There is no shortage of weaponry in the galaxy far, far away. And when it comes to the all-too-famous, energy-based melee weapon, the designs are just as unique as their wielders.
Some of the designs are nearly as old as the conventional lightsaber itself, and most require years of discipline in specialized training. I will be leaving out the traditional lightsaber for this list, as there are simply too many other designs that deserve some special attention. Let’s get into these five unconventional lightsaber designs.
5. Lightsaber Pike
This design is favored by a number of seasoned warriors throughout the galaxy, including the Jedi Sentinels and Temple Guards during the Clone Wars, as well as the Emperor’s Royal Guard and Shadow Guard. Noteworthy individuals who mastered the techniques of this blade include Kazdan Paratus from “The Force Unleashed” and Darth Nihl of the One Sith from the "Legacy" comics. I can easily see Rey adopting a lightsaber of this flavor in her training as a Jedi, but there are other designs on this list that would fit her style even more in my opinion.
This form of weapon is utterly exotic and masochistic, even by the standards of a lightsaber. This weapon featured nearly as many drawbacks as it did advantages, requiring nothing less than mastery of its techniques. The lightwhip was great for ensnaring the opponent and preventing them from parrying their own blade, but its flexible properties made it difficult to cut through anything thicker than durasteel. It was also not the best defensive blade when the opponent went on the offensive. The most notable user of the lightwhip was Sith Lady Lumiya, who reinforced her energy blade with steel tassels for extra efficiency against Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.
3. Cross-guards Lightsaber
I understand that this design caught a lot of flak when it was first revealed in the trailer for "The Force Awakens," but I honestly admired it, and it’s grown on me ever since. The blade features the “cross-guards” as tributaries for excess heat and energy, but they also have a great use in locking the blade of the opponent and diminishing their defenses. The vents also possessed emitter shrouds to prevent the user from harm, but it also helps when you’re a master force wielder and know exactly how to handle the blade. The only known wielder within the canon is none other than Kylo Ren, but other versions have been seen in the "Legends" continuity. I find this design to be a beautiful and regal addition to the lightsaber family. Let’s just hope to see some Jedi rocking this design in the near future.
2. Double-bladed Lightsaber
This design was made famous by Darth Maul in "The Phantom Menace," and it was arguably the coolest design for a lightsaber to appear in the films prior to "The Force Awakens." This staff-like configuration gave the wielder immense control of the immediate space around them, and it has been demonstrated as an effective tool for dealing with multiple adversaries at once. With that in mind, I could easily see Rey designing her own lightsaber in a similar fashion. Her skill with her personally crafted staff made short work of the scavengers on Jakku that tried to gang up on her. It would also draw a parallel between her and Jedi Knight Bastila Shan from "Knights of the Old Republic," a most famous RPG from 2003.
1. Shoto (Short Lightsaber)
This is my favorite of the unconventional lightsaber designs, and it would be my personal choice as a compliment to the standard lightsaber. Shotos were constructed for a number of personnel and accommodations, including everyone’s favorite little green friend, Grand Master Yoda. Luke Skywalker has also been a known user, unless you’re one of those people who don’t acknowledge the "Legends." My sarcastic, wounded pride aside, the shoto has been utilized as a choice weapon for more up-close and personal engagements, with exceptional handling compared to the longer blades. In the case of beings like Yoda, it also has its uses for species of considerably smaller statures than the average humanoid in the galaxy.
In conclusion, there are many different designs to suit the needs of every Jedi Knight, Sith Lord or Gray Jedi (gotta love shameless plugs). I certainly enjoy every opportunity to write about my absolute favorite science-fiction series of all time, and my readers can bet on seeing more entries from a galaxy far, far away in the not-so-far future.