The reason I ask this question is because in A New Hope.. there is a scene when Kenobi cuts off Ponda Baba's arm, and we can see that it is bloody on the ground. However, if we go back to the newer (older) movies, there is a scene where Mace Windu snags the head off of Jango Fett. It appears as though it is cauterized by the heat and burning of the lightsaber itself. Also in numerous video games, such as the Jedi Knight series, dismemberment from lightsabers yields no blood and appears to automatically cauterize the wound. Any thoughts?

Edit - Almost forgot about the scene when Luke gets his hand snagged off - There is no blood!

  • Possibly not a dupe, but very much related: Would a lightsaber melt or vaporize a bullet?.
    – phantom42
    Jan 17, 2014 at 20:06
  • 1
    I believe it's mentioned in the EU that it does generally cauterize the wound.
    – Kevin
    Jan 17, 2014 at 20:08
  • The OOU explanation is that in A New Hope, they hadn't really decided how lightsabers worked yet, ie, it wasn't decided that they cut by burning/melting. Note that Ben Kenobi's cloak isn't burnt when Vader's lightsaber slices through it either.
    – Tomari7
    Jan 20, 2014 at 10:16
  • 1
    in before Ponda Baba is actually terribly unlucky and is a member of the only race in existance that bleeds after being cut with a lightsaber
    – Petersaber
    Oct 28, 2016 at 21:47
  • 1
    Hmmm... blood when Luke cut off the ice beast's arm on Hoth, I seem to remember?
    – Damon
    Oct 29, 2016 at 20:02

5 Answers 5


The lightsaber is supposed to instantly cauterize the wound... from posts on


A lot of people are claiming it is simply a mistake in the first movies.

But in the Star Wars Wikia it states...


A lightsaber blade was a mass-less form that neither radiated heat nor expended energy until it came into contact with something solid. The power of the energy blade was so great that it could cut through almost anything, although the speed through which it cut depended on the density of the subject. One important note about lightsaber wounds is that they rarely bled profusely, even when a limb had been severed. This is because the energy blade cauterized the wound as it passed, and thus even a severe wound did not tend to bleed heavily.

This means you may still bleed but not a lot from the lightsaber wound.

Edit: Also want to state I looked up more about cauterization...

According to this website


When cauterizing a wound with fire... It states..

Next, get a stick or something else to bite down on because you’re going to need it. If you have alcohol, pour it on the wound to clean it as best you can. Now comes the moment you’ve been dreading, but it’s a move that could save your life. Gently press the hot metal onto the wound, holding it long enough to seal it, but not so long that you’re burning into your healthy body tissue. Try applying it in short bursts so you don’t overdo it, checking the bleeding as you go. When you don’t see any blood flowing, it means you’ve done a bang up job.

From this we can gather that cauterizing a wound sometimes takes a couple of tries... Even though a lightsaber may cauterize stuff instantly, perhaps it doesn't "always" stop 100% of the bleeding.

  • 4
    Wikia is frequently just what some guy wrote to explain what they see in a movie. Unless that statement has references to canon sources, it should not be taken TOO seriously as proof. Jan 17, 2014 at 20:17
  • 1
    All of the wikia has many different sources... They usually link every really important facts to one of the sources at the bottom... And it's widely known that lightsabers use a "frozen laser beam"... Lasers are used to cauterize wounds... So it's not a giant leap to think that lightsabers could instantly cauterize a wound... Now the only problem is determining if this is the case if one person would bleed a little.. Or did you not bother to look all the way at the bottom for the sources? Jan 17, 2014 at 20:25
  • I'm not saying that the Wikia is wrong, just that, absent a cite, it is not guaranteed to be right and can't be used as source of authoritiative info (whenever my answers quote Wikia that's uncited I try to clearly STATE the lack of cite) Jan 17, 2014 at 20:27
  • It's clearly shown that every almost every single depiction of a lightsaber wound there's cauterization it can be easily inferred that bleeding rarely occurs. Jan 17, 2014 at 20:33
  • 2
    That second quote... OUCH.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:31

I think the difference is Ponda Baba had non-human physiology. His arm appears to be resemble a blood-filled tube (i.e., a huge combined vein/artery in the middle of it). As such, it couldn't be expected to cauterize as efficiently as human arm when cut off by lightsaber.

