The lightsaber. The weapon of the Jedi Knights and the Sith Lords. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon from a more civilized age. They may be so awesome that they openly laugh in the laws of physics, but the true nature of a lightsaber is in its beauty. Would Star Wars have even gotten off the ground if Mark Hamill didn’t look like a surfer god chilling out with a literal laser sword in his hand? Probably not, which is why it’s so important for a lightsaber to look the part.
If the audience is to respect the authority and power that such a weapon represents, it can’t afford to seem like it was thrown together on an graphic designer’s day off. Each machined curve needs to be precise and specific, personalized for the character using it. With Solo coming to theaters soon and apparently devoid of lightsabers, it seemed like a good time to tide over your Jedi fix with a rundown of the worst and best looking of the iconic weapon. To make things a little easier, we’re only counting down sabers that are part of Disney’s official canon, restricting it to the films, the cartoons, and a select few comics.
25 GENERAL GRIEVOUS'S COLLECTION
It’s very obvious from the offset that more effort was put into designing General Grievous’s cyborg body and four-armed fighting style than the actual design of his lightsabers. Which is a real shame considering the potential that his character presents. If he were to make his own sabers, he could have four copies of very cybernetic saber hilts, or maybe he could make four slightly different but thematically similar blades. Wouldn’t that have been insanely cool? Or even if writers took him in the direction they ultimately did, collecting the lightsabers of all the Jedi he’d killed, wouldn’t it make him seem so much more intimidating if the Jedi he’d killed had unique sabers that made them stand out amongst the crowd?
What if you could recognize one of the sabers he was using as one from the then-still canon extended universe?
Instead, Grievous seems to wield a set of generic metal tubes with the occasional emitter ornament, a trait they carry from Revenge of the Sith to Clone Wars. Seriously, he carries at least six of these things on him at all times and it feels like one of the comedy droids from Clone Wars should have asked him why he always had six PVC tubes.
24 OBI-WAN'S SECOND LIGHTSABER
After his first and very basic lightsaber was destroyed in Phantom Menace during his fight with fight with Darth Maul, newly-minted Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi made himself a new saber that was, somehow, even more basic than his first one. Based around a fairly simple silver tube, it features a plastic black grip on only half of the hilt’s base, broken up by a series of openings that expose the metal tubing beneath. The activation stud and power adjuster are both weirdly large and stand out against the sheen of the upper hilt. Towards the emitter is what appears to be a black vent system, which is impractical if nothing else.
Imagine holding it with both hands when suddenly your top hand gets scorched from the exhaust heat of a literal laser sword. But the most bizarre element to the hilt is the pommel, which is machined to look like a giant ball bearing attached to the end of the saber. Colored black, this sphere has a series of large, bulky silver cubes sticking out of it’s equator. It looks foolish and seems to serve no practical purpose apart from making the saber stand out like a sore thumb. For shame, Obi-Wan, for shame.
23 JEDI TEMPLE GUARDS' PIKE SABERS
There’s a very distinct reason why swords are considered a more traditional hero’s weapon than spears. Swords are deceptively versatile, capable of being used in a variety of forms and styles. Spears, while not limited to a single use, doesn’t have nearly as much variety options as swords. And since most lightsabers, including the yellow pike sabers used by the Jedi Temple guards, are based generally on real-life weapons, they were pretty much doomed from the start. Technically speaking, the lightsaber pike is a jaunty double-bladed saber with extremely short blades and an extended hilt. Said hilt is surprisingly thick and has clashing shades of regal red and paltry yellow.
The design of the emitter seems to incorporate criss-crossing shrouds which actually looks pretty good but is wasted in the overall disjointed aesthetic of the hilt.
There are thin green lights near the head of each emitter which could be a bizarre power adjuster but are just as likely just lights slapped on to make it look futuristic. Also, what’s up with the short blades? The saber could at least look powerful if it had the same reach as Maul’s double-saber, but these are shorter shoto blades that make the weapon appear ineffective and weak. Finally, though no doubt important to Star Wars lore, yellow is just a bad color for a lightsaber. It doesn’t have the same distinctive backglow that the other colors have and makes the temple guards’ beige uniforms look ugly in its light.
