47

This weapon is your life

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2-D2 arrive at the Death Star I. Their mission was originally to go to Alderaan - unfortunately that didn't happen. When they board the Death Star I, Han and Luke are disguised as Stormtroopers. Obi-Wan leaves them because he knows that his former student is there to face him.

Now let's talk about their weapons:

  • Obi Wan Kenobi: Lightsaber
  • Han Solo: DL-44 Blaster Pistol
  • Luke Skywalker: E-11 Blaster Rifle
  • Chewbacca: Bowcaster

Focusing on Luke Skywalker, he already has a lightsaber at this point given by his master, Obi-Wan. Now, why didn't he use his lightsaber? And why did he just leave it on the Millennium Falcon? He could have used his lightsaber to kill his enemies such as Stormtroopers.

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    @LarsTech Apparently no. (Sorry, I had to.) – Neinstein Jul 6 '17 at 22:55
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    Light saber doesn't exactly fit with the stormtrooper disguise, and not much room to hide it either. – Wossname Jul 7 '17 at 1:38
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    Probably because the other lightsaber had Darth Vader on the end of it. – Misha R Jul 7 '17 at 4:11
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    Durrr....obviously because: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. – J... Jul 7 '17 at 11:02
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Luke's a farmer, not a swordsman. He had never held a lightsaber in his entire life until that day. However, he has used rifles before; when he went out looking for R2-D2 on Tatooine, he carried a rifle; when the Tusken Raiders attacked, though, they quickly overpowered him with their melee fighting skill.

It takes many years to become proficient with any melee weapon; the lightsaber is much more dangerous, and requires a strong control of the Force to use effectively against enemies with blasters. Note how in Empire Strikes Back Luke still used a blaster except for when he fought Darth Vader:

Luke hiding from the Empire, with a gun

(Apparently Lando got Han's clothes, and Luke got his blaster.)

Without intimate knowledge of the weight and balance of a lightsaber, and a greater understanding of how to control the Force, it would have been very difficult for Luke to deflect blaster bolts. Without this important defensive ability, if Luke had tried to kill a Stormtrooper on the Death Star with his new lightsaber, he would have been shot many times before taking his first swing. It was much easier for him to use a blaster, something he was more familiar with.

For a more modern example, look at Finn from The Force Awakens. When the First Order attacks, he asks for a weapon even though he's already holding a lightsaber. Then, using the lightsaber, he kills one guy who wasn't paying attention, before nearly being defeated by another guy with an electrified stick. And Finn is a soldier with melee weapons training.

Oh, and also, sometimes there are places a lightsaber just won't reach:

enter image description here

Never underestimate the importance of range.

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    And in The Force Awakens, it's pretty silly that Finn isn't just shot while trying to use a light saber while there are stormtroopers all around. It's even more silly that Rey is able to hold her own against Kylo Ren with no training, when Kylo is supposedly trained. Despite the blatant homage to the first film, they left out the best parts, including the attempts to make some degree of sense. – Dronz Jul 6 '17 at 22:30
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    Good answer though a couple caveats: (1) it wasn't just a stick, since the lightsaber didn't chop it in half (2) Luke had (brief) lightsaber-specific training, plus Force abilities, neither of which Finn probably had – Paul Draper Jul 6 '17 at 22:30
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    @dronz I will be surprised if the next movie doesn't show Rey having received prior lightsaber training, probably as a youngling in Luke's Jedi academy. – Paul Jul 7 '17 at 3:26
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    @Paul Here's hoping for The Return Of The Continuity. ;-) – Dronz Jul 7 '17 at 5:22
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    Great point about Luke as a farmer. Pick an average farmer in Kansas today and offer them a choice of weapons for a mission that they know very little about but is going to be very important for them - what are they going to pick? Probably a 12-gauge shotgun, like they probably already have? Maybe an M1 Carbine? They probably aren't going to be very keen on a Desert Eagle or an M60, even if they are good weapons - he just isn't going to be that effective with them because he doesn't know them. – Robert Columbia Jul 7 '17 at 12:18
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Why did Luke leave his lightsaber behind?

It didnʼt fit in his pocket.

Another answer to this question suggests that Luke left his lightsaber behind on the Millennium Falcon because he knew he lacked the familiarity and skill to wield it effectively.

While Luke did lack familiarity and skill with the lightsaber, this is not the reason he left it behind. His skill did not factor into the decision; he just didnʼt have a place to put it.

Once the Falcon was captured and brought on board the Death Star, a critical part of the escape plan was for Luke and Han to disguise themselves as stormtroopers. There was no room inside the stormtrooper armor to conceal a lightsaber. Having one hanging off a belt would have aroused some serious suspicion as well.

You may not have noticed, but Han left his DL-44 blaster pistol behind on the Falcon for the same reason. He couldnʼt hide it while wearing the stormtrooper uniform. Chewbacca left his bowcaster behind, too. After escaping the garbage masher, Han can be seen running around with an E-11 while Chewbacca uses a DLT-19.

  • Good answer but the article in your link to the DLT-19, there is a picture with Han Solo wielding the DLT-19. – Kodos Johnson Jul 7 '17 at 4:49
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    No room to hide a light saber? ... I guess, as I look at images, there really isn't spare room... those things are rather form fitting... "Hey there Storm Trooper #865... is that a light saber, or are you happy to see me?" – WernerCD Jul 7 '17 at 5:00
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    @KodosJohnson Right after that shot, Han hands the DLT-19 to Chewbacca. Then they shoot up the cell block. – William Jackson Jul 7 '17 at 17:33
  • @Glen_b Haha, thanks for catching that. – William Jackson Jul 11 '17 at 14:38
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He could use his lightsaber to kill his enemies such as Stormtroopers.

Not with as much skill.

The guy's been using a blaster much of his life. Obi-Wan just handed a lightsaber to him like a day ago or something.

The exercise that Luke does where he's essentially blind and has to counter the blasts from the training sphere, that looks impressive, until you realize that it's a task they give very young children in the prequels. It's in the scene when Obi-Wan interrupts a class of younglings that are all doing it with proficiency when he comes to ask Yoda about the planet missing from the data-base.

So what we're talking about here is that Luke is basically at the skill level of less than a eight year-old.

In roleplaying terms, you'd carry the weapon you were comfortable with and had more dice in.

Even so, William Jackson makes an excellent point--their disguises really did not allow them to carry their standard weapons, anyway, even if they had wanted to.

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    giving lightsabers to very young children looks impressive, until you realize it's actually more dangerous than handing them loaded firearms with the safety off - or a roaring chainsaw – n611x007 Jul 7 '17 at 14:03
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    @n611x007 The Jedi were never very responsible. – Erin Thursby Jul 7 '17 at 16:34
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    @n611x007: I recall that training sabers can't cut flesh immediately, at least according to the Jedi Apprentice series. They use those until they are used to the weapon. – user21820 Jul 7 '17 at 16:48
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Han and Luke are disguised as Stormtroopers


  • Han Solo: DL-44 Blaster Pistol
  • Luke Skywalker: E-11 Blaster Rifle

Now, why didn't he use his lightsaber?

Because he was disguised as a Stormtrooper.

-1

Luke didn't actually use the Lightsaber in combat (aside from opening an AT-AT on Hoth and his battle with Vader on the Cloud City) until *Return of the Jedi*, where he used it to great effect.

I think that he just preferred the blaster, as he hadn't received any training (aside from the training droid) using a bladed weapon. Somewhere between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, he receives some training, and is therefore able to use a lightsaber effectively (he doesn't use a blaster once in Jedi)

  • Are you basing this on anything other than your own headcanon? He sure seems to like it just fine during his practice session on the Falcon – Valorum Feb 7 '18 at 23:28
  • Other than the training session on the Falcon, Luke never uses the Lightsaber until cutting himself down from the ice cave and blowing up the AT-AT in Empire Strikes Back, and then only uses it in Lightsaber-to-Lightsaber combat for the rest of the movie. It was only in Jedi that he started to use the lightsaber as a weapon against anything but another lightsaber – Matthew Barclay Feb 8 '18 at 14:33

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