Dismemberment involved the loss of one or more limbs, such as the hand, foot, arm, or leg. The loss of the head was sometimes referred to as dismemberment, but was more accurately described as beheading or decapitation. Dismemberment usually occurred in combat, especially when lightsabers were involved. In fact, certain lightsaber combat techniques existed which focused on dismemberment and were used by the Jedi and the Sith. They were called Marks of Contact. Examples included cho mai which was the cutting off of the opponent's weapon hand, and cho sun which was the act of cutting off an opponent's weapon arm. Cho mok was the act of cutting off an opponent's limb, usually the leg. Mou kei was a variant generally forbidden by the Jedi since it involved cutting through several limbs at once. For the Jedi, the use of dismemberment in lightsaber combat was to end a battle without resorting to killing the opponent. Collectively, the Jedi techniques to dismember an opponent rather than killing them was called a severing strike.
Although it was a grievous injury, dismemberment was not necessarily fatal. A lost limb could be restored with a cybernetic limb. Some cybernetic replacements, such as Luke Skywalker's cybernetic arm, looked identical to the original body parts, while others were immediately recognizable as artificial. In addition, some species were able to regrow lost limbs. Trandoshans and Gands were able to regrow lost limbs in a few days, while Gen'Dai were able to regrow lost limbs in only a few minutes. Dismemberment in droids was less serious, since they could generally be repaired. For example, in Cloud City, C-3PO was dismembered but was eventually put back together, becoming fully functional once again.
Behind the scenes
The first 6 Star Wars movies feature dismemberment, of either organic or artificial limbs. Rob Coleman discusses this in the Attack of the Clones commentary track ("Yet another in the series of Star Wars severed limbs. I've actually tried to talk to George about the whole reason for the severed limbs in these movies and he always just sort of smiles and chuckles and never gives me the real answer.") and when asked by Vanity Fair about the dismemberments, George Lucas answered: "That's what happens when you play with swords."
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace: Obi-Wan Kenobi cuts Darth Maul in half after Maul kills Qui-Gon Jinn in the Theed Powerplant.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones: Obi-Wan Kenobi cuts Zam Wesell's hand and an Acklay's leg off, Dooku cuts off Anakin Skywalker's right forearm. Mace Windu decapitates Jango Fett in the stadium battle.
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: Anakin severs Dooku's hands (Then he decapitates him) and Mace Windu's hand, Yoda severs a clone trooper's arm outside the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan cuts off two of Grievous' cybernetic hands and, during the Duel on Mustafar, Anakin's legs and remaining (organic) arm.
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope: C-3PO briefly loses an arm during a Tusken Raider attack, Obi-Wan slices off Ponda Baba's arm.
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back: A Wampa loses an arm to Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, C-3PO is completely dismembered on Bespin, Darth Vader cuts off Luke's right hand.
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi: Luke cuts through Darth Vader's cybernetic right arm.
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 5
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Young Jedi Knights: Lightsabers
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
- Legacy of the Force: Tempest
- Legacy of the Force: Invincible
- Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
- Fate of the Jedi: Vortex audiobook
- Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
- Galactic Campaign Guide
- Hero's Guide
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition Core Rulebook
- Galaxy at War
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force (real-life book)