When speaking with a friend about whether or not the Star Wars franchise is child-friendly, the idea came up that even though people get cut in half, it is still fairly safe for kids because there is no blood (well, almost...). These three questions seem to show that many weapons in this universe instantly cauterize wounds.

This got me wondering if the weapons were designed this way (either initially or later changed) to keep the movie ratings a little lower and possibly open the franchise to a wider audience. I am wondering if anyone out of universe has commented on whether this was by design or if it just worked out that way? GL quotes would be fantastic, but others involved in design/production of the films would be great as well.

  • I've heard that theory too. Maybe there's something to it. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:12
  • 4
    Was expecting a slightly different question, given the title :P Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 17:32
  • They didn't always cauterise wounds instantly... qph.is.quoracdn.net/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:22
  • @Richard True. That's covered in a couple of the links. There is speculation that is a result of GL having not decided how light sabers work by that time, but it's only theory as far as I can see. A search for this topic returns hecka speculation in forums. I'm hoping someone better versed in Google-fu or more SW knowledgable will be able to cut through the conjecture as I haven't been able to yet. Still trying though.
    – Pants
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 22:58
  • Lightsabers aren't specifically meant to run hot, but an illustration from the book The Jedi Code shows a lightsaber creating steam off the surface of water.
    – wheeyou
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


First of all, keep in mind the year in which the saga starts.

In the end of the 70s, science fiction and action movies are not specially gory.

Sure you can find examples, but the limitation of special effects of the era (in which SW was revolutionary), the fact that our society wasn't so accustomed to violence in movies as it's today and that almos every "bloody" movie at that age was intended for a specific adult audience make cristal clear that SW was defined as a blood free movie.

Lightsabers has nothing to do with it. Earlier movies where normal swords or guns are used show a total absence of blood and gore in screen when they are "adventure" films, from almost every pirates or musketeers movie to westerns, peplum and war movies.

The era of bloody action started in the early 90s, impulsed by titles like Robocop or Predator and by most Canon productions (although there were earlier examples, like Conan the Barbarian and Alien).

So, I don't think wound cauterization was something relevant in the choice of lightsabers/blasters for the setting, SW would have been bloodless no matter the choice of weapon they made because that's what the audience would expect when it was released.

  • I tend to agree in general. But, if you look at "A New Hope", the scene in the cantina or in "The EMpire strikes back" the scene with the Wampa, where arms where cut off. They don't really look cauterized. If think the cauterization is more of a feat of the new trilogy, there, the wounds look a lot more cleaner and actually cauerized, which surely contributed to a lower age rating. vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/f/f1/Ponda_arm.jpg/… Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 11:22

Out of universe, I think the simple answer is that Star Wars wasn't supposed to be full of gore as that would have been likely to limit its audience. So when people were killed with light sabres, we can't see a lot of blood. Any idea of the wounds being cauterised would have been developed to explain that necessary fact.

Keep in mind that "designing" a fictional weapon is not the same as designing a real one, you don't need to decide exactly how it works (and you rarely do). And you can make up additional details as you go along.

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