Meatbags vs Lightsabers

Larry posted this on the Book of Faces about a week ago and hoo boy has he heard about it. Brought here to archive . It all started with a meme someone made about how Qui Gon and Ashoka getting stabbed with lightsabers were like, totally different. -Jack

People are ignorant and need to quit making excuses for shitty writing.

A bunch of dumb people are saying crap like “it just cauterized the wound!” or “You don’t know how light sabers work so shut up your hater face!” or “you don’t even know if she’s human and maybe they are built different!”

Let’s break this down for the stupid people who will gargle crap on demand because they’ve learned to not expect any internal logical consistency in their world building. Thanks, Disney.

What do we know about light sabers? As in established cannon for the universe. They can cut through damn near anything in a flash. Like not just lopping limbs off humanoids, but cutting through steel beams, or chopping the wings off space ships. And we know they do this cutting action through heat, like Qui-Gon plasma torching his way through blast doors that appear to be battleship armor plate level thick, and turning them into sparks and molten metal.

So light sabers fuck shit up. That’s established.

For people who don’t grasp basic physics, units of measurements, or who’ve never used a branding iron, cauterizer, cutting torch, or plasma cutter (used all of those, and apparently nobody who writes for Disney has never worked on a farm) we are talking wildly different amounts of energy.

These numbers aren’t exact. I’m going off memory.

-To cauterize a wound, that’s around 400 degrees.

-A cutting torch is like 3000-6000 degrees, depending one what kind and what you’re cutting.

-A plasma torch is something truly batshit insane, like up to 40,000 degrees if I recall correctly. It’s truly fucking nuts. AND it cuts through stuff at a fraction of the power of a light saber.

As you can see, these are very different things.

So besides apparently being magic and having some kind of containment field to not roast the wielder, in order to slice open space ships like that you are using some sort of energy like on the upper end of things.

If you heat an object to 400 degrees and shove it into a human torso, they’re basically fucked, because congratulations, everything you know about cauterizing is stupid and wrong too. We used to burn the stump holes when we dehorned cattle. It’s good for searing shut little blood vessels in a small area (and burning hair, horn, and blood is the WORST SMELL EVER). Big blood vessels, it don’t do shit. And if you shove it THROUGH a human, great, you seared shut some little blood vessels, and ROASTED ALL THEIR ORGANS. Which is BAD.

Rambo pouring gun powder into his bullet wounds isn’t how that works. Rambo would still be bleeding out, only with the added agony of a third degree burn hole through him.

And that’s a candy ass blow torch temp, which doesn’t cut through steel beams. It gets worse from there.

Heat an object up to cutting torch energy levels and shove it through a human torso, and they’re going to die horribly and screaming, because humans are bags of water and that just turned rapidly into steam, and every cell anywhere near that 3000 degree shaft of death just exploded. And I’m talking like literal cooking off and detonating level of steam pressure. Ask anybody who has ever taken a welding class what happens when you then take the piece of metal and shove it into the water barrel. Now imagine that inside your lung and intestines. Realistically people standing five feet away are going to get splattered with a hot red mist.

And that right there is why all the mewling about “but you don’t know if she’s human like us” is stupid. Is she sorta mammal like? Does she have liquid and organs inside? Well, she’s fucked. Even if there was nothing but a decorative fat deposit there, she’s still fucked, because that’s gonna blow out the side, probably on fire.

Now, let’s move it up to plasma power, like chopping the wings off space ships and cutting armored metal robots in half with one swing, and shove that ridiculous bit of molecular fuckery through a human body. Like you’re done. As in done, done. And the fragmentation of your flaming bones will endanger bystanders.

So the only possible explanation here is that blonde sith chick has a variable power light saber, and she had it on low battery mode, and unless that was actually said somewhere in the show (don’t know, I gave up entirely on Disney Star Wars part way through Boba Fett and never looked back) then their writing sucks.

Or maybe that same containment field around the actual energy beam that keeps the user from cooking themselves, somehow also protects the organs on a puncture wound by containing the heat to the middle? But the containment field cuts through everything else, so only the death beam inside actually cuts, and Qui Gon just shut that off when he needed to melt through a space ship. Sure, that’s a way better explanation than the stupid “but muh cauterizing” bullshit, and it’s still a crappy handwavium excuse.

Quit making excuses for stupid lazy writing. It just encourages more stupid lazy writing. They can do better.


People are still making excuses about the light saber post.

Apparently if I’d consulted with medical professionals I’d know that the thermodynamic characteristics of fat make it resistant to heat!

My entire response to this point is this hour long loop of Qui-Gon near instantly turning several feet of armored plate into lava. 😀  

Now I didn’t go to medical school, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that thing don’t give a fuck about your thermodynamic properties. 😀

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87 thoughts on “Meatbags vs Lightsabers”

  1. Lightsabers never did make much sense to me. IMO Lucas would have done better to say that they were monomolecular wire blades, and the glowing field around them was to hold them rigid. Kind of like Larry Niven’s “variable swords.”