22 AHSOKA'S ORIGINAL SABER SET
Remember Ahsoka’s original set of lightsabers from the Clone Wars cartoon? Weren’t they distinctive? Mostly because of how ugly they were? For those who are blessed with poor memories of the subject, the hilt essentially took the worst parts of Anakin’s standard saber, doubled them, and then dashed some of Obi-Wan’s terrible design choices in there for good measure. Along with a dividing fuller which made it look like the hilts had been cut down the middle at some point, the sabers featured mirrored tuning rings that stood out like pathetic wings from the emitter, a pair of separated shrouds that made the erupting blade look like it was being spurted out, and an obnoxiously large activation stud.
As if all that weren’t enough, they even have a ball bearing pommel with cube-studs. Except Ahsoka’s isn’t even black and silver so it’s even less dynamic than Obi-Wan’s similar lightsaber. The base of the hilt widens out to make a heavier counterweight, which should hypothetically give Ahsoka better control on her swing. Except she typically uses a reverse-grip fighting style, nullifying the extra weight’s bonus. And to top it all off, she has a second shoto version of the same silly blade.
21 THE INQUISITORS' SPIN BLADES
When the Grand Inquisitor unveiled his spinning blade for the first time on Rebels, it made a big splash in the fan community who’d wanted to see a similar design in the canon for years. However, as time went on the spin blades became overexposed and people started noticing the frankly glaring flaws in the blade. First and foremost, the physics of the blade breaks Star Wars internal logic. Only the hilt is thick enough to contain the kyber crystal but the blade is active even when the emitter isn’t lined up with the hilt.
The hilt itself is fairly distasteful, looking more like the handle on a piece of exercise equipment than a personalized blade.
While it’s pretty cool that the spinning circle is retractable, and it made for a great scene when it was surprisingly unveiled, the circle itself is remarkably bland and wastes a potential creative goldmine that could come with customization. Need more proof that these signature blades aren’t the awesome new weapons that they first appeared as? Consider that Rebels’s jumping the shark moment came when the Inquisitors started using them as helicopters, breaking all the laws of physics. How many laws? All. Of. The. Laws.
20 DARTH MAUL'S DOUBLE BLADED JUNK SABER
Sometime after Clone Wars but before Rebels, Darth Maul found himself stranded and unarmed on the planet Malachor, a desolate world that housed, among other things, a decrepit Sith temple and an ancient battlefield riddled with the lightsabers of fallen Jedi and Sith. Knowing that conflict followed him like a bad habit, Maul decided that he needed a weapon, something familiar with which to defend himself. Using the relics from the remains of the battlefield, Maul fashioned himself a new double-bladed saber. Made from the twisted metal of other sabers, the weapon is essentially formed out of junk and looks it.
The bottom half of the extended hilt doubled as Maul’s walking cane and was formed from warped, half-melted metal and looks more like rubble than a solid stick. Towards the handle of the cane, it begins to look like a lightsaber again, albeit a fairly simple one with a black hilt and a thin metal overlay. The emitter is where things begin to get interesting. A large, rusted hook extends out from the side of the emitter, suggesting that Maul may have made this part by repurposing the remnants of an ancient prototype for the Inquisitors’ spinning blades. It’s certainly eye-catching, but it doesn’t stop the whole thing from looking like the piece of junk it is.
19 PONG KRELL'S DOUBLE-BLADED SABER SET
Pong Krell, the turncoat Jedi who turned the clone troopers under his command against each other in a heartbreaking arc of Clone Wars, was a Besalisk, a race of tall, stocky, four-armed humanoids. His size and extra limbs gave him greater options in combat and he decided to make himself a pair of lightsabers that reflected his capabilities -- that’s how he ended up with two double-bladed sabers.
That sounds really cool, right? But as the expression goes, too much of a good thing goes bad.
Pong Krell’s lightsabers weren’t just double-bladed, they were collapsible, longer and thicker than the usual lightsaber, and were both green and blue because the writers wanted Krell’s sabers to be as overkill as the possibly could be. Though the size-and-half blades were legitimately pretty cool in Pong Krell’s capable, spinning hands, the hilts were fairly standard and generic. Their most impressive and notable feature was an enhanced outer shell which made them big enough to fit comfortably in Pong Krell’s massive hands. Other than that, the typical emitter shroud and a series of vents near them complete the picture. Ironically, the biggest problem with such simple blades was there was just too much to them.
