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Lightsabers. Laser swords. Superheated plasma focused through a lens that produces a tapered rod of molten energy.
Whatever you want to call them, they’re one of sci-fi’s most quintessential weapons and are always linked to the interminable Jedi Order. Yes, sometimes Sith use them as well, but Sith also use whips, axes, staffs, and weird little nun-chuck things. Jedi only use lightsabers.
Today, we’re talking about the lightsaber of a Jedi unlike any other. A maverick-minded man with no allegiances to anyone but himself, Qui-Gon Jinn was independent to his core.
Categorized as a Guardian, Qui-Gon chose the blade of a Consular, emerald green, for his lightsaber. And that succinctly sums up Qui-Gon and his weapon’s journey: going against the grain in everything from the small to the very, very large.
Key Info Up Front
Qui-Gon used two lightsabers throughout his life. The first he created young, it saw him through his training and many missions until it was destroyed during the Telosian Civil War. The second lightsaber lasted decades, being passed on to Obi-Wan Kenobi after Qui-Gon’s death.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s Lightsaber Mastery
Qui-Gon Jinn spent most of his time in the Jedi Order at the rank of a Master. And Masters are all beyond proficient in lightsaber dueling. The hierarchy of lightsaber dueling talent in the Jedi Order went something like this:
- Mace Windu
- Count Dooku
- Anoon Bondara
And, when he was young, coming in as a loose number four would be Qui-Gon Jinn, which should tell you how skilled of a duelist Darth Maul is.
Qui-Gon Jinn was trained by Count Dooku, the second-best duelist in the Jedi Order. Mace Windu created different sword fighting styles in his free time, such was his mastery of the skill. And Qui-Gon regularly trained with both Masters in his downtime.
Qui-Gon preferred Form IV of lightsaber styles, Ataru. He was a natural at Form IV. While he excelled at all other styles and could mix them together to form a unique fighting stance, he always gravitated toward Form IV.
It was a style built upon strong, sweeping two-handed attacks. It was used in conjunction with acrobatics to increase the effectiveness of combat. Qui-Gon was known for modifying the Form IV stance to lessen its weaknesses. Mainly, Form IV was usually offensive and left the flank almost entirely open to attack.
It was also ineffective against ranged attackers and was nearly useless in close quarters, as the acrobatics would be negated and the sweeping attacks would be diminished. Qui-Gon altered the stance to add defense to his flanks and became so proficient that ranged enemies were cut down as quickly as melee enemies.
Qui-Gon’s Lightsaber Appearance
Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber was humble and simple. Lightsabers are elegant by default, so his hilt still had style. But compared to Count Dooku or Quinlan Vos, Qui-Gon’s lightsaber is relatively unadorned. It features a regular alloy metal cover over a center of stacked power cells. Black and silver with a red button for activation, that’s Qui-Gon’s lightsaber.
He didn’t add any safeties or blade adjusters, and unlike Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which has two giant emitters on each side, Qui-Gon’s has no emitters.
Simple yet elegant.
The blade was a hefty 28.5 centimeters and a Jedi Consular Green. Although oddly enough, Qui-Gon was originally selected as a Jedi Guardian, meaning he would’ve been slotted for a blue kyber crystal.
Jedi Guardians use the Force in more practical applications. They’re excellent warriors, adept at Force abilities, and masters of lightsaber combat.
It makes sense that Qui-Gon would’ve been chosen for that when he was young. But he always had a philosophical mind, and as he aged, that showed much more than his prowess with a lightsaber. Jedi Consulars are diplomates, philosophers, and teachers.
They think before they act, and they are skilled in more esoteric Force abilities, like manipulation and persuasion. It seems Qui-Gon knew from a young age that he was more contemplative than his peers and chose a Jedi Consular green to reflect it.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s First Lightsaber
Qui-Gon’s first lightsaber was constructed early on in his Jedi career. Though we don’t have many stories of young Qui-Gon, we do know he was trained by the stoic Count Dooku at the age of ten.
He trained for years, long enough to grow an impressive beard, before graduating and becoming a full Jedi Knight. His lightsaber stayed with him this entire time, and it served him well in the first part of his life as a Jedi.
Where it went and what it Did
Though Qui-Gon’s first lightsaber didn’t stick around long before it was destroyed, it helped Qui-Gon become a Jedi Master, put down a rebellious uprising, and protect his friends.
Qui-Gon took his first apprentice not long after becoming a Jedi Knight. His student was a quiet farmer’s son named Feemor, and the two got along great. Feemor was an excellent pupil and diligently studied the teachings of the Jedi Order.