    That said, I’d love to have a lightsaber or variable sword of my own.

  2. I don’t know what you’re talking about since the last Star Wars movie came out in 2005, and there was no character named Ashoka; that’s the name of a famous Buddhist king (circa 304 – 232 BC) in India so you may be getting Star Wars and Buddhism confused due to both having meditation and monasticism.

    1. The last SW movie came out in the 80s.

      There were some pretty great books after that. And this guy on YouTube named Prism did some cool fan films of trilogy material.

  3. The worst part is that she didn’t even spend the rest of the season in a bacta tank and the start of the next limping. Contrast with Luke at the start of The Truce at Bakura, who has just come out of a bacta tank after the death of the Emperor, and is STILL limping around in constant pain for a couple days while his doctors have to force him to sit down. Corran Horn gets plain old shot in The Bacta War while trying to show off (his major character flaw) and he’s out for two whole days despite immediately immersed in the Galaxy’s best bacta.

    The only (non-droid) EU characters to survive lightsaber to the torso that I can think of are Maw, Sion and Maul. All three are dark siders who survived by being too angry to die. Maw and Maul only kept it up long enough to get massive surgery performed, spending the rest of their lives as half the men they used to be, while Sion being able to constantly keep that up and remain in one piece is a unique ability that’s only not the biggest threat in the galaxy because his partner is an abomination that eats planets worth of souls.

    1. 1. Kudos to you for remember Maw. Rock on!
      2. I largely blame Maul’s “return” as just ripping off the original Maw story from the video game. (if it were up to me, gen grevious should have been revealed to have been Maul all along)

      1. This might start a flame war, but Maul is dead. D.E.D. dead. Test audiences for the film asked when he was going to show back up , so Lucas changed it to having him cut in half to make it clear he was dead and not coming back…. Not that Lucas never mistepped…. (wookiees vs ewoks for ex, *sigh*)

  4. What I try to explain to people is that whatever else you want to say about a story, the most important rule of them all is what can harm your characters.

    Nobody ever feels tension over the coyote running out onto thin air. Why? Because the cartoons have established falling from a great height isn’t fatal to him. If there was a cartoon that suddenly tried to have a big dramatic showdown between roadrunner and coyote where they were struggling together and trying to push the other over a cliff (like the climax of the Lion King), nobody would take it seriously and there would be NO tension in it because nobody would believe that THIS time falling off a cliff is now going to be bad – not like all those other times. You’ve spent way too long establishing cliffs as non-fatal. You can’t suddenly reverse and declare cliffs fatal just because you want to.

    You need to establish whether lightsabers are fatal or not. Guess what? Early on and ever since Star Wars has established lightsabers as fatal. If you suddenly want to reverse course and go “except this time – because I said so!” then all that does is betray the audience’s trust and undercut any other story emotions you’re going for.

    (Plus it starts making you wonder why lightsaber users would stab someone through – why not then just move the saber up or down and bifurcate the person to be sure they stay dead.)

    1. If the show runners wanted a bit of early season tension, running someone through with a lightsaber followed by an easy recovery isn’t the way to do it.
      If they wanted a short term fight stopper, then having her smacked by a big rock propelled by a force push would work.
      If they wanted something more lasting, a decent slash followed by a long period of healing and recovery would be really good.
      As you noted, this is actually counter-productive to causing drama.

      1. I suspect this is all the result of the GRRRRL POWAH tendencies of many of the current writers for the SW franchise (among others). Not that that excuse absolves shitty writing, mind you.

        1. ^^ THIS ^^

          IMO, the reason a lightsaber stab was fatal to Qui-Gon but only minorly inconveniencing to Ahsoka, was because Ahsoka wields Grrl Power and is therefore immortal until Drama demands her (over-)dramatic death.

          (And I write this as someone who actually likes Ahsoka’s original character concept, as introduced during The Clone Wars, and was looking forward to a series focused on her. I’m pretty pissed about the directions they’ve taken it.)

          As an aside, Fennic Shand had to have her midsection rebuilt with cybernetics. I guess she didn’t have enough Grrl Power to just walk it off, but her survival needed much less hand-waving.

          1. I also enjoyed Ahsoka’s original character arc. Masterfully written and executed, I was fine letting her story end in ambiguity because it was a complete character arc. Not every story needs an end.

            That’s why I didn’t bother to watch this series, because I knew they didn’t have the writing chops to do it justice and would screw it up.

    2. This is where I was going to go. I don’t care about the physics. It’s fantasy. What I want is a consistent set of established rules that are never violated without a clear and reasonable explanation of how and why the rules have changed. And then, in the future, a new rule that is never violated. It’s that simple. It can’t ever be “because the script needed it for the plot”, to borrow a phrase from the Critical Drinker.

