2612: Lightsabers

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For the comic named "Lightsaber", see 1433: Lightsaber.

A lot of Jedi romances start with this turning into a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti situation.
Title text: A lot of Jedi romances start with this turning into a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti situation.


A lightsaber is a fictional beam-like sword weapon used by members of the Jedi order and the Sith in the Star Wars franchise. This comic shows a lightsaber fight starting between two Cueball-like Jedi, one already presenting their blade in challenge and the second activating theirs in response. When the first strike is made between the two lightsabers, they meld together with a bloop sound, like the beams are made of a liquid. The two light beams then remain stuck to each other. In in-universe "technical documents", lightsabers are said to be made from magnetically-confined plasma, so perhaps the magnetic fields which were projected from each hilt have merged instead of repelling (or presenting as mutually impervious) as is usually expected.

(This scene actually looks a lot like what happens between Harry Potter and Voldemort's wands in the end of the fourth book, the Goblet of Fire. Here two spells hit each other and connect the two wands, the wand holders then unable to release or disconnect the wands.)

First the left Jedi, then the right, shakes the hilt, trying to break the bond. When this does not succeed, the right Jedi then deactivates his lightsaber in an attempt to end the connection. This causes the retraction of the entire double-sized light beam into the handles (as seen in the movies), causing both of the Jedi to be drawn together until their heads bonk, forcefully enough to render them both unconscious. The connected lightsaber handles lie next to them on the ground.

The title text implies that such events are how Jedi romances start, comparing it to the famous "spaghetti scene" from the 1955 Disney animated movie Lady and the Tramp where the two titular characters unintentionally kiss after sharing a strand of spaghetti. In the Old Republic, Jedi were forbidden from entering into romantic relationships (and discouraged from forming attachments in general), but in the pre-Disney Star Wars Legends continuity of the Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade first met while fighting in the aftermath of the fall of the Empire, and then developed a romantic relationship.

Star Wars is a recurring theme on xkcd, and lightsabers have been prominently featured before in, for instance, 1397: Luke and 1433: Lightsaber, where the problem with the physics of a light beam as a sword is shown. But in general light does not interact with light as photons are bosons and can thus pass through each other. Interference, yes, but two pure light beams cannot collide and bounce back as when two lightsabers collide. Also as the comic Lightsaber mentioned above shows, there is no compatible real-world way of confining a beam of light, making it stop after about a meter (or anywhere)[dubious] - see Optical cavity.


[Two Cueball like Jedi are engaging each other in a duel using lightsabers over 12 panels of equal size, with sound effects as the only sound. In the first panel the left Jedi has his lightsaber extended holding it in both hand pointing towards the other, who at this time is just turning his lightsaber on.]
[Almost same position of the Jedi, but the right Jedi's lightsaber has now extended, making a sound. He is holding it up near his head in both hands]
[Then they run towards each other and swing their lightsabers towards each other, two small arcs indicating the swing of the lightsabers.]
[The two beams hit each other and connects at the middle in a big bloop of light, with drops of "light" jumping off both above and below the connected lightsabers. Both Jedi still holds on to their handles with both hands. A loud sound comes out of the connection:]
[The Jedi stands still holding their handles. The beam is now forming a bow between the two handles.]
[The left Jedi violently shakes his handle causing a wave to travel down the beam towards the right Jedi.]
Shake shake
[The right Jedi shakes his handle and well and another wave travels the opposite direction towards the left Jedi.]
Shake shake
[Back to the bow of light between them, but the beam is visibly still shaking, but no wave is traveling any longer.]
[Same setting but the shaking has stopped. The right Jedi turns his lightsaber off on his handle with a sound:]
[The beam of light is retracted quickly into the handle of the Jedi turning his lightsaber off. So quickly that the two Jedi, still holding on to their handles are pulled up in the air and towards each other as the sound of the beam turning off is heard. Lines indicate their movement and shadows on the ground beneath them indicate they are in the air.]
[When the beam is completely retracted the two handles collide and so do the heads of the two Jedi with a loud sound. They still hold on to their handles with both hands. They still hang in the air with shadows on the ground beneath them.]
[In the final panel the two Jedi lie unconscious on the ground with their heads towards each other and with their arms stretched out towards each other. The connected handles lie between them.]