Qui-Gon barely had to do anything in Feemor’s training; the boy was simply meant to be a Jedi. He adopted every aspect of study–from lightsaber dueling to meditation–and Qui-Gon merely guided him along.
Nonetheless, Feemor graduated from the padawan trials and became a full Jedi Knight himself. Upon his acceptance of the title, Qui-Gon was promoted to Jedi Master. Now that he’d successfully trained a Jedi Knight, he was more than your average rank-and-file Jedi.
The Telos Civil War
Being a Jedi is tricky business. You’re constantly overseeing some negotiations or mediating a trade agreement, both rife with assassination plots, spies, and backstabbers. The Jedi Order’s duty is never done.
Qui-Gon Jinn, fresh off the heels of his successful training of Feemor, picked a new padawan named Xanatos. Xanatos was the son of Crion, the ruler of Telos IV, a planet in the Telos system. So Xanatos was essentially a prince.
But he was strong in the Force and Qui-Gon felt a calling to do more than merely guide a gifted student to Knighthood; he wanted to help a more troubled student. And boy, was Xanatos troubled.
The Telos Civil War was complex, bloody, and a failure for everyone involved. Qui-Gon and his recently acquired apprentice, Xanatos, were selected to oversee a parlay that’d been called to renegotiate terms for a treaty. This treaty was resigned and reauthenticated every ten years so no conflict broke out.
But very quickly, Qui-Gon and Xanatos uncover plenty of corruption, lies, and dangerous political plots. The two are put to the test, facing all sorts of threats while investigating the treaty’s proceedings. But the trials and conflicts end up proving too much for Xanatos.
The Death of Qui-Gon’s First Lightsaber
Xanatos is unable to handle the complicated personal nature of the Telos conflict. He and Qui-Gon discover that Crion is using the negotiations as a ruse; he actually intends to invade the rest of the Telos system and grow his power. Xanatos is torn between siding with his father, Crion, or the Jedi Order.
He continually begs Qui-Gon to leave the planet, saying he doesn’t feel safe, he doesn’t trust himself. In the end, Qui-Gon confronts Crion, accidentally kills him, and inadvertently sends Xanatos hurtling toward the Dark Side.
In his new-found Dark Side power and rage, Xanatos disarms Qui-Gon of his lightsaber. The student and teacher duel each other in a giant incinerator, coals and sci-fi flames hot under their feet. When Qui-Gon loses his lightsaber, it’s destroyed almost immediately in the incinerator.
He’s forced to defend himself from Xanatos with just the Force and his wits.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s Second Lightsaber
Though Qui-Gon was extremely compromised after the loss of his padawan to the Dark Side, the Jedi Order straight-up sent him a kyber crystal for a new lightsaber. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of that happening to other Jedi. Maybe that’s a perk of being a Jedi Master?
Most Jedi would need to search out their kyber crystal on their own, as the selection process can be spiritual and highly influenced by triggers in the Force. Many Jedi believe kyber crystals are alive in the Force, and listening to their call is how a Jedi finds the source for their lightsaber.
It’s all steeped in tradition and lore.
So it’s understandably weird the Jedi Council was just like, “No need to go on a soul-searching journey, buddy. We got you. What color do you want, homie? We know you like that green. We’ll send you green.”
Especially considering how clinically depressed Qui-Gon was. He was doubting himself up and down, questioning everything he’d ever done as a Jedi. He even discredited his first padawan, Feemor, saying it was a fluke and he didn’t even train the kid, the kid trained himself.
Qui-Gon starts calling Xanatos his first padawan and laments at his own inadequacies. If only he’d been a better master, he thinks. If only he’d been a better teacher, Xanatos wouldn’t have fallen to the Dark Side.
Because it wasn’t just that Qui-Gon failed in training a student, there were failed padawans all over the galaxy. It’s that Qui-Gon’s actions directly pushed Xanatos toward the Dark Side.
It takes Qui-Gon a long time to get over his failure. But he reconstructs a new lightsaber almost immediately. Going on solo missions is how he dealt with the issue of Xanatos, and in order to be effective as a Jedi, he needed his lightsaber.
Where it went and what it Did
Qui-Gon’s second lightsaber, the same emerald green as before, picked up right where the first one left off. Qui-Gon, still aimless after the loss of Xanatos, would visit the Jedi Temple once a year to watch the padawans.
And every year, he would leave and embark on more solo missions. But pretty soon, Qui-Gon fell out of his chronic depression and into adventure after misguided adventure.
