The electrostaff was an electronic melee weapon constructed of lightsaber-resistant phrik alloy equipped with electromagnetic pulse-generating tips. The electrostaff was the primary weapon of General Grievous's and Count Dooku's bodyguards and the Imperial riot troopers as well as Imperial heavy troopers of the Galactic Empire.
- "Resistant to the energy outpourings of a lightsaber, the phrik alloy staffs were potent weapons, but like any weapon they needed to find their target..."
- ―Mace Windu
Though some staffs could penetrate and neutralize ray shields, most were simply used as blunt-force melee weapons. They were designed to be longer than most lightsaber blades, enabling the user to fight Jedi while remaining out of the Jedi's range.
As with force pikes, the emitters on the ends had different power settings, going from a stunning jolt to a deadly charge. Thus the electrostaff could be used to only incapacitate an opponent instead of killing them outright. The electrostaff could be used as a torture device. While deadly weapons, the electrostaff, even when on the highest power setting, would still have to touch a victim for longer than a few seconds, or hit in the chest, throat or head, to do any real damage, as shown when Jedi Master Shaak Ti was able to take four hits on her arms and shoulders and, despite being in very obvious pain, she was able to continue fighting against the large horde of Magnaguards she was fighting, eventually being able to utilize the weapon against them.
- "Let`s see what you can do with that staff."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Magnaguards
The Separatist forces used electrostaff-wielding droids, known as IG-100 MagnaGuards, to guard General Grievous and Count Dooku during the Clone Wars, as well as to assist them against Jedi and abduct Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in 19 BBY. The electrostaffs used by these MagnaGuards were manufactured by Baktoid Armor Workshop and were used to swiftly kill opponents. They were lined with focusing rods along the shaft that fed into a power cell and electromagnetic field generator that energized a power cycling coil. This is what produced the purple or yellow sparks and beams that were visible at the ends of their electrostaffs. Not all of the electrostaffs produced by Baktoid Armor Workshop were constructed of phrik due to the cost of the alloy.
Around 1 and 2 BBY, riot troopers and heavy troopers of the Empire were known to use these staffs. They were able to resist lightsabers using Cortosis, as shown when they engaged Starkiller, Darth Vader's apprentice, as well as his clone. They were encountered by them on several planets, including Kamino, Felucia, Kashyyyk, and Cato Neimoidia, though failed to stop the apprentice and later his clone from reaching his objectives.
Behind the scenes
Electrostaffs were weapons created for Revenge of the Sith out of George Lucas's desire for a non-lightsaber melee weapon that could combat a lightsaber. In the audio commentary for the second volume of the Clone Wars cartoon series, it is revealed that the production team of the series jokingly referred to the electrostaffs as "fart staffs" because of their sound.
In Grievous Intrigue, an episode of The Clone Wars, General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi engaged in a battle aboard Grievous's Separatist destroyer, during which Kenobi briefly made use of the electrostaff of a fallen MagnaGuard in conjunction with his lightsaber to compete with the four lightsabers of Grievous; however, Grievous soon destroyed the staff with his sabers by cutting off both ends of it. It is unconfirmed whether he hit weak points on the staff or if this was a continuity error.
It should also be noted that in the Revenge of the Sith novel, Grievous appears to be somewhat resistant to the energy discharge from the electrostaff. He even remarks to Obi-Wan Kenobi during their duel on Utapau, "You think I would arm my bodyguards with weapons that could injure me?". Perhaps this also implies that Grievous deliberately included the aforementioned structural weakness as a countermeasure, should someone attempt to use his bodyguards' weapon against him.
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