    1. Disney can’t get through an appearance of lightsabers without someone getting non-fatally stabbed, lately. There’s 3 just off the top of my head.
      Kyle Hill is cool and all but I never liked how he diverges, instead of trying to explain how a thing is visually shown to behave, he makes an assumption and then goes off into separate territory from there.
      ex:we never see anyone explode from being stabbed or cut by a lightsaber, so it can’t be what he explains it is.

  5. I remember when lightsabers were actually lethal.

    Heck, I remember when the “legends” EU writers had the “problem” of what to do with Luke in their stories, since he was so awesome and powerful he could show up and take care of most threats by himself.

    These days I wonder what woman will knock him on his @$$ next.

    Well no, I actually I don’t, cause I don’t watch or read the modern stuff.

  6. There are two simple explanations for why Qui-Gon bought it when he took a lightsaber to the chest, and why everyone else who has been similarly wounded managed to walk it off.

    1. Qui-Gon’s death was written by George Lucas. Everyone else’s survival was written by Not George Lucas. Fans afflicted with LDS (Lucas Derangement Syndrome) allowed the first Not George Lucas writer to get away with it because reasons, and all the subsequent writers have figured that they could get away with it too.

    2. All of these survivors are either female or use the dark side of the Force. Since the Kennedy regime has declared that the Force is female, naturally a Jedi weapon isn’t ever going to kill a female. And, the dark side allows its users to absorb heat more readily than they naturally could, so it takes more than a careless slice or stab to do them in.

    1. All of these survivors are either female or use the dark side of the Force.

      If they’re female AND use the Dark Side, they’re effectively immortal until Drama demands otherwise. And because Grrl Power is immune to all male attacks, it will have to be another female who puts them down.

  7. Excellent break down. I would love to see or read a Star Wars story done like a horror movie. It wouldn’t at all be hard to do with everything in the extended universe or even just a few moments of thinking about what we’ve already been shown.

    1. Check out the Star Wars Legends books by Joe Schreiber – Death Troopers, Maul: Lockdown – they’re even unabridged on audible, so you can listen to them with full gory sound effects.

      Death Troopers is Star Wars meets zombies.

      Maul: Lockdown has Maul going in a mission into a high-security prison run by a corrupt warden who makes inmates fight each other to the death in gladiator matches.

      Maul: “I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me!”

    2. Galaxy of Fear is horror for the Goosebumps/Animorphs/Are you Afraid of the Dark?/Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark demographic, but it’s still horror.

  8. There’s also the matter of poking someone with a “laser sword” and failing to bisect the opponent. What kind of resistance does a body have? Wouldn’t it be smarter just to make a massive exit wound through the top of the head?

  9. See the door melt…I am immediately reminded of the Monster From the Id in Forbidden Planet, but the effect of that on anything with a water-based interior would be spectacular, not to mention loud. By the way, those clouds of live steam are extremely deadly to humans that breathe air.

  10. I seem to remember old lore books saying these things were some sort of eddy current induction sword that just dumps energy into whatever matter intersects with the field, and the explanation for the plasma not cooking the room wasn’t so much “the magnetic field keeps the hot plasma in” as “the plasma is an aurora-type reaction with low-thermal-mass atmospheric gases and airborne particles that cool instantly on leaving the field, while objects with thermal mass like meatbags, droids, buildings and spaceships can’t rid themselves of the heat fast enough and are thus burned/melted/cut”

    I mean it’s all magic space wizard crap so any thing’s as good as the next but that’s the explanation that stuck in my head for why the jedi aren’t roasting themselves on their own swords.

    1. I mean it’s all magic space wizard crap so any thing’s as good as the next….

      It’s the “next thing” that’s the problem; there’s zero consistency.

      Lightsabers were lethal, limb-chopping, body-bisecting, insta-kill magic weapons … until they weren’t … but only when applied to major characters (until/unless Drama demanded their death, a la Han Solo). They still take out Stormtroopers (without marking their armor — someone please explain that), side characters, and unnamed extras with ease.

      Obi-Wan disintegrated into nothing when Vader struck him in the arm. Qui-Gon got stabbed, Maul got cut in half; both died. Contrast with Finn, who got sliced vertically up the spine, spent some time in bacta, and walked away with a sewn-up cut in his jacket.

      Either lightsabers are dangerous and lethal, or they aren’t. The picking and choosing when they can be lethal and then hand-waving an explanation (the “next thing”) is just terrible writing. They don’t even bother to hang a lampshade on it!

  11. The general rule of fantastical fiction is that if you want to be taken seriously, your fantastical elements must be consistent. Your made-up tech, magical system, or other deviation from known reality must have rules & limits- and must follow those rules.
    Not following the rules takes the audience out of the story and removes the potential for actual drama. If someone in a fantastical story can get run through by a lazer sword and survive, then why should we worry about any of the other characters in the show? They may as well be wearing a bright, glowing suit that has “PLOT ARMOR!” written all over it.

