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In The Force Awakens there is a new Stormtroopr who is equipped with a lightsaber-resistant baton.

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Except for one thing:

  • In Revenge of the Sith, most of the Jedi are killed.
  • During the original Star Wars trilogy the last few remaining Jedi — except for Luke Skywalker — die.
  • And before The Force Awakens Kylo Ren kills off everyone at Luke’s school and drives Luke into exile.

There are practically no lightsabers in existence, so why are these weapons deployed at all if their only use is in counter-lightsaber combat?

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    “…so why are these weapons deployed at all if their only use is in counter-lightsaber combat?” These stormtroopers are considered “riot control stormtroopers” and that baton is simply considered a “Z6 riot control baton.” Could be that the baton was just over-developed? Seems to me like standard riot control gear except for the lightsaber stuff. – JakeGould Dec 28 '15 at 1:31
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    Seems like an expensive addon when a regular stick does a good job against rioters. – user20155 Dec 28 '15 at 1:34
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    @LegoStormtroopr In general, I have no idea what your history with Star Wars is/has been but at this point it’s safe to say these films are now being made with built in “toy/tie-in potential” out the gate where even basic plot logic is really being tossed to the curb. The series actually lost me after I saw Return of the Jedi in 1983 because of the crass marketing choices that were made over plot cohesiveness. This new film is just that mentality taken to a new level. – JakeGould Dec 28 '15 at 1:44
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    Could Snoke have suspected that Luke's lightsaber was located on Takodana and advised the army be prepared for it? – gotorg Dec 28 '15 at 17:10
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    The lack of Jedi to use them against caused the prices of vibroblade batons to drop precipitously, so the First Order was quick to snatch them up as a cost-cutting measure since Death Star inflation was really doing a number on their finances. – Samuel Edwin Ward Dec 29 '15 at 5:19
47

One thing that is hinted at in the movie, but made much clearer in the novelization, is that Supreme Leader Snoke is terrified of the possibility that the Jedi will return. He formed the First Order and set about conquering the galaxy primarily to exterminate the last of the Jedi.

Given that, it would make sense that he would want them trained for the possibility that there would be Jedi opposing him. The stormtrooper we see confronting a lightsaber for what has to be his first time ever, doesn't seem fazed by it at all. He seems prepared for it and knows what to do with it.

That implies that Snoke has made sure to train the troopers on defensive combat against lightsabers, just in case the Jedi manage to stage a comeback against him.

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    I didn't realise how much Snoke was scared of the Jedi (I haven't read the novelisation yet). If so, that might also explain why Finn was able to hold off Kylo Ren for t>0 seconds. The “traitor” comment implies he was in the same unit as this Stormtrooper, so presumably had similar training for lightsaber combat. – alexwlchan Dec 28 '15 at 0:48
  • Ugh. Should I repost my answer from another question with the quotes showing LS training? Close this as a dupe? Just leave it alone? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 28 '15 at 4:04
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    They don't really seem like duplicates to me: that question is "why use the baton and not just shoot him"; this question is "why be equipped with those batons at all, given that Jedi are so rare," which the answers on the other question don't address. – Miles Dec 28 '15 at 10:57
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    Training troopers against lightsabers seems like a futile attempt, given the fact that they are defenseless against all other kinds of magic tricks a Jedi or Sith or Dark Jedi or whatever kind of force user could apply. – Ghanima Dec 28 '15 at 12:54
  • @Ghanima but most of there Tricks have limits. Skilled Jedi fare quite well against a handfull of unaware storm-troopers or battle-droids. But as seen in Episode 2 on Geonosis or with Order 66 - if you have enough attackers with the right training Jedi tricks don't make invincible, the light sabre is still their most effective weapon, if you can check it you can win! – Falco Jan 4 '16 at 11:37
33

It's a smart move to finally address the fact - shown repeatedly in the earlier films - that deflectable blaster bolts are worse than useless against skilled lightsaber users, and that just one skilled lightsaber user can cut through scores of blaster-armed stormtroopers and cause massive damage.

So the core of the question is - is there any reason to think there are any such skilled lightsaber users who might pose a threat? It's a good question which Finn himself ponders while being trained to use lightsaber-resisting weapons (quote from prequel novel "Before the Awakening", thanks to DVK's answer to a related question)

The instructors demonstrated the use of each weapon ... elaborating at length on the respective strengths and weaknesses of each and ... how some of the equipment was strong enough to block even a lightsaber. FN-2187 wondered about ... whether or not they would ever be expected to fight someone who used a lightsaber. According to the First Order, the Jedi were extinct

Clearly, stormtroopers can carry weapons that, alongside other primary functions, can also be used in the unlikely event of facing down a lightsaber. But are there even any skilled lightsaber users who might threaten the First Order, who its leadership are aware of and might be thinking of when adding this element to the troopers' training and arsenal?

The film alone introduces at least two, with the potential for many more, and shows why the First Order high command would consider them worth taking precautions against, while a grunt like Finn would be less likely:

  • Luke, obviously. Snoke clearly considers him still dangerous from the priority he gives to finding him (while ordinary people show some skepticism to the Skywalker legend and little knowledge of him still being alive - consider Rey the scavenger's surprise at hearing that "it's all true")

    • ...and by extension, there's the possibility that Luke could, in his unknown location, be training more Jedi. From Snoke's point of view, it's a small possibility that, if true, could be devastating. Worth making precautions.
  • Kylo Ren, less obviously. He's unstable, hasn't completed his training, and shows signs of being drawn to the light. His granddad's last-minute defection was devastating - Snoke would be a fool not to make contingency plans for how to contain Kylo should he defect (or, also possible, should he become a liability who doesn't take kindly to the prospect of being put down)

    • ...and by extension, the other Knights of Ren. We know almost nothing about them, beyond one passing reference to Kylo being first among them. It's certainly possible, therefore, that they each also represent a risk of defecting or of becoming an unruly liability.

