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I always see blades of lightsabers have more or less the same length (dual blades are double). Why is that?

Can't a longer or shorter length be advantage in some case?

I am NOT expecting infinite length lightsabers (due to energy issues), but have we seen adjustable length blades in the Canon?

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    I remember in KOTR you had shorter lightsabers to be used in the off hand. – Matthijs Wessels Oct 13 '14 at 15:40
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    I see your schwartz is as big as mine. [source] – IQAndreas Oct 13 '14 at 16:49
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    Am i the only one who thinks this some kind of reputation bating / taking advantage? – oɔɯǝɹ Oct 13 '14 at 18:29
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    @oɔɯǝɹ Taking advantage of what? – Null Oct 14 '14 at 19:37
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Adjustable length lightsabers do exist in Legends.

According to the Legends lightsaber Wookieepedia article a lightsaber's blade was adjustable:

High levels of energy generated by a high-output Diatium power cell was unleashed through a series of focusing lenses and energizers that converted the energy into plasma. The plasma was projected through a set of lightsaber crystals that lent the blade its properties and allowed for the adjustment of blade length and power output.

However, blade length generally could not be adjusted quickly (e.g. in the middle of combat). A dual-phase lightsaber would be required to do so:

Unlike typical lightsabers, which often possessed a manual adjuster for reducing the blade emission, the dual-phased blade could be triggered in an instant, adding an element of surprise to catch an opponent off guard. Additionally, dual-phase lightsabers also had a blade-width adjust.

An example of a dual-phase lightsaber is Exar Kun's lightsaber (which was double bladed). It was adjustable so that the blades were 0.5-1.5 meters long, and Exar Kun was known to adjust the blade lengths in combat:

Swift adjustments of either blade's length or intensity caused enemies to overextend themselves and allowed the Dark Lord of the Sith to counterattack with lethality.

Another person who used a dual-phase lightsaber is Corran Horn. He could double the length of the blade with a twist.

Also, some Jedi used a lightsaber shoto, which is a lightsaber designed to emit a shorter blade. Although these lightsabers were generally not adjustable, in the spirit of your question the short length could be advantageous by allowing different fighting styles. Examples of such Jedi include:

  1. Yoda (due to his small size)
  2. Ahsoka Tano (who used a regular lightsaber in her main hand and a lightsaber shoto in her off hand)
  3. Kavar (like Ashoka, he used a shoto in his off hand)
  4. Maris Brood (who used a pair of lightsaber shotos with tonfa hilts)
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    Don't forget Corran Horns lightsaber from I Jedi, where he makes it with dual lengths to have more versatility in fighting with it. He also uses it in one of the New Jedi Order books, but I forgot which. – Tobias Wärre Oct 13 '14 at 6:44
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    Another Jedi who used a shoto lightsaber is Ahsoka Tano, from the Clone Wars. She used both her original lightsaber as well as an offhand shoto. – Nzall Oct 13 '14 at 8:37
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    @TobiasWärre Corran uses his dual-phase 'saber in the Dark Tide books. – bren brightwell Oct 13 '14 at 9:00
  • @MattBrennan, Whoops, look at that... I read those books years ago. But still, should have remembered which series. – Tobias Wärre Oct 13 '14 at 9:19
  • @TobiasWärre the Dark Tide duology is part of the NJO series. We're both right. – bren brightwell Oct 13 '14 at 9:42
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Adjustable lightsabers exist in Disney Canon as confirmed in the Visual Dictionaries and Star Wars: Rebels - and are probably the norm.

In the Star Wars: Rebels episode "Rise of the Old Masters," former-padawan Kanan Jarrus instructs force-sensitive Ezra Bridger in using a lightsaber for the first time, letting Ezra practice with Kanan's own lightsaber. When he turns it on, Ezra almost cuts him with the long, unwieldy blade.

enter image description here

"There's a control on the side that adjusts the length to your height," Kanan tells him.

This seems to suggest it's a standard control on all lightsabers (or at least lightsabers constructed during later years of the Jedi Order) and the feature is confirmed on Anakin's Lightsaber in the Visual Dictionary. Ezra's lightsaber/blaster combo has also been shown to have length adjustment capabilities when Kanan wields it.

As seen in the screenshots above, Ezra shortens a ~5' blade to closer to ~3' (assuming Kanan is roughly 6' tall...) but there's no info on upward limits of extension. We can speculate that infinite extension would probably burn through the power cell or the blade might lose its integrity at some point.

  • Adjusting the length to your height seems like a silly idea... if you have shorter arms, it seems like you'd want a longer lightsaber to make up for the disadvantage you'd have in reach. Then again, making a sword your main weapon rather than a long-distance weapon isn't practical in the first place. – sumelic Jan 4 '16 at 21:56
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    @sumelic it seems like the main reason only Jedi use lightsabers is because you need heightened awareness to not cut yourself, and having a scaled-to-your-body blade is important for control and accuracy. For example, younger/shorter fencers use a 32" blade while adults use a 35" blade even though the point of the sport is to poke your opponent. – dunraven Jan 4 '16 at 23:09
  • I'd assume the main reason for using shorter blades IRL is weight though, which doesn't apply to lightsabers (I think?). For example, this paper "Height Differences in Epee Fencing and Strategies for the Shorter Fencer" on page 51 discusses reasons certain people might benefit from using a shorter blade in fencing and mainly focuses on it having reduced weight and a different center of gravity. – sumelic Jan 4 '16 at 23:55
  • @sumelic yeah, I think the idea is that Lightsaber blades have no weight. I'm probably not the person to answer the why on this one - maybe you should ask a separate question about the benefits of height-proportional Lightsaber. By your logic maybe Yoda should have a giant Lightsaber. (The answer probably has to do with forearm length and limited range of motion/not always slicing up the floor.) – dunraven Jan 5 '16 at 16:46
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According to the Star Wars: Visual Dictionary and Force Awakens: Visual Dictionary, Lightsabers have Blade Length Adjust knob using which one can adjust the length of lightsaber blade.

Lightsaber manual

Although this shows it in Anakin's lightsaber, Kanan's lightsaber (Star Wars: Rebels TV series) also had this feature.

Kanan's adjustable length lightsaber

(Kanan confirmed this feature verbally in the same scene of Star Wars: Rebels S01E03)

So, the length adjust feature of a lightsaber can be considered norm.

  • I'm smiling because you used the image from my answer about lightsaber buttons and also failed to crop off Rey's leg in the bottom right corner/ – Valorum Jan 4 '16 at 10:34
  • @Richard I didn't crop anything. Even image URL is yours. – I Love You 3000 Jan 4 '16 at 10:40
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    No, I'm saying that you should have cropped it :-) – Valorum Jan 4 '16 at 10:42

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