- "Double-bladed lightsaber of Exar Kun, fallen Jedi […] Extreme danger… do not remove from nullification resin… under… any…"
- ―Microtag identification of Exar Kun's lightsaber
The lightsaber of Jedi Knight Exar Kun was a device that was initially created to produce a single beam of blue-white energy. However, upon his ascension to Dark Lord of the Sith, Kun redesigned his lightsaber based on instructions hidden within an antiquated Sith holocron. The finished product was a double-bladed weapon imbued with dark side energy, from which sapphire blades materialized up to 1.5 meters from either end of the hilt.
Kun wielded the single-bladed version of his lightsaber during his time as a student of Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, and with it, he earned a reputation as one of the galaxy's greatest lightsaber duelists. The modified, double-bladed saber that heralded his rise as Dark Lord of the Sith was revealed a year later, when Kun confronted and slew his former Master with it on the floor of the Galactic Senate Hall on Coruscant. With Kun's own defeat at the end of the Great Sith War, his lightsaber was lost on Yavin 4, only to be rediscovered decades later by an agent of a secret covenant of Jedi bent on the eradication of all things Sith. Quarantined and preserved for a time in the Sanctum of the Exalted on the planet Odryn, Kun's infamous lightsaber was among the Sith artifacts pillaged by the bounty-hunting Moomo Brothers, and it changed owners several times before it was eventually returned to the protection of the Jedi Council.
- "Entry #6305: Progress. I have a lightsaber. The Ithorians stole a nice-looking specimen from the Jedi storehouse, and I have taken it from them. The Jedi are truly a superstitious lot. The weapon is sealed in a special resin and labeled as some kind of evil artifact, dangerous to those using the Force."
- ―Doctor Demagol
Jedi apprentice Exar Kun's original lightsaber consisted of a metallic hilt that finished in a single blade emitter shroud and fastened neatly to clips on his right thigh. The intensity of the blue-white beam of plasma that it produced was adjustable; at its highest setting, the lightsaber was able to rend Mandalorian iron, a unique ore highly prized for its lightsaber-resistant qualities. Minor modifications were made to include three additional emitter shrouds and a ring at the base to facilitate a belt clip.
In 3996 BBY, Kun's lightsaber underwent extensive alterations, the most significant of them being the incorporation of a second emitter assembly that was identical to the one already installed. A single power cell activated both ends of the newly-created saberstaff—together or independent of one another—which was recharged by a hidden socket situated just below the ubiquitous black handgrip. Dual focusing cores complete with lens crystal assemblies were crossed by a pair of power conduits that wired into a single red activation stud at either end of the hilt. Three smaller, colored, and vertically-aligned buttons were on the black surface of the protruding emitter assemblies, which were protected by four symmetrically-placed, pronged emitter shrouds. Included were paneled controls that adjusted the blade length between 0.5 and 1.5 meters, as well as diagnostic systems. Opposite the octagonal dual-phase control was an identically-shaped mechanism that adjusted the intensity of the lightsaber's twin blades, which, at their lowest setting, served little more purpose than a glowrod, neither able to inflict damage nor resist opposing weapons in combat. At full power, the lightsaber resisted the blades of others and cleaved through virtually anything else with which it came into contact, including weapons empowered by the Force.
- "Time to make this more interesting. Do you like the modifications I made to my lightsaber, Master?"
- ―Exar Kun reveals the second blade of his lightsaber
Extendable belt clips jutted from the base of each emitter shroud and allowed the lightsaber's handler to conveniently affix the device to their person from either end. Following his embrace of the dark side of the Force, Kun's weapon was infused with the negative energies of its creator, and those who faced him were unsettled by its insidious nature. Inheritors of the weapon who were sensitive to the Force found themselves infected with the lightsaber's residual malevolent power, while those with no such affinity remained unaffected.
The efficiency of Kun's preferred combat style of Form VI: Niman was further complemented by his saberstaff's improvements. In an era when such weapons were all but forgotten, the double-bladed nature of Kun's lightsaber bewildered enemy combatants. A single ignited end often preceded the opposite and served to offset the opposition when finally activated in the heat of battle. Offensive attacks were blocked by one blade as the hand grip was quickly spun to deliver a killing blow with the other. Swift adjustments of either blade's length or intensity caused enemies to overextend themselves and allowed the Dark Lord of the Sith to counterattack with lethality. Combined with his incredible mastery of the Force, Kun was a nearly unbeatable warrior when also armed with his double-bladed lightsaber.
