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What Would It Actually Feel Like to Be Hit With a Lightsaber?

Spoiler: pretty bad.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be struck with a lightsaber, it turns out it’s way, way worse you probably ever imagined. Thanks to this video from the “Because Science” series with Kyle Hill, we now have far too many details on the disgusting effects this “elegant weapon” has on the human (or alien) body.

To start, a lightsaber does not cut like a sword. A sword cuts through its target, using force (not The Force) to move material–skin, bone, etc–out of the way. A lightsaber doesn’t do that. Instead, a lightsaber applies heat to the material in front of and around it. Nothing gets pushed out of the way, it vaporizes (turns from a liquid into a gas) or sublimates (solid -> gas).

That on its own is pretty gross to think about. But wait! It gets so much worse. Because that change in state comes with a change in volume, and as Hill explains, since that vaporization or sublimation is happening so quickly, “It acts like a blast wave.” A lightsaber death can be quick, and as soon as the weapon isn’t making contact, the wound it inflicts is cauterized. But every second spent in contact with a lightsaber would be agony, with steam rushing out of your body–specifically, out of the wound, since it has nowhere else to go–at literally explosive rates.

As if Han Solo’s death wasn’t tragic enough, Hill reminds us that he spent 15 seconds with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber inside him, longer than any other character we’ve seen. That’s long enough for half the water in his body to escape through his wound in a “steam explosion.”

Some “elegant weapon,” huh?

(via Nerdist, image: Lucas Film/Disney)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.