This Confusing Original Star Wars Moment Was All Setup With No Payoff

This Confusing Original Star Wars Moment Was All Setup With No Payoff
Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

For some reason, Luke's lightsaber disappears from the story of A New Hope in the middle of the movie, never to be seen again.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope is a truly groundbreaking creation that defined many aspects of the sci-fi and space opera genres after its release in 1977, giving birth to one of the most successful and famous franchises of all time with millions of fans around the world.

It's also an exemplary adventure story, with all plot threads resolved in the end, as George Lucas wasn't sure about the success of his movie, which was originally titled simply Star Wars.

With all this in mind, one particular plot element seems oddly like a setup without a payoff, despite its huge importance in the story. We are talking about Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, of course.

Did you ever notice that Luke never uses his father's weapon in the original film? After Obi-Wan Kenobi hands it to him, we only see Luke practicing on the Millennium Falcon and... that's it.

It never appears again in the story, it's not used to save Leia, Luke doesn't avenge Obi-Wan with it, the Death Star is destroyed without it, and even in the final scene, Luke has a simple blaster strapped to his belt.

Considering how much of a setup it was, it seems extremely strange and anticlimactic to introduce the hero's father's old weapon, followed by a scene of the hero training with that weapon, only to drop the storyline entirely.

Of course, one could argue that Luke is inexperienced with the weapon and avoiding using it seems perfectly logical (which it is), but it doesn't make any sense from a story perspective.

Also, in the very next movie, Han Solo has no problem using it to open the body of a tauntaun, so there could have been a similar use to the lightsaber in A New Hope.

After all these years, it doesn't stand out as much, since Luke uses the lightsaber frequently almost from the beginning of Episode V, but it still remains a rather curious and mysterious aspect of an otherwise extremely well-written space adventure story.

Did you even notice that the lightsaber disappears from the plot halfway through?