  12. Back in the days of high pressure steam, as used on US Navy ships, one of the ways to find a live steam leak (where the pressure and temperature is off the frickin meter) was to walk into it and be sliced in twain, or just have a limb sliced off. The preferred way was to walk carefully in the engineering spaces waving a broom handle around and where the broom is cut, well, that’s an indication of a live steam leak.

    Now add a bazillion electrically excited atomic particles and, yeah, ouch. Or not. Because you’re dead (and burnt and exploded and pressure cooked and parched and steamed.)

    Yeah, let’s see… Obi bites it and disappears, Luke loses a hand, all sorts of stuff gets sliced, diced, burnt and such to great destruction but magic space chick survives because guuuurrrl power. Yeah. There’s a reason I like Episode 3 (lots of death and those darned pesky Jedi get it) and Episodes 4-6. And nothing else. NOTHING ELSE. It’s all dead to me.

  13. While I have no disagreement with the logic, Lucas already broke this back in the Clone Wars with Maul’s return. If he can be cut in half and survive then anything goes and people only die due to the power of the plot (I mean the Force!).

    On that basis I have no problem with Ahsoka or whoever getting stabbed and surviving. Of course, one then has to ask why Qui-Gon died?

    Coming back in a circle because the his death was the first step to bring back balance to the force.

    Now that Anakin/Vader has brought back balance to the force (light must be balanced by dark), then people can survive a light saber.

    This convoluted reasoning also explains why Maul didn’t die, though Palpatine’s survival remains problematical, but he cheated with clones etc. So probably gets a pass.

    1. A DARK SIDER being able to delay death by clinging to their hate and anger was already an established power before Episode I even came out (Maw gets cut in half in the live action opening cutscene of Dark Forces II). Before Clone Wars CG it was even a usable power in at least one video game (Jedi Academy’s Dark Rage, which makes it so you’ll only be reduced to one HP from any source of damage but at the end will have only one HP regardless of damage taken and be too fatigued to use any other power), and being able to keep it up long term was the signature ability of a major antagonist (Darth Scion, an abomination who couldn’t be killed till his will is eroded).

    2. According to Lucas, the presence of the Sith IS the imbalance in the Force. When all is balanced, there are no Sith, no Dark Side users.

      Anakin/Vader fulfilled the prophecy, not by turning to the Dark Side, but by fathering Luke and Leia, who defeated the Sith to restore balance. Again, that’s according to Lucas.

      The new imbalance is apparently because Disney decided that Luke, while a very skilled and powerful Jedi, is a sh!tty teacher who couldn’t keep his star pupil from temptation, then went all “burn down the Jedi Order, it’s not worth saving” emo, and finally had to be brought back by Mary Sue “Grrl Power” Palpatine.

  14. Having spent over 40 years as an engineer using a BSME (with an emphasis in heat transfer and thermogoddamics) I remembered an antique paper on the topic of lean beef vs. fat beef (roast beast) from 1975:

    An excerpt from the middle of the paper:

    “Using best property data available, it was found that a typical lean beef would have a thermal conductivity of 0.324 BTU/hr ft°F while a roast beef (13% fat) would have k = 0.291 BTU/hr ft°F. The same products would have specific heats of 0.85 BTU/lb,°F and 0.73 BTU/lbm°F. Since no density data were available, the value was held constant during computations. Using typical parameters and figure 2, it was found that the heating or cooling rate parameter for roast beef was 10% lower than the value for lean beef. It should be interesting to note that the influence of fat on specific heat (C,) was the predominant factor since the thermal conductivity for lean beef was slightly higher.”

    (Sorry about any typos, it’s an old typewritten document.)

    While fat is a little better than meat as an insulator, I’m guessing a 10% difference wouldn’t make much difference to a light saber regardless of its mode of operation.

    Yeah, sorry to bring actual data to a fantasy discussion. This kind of stuff pisses me off as much as spaceships making “whooshing” sounds or banked turns.

  15. “I gave up entirely on Disney Star Wars part way through Boba Fett and never looked back”

    Beat me by a long shot. Only reason I didn’t walk out of the theater midway through Episode VIII was because I was there with one of my sons.

    I pulled the eject lever on the franchise as soon as the credits rolled.

  16. I saw the original film in a theater when it first came out. I thought (at 14 ) it was the greatest movie ever. But I always assumed lightsaber beams were made of the
    Force. And that a Jedi had some control over
    it’s properties. It was not until years later that
    I found out they were not. I still think that was
    how they should have gone.
    A magic Macguffin does not have to follow real physics and even mediocre writers can avoid glaring mistakes.
    I have not watched anything but the 6 movies,
    and read Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Minds Eye, but have not seen anything else.
    And I am glad, it sounds like it’s all really bad now.