Picked Up A New Student
One year, while Qui-Gon visited the Jedi Temple and watched the trainees, he noticed one trainee in particular. This padawan had incredible ability with a lightsaber and won a tournament with his peers.
Qui-Gon was disappointed to see such aggression in a young man and immediately had flashbacks to Xanatos. Qui-Gon met with this young man, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and told him his lightsaber style was too violent. But Obi-Wan pleaded to be chosen as an apprentice.
Qui-Gon was very hesitant to take on another padawan. But the Force works in mysterious ways, and thanks to some prompting by Yoda and the Living Force, Qui-Gon considered the idea more carefully. After Obi-Wan tried to sacrifice himself so Qui-Gon could live, he knew Obi-Wan would be a courageous and valiant Jedi.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Melinda/Daan Crisis
Imagine a planet with two major groups of inhabitants. Let’s call one Rulers and the others Workers. Let’s say the planet is split 50/50 between the two groups–power, resources, population, etc. And now imagine the Rulers call the planet one name, Melinda, and the Workers call the planet another name, Daan.
What do you call the planet?
Well, the Republic makes a special case and calls the planet Melinda/Daan, the only world with a special slash in the middle.
Can you imagine the drama and bitter hatred those two sides have for each other? Can you imagine how hard it would be to broker peace between those two sides?
That’s what Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are tasked with, a civil war of sorts. The conflict is so compelling that Obi-Wan even leaves the Jedi Order for a bit to help out the planet’s cause.
The Stark Hyperspace War
It wasn’t so much a war as it was a slightly prolonged series of conflicts and skirmishes across the galaxy’s outer rim. The Stark Commercial Combine was a group of bounty hunters, pirates, assassins, spies, and other ruffians who thought Jedi were policing the galaxy like, well, police. And they wanted to do something about it.
The Jedi Order dispatches Plo Koon, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and a handful of other Jedi who are all highly proficient in lightsaber combat to handle the situation.
It may only be a loose rag-tag bunch of ruffians, but they were violent and deadly, and the Jedi Order didn’t want to lose any members. Qui-Gon was a vital part of the team, using his extreme skill with his lightsaber to handle blaster fire and close-quarter combatants with ease.
Putting Xanatos to Bed
Qui-Gon saw Xanatos as his responsibility. After all, he was the one who pushed Xanatos to the Dark Side. It was up to him to set the Dark Jedi right.
Fortunately for Qui-Gon, Xanatos was obsessed with trying to kill his former Master. He attempted no less than four different times. He does have considerable connections and was trained to use the Force by one of the best, so it makes sense that Xanatos won’t die.
Qui-Gon ultimately faces Xanatos in a duel to decide their fate. Qui-Gon, an expert in more than one fighting style, constantly switches stances to throw off Xanatos.
Eventually, Qui-Gon uses his lightsaber to wound and disarm Xanatos before the Dark Jedi flees. Finding himself cornered on a cliff above a lake of acid, Xanatos chooses suicide over defeat.
The Invasion of Naboo
During the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were planetside and in hiding. The two had originally been sent as diplomats, but after being attacked, they fought their way to the Queen of Naboo’s side.
Qui-Gon uses his formidable lightsaber skills throughout his adventure on Naboo, protecting the Queen, her subjects, and his padawan from countless dangers. During the invasion, Qui-Gon famously uses his lightsaber to try and melt the blast doors of the Trade Federation’s control room.
In the end, however, Qui-Gon’s preference for Form IV led to his demise on Naboo during the worst of the conflict.
The Death of Qui-Gon Jinn
Qui-Gon was an expert in Ataru, Form IV of lightsaber combat, and he was more than proficient at the other forms. But at this point in his illustrious Jedi career, he’s pretty old.
He’s modified his Form IV even more, taking most of the acrobatics and flips out since he’s too old to pull them off. His attacks aren’t as powerful as when he was younger, and his range was significantly shorter. All of this made Qui-Gon an old warrior.
In steps Darth Maul, the young, fresh, strong Sith assassin. Qui-Gon and Darth Maul clash for a brief moment on Tattooine as Qui-Gon buys time for his companions to start up the ship and escape.
In those few exchanges, Maul gauges Qui-Gon’s shape as a fighter and immediately registers that he’s a user of Form IV. Maul then spends the rest of Episode I training to kill a user of Form IV.
Darth Maul is an assassin; his only goal is the death of his target. And his only target is Qui-Gon Jinn, singled out by Darth Plageuis and Darth Sidious as one of the few people who might thwart their plans.