Exar Kun's weapon
- "By the Force! I thought a lightsaber could cut through anything. The walls are barely scratched. The only thing that can resist a lightsaber is…Mandalorian iron!"
- ―Exar Kun, regarding Freedon Nadd's tomb
As a Jedi trainee, Exar Kun created a single, blue-bladed lightsaber during his years of training under the legendary Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, a Krevaaki Jedi scholar and reputed connoisseur of lightsaber construction. With his original saber, Kun surpassed fellow apprentices Crado and Sylvar; he also faced Baas with his own weapon and that of Crado's, a practice bout that resulted in Baas' defeat and the splintering of his Force-imbued quarterstaff. Later, while he defiantly pursued knowledge deemed forbidden by his Master, Exar Kun ventured to the tomb of a long-dead Sith sorcerer and tested his weapon against the strength of its walls, specially wrought of lightsaber-resistant Mandalorian iron. Initially unsuccessful, the blade's highest intensity was ultimately required to penetrate the unyielding structure. Kun's lightsaber was also the bane of two Sith cultists who tried to waylay the errant Jedi upon his return from the tomb, to their cost.
As he grew stronger in Sith lore and power and became a Dark Jedi, Kun was relieved of his lightsaber on several occasions by the spirit of Freedon Nadd—the same Sith sorcerer whose tomb Kun had desecrated with difficulty—only to have it returned when he completely surrendered himself to the dark side. The lightsaber itself became infused with dark side energy as Kun relied more on Sith power. Over time, he was no longer able to sustain himself or utilize his weapon through any other means, having forsaken the light side of the Force. As he sought to consolidate his power in a bid for galactic Sith supremacy, Kun, who by then had begun to consider himself the greatest living swordsman in the galaxy, wielded his weapon against another Jedi of similarly recognized skill, Ulic Qel-Droma, in a duel that ultimately ended without decision, as both chose instead to join forces as Sith Lords and wage the Great Sith War against the Galactic Republic.
As the newly-christened Dark Lord of the Sith, Kun continued to use his single and blue-bladed lightsaber—despite a traditional Sith preference for bloodshine blades—sometimes alongside another of similar design, left to swing freely from his belt when not in service. He increased his own dark side knowledge through study of a variety of resources, including an ancient Sith holocron with instructions for the creation of an especially exotic lightsaber: one that produced a blade from either end of the hilt. The improved lightsaber was soon afterward wielded in combat against Kun's former Master, Vodo-Siosk Baas, who was slain in the Grand Chamber of the Galactic Republic Senate Hall upon revelation of the double-bladed nature of the Dark Lord's weapon. When the Brotherhood of the Sith attacked the Jedi world Ossus, Kun's lightsaber saw further action in a duel with the Great Jedi Library's aged Keeper of Antiquities, Ood Bnar. Kun was forced to abandon his body at the end of the war, and for a time, his lightsaber was thought lost in the conflagration.
Recovery and later usage
- "And you will have this. Something I picked up to match your fighting style. Something from a great warrior…"
- ―Demagol bestows upon Jarael the lightsaber of Exar Kun
Several decades after the demise of Exar Kun, the recovery of his lightsaber became an issue of great importance for the Jedi Covenant, a secret subsect of the Jedi Order dedicated to preventing the spread of Sith influence of any kind. After its discovery by Covenant Shadow Celeste Morne, Kun's lightsaber was quarantined on the planet Odryn in the Sanctum of the Exalted, a storehouse of Sith artifacts considered extremely dangerous by the Order. The weapon was encased in protective nullification resin to stifle its residual dark side influence, complete with a microtag that warned of the danger posed by removal from said protection. In 3963 BBY, the Ithorian bounty hunting siblings known as the Moomo Brothers infiltrated the Sanctum of the Exalted and stole a number of Sith artifacts, including Kun's lightsaber.
The Dark Lord's weapon was taken from the Moomo Brothers soon afterward by the Mandalorian scientist Demagol, who successfully removed it from containment for examination and immediately noticed an amplification of his own persuasive Force abilities. He in turn gave it to a former student of his, an Arkanian Offshoot named Jarael, to complement her particular fighting style. Although she was not sensitive to the Force, Jarael handled the lightsaber with deadly accuracy. With it she attacked Demagol's daughter, her longtime enemy Chantique, who ultimately acquired it and experienced an immediate surge in her ability to manipulate the Force. Also armed with the confiscated lightsaber of former Jedi Zayne Carrick, Chantique attempted to avenge herself against Demagol with the two weapons, only to be stabbed in the back by her father and have them taken away. When he later dropped them in anger, he tried to take up Carrick's lightsaber to defend himself from Chantique, but due to his untrained Force powers combined with Carrick's Force balancing ability he had selected Kun's double bladed lightsaber instead. When he turned it on, both blades ignited and fatally impaled both himself and his daughter with the saberstaff. With their deaths, Kun's double-bladed lightsaber was returned by Carrick to the Jedi Council for safekeeping.