18 EZRA'S PISTOL SABER
At the beginning of Rebels Ezra’s go-to tool was his nonlethal energy slingshot. While being fairly silly as far as weapons go, it was at least fitting for Ezra’s youthful, punk personality. But as the protagonist of the series, he was inevitably going to get his own lightsaber and the writers didn’t want to have him abandon what had become his signature weapon. Their solution? The lightsaber pistol. While at first glance it seems to be a homemade lightsaber with a strangely angular crossguard, it was actually a saber hilt with an attached energy gun. While on paper this no doubt seemed like a cool idea, it faltered considerably in execution.
The primary problem was that the hilt itself looked like it was cobbled together from whatever scrap metal Ezra could find aboard the Ghost. Mostly because it was. Apart from the crossguard, it was fairly standard fair but with extra scratches and wear and tear. The emitter had a small black shroud that clipped into the crossguard. A red activation stud on the inside of the guard seemed to have dual purpose as the gun’s trigger, though how that was configured is anyone’s guess. The blade of the saber looked very fine and effective, but there was this weird design flaw where the pistol couldn’t be fired if the blade was activated, which was never fixed or even addressed.
17 OBI-WAN'S THIRD SABER
Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed to run through lightsabers like some people go through clothes. He lost his first one in a fight against Darth Maul and his second one was lost when he was captured by Count Dooku. He created his third and final saber following his promotion to master and while it wasn’t as generic as he previous ones had been, it still suffered from significant design flaws. First and most glaring is the weird section between the emitter and the hilt where it abruptly thins out, becoming only a centimeter thick in places.
The gold and amber coloring make this part look pretty, but it’s insanely impractical as it’d be impossible to get a good grip close to the emitter.
Even the next section of the hilt is made of deep ridges, giving it an uncomfortable look. Fortunately, the bottom half of the hilt is aesthetically pleasing. A golden activation panel near the base not only make more sense, it looks better in contrast with the silver pommel. Obi-Wan fortunately abandoned the ball bearing base and replace it with a flat bottom with ornamented silver rises. The emitter plate completes the piece with a slight dish and a neat divet pattern.
16 LUKE'S SECOND SABER
According the official Star Wars lore, Luke Skywalker modeled his second lightsaber on that of his first mentor, the exiled Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi. This makes sense as he wouldn’t want to make a copy of the lightsaber that he’d had before, which he’d just learned had been Vader’s previously and had no doubt been used to slaughter leagues of Jedi and Obi-Wan’s was the only other one he’d ever seen. Like Obi-Wan’s, it had the strange thin section before the emitter, though Luke’s lacked the gold inlay and amber coloring. Fortunately, it did improve upon the middle section.
Whereas Obi-Wan’s had featured a rigid set of black appendages, Luke’s used a series of silver rings which increased the surface area of his grip. This not only looks stylish, but gives him more freedom of movement in his swings, perfect for a growing Jedi looking to branch out into different style of fighting. The activation panel and pommel are nearly identical to Obi-Wan’s, but the emitter doesn’t have the same dish or rivet styling. But apart from that and a few other minor cosmetic changes, it’s nothing more than a supped-up homage to and mimic of his true master’s old, trusty weapon.
15 VADER'S CORRUPTED SABER
If Anakin’s original blade is the generally generic version of a lightsaber hilt, then the blade he made as Darth Vader is essentially a single step down in the aesthetical hierarchy. It’s more or less the same design as his original but bulkier and with black overlay parts. This is most evident in the emitter, which now has a thick, black outer casing over the shroud. The grip at the base doesn’t stand out as much as his original lightsaber but still make it look uncomfortable to hold and hard to wield.
The activation panel is measurably bigger and bulkier, including a new black band that wraps around the middle of the hilt.
To be fair, the red light of the blade itself reflects better off the black than the blue blade did off the silver, but that isn’t enough to move this saber into the top ten. Also it’s worth noting that the awkwardness of this hilt is largely by design. Vader’s suit made it hard for Anakin to move and his fighting style had to change. Less twirls and flips and more hard, measured strikes from stiff angles. The hilt, with its enforced armor and thick body, must have been perfect for his new gloved hands and aggressive combat techniques.
14 YODA'S SHOTO SABER
When he was first introduced in Empire Strikes Back, Yoda seemed to be the epitome of the ‘monk’ half of ‘Jedi are warrior monks’ analogy. He was small and decrepit, but could move an entire starship with his mind. It was assumed that he was the type of Jedi who avoided combat at all costs, if for no other reason than it looked like a stiff breeze could blow him over. But then the prequels came along and CGI became the name of the game. So in Attack of the Clones, Yoda brought out his lightsaber for the first time and showed off his flipping awesomeness (pun intended) in a fight with Count Dooku. And for one of the most iconic Jedi of all time, his lightsaber was somewhat underwhelming.
The hilt was suitably short, made to be wielded by both of Yoda’s small, three-fingered hands, but it was also stubby and a bit jaunty. It had an emitter shroud that was wider than it was long and the central activator panel was set too high above the metal. Ironically, the grip pads at the base, often the worst aspect of a saber hilt, lend an element of sleekness to the short blade and even keeps the thick black panel from looking overly goofy. The blade itself is also somewhat iconic, being the first shoto lightsaber seen in the series and the only one to be used not in conjunction with a longer blade.
13 THE SKYWALKER/REY SABER
As the first lightsaber that audiences were introduced to all the way back in A New Hope, the lightsaber constructed by Anakin Skywalker, passed down to his son Luke, and eventually finding itself in the hands of new series protagonist Rey is essentially the gold standard for lightsabers. The shining silver tube extends to a protected emitter attached to a largely unnecessary tuning ring. Along the length of the hilt are three different protrusions, an activation stub, a power dial, and a length dial, all of which interrupt the aesthetic flow of the weapon. The most egregious issue with the hilt is the handgrip at the base.
While no doubt very practical and ergonomic, the lateral black bars are bulky and make the whole thing look unbalanced and hard to get a whole hand around.
Still, in spite of its many extremities and general bulkiness, the Skywalker/Rey lightsaber has a distinct sleekness to it which most lightsaber hilts since have attempted to emulate, making it, if nothing else, notable for being the progenitor of all other designs. It also has a particularly strong and unwavering blade both in terms of stability and color, making it stand out even amongst similar sabers.
12 AHSOKA'S WHITE SABER SET
When it was revealed on the Rebels cartoon that the information broker Fulcrum was actually the grown-up Ahsoka Tano, fans were eager to see her return to her full Jedi potential. What they got instead was something even better. With Kanan and Ezra pinned down by Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother, Ahsoka made her triumphant return to the field with an epic score behind her and two brand new white-bladed lightsabers in hand. Unlike her previous lightsabers which were largely overdesigned, these blades went with a very minimalist approach. Thin, long, and slightly curved, these hilts are reflective of Ahsoka’s overall journey through the Star Wars universe and the growth and maturity she’s attained since leaving the confines of the Jedi order. In fact, the pure white light of her sabers is meant to represent her neutrality between the Sith and Jedi factions.
The most attractive element of the hilts themselves is arguably the base grip. Both feature a padded ergonomically handle which allows for much needed versatility in combat. Considering Ahsoka’s fighting style had become more improvisational and unorthodox in her travels outside the Jedi, having the ability to switch between forms without changing her grip on her sabers is crucial. However, she still retains some of her old techniques. One of her blades is the shorter shoto blade that she used in the original Clone Wars show which she has carried on into adulthood, a mark of her origins and evolution.
11 KANAN JARRUS'S TWO-PIECE SABER
Though it’s not impossible to have a Star Wars project without a Jedi in there somewhere, as Rogue One was eager to prove, having a lightsaber-wielder on-screen certainly helps grab people’s attention. For the first episode of Rebels, it looked like the show might be sticking exclusively to the origins of the Rebel Alliance. Then Kanan Jarrus, while pinned down under heavy fire, unclipped two parts of his belt, slapped them together, and was suddenly holding a lightsaber. And a really, really cool one at that. While having it be two pieces no doubt helped Kanan hide it while he was on the run, he was denying people a glance at its extended emitter shroud and wide, circular crossguard.
