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A lightwhip, also known as an energy whip or a laser whip, was a rare variation of the lightsaber.


"Tell me…how does it work?"
"On the same principle as my whip…when you activate that stud on the hilt, it releases a beam of coherent energy which forms the sword blade."
―Den Siva and Lumiya[3]

A Dathomiri Nightsister wielding a lightwhip

Lightwhips generally functioned on the same principles and mechanics as lightsabers, emitting a coherent beam of energy that was used as a weapon. However, rather than the straight, meter-long blades emitted by standard lightsabers, lightwhips featured long, flexible blades that often exceeded several meters in length.[1] Instead of one large crystal, they contained multiple small crystals, and the plasma in the blade had no cell barriers to keep it straight. It appeared standard for these weapons to emit only single blades, though "cat o' nine tails-style" lightwhips with multiple tassels were not unheard of, as the Sith Lumiya owned one.[4] Like lightsabers, lightwhips came in a variety of colors and shades, including red, orange, pink, yellow, and green.

Wielded in the same manner as a conventional whip, the lightwhip was a rare and exotic weapon, an unfamiliar occurrence among traditional duelists. Due to this, lightwhip wielders enjoyed considerable leverage over opponents.[5] Along with its rarity, lightwhips also featured copious range, the long, flexible energy strand allowing the wielder to attack from a range of several meters.[3] The weapon was also difficult to defend against, as it could simply flex around an opponent's blade when he attempted to parry.[6] When multiple tassels were included, the whip was able to overwhelm the defenses of enemies by attacking them from all sides.[3]

However, lightwhips featured just as many drawbacks as advantages. Unless the wielder was already a master with ordinary whips,[7] a lightwhip blade was difficult to control, able to just as easily maim an untrained wielder as an opponent, and was weaker than the standard lightsaber blade as it could not always penetrate durasteel armor or walls, and many substances could survive from a direct hit.[1] It needed to be swung wide to gain momentum for attack, and it was difficult to use defensively as flexible tassels are not well suited for parrying, leaving the wielder vulnerable to both great speed and brute force.[4] In fact, lightwhip blades were even known to short out violently when struck with enough force.[3]

A Nightsister wielding a lengthy lightwhip

Efforts to compensate for the inherent weaknesses of lightwhips included the addition of tassels composed of solid matter, as Lumiya did with her weapon.[4] These variations in composition also allowed her to attack her opponent on two fronts, as the different behaviors of the energy beams and the solid strands left the weapon highly unpredictable, as well as taking advantage of flaws in Jedi training, which only prepared combatants for a weapon that was one or the other.[3] However, this innovation was not a complete solution, as the weapon still possessed the weaknesses. Also, the inclusion of the solid strands could be countered through the use of the Jar'Kai dual-blade technique, the method being to ensnare the energy strand with one blade while shredding the solid tassels with the second.[3]


Githany wielding her lightwhip against Kiel Charny

One of the earliest known wielders of the lightwhip was the Sith Lady Githany, who was active approximately a millennium before the Battle of Yavin. According to the Sith Blademaster of the day, Kas'im, she wielded the weapon not out of any advantages it presented in combat, but to exploit its rarity and unfamiliarity with most duelists. Githany wielded the weapon up until her death in the final battle of Ruusan.[5]

Lightwhip wielders active prior to and during the Clone Wars include Ona Nobis[8] and Vianna D'Pow.[9]

During their mission to Ord Cestus during the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi fabricated a lightwhip for use by both himself and Kit Fisto. This weapon was based on the one wielded by Ona Nobis, and first saw use during a mock duel between himself and Fisto, with Fisto masquerading as a member of Count Dooku's Dark Acolytes in order to fool the Cestus government into believing that the Separatists were interfering in their affairs. Towards the end of the same mission, Kenobi led the charge into the Cestus Cybernetics factory, wielding the lightwhip as a secondary weapon alongside his lightsaber. During the battle, the lightwhip's power cell burned out, and Kenobi discarded the weapon.[10]

A lightwhip fell into the possession of smuggler Drach Coven and his partner, Mok. The whip was found by Nick Rostu when he was given their ship, and he later presented it to the Jedi Jax Pavan. Pavan wielded the weapon against the Falleen Xizor, who wielded the Jedi's own lightsaber against him.[11] Another lightwhip wielder active at the time was the Nightsister Silri,[12] who worked for the Zann Consortium.

Luke Skywalker harried by the multiple extensions of Lumiya's lightwhip

One of the most notable lightwhip wielders was the Imperial agent turned Emperor's Hand turned Sith Lady Lumiya. Constructing her weapon from Mandalorian iron and utilizing a shard of the Kaiburr crystal provided by Darth Vader, she also added on numerous tassels composed of leather knots studded with Mandalorian iron[4] and flexible, gem speckled metal.[13] Created by Lumiya shortly before the close of her training under Vader,[14] she wielded the weapon against such notables as Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, and she used it to torture her captive on Kinooine. The weapon was ultimately lost during her final battle with Skywalker, falling into a gorge beneath them, along with her headless body.[4]

The lightwhip was also used by a former prison guard while pursuing Ania Solo. This lightwhip was functional only if held in a specific prosthetic arm. The prison guard proved her lightwhip skills especially by killing an Imperial Knight.[15]

Behind the scenes[]

In Star Wars: Obsession, Aayla Secura states that Xist uses a vibrowhip. However, his weapon has some characteristics of a lightwhip—namely, its blue glow and the inability of Obi-Wan's lightsaber to sever it. A vibrowhip layered in cortosis, phrik, or some other lightsaber-resistant material would explain the latter but not the former. Furthermore, the whip did not sever Kenobi's leg when it wrapped around it, as a lightwhip would have.[source?]



Notes and references[]