- "A saber-staff! The weapon of Exar Kun! Did he construct that?"
"The prototype was two lightsabers he had welded pommel-to-pommel in imitation of the Iridonian zhaboka. I furnished the knowledge that allowed him to improve on the original design and construct the one he is using."
"It strikes me as unnecessary, but I won't deny his mastery of the Jar'Kai technique. Niman and teräs käsi will never substitute for dun möch, but I appreciate that you have trained him to be a fighting machine rather than a true apprentice."
- ―Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, discussing Maul's lightsaber design
Exar Kun's double-bladed lightsaber reintroduced the unique weapon as a design option to duelists in the galaxy at large. While recognized as a development of the ancient Sith, double-bladed lightsabers became prevalent among Jedi in subsequent years and saw widespread use during the Jedi Civil War despite its deliberately offensive design. The double-bladed lightsaber also remained very popular among the factions of Sith that succeeded Kun's Brotherhood. As the first in a considerable period of time to use one in combat, Kun was erroneously credited with the saberstaff's design conception, an impression that was corrected in a historical compilation prepared by Jedi historian Tionne Solusar, from information found in the Tedryn Holocron.
Behind the scenes
One of many original concepts created by Tom Veitch and visual depictions rendered by Chris Gossett for the Tales of the Jedi comic book series, Exar Kun's lightsaber initially appeared in its single-bladed form alongside its owner in the first four issues of Dark Lords of the Sith, and it was penciled by Gossett without any intricate detail. The lightsaber appeared in the final issue of the series, Jedi Assault, wherein Art Wetherell drew all depicted lightsabers with a similar appearance to one another. Dario Carrasco, Jr. was the artist for The Sith War, the next Tales of a Jedi comic series in which Kun appeared with his lightsaber, which was shown worn unconventionally from his belt. The device maintained its single-bladed exclusivity for the first two issues of the story arc, but the saberstaff variant was revealed in the third, titled The Trial of Ulic Qel-Droma. The lightsaber's final Tales of the Jedi appearance was in the fifth issue of The Sith War, Brother Against Brother.
Exar Kun's lightsaber became a major plot device in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Demon story arc, in which it is finally transferred to the wardship of the Jedi Order. It appeared in the ninth and tenth holographic accounts made by Jedi Archivist Gnost-Dural, a character from BioWare's massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and was briefly mentioned in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves. An action figure of Kun, complete with a removable double-bladed lightsaber, is included in Star Wars: The Legacy Collection, made by Hasbro. A mini-statue of a double-bladed lightsaber-equipped Kun is also numbered among those of the Champions of the Force set of Star Wars Miniatures.
A fully detailed schematic was provided for Kun's double-bladed lightsaber in The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, and clarification of Kun's inspiration for its creation was given in Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force. While brief mentions were made in The Essential Guide to Characters, The Dark Side Sourcebook, the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol, a short story made available to Hyperspace members, gives an account of the device while in possession of Demagol of the Knights of the Old Republic comic series. Kun's StarWars.com Databank entry identifies his lightsaber as the first double-blade in the Star Wars universe, preceding the appearance of Sith Lord Darth Maul's saberstaff by several out-of-universe years.
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 1 (First appearance)
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 2
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 3
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 4
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 6
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 1
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 2
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 3
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 5
- Knights of the Old Republic 47 (In flashback(s))
- Knights of the Old Republic 48
- Knights of the Old Republic 49
- Knights of the Old Republic 50
- Timeline 9: The Mandalorian Wars (Appears in hologram)
- Timeline 10: The Exar Kun War (Appears in hologram)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned in Codex entry)
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul (Appears in hologram)
- Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul (Mentioned only)
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The Essential Chronology
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 14 (KUN1-4, Exar Kun; SPE2, Manufacturers of Specialist Weapons)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Special Edition
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars Miniatures: Legacy of the Force
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- (Mentioned in entries #6305, #6378, #6429 and #6469)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia