It could be the case that the newly-acknowledged Star Wars Expanded Universe canon may have just settled a tempestuous debate about a questionably designed weapon that has been raging ever since we got our first glimpse of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It seems that a new Star Wars novel, which has been christened as canon by the new franchise owners in Disney, contains a passage in which Luke Skywalker disassembles a lightsaber and discovers something that is extremely germane to the controversial crossguard lightsaber wielded by Kylo Ren in the sequel film. Could the debate about its inner-workings be finally settled?
According to a report by HitFix, the recently released Star Wars novel, Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (published on March 3) depicts a scene taking place not long after the events of A New Hope where Luke Skywalker, still a nascent Jedi in training, engages in what is apparently a standard Jedi exercise of using The Force to disassemble and reassemble a lightsaber. However, what he discovers inside suggests the presence of not ONE crystal -- as has been argued -- but THREE! As the passage describes,
Above that was a platform for the primary focusing crystal that gave the lightsaber its color. Two additional crystals floated above it, balanced so precariously on mounting ridges that they could easily be disturbed—and they had been. They lay askew, and I feared I must have done that in the process of disassembling it.
The passage in the book also further supplies possible context to the flickering, unstable look of the crossguards, suggesting that the crystals might explode if not properly aligned. (Possible foreshadowing?) In describing the additional crystals, the book notes,
They were wafer-thin slices of crystal, too, a beautiful clear amethyst, and might scratch or cloud with handling. Moving them precisely with the Force would ensure that they remained.
Thus, if the book is, indeed, gospel in the newly acknowledged Star Wars canon, then we may have just read the definitive explanation for the internal workings of Kylo Ren’s much discussed lightsaber. It seems to be powered by one primary crystal, supplemented by two smaller crystals "floated above it." While this debate may seem like a petty fanboyish squabble (which is probably the case,) the primary point of contention regarding the "single crystal" theory espoused prominently by Stephen Colbert focuses on the possible effectiveness of the crossguard itself.
Fans argued that the crossguard was a completely useless gesture, since any dueling opponent wielding a lightsaber could simply slice at the hilt portion of the weapon, easily disabling any potential defense that the laser crossguard portion would have offered. However, in defense of this last November, Colbert passionately offered the "single crystal" theory, implying that the crossguards were refracted from the same main crystal that powers the blade, thus making any attempt to disable them at the hilt pointless, since the metal portion was only there to protect hands from the laser portion, which would be extended internally. However, based on what the book describes, this is not the case, at all.
While unlikely, it is possible that The Force Awakens could supply an explanation to the crossguard lightsaber with a scene in which Ren assembles or performs maintenance on the weapon. However, it is an inevitability that the weapon’s effectiveness will be demonstrated in battle, which could also give us all the answers we may need.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will hopefully answer the furious lightsaber debate… and a bunch of other stuff when it slices its way to theaters leaving a molten mess in its wake on December 18.