When Qui-Gon and Maul meet for the second time, Qui-Gon is tired. He’s been fighting through an entire palace full of droids, protecting pilots, guards, and Natalie Portman. Now he’s got to duel a Sith freaking assassin? A tall order for a man with plenty of gray in his beard.
Qui-Gon takes a gamble when dueling Darth Maul; he sees Maul’s dual-bladed lightsaber and figures that a confined space would limit his striking power and combat effectiveness. Qui-Gon begins to maneuver the fight into a confined space, the power reactor deep in the heart of Theed Palace.
The problem is that his gamble backfired. Darth Maul had been studying Form IV and its weaknesses for days. He knew that a confined space would hamper Qui-Gon’s Form IV style more than it would hurt his dual-bladed style.
He let himself be guided into the power reactor, confident in his ability to outperform Qui-Gon in closed-quarter combat. And he was right. Qui-Gon, slow and tired from the war he’d been fighting up to that point, had no energy left for acrobatics, and Darth Maul knew it.
The Sith assassin sensed his prey was slowing down; he launched a kick that stunned Qui-Gon and went for a stab straight in the gut, severing the spine.
The Legacy of Qui-Gon’s Lightsaber
Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber did not sit idle long. I mean, it was unused for about 60 seconds. Before Obi-Wan used the Force to both distract Darth Maul and summon Qui-Gon’s lightsaber. He surprised the Zabrak, got inside his defenses, and smote him thusly. Cut him right in half, then kicked both halves down a bottomless pit.
Obi-Wan used Qui-Gon’s lightsaber for more than a year before he constructed another of his own. The black grip of Qui-Gon’s heavily inspired Obi-Wan’s first lightsaber.
Qui-Gon’s lightsaber was also used shortly by Anakin Skywalker during the very beginnings of his padawan training. The lightsaber was eventually turned over to the Jedi Temple Archives.
Liam Neeson on Qui-Gon Jinn’s Lightsaber
Liam Neeson, the actor who played Qui-Gon, is quite candid about his time filming the movie and how much fun he had. He was able to pick out his own lightsaber, which became Qui-Gon’s, and he still has the relic to this day.
Mounted on a plaque with the dates of Episode I’s filming, Liam Neeson still treasures the original lightsaber given to him by George Lucas back in 1997.
Question: How Long was Qui-Gon Jinn Active as a Jedi?
Answer: Qui-Gon Jinn was first selected as a trainee for the Jedi Order at the age of ten in the year 82 BBY. He died in 32 BBY, so he was at the ripe old age of 60 when he died. He’d been a part of the Jedi Order for 50 solid years. That’s a long time to serve as a Jedi, considering all the danger they face.
Question: How Come Qui-Gon Didn’t Adopt his Master’s, Count Dooku’s, Lightsaber Style?
Answer: Because it didn’t work for him.
Count Dooku’s lightsaber was created to enhance his use of the Form II lightsaber style, Makashi. Count Dooku only used Makashi; he never bothered learning a different stance. He believed mastering one style would prove more advantageous than being good at several styles.
Form II was a purely duelist style–no acrobatics, no unarmed strikes, barely any Force abilities. Dooku liked that. It harkened to his roots as nobility, dueling for honor and pride. The curved hilt of his lightsaber increased the power of his one-armed strikes and further increased his agility and speed.
Conversely, Qui-Gon was all about those acrobatics, unarmed strikes, and Force abilities. He hated the purely duelist style and loved mixing and matching different stances. So he adopted his own techniques and built a lightsaber that reflected that.
The same happens with Obi-Wan, who rejects Qui-Gon’s Form IV for Form III.
Question: Do we Ever Hear more about Feemor?
Answer: Nope. Like, not even a little bit. The last we see of Feemor is right after Qui-Gon has accepted his new padawan, Xanatos. Xanatos is a little bitter meeting a successful Jedi Knight and uses his nobility to boss around the Farmer’s son.
But Qui-Gon compliments and encourages Feemor and says he is ready to train his own apprentice. That’s it. Feemor smiles, walks away, and that’s the last we see of Qui-Gon’s first apprentice.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber traveled to more worlds than most starship pilots, and it was involved in more action than Boba Fett sees in a decade’s worth of jobs.
It was a tool that Qui-Gon used to inspire and educate his padawans, sometimes even punish them. It was a weapon simple in its presentation but powerful and elegant in its application. And only someone as skilled as Qui-Gon could turn a meager metal tube into an extension of themselves, a tool of the Living Force.
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