    1. There’s a lot of good EU books, and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is really only as high as it’s put (which isn’t very high) because of the historical importance. The Thrawn Trilogy, the Rogue Squadron series, “I, Jedi”, and the Hand of Thrawn duology are all great and form a cohesive thread,

        1. Darth Plagueis is great, but it’s very much a conclusion to the decades of prior EU works, just like Millennium Falcon, and is best appreciated late in EU reading.

    2. The way I understand it, the original light sabers (in the distant murky past) were “force sabers” – essentially just tubes used to channel and focus the raw power of the Force. Problem: only the Dark Side could provide the necessary results, so the wielder had to develop Hulk Smash level of strong emotions, and be able to do that on a moment’s notice. Especially anger and cruelty. Not good for a Jedi’s long term mental health. So eventually they developed the weapon in a more technological laser-like direction.

      It’s possible that it’s still using the Force for raw power, and the technology is merely a tool to make it more manageable and pleasant to use. Maybe the beam’s physical effects are somehow controllable by a Jedi. Would also explain why it never really took off among galactic muggles; to them it’s either on or off, and too difficult to control for everyday use.

      Sort of hand-wavy retconning there, but the franchise would make a heck of a lot more sense that way. It’s not a plasma cutter, it’s a technologically focused beam of magic!

  17. Sounds like some people with limited experience have a lack of understanding about force magnitude…a bit like the old martial artists who thought they could neutralize a bullet’s impact using the same methods that worked with low velocity impacts. Last I heard, not too many of them survived the learning experience. On a lighter note, regarding plot armor, it’s my understanding from anime that gals are the ones who really have the plot.

  18. It’s way worse than any in universe physics and consistency issue.

    They could have given a character an opportunity to learn a real lesson. They could have had a physical reminder of prior failures. They could have given a Mandalorian a Manalorian robot eye/arm/whatever. Fight 2 ending with Mandalorian cyborg weapon (which they hint but don’t show till then) is how it goes in a better universe.

    1. In a discussion why Rey is a “Mary Sue” and Luke is not — because Kathleen Kennedy’s defenders apparently still make that argument — I saw someone include the “lessons learned” and “scars earned” facts.

      Luke was innately-gifted, for sure, but he was also trained — for however brief a period — by Kenobi AND Yoda. When he ran off to face Vader before he was ready, he lost his hand, and the only reason he didn’t lose his life was because Vader was trying to turn him, not kill him. Luke had to earn the trust of Han, Chewie, and Leia, by rescuing Leia and then serving and surviving real battles together. Even so, he lost friends and comrades. He started with nothing but the potential for greatness; he had to work for the rest.

      That’s a solid character arc, right there.

      By contrast, Rey does everything with near-zero training. When she acts brash and overconfident, it doesn’t cost her anything; she might lose the fight and have to retreat temporarily, but she doesn’t get seriously hurt. She instantly had support from Han, Chewie, and Leia, despite having zero shared history. And she never had to cope with the loss of a friend because in her arc, everyone she’s close to survives (Han excepted, but she was friendlier with Chewie anyway). Because she’s just that awesome, or something. And in the end, after claiming Luke’s friends, allies, and former purpose as her own, when asked her name she has the nerve to claim Luke’s very identity by calling herself a Skywalker.

      That’s just crappy “Grrl Power” writing. Kathleen Kennedy’s defenders notwithstanding, the two are not at all the same.

      1. Yeah, that struck me as lame, too. You are damn well Rey Palpatine! Own it! And then be a Jedi in spite of the old bastard. That would show far more strength of character.

        “My name is Rey Palpatine. I’m the Emperor’s granddaughter. And I’m going to dedicate my life to correcting what he did to the Force.”

        1. Boom! Solid ending right there!

          But no, she had to take everything that was Luke’s and corrupt it with some Mary Sue “Grrl Power” trip. Because at the end of the movie, even with “Grrl Power” rules meaning all she needs is her own inner strength — no friends, no training, no other support — she’s still not OK with who she is!

          And what makes her think she’s qualified to train the next generation of Jedi, anyway?

          It’s like ending the Star Wars series with that scene from the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, where Aang needs a waterbending teacher, Katara has the gift but is completely untrained, and she’s all, “Sure, I’ll teach you what I know!”

          Yea, the full curriculum of everything she knew — basically one move, which she couldn’t perform consistently — took like 10 seconds.

          Is that what “Jedi training” under Rey will look like?

        2. Honestly, I expected Rey to be a Kenobi. I haven’t watched all of the Clone Wars cartoons yet, but I vaguely remember that Obi-Wan had some sort of discreet (but shameful – he’s a space monk ya know) romance with the Queen of Mandalore. As a Kenobi-via-Mandalore Rey has grandpa’s stoicism and grandma’s regal grace, with some family resemblance from both. That Palpatine business felt like it came out of nowhere and felt all wrong to me.

