offer some engineering tips for the weapon’s designer.
Let me explain: While the design looks like it was inspired by the kind of guard you’d see on a claymore, for instance, which prevents an opponent’s blade from sliding down yours and, say, cutting off your fingers, it seems unlikely to serve that function. The emitters extend from the hilt, as you can see, which presumably means they’re vulnerable to the opponent’s blade, which, per Star Wars lore, can cut through pretty much anything (except for Mandalorian iron, Force-imbued weapons and some other noteworthy materials). The whole point, however, of not using metal for the sword itself is that lightsabers can cut through most without issue.
So, to make an effective guard for a sword hilt, which does seem like something worth the time of lightsaber artisans, I propose a couple of design tweaks.
The first moves the emitters, placing individual vertical ones across the bottom of the guard. This means there’s a continuous field of energy blade, ensuring that any sliding opponent blade won’t just cut straight through the horizontal emitters at the T-joint in the original version.
The second version assumes that a series of small, power-limited vertical emitters aren’t technically practical, or don’t provide a continuous field, and instead extends a metal guard around either end, which point emitters across the field of the central blade. Once again, you get an unbroken energy beam with a cross-section that is presumably stronger for the overlap, if anything.
Of course, it’s possible that a) the blade is made through some kind of secret Sith ritual that means the emitters at the hilt are fine, or b) the guard isn’t a guard at all, but merely additional, dagger-like blades designed to help wound in close combat.
It’s also possible that I have too much time on my hands.