A simple but comfortable-looking grip extends the hilt with it ending in a star-grip pommel.
Apart from the hilt looking fantastic, the blade itself was an interesting novelty. It was measurably thinner and longer than other lightsabers seen up to that point, clearly drawing influence from traditional rapiers and foils. This makes it an ideal weapon for duels and for single combat. Overall, it’s a sleek, classical blade with minimal interruptions to its aesthetic. Honestly, it’s a pity we never got to see it in live-action.
10 TERA SINUBE'S CANE SABER
Though his tenure on Clone Wars was brief, limited to only two episodes, Jedi master Tera Sinube was memorable for two things: Namely, being pretty annoying as far as wise old Jedi go and for having a fairly sweet lightsaber. Colloquially known as the "cane saber", Sinube’s lightsaber hilt was actually discreetly disguised as the handle of his walking stick. It had a natural wood hilt that branched out into a knolled anchor shape at the pommel which was used as a grip when the saber was in cane form.
The length of the hilt was a slender, polished wood, only interrupted by a red activator stud, the only obvious piece of machinery used in the piece. The emitter tapered into narrowed head with a looping dark wood overlay. The blade itself was unique in that it was a particularly light shade of blue that was uncommon amongst the Jedi. The rest of the cane, which serves as something of a proto-sheath for his blade, is also quite stylish as well as practical. It thins out into a slender stick before widening into a solid base to support its user. It’s a perfect weapon and tool for the ancient, wise master.
9 SNOKE'S GUARDS' SABER ARMORY
Though not technically lightsabers, Supreme Leader Snoke’s elite Praetorian Guards wielded weapons with plasma bladed edges and made for one of the best fight scenes in any of the films so they count by default. It doesn’t hurt that they’re all very beautiful weapons. The weapons seem to come in three varieties: a staff with a small saber blade at the end, a laser-connected plasma whip which could condense into a short sword, and a pair of saber-edged axes which could combine into a double-sided glaive. The staff seemed to be the more common of the weapons, with at least three of the guards wielding them. Since they all wore thick, red armor, scarlet was the color to work around.
The staffs all featured ornamental handles which ended in a decorative emitter, shooting a thin, short beam of red laser along the edge of a traditional spearhead.
The whip/sword weapon is a real piece of art. Beginning with a short but intricate handle, it extended into a pair of flexible tubes which were held together by a series of clasps. An current of plasma would race down the tubes, interrupted only by the unconnected clasps, to a sharp point at the tip of the whip. With a flick, however, the clasps could close themselves into a stiff, short sword with laser edges for close-quarter combat. As for the lightsaber axes… they’re lightsaber axes. They could look like junk and they’d still be awesome and beautiful.
8 KYLO REN'S CROSSGUARD SABER
When audiences first saw Kylo Ren’s crossguard lightsaber in the trailers for The Force Awakens, it immediately drew ire and laughter from fans who saw the augmented saber as overkill and stupid in equal measure. It was even made fun of in a now-classic SNL sketch with the man Adam Driver himself. But the film itself afforded audiences a better look at Kylo’s homemade saber and revealed it to be a subdued piece of brutal, deadly art. The stained metal gives it an unfinished feel, accentuated by the exposed wiring and circuitry.
The hilt itself is quite thick with a relatively thin emitter, which contrasts with the broad side emitters. Strangely, the pommel has a claw-grip design, holding the whole piece together with an aggressive vice. It’s essentially a blade only someone as unstable as Kylo Ren could feasibly construct and use, which is only further reflected in the blade itself. The hilt houses a cracked kyber crystal which results in a flickering, unstable blade and crossguard, a unique visual so far in the Star Wars universe. The crackling beauty of the saber itself is an excellent extension of the brutality of the hilt, making for two incomplete halves of a completely underrated blade.