Obviously, it should go completely without saying that such weapons aren't expected to make a grunt able to beat a trained Jedi in a one-on-one duel. Such duels are not at all how stormtroopers fight.

Consider any of the scenes from any film where a single Jedi effortlessly cuts through tens of stormtroopers, first deflecting their blaster bolts back into them, then getting in close and effortlessly cutting through them because their weapons are ineffective and they can't defend themselves.

If even just one stormtrooper in ten successfully blocked just one attack, that could buy enough seconds for three or four stormtroopers to get around behind them and attack from all sides at once, which would at least slow them down or force them to change strategy. They might even land a blow or two when attacking from all sides at once. Those odds are clearly much better than anything they've tried before.

21

Those batons weren't deployed as counter-lightsaber measures. The idea of pushing non-force guys against a fully trained Jedi in melee duel is ridiculous. Here, anti-lightsaber weapons can't help, especially when you are engaging a force guy in a duel. So, all other answers are wrong.

The real name of those Batons is Z6 Riot Control Baton which are used by Riot Control Stormtroopers to shock or pummel the opponent (Source: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary).

As for how the weapon was able to withstand a lightsaber, it's just a coincidence and it's not first of its kind. The staff of IG-100 MagnaGuard was also capable of withstanding a lightsaber despite it wasn't a plasma blade. That Stormtrooper (now famous on the Internet with the name TR-8R, pronounced TRA-TOR) happened to know that his weapon could withstand lightsaber and he also knew that the lightsaber wielder wasn't a Jedi, so he wasted no time to go for him with his riot control shock weapon.

  • 1
    Not sure why you were downvoted; this the only correct answer, backed up by official sources rather than making an educated philosophical guess. +1 – TylerH Dec 28 '15 at 17:02
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    one thing though........"The idea of pushing non-force guys against a fully trained Jedi is ridiculous" it worked once quite good didn't it? – Thomas Dec 28 '15 at 17:06
  • There's a source from a novelization that several weapons are designed to be "strong enough to block even a lightsaber". As for "The idea of pushing non-force guys against a fully trained Jedi is ridiculous" - I've never seen stormtroopers not try to engage Jedi, even when the only weapons they have get deflected and cause more harm than good. They have always tried (and failed) to fight Jedi before, why would that change? – user568458 Dec 28 '15 at 17:29
  • After edit - why a duel? In almost every Jedi vs Stormtroopers scene, the stormtroopers outnumbered the Jedi 5-1 or much greater (but their blasters proove completely ineffective). Ten stormtroopers with lightsaber-blocking shock batons attacking at once from all sides would have a much better chance of slowing a Jedi down or wounding them than hundreds armed with blasters. And why must a weapon be single-function? Sure, it's primarily riot control, but it's explicitly said in a novelization that stormtroopers are trained on which weapons can also block lightsabers. – user568458 Dec 28 '15 at 18:41
  • Because he wasn't fighting a Jedi, just some guy with a light sabre who didn't know how to use it well. – Sobrique Dec 29 '15 at 13:29
2

For the weapon itself, it is a Z6 Riot Control Baton and has much in common with the staff of a magnaguard, as "SS-3" correctly mentions in his answer.

So they have uses beyond anti-Jedi and are QUITE effective at what they are named for... riot control. Even a glancing blow throws you yards wide and knocks you to the ground. So they are effective at what they are built to do. And can even be used in close quarters to knock someone down/out.

The anti-Jedi part still though holds true as the troopers are trained in anti-Jedi tactics AND to use this weapon there. So WHY?

First of all as some have surmised that snoke and the first order fear the return of Luke Skywalker and that he could have trained Jedi while being gone and returns with an army of them. That COULD be true as a reason and from what we have seen Jedi can turn a war quite good if nobody knows how to fight them.

Another possibility though so far unmentioned is.....the stormtroopers we see so far (except on a specific icy world where they also didn't deploy any melee weapons) and also Finn himself they are ALL from Kylo's ship. If Luke was ever found it is only logical that one specific person is sent: Kylo (and if snoke thinks he is not up to the job alone then all of the knights of ren in addition to it). Thus the ship Kylo is on would attack the world where Skywalker is found on and thus the stormtroopers would surely face him (as Kylo alone against the one who beat Darth Vader is not really something Snoke or would like to happen). Thus it makes sense that AT LEAST the stormtroopers assigned on the ship Kylo is on are trained to fight against Lightsaber/Force users.

0

I don't believe the batons were created with Jedis in mind. Remember, the technology for light sabers existed for a very, very long time and any sentient creature can pick one up and do some serious damage. Thus the batons were created to counter multiple melee weapons, including light sabers wielded by smugglers, thieves, and maybe swamp monkeys. For comparison, modern bulletproof vests cannot protect against razor-sharp crossbolts but bulletproof glass can stop crossbolts, so do modern glass makers have Mongolian mounted archers in mind when they make bulletproof glass?

-1

Maybe because of Starkiller so that they could fight against rogue Sith. Also they might have been for when Luke was training those Jedi. The First Order could have used them to fight them. The last reason is maybe they were used to train storm troops to fight Jedi but then they could start making clone troopers with the force and skills like a Sith.

  • Do you have any reason to think any of these are accurate? Or are you just spitballing? – amflare Dec 21 '17 at 20:24

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