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Not sure what's going on here. Are electric arcs what's happening between the lightsabers? -- 12:48, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Could be based on properties of plasma? 12:53, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Probably something like cold welding. The fields keeping the light saber beam coherent would not be able to differentiate between the two plasma beams, and would join together. -- 13:22, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

That's my take. The effect that confines the laser (to make it a handy length, at the very least) is potentially too 'self-sticky', but certainly with that of the opposing blade after a bit of awkward cross-resonance. And then the deactivation/withdrawing (typoed that as "sithdrawing"!) still drags the other blade-tip inwards too. 13:35, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

The Star Wars tabletop RPG explains the lightsaber blade as plasma contained in a magnetic bottle, all generated by the hilt. In reality, though, (1) this wouldn't generate a rigid blade, but one that would bend as it was moved, and (2) if two bottles contacted each other, they'd tend to merge. I think that's the model this comic is working on - the bottles merge, making the arc, and when the sabers are turned off, the retracting merged bottles pull the two characters together. - Physics & SW nerd 19:42, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

My reaction: And THAT's why the two dueling Jedis should have different color of the blade! -- Hkmaly (talk) 19:47, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Very good job on the transcript (except a few minor grammar errors). I didn't envy someone trying to describe all the imagery. Barmar (talk) 15:25, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Lots of comics about lightsabers. Maybe it's time to make a category for them? Many things got categories after just 4-5 appearaces. 17:20, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

This is potentially inspired by a scene from Spaceballs where two lightsabers "tangle", although in thta scene they don't actually connect. 19:11, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

I see your Schwartz is almost as big as mine.

Like I've never used that line before. RandalSchwartz (talk) 17:41, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

In panels 10 and 11, the bodies seem to cast shadows on the ground. I don't recall seeing this previously on XKCD, is this the first time? 19:58, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

I think that's just to indicate that they are off the ground (having been yanked in the air by the lightsaber contracting). Unsurprisingly, depictions of people in mid-air are fairly uncommon. (Before I got bored and gave up) I found 9 examples since comic 2000 - approximately 1 in every 68. Four are levitating, through either advanced technology (https://xkcd.com/2485/ https://xkcd.com/2222/) or mystical powers (https://xkcd.com/2193/ https://xkcd.com/2180/), and in four it's already clear from the context that they're off the ground, because of their actions (https://xkcd.com/2343/ https://xkcd.com/2291/), or from other cues (https://xkcd.com/2148/ https://xkcd.com/2106/). The ninth (https://xkcd.com/2022/) uses the same convention as the current comic. 11:21, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

That’s not what’s happening[edit]

“In this situation one Jedi tries to shake the beam, maybe to break the bond, but instead the wave travels down the combined beam to also shake the other Jedi's hand-held hilt.”

Nuh uh. One tries to shake loose, then the other tries, also. Why do people make up complex explanations for obvious simple things? 20:07, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Strongly agree. I guess either interpretation is possible, but this seems obvious to me, so I’ve changed the explanation. 15:16, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

Reminds me of the Priori Incantatem stuff in Harry Potter where wands with the same core source connect with each other :)

My first thought was 'This is why you "don't cross the streams."'
ProphetZarquon (talk) 21:57, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Reverted from vandalism[edit]

The most recent edits were all converting the explanation to "pig latin". (No explanation in English.) I've undone them. If it gets vandalized again, please address that? [/br] ProphetZarquon (talk) 21:57, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

I just reverted the pig Latin twice. Can someone block our IP vandal, please? Nitpicking (talk) 22:01, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Just did another reversal. While False (talk) 22:04, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
What exactly is going on with the edit summaries they're sending? -- 22:10, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Trying to get a sort of ransom out us apparently. We’re not doing that of course. While False (talk) 22:18, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Apparently we did, sort of. -- 22:32, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Wouldn’t say so. We did nothing but undo edits, having no regard for any demands. Eventually the user took measures to fulfill his own demands and called that a win 💁🏻 While False (talk) 22:40, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
I've been noticing quite a bit of vandalism recently (page blanking, "disaster"/"last xkcd", and now pig Latin). Is there any way to stop this? -- 03:29, 29 April 2022 (UTC)
I'm done vandalizing this page, because I got the emoji I wanted. --🎄 (talk) 04:38, 29 April 2022 (UTC)
And no doubt you'll be back to vandalise something else, later, because you're pathetic and imagine you've discovered a new game that only you have the skill and wit to accomplish. Pathetic and predictable. But small things amuse small minds... See you next Tuesday, I'm sure. 08:00, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

And now there's a different kind of vandalism. It seems to be affecting the whole website; the main page now says "We have an explanation for all 905 xkcd comics..." 23:57, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

The title text doesn't match the text on xkcd, it says "A lot of Jetag too soon." instead of "A lot of Jedi romances start with this turning into a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti situation." 23:46, 4 May 2022 (UTC)