Lightsabers are not made of light, nor have they anything to do with lasers (even if there are people who mistakenly refer to them as "laser swords").

Blaster bolts are also not lasers. They travel significantly slower than light, they travel even slower than ordinary bullets fired by gunpowder. (called slug throwers on the Star Wars universe)

Was there any use of lasers ever presented in the Star Wars universe, either as we use them today, or as weapons?

By laser I mean something which behaves like laser does, even if it's not called by that name in a movie or book. If something is called a laser (in the script or by fans) but clearly doesn't work like a laser (for example, it travels slowly, and in visible blocks) it doesn't count.

  • 1
    It can. Currently the only limit for using lasers as weapons is their size, weight, and high power consumption connected with inefficient storage of power. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_laser#Military
    – vsz
    Aug 15, 2014 at 10:04
  • 6
    The Deathstar uses "turbo lasers" for defence (dialogue in ANH)
    – Gaius
    Aug 15, 2014 at 11:23
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    @JamesSheridan - nobody told that to Unites States Navy Aug 15, 2014 at 13:43
  • 2
    @JamesSheridan : Using lasers to shoot down missiles is not ridiculous at all. They already have working prototypes. We are very far from making military lasers man-portable (if it ever becomes possible at all), as the equivalent to the energy stored chemically in a cartridge would require huge and heavy batteries. However, when mounting them on ships, size and weight is not a problem. And why invest at all? Lasers can shoot down incoming missiles much faster than bullets. And today you need million-dollar missiles to shoot down a speedboat full of terrorists, whose equipment costs a few 100$.
    – vsz
    Aug 16, 2014 at 6:25
  • 3
    @vsz no, actually you don't need missiles to stop speed boats. The US Coast Guard does it all the time with a Barrett .50 cal from a helicopter.
    – Monty129
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:11

9 Answers 9


If a character in the Star Wars universe says laser, you can safely assume they don't actually mean lasers. However, there is one Expanded Universe reference that explicitly refers to the weaponizing of lasers.

Does it count? Maybe.

In the EU novel Junior Jedi Knights: Vader's Fortress R2-D2 uses a mirror to reflect lasers. They explicitly made a point that they were lasers and not blasters, which is why the mirror worked.

Without warning, bright steaks of laser fire crisscrossed the courtyard.


"Blaster bolts!" Uldir yelped in his ear.

"Yeah, that's exactly what my brother Jacen always says," Anakin muttered. "Only this time they're lasers, not blasters."


Laser bolts continued to streak across the entry hall and through the doorway.


"Do you think you can use that little mirror gadget that Uncle Luke installed in your head to deflect some of the laser bolts back so that one of us can get in and disable the lasers?"

"But that little mirror can't protect Artoo from blaster bolts," Tahiri objected. Her bright green eyes were wide with alarm.

"That's true," Anakin said. "But these are lasers. Lasers are just concentrated light. A mirror can deflect laser beams. Artoo should be fine-as long as he doesn't get shot."

Before Anakin could say any more, ArtooDetoo beeped once again and rolled into action. Laser blasts shot toward the little droid as he trundled into the huge entry area. He reflected the first and second bolts back in the direction of the lasers that had shot them. To Anakin's surprise, one of the deflected blasts struck the laser that had fired it. The laser exploded with muffled sizzles and thumps. Artoo moved forward and caught the third bolt on his reflector as well.

There's a strong argument to be made that they still aren't behaving like actual lasers. Tahiri confuses the lasers for blasters. From their description, they seem to behave exactly blasters except for being reflected. They're definitely visible and probably slow.

The authorial intent was clearly that these were actual laser weapons. But they ended up getting the behavior wrong. This can't be explained away as lasers simply being an incorrect colloquial term. Anakin describes them concentrated light. They are different enough from blasters that Anakin can identify them as lasers immediately. Which also means they are common enough that Anakin has seen laser weapons before.

So where does that leave us? I'm inclined to go with authorial intent but I think we're stuck firmly in the realm of maybe here.