7 SAVAGE OPRESS'S DOUBLE-BLADED SABER
Savage Opress was introduced as Darth Maul’s somewhat hulking brother, not quite as advanced or cunning as the original double-blade user, but larger and more physically powerful. Visually, this was represented by his bigger body, longer horns, and his, for lack of a better word, savage lightsaber design. Like his brother and mentor, Opress used a double-bladed red saber. But unlike Maul who kept his saber simple but elegant, Opress used it to express his strengths. Most of the hilt is thicker than the average saber, meant to be used specifically by Savage’s bigger hands. While most grip pads make lightsabers bulkier, the extended black runs on Opress’s hilt are strangely slender and keep the blade from looking unusable.
The emitters feature twin curved shrouds that extend into jagged points, emulating Opress’s signature horns and demonstrating the blade’s vicious intent.
A pair of thin sections separating the emitters from the rest of the hilt house the activation stud and power adjuster keep them from disrupting Savage’s versatility with the weapon. The coloring is also quite impressive, with subtle red lines running down the length and underlays of the hilt. This may be a subtle nod to Opress’s legitimate intrigue as a character and overall devotion to his scarlet-skinned brother. Overall, a surprisingly lovely blade for such a relatively small role.
6 THE DARKSABER
Before Disney deemed it completely noncanonical, the Star Wars expanded universe contained a veritable rainbow of different colored saber blades, each with their own deeper meaning and lore. When it came time to make its own expansion of the Star Wars universe, Disney used such visual techniques sparingly. The most notable exception of this is the Mandelorian Darksaber. Originally crafted by the first Mandelorian Jedi, the Darksaber has a distinctively thin and layered hilt. It has a unique sleekness with black inlays in traditional Mandelorian design, a perfect compromise between the two opposing cultures its creator found himself in. But as interesting and original as the hilt is, the true beauty of this saber lies in the blade itself.
The Mandelorians are traditionally passionate, often violent people and the glowing black blade of the Darksaber reflects this in its brutal design. Though shorter than the average lightsaber, it is also visibly longer than the short shoto sabers. Unlike other lightsabers which seem to be unrefined beams of light, the Darksaber has a defined edge capped with a jagged tip, more visually similar to traditional swords than the futuristic sabers. Its black blade is riddled with cracks of white light, scars from eons of battle and war. This saber isn’t just a work of art, it’s an antique.
5 ASAJJ VENTRESS'S INTERLOCKING SABERS
As each lightsaber is unique and personalized to its owner, it makes sense that the saber should reflect the personality of the Sith of Jedi that wields it. And nowhere else is that more evident than with Asajj Ventress, the Sith assassin, and her curved, interlocking twin sabers. Each hilt is smaller than average, meant for one-handed combat. The angle of the curve is perfectly suited for both Ventress’s versatile fighting style and slender fingers. The striped aesthetic is almost akin to a metal snake, a fitting comparison considering Ventress’s cunning personality and deadly nature.
The fact that there’s two of them only doubles their beauty and lethality, but the fact that they can be clipped together into a connected, double-bladed saber.
Due to their curved shape, the combined hilts make a barbaric ‘S,’ perfectly suited for when Ventress abandons her precise and subversive style for more brutal, direct strikes. They’re also notable for having a squarer top as opposed to the more traditional circular design. This counter-intuitively gives them a better grip and a sharper finish, not unlike Ventress’s razor’s edge sensibilities. But whether they’re combined into their double-bladed form or separate for two-handed combat, these blades are perfect, beautiful reflections of the deadly assassin who wields them.
4 DARTH SIDIOUS'S HIDDEN SABER
When audiences were first introduced to Emperor Palpatine in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the idea of the geriatric old Sith wielding a lightsaber was as laughable as if Master Yoda were to do the same. Well Yoda’s lightsaber fighting was one of the only good parts of Attack of the Clones so Lucasfilm decided to give Darth Sidious a few fight scenes in Revenge of the Sith. In them, Sidious used a red lightsaber with a special, pale hilt inlaid with an amber gold outer casing. Apart from being a generously glossy finish, the hilt’s coloring reflects Palpatine’s avaricious nature and naked ambitions.
