When I was a kid, I recall watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the first time, absolutely delighted by the fresh take on Star Wars and the pairing of wise Qui-Gon with a restless young Obi-Wan. It was, despite not ageing too well, my first real childhood passion. I'd seen the original films and loved those, but Episode I was special. It had so many great moments, but the one that sticks out most is when Darth Maul, seemingly outnumbered, ignites his second lightsaber blade.
That single moment redefined lightsaber combat forever and made a young blog author extremely happy. I mean, what can be cooler than a lightsaber? Well…two of them in one. I’m talking about the double-bladed lightsaber, or saberstaff, of course.
But really, when you consider it objectively, the decision to include such a weapon was a strange one. It was the first of its kind seen on screen and has remained that way ever since – Maul is the only person that wields a double lightsaber in the entire film part of the franchise.
So how did it come about? What ideas led to the double-bladed lightsaber’s existence? Let’s take a look at the in-universe lore, the real-life explanation and the most famous double lightsaber users in the franchise…
Where did the double-bladed lightsaber come from?
As with most decisions made during the production cycle, double-bladed lightsabers seem to be a result of concept artwork being incorporated into the movie after catching George Lucas’ attention. The first double-bladed saber was depicted in Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War by Dark Horse Comics, published in 1995.
Four years later, when Episode I arrived, the double-bladed saber was chosen for Darth Maul. There are great lore reasons for the choice, but I would also assert that it was done to suit the actor Ray Park, a talented stunt performer who could showcase the finesse and flair needed to justify the double blade. Ray was a wushu champion, so flipping around with a staff-sized object in his hands was not unfamiliar to him. You can tell how comfortable he is with a double saber when you watch this famous YouTube video.
What is the lore behind a double bladed lightsaber?
The double lightsaber, also known as a saberstaff, is an ancient Sith design according to the ex-canon Legends series. In this timeline, the saber was created with furious combat in mind – allowing a Sith warrior to deflect with one blade and attack with the other, overwhelming their opponents.
Darth Maul, as the apprentice to Darth Sidious, was sent on a mission to assassinate a Jedi Master. This was no easy task for the relatively inexperienced Sith, who quickly found himself overwhelmed by the Jedi. To make matters worse, the Jedi used a simple wooden staff to beat him.
Wounded but not defeated, Maul fled and assembled a double-bladed lightsaber by fusing an identical saber to the hilt of his existing one. The idea was based on his Zabrak lineage, where warriors used a double-bladed sword called a Zhaboka. This new lightsaber was the advantage he needed to overcome the Jedi, who he slew before returning to Sidious to proclaim his victory. As a tool for defeating his enemies, Sidious had found an incredible apprentice in Maul and his ingenuity.
Who else uses a double-bladed lightsaber?
While Maul is the most famous of the wielders, there are other examples of characters using a double-bladed lightsaber in the lore.
- Asajj Ventress had a unique approach that utilised two separate sabers which could be joined to use as a double lightsaber whenever she needed it.
- Savage Opress, Maul’s brother, used a similar double-bladed lightsaber.
- Master Pong Krell, a Jedi, used TWO double-bladed lightsabers in the most famous example of a ‘good guy’ using the weapons. But really, two double-bladed sabers at once? Now that’s just showing off.
Of course, you can also wield a double-bladed lightsaber of your own. All you need is our lightsaber staff, an incredible duelling lightsaber built to last through every battle and still be beautiful if you have it on display. Grab yours today and treat yourself to the Darth Maul twirl you’ve always dreamed of.