  • 2
    They can be "lasers" in the Star Wars universe, but a real laser cant be reflected by a simple mirror.
    – Zato
    Aug 19, 2014 at 11:32
  • 4
    @Zato Well, that depends on their power. There is a real-world concern about using anti-personnel lasers exactly because they would tend to reflect of specular surfaces, not just outright mirrors. It might also destroy the mirror of course, but a part of the pulse would likely be reflected. But yeah, doesn't sound like lasers - if they could mistake them for blaster bolts at all, it doesn't really scream "laser".
    – Luaan
    Sep 30, 2014 at 8:11

In some episodes of The Clone Wars a bounty hunter named Cad Bane used a type of trap which wookieepedia refers to as a laser web (though I don't think it was named as such on the show, just in a Boba Fett comic), and it visually looked to be made up of what we would call lasers--they were continuous beams rather than blaster bolts that one could see moving forward, and the beams went straight from the source to some surface like a floor or wall and appeared to be melting the surface at the point of contact, similar to the laser in the James Bond movie Goldfinger (see clip here), or to a real-life laser cutter (although with a real-life laser cutter you can't actually see the laser beam in ordinary air unless there's some smoke or fog in the room). Here's a still image from the Season 2 episode "Children of the Force":

enter image description here

They weren't actually referred to by name in the above episode, but Cad Bane used the same type of trap in the Season 1 episode "Hostage Crisis", and in that episode he did use the term, saying "If you so much as breath on one of these lasers, the whole room will blow up." Here is a shot from the episode:

enter image description here


After extensive research on the materials I have, Wookieepedia and even google.

No, there are no "lasers" in Star Wars as existing today in real life. And yes, blaster technology is different from real lasers, they form a particle beam that can be deflected.

Maybe the "lasers" in Star Wars are simply:

As it is doubtful if "lasers" in Star Wars share the same principles of generation or fundamental nature as true lasers, it is possibly short for "Laser induced plasma weapon" or something similar but never properly retconned.


  • 6
    Just like Mathematics underlies all of Physics, so does JKR Maths underlie all of LucasPhysics Aug 15, 2014 at 14:00
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    Sorry, but I'm reversing my vote in light of DrewS's correct answer that indeed showed a weaponized laser in canon. As is often, Wikia is wrong :) Aug 16, 2014 at 4:36

At about 1:00 into Episode III, you can see a blue beam of light come from a proto-Star Destroyer and blow up a Separatist craft. Is this a laser, exactly? I don't know, but it's much closer than any other weapon in the SW universe, Death Star weaponry excluded.

Laser blast from Ep 3 Star Destroyer

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    If you can see it travel, it ain't a laser. Aug 18, 2014 at 20:00
  • 6
    You can't see it travel. You can see it reflecting off dust and debris in space between the two ships.
    – Scott
    Aug 18, 2014 at 20:06
  • @Scott So that is what resonates when you detonate a sonic weapon in an asteroid dogfight... somehow our laws of physics should not be taken too literally when discussing Star Wars. :-)
    – BMWurm
    Aug 19, 2014 at 15:43
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    @BMWurm I'm sure there are plenty of people here who would gladly discuss SW sonic weapons in great detail if you wanted to pose that question. My point was that in the film you don't see the leading edge of the light beam move, you just see it appear, at least holding out the possibility it could be a laser. I feel that the filmmakers were much more sensitive to these sorts of things making the prequels as opposed to the people making the underfunded and relatively low-budget originals.
    – Scott
    Aug 19, 2014 at 15:46
  • @Scott I think that question exists already (or mentioned at least: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/2912/30726). You are right though: it does not have a propagating edge and there certainly could be enough debris floating around to make it visible.
    – BMWurm
    Aug 19, 2014 at 15:54

The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT) has laser turret pods as well as laser cannons.


  • 2
    Well, I did not remember that. But in my view, the laser turret are just blasters that form a large "particle beam" because they cam be deflected by the shields(magnetic barriers). Upvote anyway.
    – Zato
    Aug 15, 2014 at 19:38
  • @Zato you might be right about the turret pods, but the twin cannons on the front appear to functions similiarly to the Death Star's primary gun.
    – Monty129
    Aug 15, 2014 at 21:06

I don't know the level of canon, but the game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has a laser gun: the Telnoss 6 disruptor rifle.



In Legends, laser sniper rifles feature in the X-Wing series of novels; at least two of them turn up in the hands of Wraith snipers Myn Donos and Wran Narcassan. Compared to a blaster, a laser has certain advantages for long-range shooting, such as (virtually) ignoring bullet drop and wind.

Donos's laser rifle was using (in Iron Fist) to tie into a commercial laser communications system, in order to transmit a long-range detonation command. This wouldn't have been possible with a blaster rifle.

