Obviously as filmed the lightsaber battles in the original trilogy are slower and less acrobatic than those in the prequel trilogy. Is this canon? There's a popular question that basically asks why this is and most of the answers are out of universe explanations about lightsabers originally being meant to be heavy, improvements in CG, and that the choreographer in the original trilogy was an Olympic fencer while the choreographers in the prequel trilogy were stuntmen. This implies that the lightsaber battles as shown are not meant to be taken literally.

Why do the lightsaber moves of Luke Skywalker look so uncoordinated and crude compared to the prequels?

On the other hand, the lightsaber battles tend to be taken more literally in questions comparing the lightsaber skills of Anakin and Darth Vader and various explanations are given for why Darth Vader doesn't do flips.

I've always figured that when a lightsaber battle happens it should just be understood that <epic battle takes place> and the exact movements are unimportant. If that weren't the case, it would be sensible to ask silly questions like "Why are Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan playing around in the battle with Darth Maul at the end of Episode I? Why are they flipping around instead of trying to kill each other? Who are they trying to impress?"

  • 1
    What sort of canon answer are you looking for other than George Lucas specifically saying that they're slower and less acrobatic due to the original weight issues, vader/obi-wan being old/injured, and Luke not being well enough trained? What's more canon than word-of-god?
    – phantom42
    Dec 9, 2015 at 15:34
  • @phantom42 Did he actually say that? If so, that's a great answer! I guess any answer would have to be word-of-god but I didn't specifically ask for that because if there actually is relevant evidence from elsewhere that's fine too. Dec 9, 2015 at 15:37
  • yes, it's my answer on the question you linked.
    – phantom42
    Dec 9, 2015 at 15:38
  • @phantom42 Your quotes there don't quite say that. Dec 9, 2015 at 15:40
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    that's exactly what they say. " there was this fight between a very old man, and a man who was only partially a man, mostly a mechnical being. So it wasn't really much of a swordfight at all.", "George was animate that these things were really, really heavy", "As we went on, we wanted to have the lightsaber fights become faster and more intense as Luke became more proficient in the art of swordfighting."
    – phantom42
    Dec 9, 2015 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


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Seriously though:

For Episode 4:

All of the fighting moves in the duel were two-handed strokes, in keeping with Lucas' initial concept that lightsabers were incredibly heavy and difficult to handle.

As we progress through Empire and Jedi:

Lucas rethought the fighting styles. He decided to make them "faster and more intense," symbolizing Luke Skywalker's increasing mastery of the weapon.

Upon planning and filming the prequels:

Peter Diamond was replaced by Nick Gillard, who completely rethought the Jedi fighting styles. George Lucas envisioned that during this time period, the Jedi had reached their peak in terms of martial arts development, so the choreography had to be a great deal faster and more sophisticated. Gillard wanted to convey the sense that the Jedi had studied every single style of swordplay available, his idea being that since they had chosen such a short-range weapon, they would have to be so good if they're up against ray guns and lasers. Gillard choreographed the duels as what he described as "a chessgame played at a thousand miles an hour," with every move being analogous to a check.

So yes, the OT (especially Luke) is more crude because Luke had nobody to train him


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