  19. It seems like they’re falling back on the older Star Wars EU canons, but it still doesn’t make sense, especially in the movie canon.

    Fat is “resistant to heat”, bwahahahahaha… have they never fried anything or made bacon?! Water is resistant to changes in temp, and fats transfer heat, start to smoke when too hot, and then start on fire. Hydration levels are what keeps your temperature homeostasis and when you get too hot you sweat. When too much heat happens, e.g. fire, the heat causes the fluids and blood to leave the area to prevent adding to the damage, but it’s not an immediate process – so it contributes. Fat tissue is what maintains the heat levels of exposure and causes further tissue damage in non-exposed areas. This is why you run water over a burn – to bring the fat temps down. Your body fat is literally what causes you to burn in a fire and spreads the damage. For a visual, throw an extremely lean piece of meat on a raging grill and then a piece of fat. Fat cells also have encapsulated fluids, that are largely fixed in place, which causes popping and splatters when under high heat.

    Deep tissue fire damage in the core is most definitely fatal. The body’s mechanics to deal with trauma is to increase blood at the core. A drastic loss of fluids and severe tissue damage would require significant replacements of body parts before the body went into shock or system failure, both of which would be extremely quick.

    I’d say to them that it’s a very complicated wound, go look at severe burn victims and see how much fluid continues to leave the body, and look up why they scrub burned flesh off with a wire bristle brush on 3rd-degree burns and worse. Or even better yet, go take a first responder class at the fire department.

    1. Fat is more “resistant to heat” than water, and water is more “resistant to changes in temp” than fat, but neither in the way most people think.

      As you pointed out, both are used as heat-transfer mediums while cooking. Cooking involves bringing overwhelming heat energy — to overcome either medium’s “resistance” — and then use it to transfer that heat into the food. The difference is in the nature of each medium’s “resistance”:
      – Fat’s “resistance to heat” means that it can be heated to cooking temps without boiling off, but too hot and it will smoke and catch fire. (“Resistance to boiling” would be a better term.)
      – Water’s “resistance to change” means while it takes considerable energy to get it boiling, once there it takes much less energy to keep it boiling even as raw food is dropped in, but too hot and it evaporates into steam.

      And if you get both too hot and combine them … well, that’s how kitchen fires start. (I’m sure we’ve all seen the “fried turkey” disaster videos.) It’s not quite explosive, but close enough.

      So how does that information translate to lightsabers? Well, lightsabers are a source of localized, overwhelming heat energy — literally two orders of magnitude hotter than “cooking” temps — and the body is a source of both fat and water in the same container. What should happen is, depending on the individual body’s fat-to-water ratio, the area around a lightsaber wound should either flash boil into a fine red mist, or ignite into a fat-fueled fireball.

      Neither should be considered “survivable” no matter how much bacta you have on hand. The damage is simply too catastrophic and deep.

  20. In my books the good guys fight nanotech zombies. They use 30mm HE and armor piercing, which often can’t penetrate the armor except at point blank range.

    Next step up is the railgun, which tops out at ~10,000 feet per second. Tungsten penetrator with a fat iron jacket. The idea being, at 10K FPS, the air friction heats the round to about 3000 degrees F, the iron jacket splashes on the outside of Mr. Zombie and sets him on fire, while the penetrator punches through a creates a steam explosion inside, blasts zombie innards out of every hole in the armor.

    Then there is the plasma gun, which is basically lightning you can point and operates at ~10,000-30,000 degrees. At those temperatures, biological materials, carbon-based armor and metals all vaporize. Pfft. Gone.

    So if we’re saying that a light saber is a rod of plasma, which is indeed what they say, then -nobody- is going to survive getting poked with that. Uh uh. Biiiig steam explosion. Very energetic.

    Some people above mentioned the insulating properties of fat. At the temperatures we’re talking about, fat is a fuel. Essentially diesel fuel in terms of flash point and energy content, that’s why they make fryer fat into biodiesel.

    Long story short, you stick a plasma temperature something into a biological creature, it is going to give you a really hearty explosion with guts flying everywhere. Highly dangerous to the wielder, very super fatal to the target.

    So, as usual, Larry is right and Disney is run by people who do not give a single shit about science fiction or even decent writing. The arching fire from energy weapons in space was stupider, IMHO, but this is a close second.

  21. My theory is that light sabers are made out of the same substance as movie lava. Only in the movies can a person survive direct full-body contact with lava that is still in the liquid state.

    The worst moment in Jackson’s travesty of The Lord of the Rings came when Gollum fell into the lava on Mount Doom and sank into it, smiling and clutching his ‘Precious’ as he slowly submerged. Apparently he was made of solid unobtainium, and was thus able to sink in a medium 3 times as dense and at least 100,000 times as viscous as water. Since unobtainium is well known to be utterly fireproof, neither he nor his loincloth caught fire before even hitting the over-1,000°C surface, as anything made of animal or vegetable matter would do.

