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I rewatched the three newer movies and noticed that whenever a Jedi was killed, or let go of their lightsaber, it immediately turned off. What was curious was that the lightsaber turns off right away, when a Jedi is killed, even before it leaves their hand (if it does fall out). I could understand if the button needs to be held for it to stay on, but when a Jedi is shot and is still holding the lightsaber why would it turn off?

  • You beat me to this question :( – Joe the Person Oct 10 '11 at 0:02
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    A better question: What's the point of lightsabers when all you need are a thousand super mega droids, and a few dozen Death Stars? In a 'infinite universe', anything's possible! ...Other than putting the fate of the galaxy in a bunch of glorified swords. – Mateen Ulhaq Oct 10 '11 at 5:14
  • @muntoo I was thinking, what if they connected lightsabres to the sides of those spinning wheel-like droids that are in Episode III. How deadly would that be! – Sydenam Oct 10 '11 at 6:32
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    @muntoo: lightsabers are for when you need precision and a measured response. Battle Droids are for when you need an army. The Death Star is for when you decide, "Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure." – Jeff Oct 10 '11 at 13:12
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    @Jeff Nuking from orbit is always an option. Scratch that; THE option. :) – Jersey Sep 4 '13 at 14:31
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Most lightsabers have a built-in deadman switch. It would just be irresponsible for a Jedi to construct such a dangerous weapon without one. Essentially, if the handle is not being held (has pressure on it) the weapon deactivates. This prevents a lightsaber from flying away from the disarmed Jedi and scything through his allies (or slashing the viewport of the space station, etc).

When a lightsaber is thrown, the Jedi uses the force to guide it and also keep the switch from closing, deactivating the blade.

Oddly, there's no mention of this in the EU, but it's presence can be clearly seen in the series, as you noted.

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    Upon death, their grip still loosens. There's probably a minimum pressure required. – Jeff Oct 9 '11 at 16:39
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    In some of the films, a jedi throws an active lightsaber. – Jay Bazuzi Oct 9 '11 at 20:41
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    I'm sure I read somewhere that there was a switch lock for throwing and so on - but can't remember the souce. Might even have been an illustrated guide – HorusKol Oct 9 '11 at 21:44
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    @muntoo: Rigor Mortis doesn't set in for hours after death. – Jeff Oct 10 '11 at 13:10
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    @Jared: The illusion in the cave is not Vader, but a representation of the evil potential within himself that Luke had to overcome. This is also the ONLY instance where a lightsaber has failed to exstinguish upon the holder's death - clearly showing us (though Luke didn't notice) that the threat it represented had NOT been defeated. I thought it was a brilliant bit of foreshadowing for the temptation in Cloud City and RotJ. – Jeff Oct 11 '11 at 20:16
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I was fairly sure that lightsabers worked with/powered with the force? So when a jedi dies, they obviously aren't able to put force power into the saber. It explains why droids and the like can't use them, too. It also explains how they can be thrown (although I don't think they throw an activated saber in IV, V, or VI)

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    We-e-elll, Darth Vader throws his lightsabre in VI. And what about Han Solo or Grevious? They both use lightsabres, and they don't have any force training. – Sydenam Oct 11 '11 at 15:11
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    @Rob - yes that was how Obi Wan originally described it in ANH. I got all excited in the theatre when Han used it thinking ohh cool he is going to be a jedi too... alas no. – Chad Oct 11 '11 at 18:42
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    Could it not still be that way? Han just has a higher than normal midi-chlorian(sp?) count? He seems to be a pretty good pilot... – Rob Oct 11 '11 at 19:07
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    I think it is also implied that you need to be in tune with the Force in order to develop the ability to use a lightsaber without doing something dumb like slicing your own head off. – Ken Liu Jul 14 '12 at 2:25
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    While the Jedi can channel their force powers through the blade, making stronger strikes and allowing them to sometimes cut things easier than normal, especially hard metals or the like.. a lightsaber is not created by their force powers. Hand being able to activate Lukes blade on Hoth is a prime example. Luke also turned on his fathers saber in the original Star Wars before receiving any force training at all.It's also been answered in the role playing source books that many non jedi throughout the galaxy have carried and used lightsabers for defense. They're powered by a powerful energy cell – JediWitness Nov 30 '13 at 18:47
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There might be a possible force-link between user and weapon/tool. The lightsaber crystal only shows to that specific Jedi, so, when a Jedi is ousted in combat, maybe that bond is broken.

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    What source do you have for this 'force-link'? Also, there's in-universe evidence of people using other combatant's lightsabers (ref: Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) - clearly the weapon isn't tied to a single user. – Jeff Oct 9 '14 at 13:18
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I think there is some kind of bond with the lightsaber crystal,Jedi,and force so when the Jedi dies the Jedi disappears from the bond so the force can't power the lightsaber and it shuts off or in a one of the movies where earth Vader battles obi won you can see a wire so maybe the wire bends a little and the lightsaber turns off.

  • This doesn't explain why the same thing happens to non-Force-users... – KutuluMike Dec 21 '15 at 4:26
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The Expanded Universe has a few instances where the Jedi specifically locks the lightsaber into the on position and then proceeds to do something else.

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