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A lightsaber is a fictional weapon in the Star Wars films and the Expanded Universe. It consists of a polished metal hilt which projects a blade of plasma about one meter long. The lightsaber is the signature weapon of the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts, both of whom can use them for offense, or to deflect blaster bolts. Its distinct appearance was created using rotoscoping for the original trilogy, and digitally for the prequel trilogy. The lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film (1977) and every Star Wars movie to date (except The Star Wars Holiday Special) features at least one lightsaber duel. In 2008, a survey of approximately two thousand film fans found it to be the most popular film weapon in history.[1]

The lightsaber's blade cuts through most substances without resistance. It leaves cauterized wounds in flesh, but can be deflected by another lightsaber's blade, or by energy shields. Some exotic saber-proof materials have been introduced in the Expanded Universe. An active lightsaber gives off a distinctive hum, which rises in pitch and volume as the blade is moved rapidly through the air. Bringing the blade into contact with an object or another lightsaber's blade produces a loud crackle.

The term "lightsaber" has been applied to other similar weapons in science fiction.



Visual effects

Animator Nelson Shin was tasked with drawing the lightsaber to match the film scenes that the film producers brought.[when?] Shin explained to the people from Lucasfilm that since a lightsaber is made of light, the sword should look "a little shaky" like a fluorescent tube. He suggested inserting one frame that was much lighter than the others while printing the film on an optical printer, making the light seem to vibrate. Shin also recommended adding a degausser sound on top of the other sounds for the weapon since the sound would be reminiscent of a magnetic field. The whole process took one week, surprising his company, and Lucasfilm demonstrated the film to him, having followed his suggestions, including using an X-Acto knife to give the lightsaber a very sharp look.[2]

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