Since they aren't just light energy (move too slowly), they are probably some kind of matter or semi-matter. It has been speculated that starship fire is of a different nature from rifle fire (different movement speeds, based on movie physics analysis), so is it possible that is also the case for blaster fire vs lightsaber blades?

Reason being, if the two are the same, then why is cortosis specifically just lightsaber resistant?

  • 1
    I think it's fair to assume that anything lightsaber-proof is also blaster proof.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 2:39

1 Answer 1


Lightsabers and blasters both use plasma beams.

The recent canon novel Lords of the Sith consistently refers to blaster bolts as "beams of plasma". For example, on page 13 it says:

[Vader] fired and his blasters sent twin beams of plasma into the aft shields.

Similarly, both the canon and Legends Wookieepedia articles cite sources which say that lightsabers use a plasma beam (canonically, the beam is formed by a kyber crystal focusing energy).

Canonically, cortosis is actually effective against blaster bolts as well, and works against blasters and lightsabers by acting as a conductor of the plasma energy.

In-universe, cortosis is touted specifically as "lightsaber resistant" because a lightsaber is more difficult to protect against. A blaster emits an impulse of energy, but a lightsaber can apply a more sustained discharge of energy which must be dissipated.

Out-of-universe, cortosis is touted as "lightsaber resistant" because it has historically been depicted with different and contradictory effects.

  • So that raises two questions. Do ray shields, which absorb or deflect gun/cannon fire, work against lightsabers? Also, in the EU, historical trends in cortosis usage in equipment correlated with the frequency of encounters with lightsaber wielding foes. Does EU cortosis work against blasters, and why are they not as regularly used in blaster-intensive warfare? Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 3:44
  • @thegreatjedi - Ray shields are described as being able to absorb radiation and blaster bolts (plasma) and are most likely made out of plasma (plasma can block out both radiation and other plasmas). Ray shields are shown to be effective, indirectly, against lightsabers, such as when Obi-wan/Anakin/Palpatine are trapped by them aboard the Invisible Hand in ROTS. They don't use their lighsabers to escape which implies that they can't. Also, the shields of droidekas are ray shields (not deflector shields since grenades can be rolled past them, see TCW) and lighsabers can't penetrate them either.
    – Phyneas
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 4:16
  • @thegreatjedi Ray shield behavior has also been inconsistent. See this question which includes a gif of Anakin running through a ray shield with his lightsaber despite being trapped in a ray shield in Episode III. EU cortosis has generally been depicted as resistant to blasters but it's also rare so it's prohibitively expensive for standard troops.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 4:53
  • 1
    Plasma is as generic a term as saying liquid or gas. What type of crystal powers blasters?
    – user31178
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:16
  • @CreationEdge That has not been explained in canon. Legends has some explanation of blaster mechanics and says a "prismatic crystal" is used, but does not say specifically what that crystal is. The fact that they both use plasma beams is the most detail we have in canon.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 16:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.