    Apparently, both CGI lava and light-saber blades have the unique property of being able to melt steel and gold without being hot enough to burn humans. I submit to you that they are one and the same.

  22. I gave up on disneywars when they drove a ship through another ship with a hyperdrive to deus ex machina their way out of shittier writing than usual… If you can do that in this universe then why didn’t you do it 2 deathstars ago?!? Its the size of a fscking moon it is not like it can move fast. Just remote control a bunch of spaceships into hyper-driving into the big bad planet destroying military base.

    BTW Everyone in this franchise hates storm troopers, but a good percentage of them are either clone slaves, or regular people that have been abducted and re-programmed. So whenever your heros are gleefully shooting stormtroopers, they are also gunning down slaves in mass quantities.

    1. Ya gotta admit, though, it was a visually stunning scene. If you just ignored the fact that it didn’t make a damn bit of sense.

      I gave up on that travesty a bit earlier, though — when they had starships dropping bombs on other starships…INNN SPAAAACE!!

      And there was ONE arming device, handheld, not tethered or secured in any way, that some idiot could just DROP and LOSE at the most critical moment of the plot.

      “The Stupid is strong with this one.”

      1. Contrast to the scene in ‘Rogue One’ where the Y-wings made the ion torpedo run on the Star Destroyer.
        That scene was interesting and plausible. The Stupid Gravity Bombers was not, being full of obvious Plot Contrivances and phony attempts to build tension.

        1. As an x-wing vs tie-fighter nut, all the torpedo attacks in the movies annoy the heck out of me. You have to take down the shields, then hit the hull in essentially 2 different attack waves. It makes more sense to have a Y-wings squadron break of in pairs and attack from multiple axes with pre-planned time on target barrages. IE 2 waves of torpedoes hitting one area of the ship with enough separation to take down the shields and then damage the hull.

          As an x-wing vs tie-fighter nut I also acknowledge that the distances these ships are fighting in space are stupidly and unrealistically close. But you have to be able to fit everyone within the camera angles right?

          1. Of course- would the ‘Top Gun’ films been as thrilling if Maverick just launched a BVR missile attack instead of dogfighting?

          2. The opening to I, Jedi actually talks about just clearing fodder by launching missiles at them. Horn notes it is seen as wasteful, but Rogue Squadron recognizes such quick kills dramatically lower the chance of the enemy getting lucky and taking out a far more precious pilot.

            The real question that leads to is why no faction mixes in the cheapest/smallest droid fighter possible to soak up enemy missiles alongside actually competent human pilots.

        2. The only way “spaceships dropping bombs on spaceships, in space” works, is if the “bomb dropper” mechanisms are spring-loaded (or some sci-fi equivalent that doesn’t simply “drop” the bombs, but somehow propels them out — without detonating them).

          But nothing like that was indicated, so any inclusion of that idea would be a retcon (retroactive continuity) fix, the need for which is an indicator of both weak conception (i.e. they don’t understand their source material) and sh!tty writing.

          1. Even then, if the targeted spaceship reverses its artificial gravity field (or flips over) the bombs drop back on the bomber.

            My money’s on shitty writing, and just not giving a shit in general.

          2. @Imaginos1892:

            True, and it probably wouldn’t work anyway due to actual physics and the realities of mechanical devices. To whit, the bombs were “armed” before being released, so the propulsion mechanism would have to: a. accelerate all of them smoothly and evenly enough to avoid jarring them into each other and detonating them inside the bomber; b. be perfectly aligned so that the bombs don’t jar against the tube as they’re being ejected and detonating inside the bomber; and c. even if ‘a’ and ‘b’ are true, hope and pray the bomber doesn’t take a laser blast and set the whole thing rattling and detonate the bombs inside the bomber.

            There’s enough problems with it — easily foreseeable — that the original hypothesis remains the most likely. Sh!tty writing, with zero understanding or care about the source material.

          3. The bomber’s own artificial gravity field would take care of the initial ‘dropping’ phase, but after that the bombs are just drifting INNN SPAAACE!! at a very low relative velocity, subject to being pushed around by any other gravity fields they encounter.

            Now if they were ejected at high velocity by a much stronger gravity field, and automatically armed when they exit the bomb bay…oh, wait, now you’ve got a gravity cannon, shooting explosive shells. Nahhh, that makes way too much sense for this bunch.

          4. If the scene was executed well, then we’d not worry so much about the physics of the thing.
            But because it was done so poorly in every aspect, the technical flaws just stand out so much more than they would otherwise. The obvious fact that it was written as a series of contrivances to create DRAMA!!!, or that the editing was the opposite of thrilling, or that the end result was pretty telegraphed- all those things just accentuate the physical stupidity of the underlying physics. Because the audience isn’t actually involved in the characters or their actions, we have lots of time to ponder the stupid physics.