Wran's rifle firing is described in a little more detail (in Mercy Kill) and is clearly different from a blaster.

"Ready for nonlethal ranging shot." ...

Voort heard Wran breathe out, becoming as silent as space... and then make a tiny noise, a click as his trigger reached the end of its arc.

A small red dot appeared on the target ahead of the open panel. It lasted for just a second....


The rifle hummed and its laser discharge flashed instantly from Wran to the distant target.

Voort saw the curved side of the capacitor indent as if hit by a tiny meteorite.

Note the nonlethal/visible and lethal/invisible settings and the lack of a blaster's distinctive sound and visible bolt.

  • Isn't the advantage the much higher speed? Blaster bolts also don't show any bullet drop (it has been discussed as one of their advantages over gunpoweder weapons). They are just much slower (and more visible) than laser.
    – vsz
    Nov 14, 2019 at 17:58
  • Blasters should show a bullet drop over long distances, unless the particles in the bolt are immune to gravity. We just don't see handheld blasters used at long ranges very often. For example, the cited shot in Mercy Kill was at a distance of 2,003m, which would make it the 10th-longest sniper kill in real life. Blaster rifles are simply not fired at those kinds of ranges "on screen".
    – Cadence
    Nov 14, 2019 at 18:20

enter image description here


"super laser beams"

"... central lens... focusing lenses... amplification crystal..."

Without a medium reflecting the beam to your eye, there will be gaps. These are not 'blocks', you simply cannot see the beam at that location.

Having taken a closer look at the footage:

Continuous Wave Plasma Propulsion ; Beam-powered propulsion –Wiki

A continuous laser beam focused in a flowing stream of gas creates a stable laser sustained plasma which heats the gas; the hot gas is then expanded through a conventional nozzle to produce thrust. Because the plasma does not touch the walls of the engine, very high gas temperatures are possible, as in gas core nuclear thermal propulsion. However, to achieve high specific impulse, the propellant must have low molecular weight; hydrogen is usually assumed for actual use, at specific impulses around 1000 seconds. CW plasma propulsion has the disadvantage that the laser beam must be precisely focused into the absorption chamber, either through a window or by using a specially-shaped nozzle. CW plasma thruster experiments were performed in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily by Dr. Dennis Keefer of UTSI and Prof. Herman Krier of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

My summation is that the Empire modified or developed a similar technology that produces destruction instead of propulsion. As we can see in these frames* (of which the first two are cut back-to-back as closely as I possibly could) an orange laser beam instantly appears to guide the plasma. You could say they actually got it right, as we can only see the orange beam on-board, where there's an atmosphere.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

The super heated plasma has begun refracting the carrier beam; watch your eyes. For a real world analogy, the laser is the barrel (and probably the propellant), while plasma is the projectile. Does this qualify as a weaponized laser? Well it certainly is a weapon that uses lasers... and this isn't all that far off from "as we use them today" or at least, the ways that we know we could.

*Frames courtesy of Harmy's Despecialized Edition, captured while using MPC's step button.

  • 7
    "The superlaser was composed of several exotic matter beams accelerated" those aren't lasers, the only relation is the name, after that the similarity ends Aug 15, 2014 at 22:49
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    Whoever is upvoting this, this answer is wrong! Aug 16, 2014 at 4:36
  • 1
    Agreed, wiki isn't helping my case here. If you only watch the movies, this behaves in the way the OP is looking for.
    – Mazura
    Aug 16, 2014 at 14:51
  • If you were of the opinion that light is matter, would this fit? How would 'exotic matter' pass through an amplification crystal? Is the content of that wiki page G-cannon?
    – Mazura
    Aug 16, 2014 at 18:46
  • 2
    Even if you just go by the movie, it doesn't behave like a real laser because you can clearly see the beam moving forward from the point of origin, so it must be traveling much slower than light...watch carefully starting from 2:06 in the video here.
    – Hypnosifl
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:42

Weaponized lasers do exist in Star Wars universe.

In S02E03 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, once Windu, Kenobi and Skywalker were lured into a trap where they were attacked by multiple laser beams.

  • You sure that's lasers and not blaster bolts? Even in DrewS answer, Anakin has R2 use a mirror, not a lightsaber.
    – Mazura
    Sep 5, 2014 at 23:56
  • @Mazura Yeah, that was laser. That was continuous beam of light, not something in chunk.
    – user931
    Sep 6, 2014 at 0:13

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