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J.J. Abrams Made Lightsaber Duels “Primitive, Aggressive and Rougher” in The Force Awakens


No matter how you feel about each of the six of the previous Star Wars films, it’s undeniable that lightsaber battles have varied a lot throughout the franchise. These laser swords must be held two-handed, because they’re heavy, but beyond that? There’s a lot of variation in terms of speed, technique, fighting style, and aesthetic inspiration.

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While deciding on how to stage The Force Awakens‘ lightsaber duels, J.J. Abrams told Empire he did a lot of research on other famous fights in cinematic history — from John Ford’s Western films, to Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low, toTerrence Malick’s wartime stories.

Abrams’ conclusion? Less is more. Or, in his words —

When you look at Star Wars and Empire, they are very different lightsaber battles, but for me they felt more powerful because they were not quite as slick. I was hoping to go for something much more primitive, aggressive and rougher, a throwback to the kind of heart-stopping lightsaber fights I remembered being so enthralled by as a kid.

Which were your favorite lightsaber battles, of the previous six Star Wars films? I always liked the delicately tense, high-emotion pacing of this old battle, personally.

(via Uproxx, image via Business Insider)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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