The hilt is shorter than average, making it optimal for Sidious’s antiquated forms of Sith combat techniques. The emitter is particularly lavish, being layer with concentric gold bands before hitting the blunted outer plate. You can imagine the blood red blade reflecting gorgeously off of it. Interestingly, the pommel features a small, horn-like nub, perhaps indicative of how, despite Palpatine’s desire for a luxurious, powerful existence, the Sith are still ultimately fated to be the cruel, demonic side of the Force. In the Clone Wars cartoon, it was revealed that, when forced into combat, Palpatine actually wields two of these blades in the Jar’Kai fashion, though he did not resort to this in the films, robbing audiences of the pleasure of seeing two of these ornate killing machines.
3 COUNT DOOKU'S PISTOL GRIP SABER
One of the most pitch-perfect casting choices the ill-fated prequel trilogy was getting the late, great Christopher Lee to play the sophisticated Sith Lord Count Dooku. A prolific and indelible thespian, Lee’s deep voice, patient timbre, and confident screen presence made Dooku into something completely new and unexpected in the Star Wars universe, more akin to a Bond villain than a space opera baddie. An elegant villain like Dooku needed a personalized, stylish weapon to complete the picture and boy did he get one. Dooku’s curved-hilt saber was based loosely on real-life pistol-grip fencing swords and gave him the appearance of a professional duelist rather than a warrior.
All of this is aided by the hilt’s very sleek design.
It’s almost minimalist in appearance, utilizing a very standard grip and lower body. However, the pommel is perfectly positioned beneath a unique, red trigger which takes the place of the standard activation stud. The design is completed by the jagged, curved spike at the emitter, a vicious visual reminder of Dooku’s cold ruthlessness. In combat, Lee (or whichever stunt man was in the octogenarian’s place) could hold the hilt with a tight grip for visibly brutal strikes or loosely when he engaged in spinning techniques. The only time this hilt could look more beautiful is when it has a rich, scarlet blade shooting out of it.
2 DARTH MAUL'S DOUBLE-BLADED SABER
Put yourself back into whatever body you had in 1999. Recall the sensation of seeing Darth Maul staring down Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo. As the two Jedi step forwards and ready themselves for a fight, Maul unclips his confusingly long saber hilt. After a quick twirl, he ignites one end. And then you heard John Williams’s now-legendary "Duel of Fates" score as the other end of the saber burns with a second red plasma blade. The visceral emotional reaction you definitely had to that scene is intense enough to place Maul’s first double-bladed saber high up on this list alone, but the blade is also physically remarkable.
The metal is a dark steel, immediately lending itself to an intimidating, aggressive look. The claw-like narrowing of the emitter gives it a somewhat monstrous appearance before abruptly widening out to become a flat, blunt instrument of death right where the beam leaves the hilt. There’s a simplicity to it, indicative of Maul himself being a deceptively straightforward villain. In terms of lore, Maul designed his lightsaber to be both offensive and defensive at the same time, ensuring he always had an upper hand in a fight. In practical terms, the saber was designed to accentuate Ray Park’s stellar fight coordination and stunt work which influenced many action films of the early 2000s. Unfortunately, it seems this iconic, gorgeous saber has outlived the legacy Park’s performance
1 MACE WINDU'S PURPLE SABER
Mace Windu is awesome. How awesome is he? He’s played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is awesome. How awesome is Samuel L. Jackson? So awesome that he straight up told the prop department to make him the coolest lightsaber they could for his fight scene in Attack of the Clones. His only desire was to able to stand out among the hundreds of Jedi and droids that were superimposed into the scene, but the prop department had so much respect for his overall awesomeness (see above about how awesome he is) that they went out of their way to craft the single most gorgeous saber they’d ever created. First, observe the unique design. There’s just not another lightsaber that comes even close to this level of intricate detail.
Everything from the slightly tapered emitter to the gold and black inlays is perfectly crafted to be aesthetically pleasing.
The grip is slightly thicker, giving it an intimidating factor while staying slender and sleek. Notice also the subtle curves that spiral up from the base to the emitter which give it a subdued warp effect, only exacerbated when Windu wields it in battle. It’s famous purple plasma blade is visually unique, one of only a few non-standard color sabers ever presented on-screen. Notably, it’s an electrum saber, a specially finalized variety reserved only for high council members. Due to it’s perfect blend of flair, efficiency, and overall coolness, the best-looking saber in all of Star Wars is Mace Windu’s purple electrum blade.