How Disney Destroyed The Art of Lightsaber Duels

How Disney Destroyed The Art of Lightsaber Duels
Image credit: Legion-Media

One of the most important aspects of the franchise suffered a noticeable decline after the end of the prequel trilogy.

The Star Wars prequel trilogy remains a controversial topic that continues to divide fans of the galaxy far, far away. Some love it, some hate it, but one thing most can agree on is that it absolutely nailed the lightsaber duels.

Over the course of three movies, fans were treated to some of the most iconic fights in the entire franchise that still send shivers down their spines years later.

Unfortunately, with the start of the Disney Star Wars era, the quality of the duels, with rare exceptions, dropped significantly. So what exactly went wrong?

Let's start with the things that got better in the new installments of the franchise, because there aren't that many of them.

Lightsabers are brighter and their light actually reflects off the characters, making them look more realistic. Also the ignition sounds are different for the unique lightsabers.

Now for the bad parts. The pacing has slowed down significantly, characters move much slower than in the prequel fights, destroying the high adrenaline feel of the duels.

This is only made worse by a larger number of cuts that prevent the viewer from seeing the whole thing. For example, the Count Dooku fight at the beginning of Episode III has 9 cuts in 22 seconds, while the Rey vs. Kylo fight in Episode IX has 12 cuts in 15 seconds, constantly changing perspective and distracting the viewer.

Next, lightsabers lack impact. It used to be fatal to be struck by a lightsaber, as they could easily sever limbs and cut the unfortunate combatants in half.

Now they... leave scratches? Finn survives a slash to the back with no permanent damage, and stormtroopers in the Obi-Wan TV series leave their limbs intact.

The prequels weren't afraid to show dismemberment to demonstrate how deadly this elegant weapon really is.

And the most offensive part is the choreography. We could spend hours analyzing the fight scenes in the sequels, but there is one perfect example that sums it all up.

The utterly embarrassing throne room fight in Episode VIII is a culmination of bad choreography.

Watch it closely next time and you will see all the unnecessary spinning in one place, the royal guard running off to God knows where, Rey kicking three people in one kick, another guard literally throwing away his weapon before getting stabbed, and much more.

Maybe not inviting the fight choreographer from the prequels to the new movies wasn't such a good idea after all.

To give Disney some credit, the Ahsoka vs. Maul fight from the final season of the Clone Wars series was great. Yes, it was animated, but they used motion capture technology.

However, it is just a drop in the ocean of mediocre and downright bad fights that plague the Star Wars franchise to this day.