  • 4
    This is actually a pretty good point. How this race's physiology works doesn't tell us anything about others (in particular humans) Mar 27, 2015 at 14:46

First let me start by saying this is something I've discussed with quite a few fans in my personal quest for an answer.

To the first point: Everything I understand about the lightsaber would lead me to believe it would cauterize the wound upon passing through, but I don't think you could cauterize a knife wound with a lightsaber. I've never used heat to cauterize a wound so I cannot attest to that specific post, but what I've learned in the military tells me that post is correct. should happen fairly quickly, but it may take a second press.

So in the Star Wars universe I know of only one other time a lightsaber produces blood, and its from a humanoid. When Obi-wan slices Darth Maul in two, a spray of blood a la Kill Bill can be seen, if only quite briefly. Since we see a few seconds later that he is indeed cut clean in half, we cant assume he only partially cut the body leaving a segment to rip or still be connected etc etc. As far as Ponda bleeding, I'm gonna side with the previous comments there. His physiology is likely not like ours with tiny veins carrying blood, but possibly more like a spider whose limbs are simply liquid filled cavities with organs kinda floating in it.

Other than that, its all speculation on an alternate universe, so the answer could simply be, "Because Star Wars."


It has been confirmed that Ponda Boba's species have the same blood system as a spider in current canon. The wound wouldn't cauterize as efficiently. Darth Maul is a zabrak who have more resilient skin. The tissue is too tough to cauterize instantly.

  • 2
    Welcome to SFF.SE! This looks like a promising answer but you need to cite sources so others can verify your claims. Please take a look at the help center to learn how this site works.
    – Null
    Apr 26, 2016 at 19:11


Lightsabers have occasionally explicitly been described as having a cauterizing effect. For example, when Anakin beheads Dooku, the novelization describes the wound as "cauterized" (of course, the movie supports this, since we don’t see any fountain of blood):

The severed head’s stare was fixed on something beyond living sight. The desperate plea frozen in place on its lips echoed silence. The headless torso collapsed with a slowly fading sigh from the cauterized gape of its trachea, folding forward at the waist as though making obeisance before the power that had ripped away its life.

Revenge of the Sith (novelization)

Even when the word “cauterized” is not used, the films generally show things this way, as well as not showing any blood.

Anakin’s legs glowing after Obi-Wan amputates them:

enter image description here

The books also almost invariably show severed body parts as exhibiting some degree of burning (if it’s mentioned at all).

He was looking at a hand. The hand had brown skin. The hand held a lightsaber. The hand had a charred oval of tissue where it should have been attached to an arm.

Revenge of the Sith (novelization)

And wounds are often explicitly described as having no blood:

“This is what happens to those who would resist the Empire,” the gray creature said.

He threw his still-spinning lightsaber at Kolvin and sliced him in half. Kaeden screamed, expecting fountains of blood, but both halves of the body thudded cleanly to the ground and did not so much as twitch.


It’s perhaps worth noting that the new novelization of A New Hope describes Ponda’s arm as "sizzling" after being cut off, so there’s definitely still heat at work:

Han could have sworn the severed arm—not to mention the creature’s remaining stump—was still sizzling when the old fossil calmly switched his blue laser sword off.

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue with the film. Even in new and improved versions of A New Hope, the arm is definitely bleeding.

enter image description here

So Ponda’s arm definitely was not cauterized. As to why, there are lots of potential explanations, though I’m not aware of any canon one (yet). Most likely, Aqualish have a bizarre physiology, which means that their blood doesn’t boil or coagulate until temperatures are much higher than for humans (or at all). Weirder things have been seen in Star Wars.

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.