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I understand that the mechanics and design of a lightsaber aren't that complicated. Do others besides the Jedi and Sith (or their minions) make or use lightsabers? And if they don't, why not?

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That's cheating! :P You edited your question to exclude Sith minions. In any case, Grievous is not a Force-user, which is probably what you're looking for. –  Andres F. Jan 28 '12 at 0:37
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Yeah, there was this one bloke. Not sure if you know him. Went by the name of Han Solo. Likes cutting open tontons. –  bitmask Jul 21 '13 at 20:31
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Pre Vizla was a non-force user who used a lightsaber. He held his on versus Obi-Wan and Darth Maul even though he was defeated both times. (R.I.P. Pre Vizla) –  jacen.garriss Sep 23 '13 at 17:44

7 Answers 7

up vote 32 down vote accepted

From Wookiepedia:

Due to the weightlessness of plasma and the strong gyroscopic effect generated by it, lightsabers required a great deal of strength and dexterity to wield, and it was extremely difficult—and dangerous—for the untrained to attempt using. However, in the hands of an expert of the Force, the lightsaber was a weapon to be greatly respected and feared.

Basically, the Jedi order is an order of discipline, and a demonstration of that discipline is the use of their chosen weapon. To the general public the light saber would be nearly anachronistic by the time of the events of the original movies. Pointed to by Obi-Wan saying that it "This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

"Normal" people don't use them because they are too difficult, and too obsolete in most peoples hands.

While it is true that non-force attuned people physically CAN use light sabers, they generally avoid it because they are dangerous and not worth it in the end. Add to that the fact that all of the really cool things about light sabers (deflecting blaster bolts etc) generally come from force-influenced reflexes and so at its best in a normal persons hands its a glowing sword in a world filled with guns.

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Agreed - this is probably the best answer. It's similar to swords today, which are seen by most people as obsolete and potentially dangerous to the wielder. The few people that collect and/or use them do so because of their elegance. If you simply wanted to kill someone or defend yourself, you'd probably use a gun, not a sword. –  Omegacron Feb 17 at 19:00

The answer is obviously yes, if only because Grievous wasn't a Jedi or Sith and he was successful at handling 4 lightsabers simultaneously (and if I remember correctly, even managed to defeat some Jedis before facing Obi Wan).

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An extremely skilled one, according to Wookieepedia:

After being made Supreme Commander, Grievous proceeded to wreak havoc on the Republic for the three-year–span of the Clone Wars. The general was trained in the art of lightsaber combat by Dooku himself, who was also a Sith Lord. Grievous was a quick study and eventually came to be recognized as one of the most skilled duelists in the galaxy.

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While it might be difficult for a non-force user to wield and fight with a lightsaber, it has been known to happen:

From Ask A Jedi:

Han Solo did it, but didn’t fight with it. In a non-canon story Boba Fett did however. In Episode III, the Clone Wars miniseries, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars General Grevious does too. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 2 Pre Viszla does it as well as one of the thieves who stole Ahsoka’s. In season 3 of the same show we know Cad Bane jumps on the bandwagon as well. Finally we have Anja Gallandro, who appeared in Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights in the novel Return to Ord Mantell by Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moestra.

So we have G, T, and C canon examples of it happening.

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There have been records of non-Force-sensitive people using lightsabers, but because the blades don't have any weight, they are rather awkward to use. Force-sensitive people can wield them the way they do because of the extra sense and reflexes the Force gives them.

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General Grievous is a skilled duelist even though he is not Force sensitive! –  Andres F. Jan 28 '12 at 0:39
    
@AndresF.: Yes, but Grievous has strong, precise mechanical "muscles" to control the things with. There's probably software support helping him position the things as well. –  Tynam Jan 28 '12 at 23:32
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@Tynam I agree that is a factor. Nevertheless, most of his lightsaber skills must be in his mind; otherwise the Empire would have simply created an army of lightsaber-wielding cyborgs and become an unstoppable force ;) Since they didn't, it cannot be just about mechanical muscles. –  Andres F. Jan 29 '12 at 1:05
    
@AndresF.: You're right; I didn't mean that mechanical strength and precision were enough by themselves - otherwise a droid army would work better than it does. I just meant that Grievous probably needed the mechanical precision and talent and training to be able to use multiple lightsabers. Without incredible talent and training he wouldn't be good enough; without mechanical assistance he wouldn't be strong or precise enough. –  Tynam Jan 29 '12 at 11:02

Although General Grievous wasnt exactly a Jedi, he was a droid mixed with the force. Called the Perfect Droid, it's the perfect balance between droids/robots/electronics(whatever you want to call them) and the Living Force. Giving him the advantages a Jedi have, added to the non-living metalic materials made to create him. So in other words, General Grievous doesnt even count as a non-force user. For the force in combined and intertwined in the droid. So I wouldnt believe a non-force user would be able to use a lightsaber unless they had some force attributes.

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Grevious was originally a Kaleesh being before being augmented after sustaining injuries. The star wars wiki has him being quoted as saying "I am not a droid!" If anything he is the perfect balance between organic and synthetic life. –  Solomon May 31 at 15:33

Anyone could use a lightsaber, but Jedi and Sith have force reflexes to deflect bullets and do awesome stuff. So for non-force wielders, a lightsaber isn't an effective weapon at all!

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If anyone can use it, why then isn't it an effective weapon? You've contradicted yourself. –  Monty129 May 12 '13 at 21:36
    
There's no conflict between using something and using it effectively or well. Anyone can use a computer, anyone can drive a car, anyone can cook food. That doesn't mean it's worthwhile eating what they cook. –  Wayne May 31 at 20:10

Great question. I had always assumed that a lightsaber was an energy generator, with a focal crystal that allowed force users to project. Up until recent times, it was only force users who could actually turn it on.

People seem to have gotten the bad habit of allowing anyone to be able to turn it on. Force sensitives, such as Han Solo and Boba Fett, had enough strength to ignite one, but not to use it effectively as a weapon (being able to concentrate on project their will while engaging in combat).

With that in mind, it makes the different styles of combat more important to each individual; the more powerful (sentinels, juggernauts) will easily dominate the less powerful with the sheer awesomeness of their blades. That would also be the reason why some force users focus more on affecting and manipulating the environment, using sabers and dexterity defensively.

That would also explain how a 30 lb. Yoda could match sabers with Sith Lords of obviously superior strength.

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