    2. There’s ways to retcon this into working, but it would have been so much easier to just explain it in the freaking movie. Who needs superweapons when you can just strap a hyperdrive to a rock and point it at a planet?

      It comes down to the hyperspace tracker, which in order to work, would have to have a mass-presence in hyperspace at all times. This gives something meaty in hyperspace for the Raddus to collide with and suddenly everything works again, and we get a reason why this tactic wasn’t used before.

      Of course the main issue is the writers don’t know or care that this is a problem.

      1. “Who needs superweapons when you can just strap a hyperdrive to a rock and point it at a planet?”

        Doc Smith used this plot device repeatedly in the later books of the Lensman Series. His ultimate version of this weapon were the Nth Space planets that were launched at Ploor and its primary at multiple times lightspeed. Result: Type Two Supernova.

  23. Little late on this but
    “And we know they do this cutting action through heat, like Qui-Gon plasma torching his way through blast doors that appear to be battleship armor plate level thick, and turning them into sparks and molten metal.”

    I would disagree. If heat was the primary action of lightsabers we would see things happen very differently. What I think is actually happening is a sort of molecular shearing, that produces heat as a side-effect. This avoids messy things like people flash-boiling and exploding when stabbed.

    Lightsabers cut quickly and cleanly through *most* things, but as we see with Qui-Gon’s blast door, and Vader’s pauldrons, specifically hardened items offer resistance to the saber’s blade. Qui-gon leveraged this to melt his way through a blast door he couldn’t easily just cut. Essentially the denser a material is, the more heat is produced when those molecular bonds are ripped apart by the lightsaber’s hypermatter shearing field or whatever it is.

  24. If the show (like most of the Darth Kennedy products) was actually well written, competently directed, and had really good and engaging characters, dialogue, and action, well, then the audience wouldn’t be thinking about the physics of things.
    A badly done movie or show draws attention to its shortcomings because there’s really nothing else to look at.

  25. While back, I wrote a laser rifle for a short story. Low power, and you could ‘stun’ someone by causing excess heat, heat stroke. High power, and you turned them into a bloody mist.

  26. Umm, you guys are all late. Star Trek committed all these gaffes, starting in 1966.
    Phaser? The target sometimes vanishes. Ever wonder what ~200lbs of meat boiling into vapor (a *phase* change) would SMELL like, not to mention the expansive effect?
    You can’t get away from an explosion by claiming a “molecular” (with metals, that’s not right) shear, either. COMBUSTION is what happens when the Weak Nuclear Force is liberated. The “disruptor” is apparently doing the same thing.
    ST:TOS continued Hollywood’s horrible tradition of staging WW1-fighter combat with starships, directors having apparently forgotten the lessons of Alfred Hitchcock, and not realizing that the US Navy’s submarine force is present to show the timescale of BVR combat between isolated elements working for hours with the most tenuous of indications – and the need for smart weapons with long transit times.

    Neither ST nor SW ever notice that travel AND combat take time.

    Everyone can do better than this. The first person to film an episode of CJ Cherryh’s Merchanter series will hit most marks for realism, including the continuing utility of small arms in use today!

    1. If the show is well written and interesting, people don’t notice the physics gaffs, plot holes, or other problems, and don’t really care either.
      A poorly written show inadvertently draws attention to those problems, as there’s really nothing else to do.

    2. “Neither ST nor SW ever notice that travel AND combat take time.”

      Or any other show that has to be compressed to show a plot in a limited amount of time.

      1. So “compression” turns into fistfights, gun battles and shipwrecks at under 200 mph, again because the audience is children.

        I’ve BEEN on an American sub making a tactical approach, and it’s only dull if you can’t write/direct.

        This reminds me of another thing that ST does: Ignore canon/history by changing technical capability to further a plot. In one episode, Nomad can’t crush shields right away; neither can Vger – but both dedicated automatons are outclassed by one rebellious Maquis? Bah.
        This might as well be Harry Potter, waving wands, with the talent depending on genetics.

        1. See my point above- if stuff is well written, normal people don’t notice the plot holes, and even the aspies will usually work out a way to overlook them.
          Consider the good Indiana Jones films. Plot holes, anachronism, and factual errors a plenty, but nobody really cares, because they are too busy watching the movie.
          Badly written stuff draws the audience’s attention to the problems. And one can have painstaking, even autistic attention to detail and still have bad writing & poor pacing that makes the audience hate it- because nobody like to hear Major Exposition go all talky about stuff that the people on screen should already know.

    3. The EU was pretty good at remembering travel time is a thing, and it actually established that the space travel in the original film and ESB did take time (mostly to give Luke more training time), it’s just off screen because “The trip to Alderaan took about a month” and “The delay with the worm thing and having to go by backup hyperdrive meant the Falcon took a couple months to get to Bespin” doesn’t really mater within the films.

  27. One of the things people like Drinker have brought up about the show is how TV Thrawn is not Zahn’s Thrawn. I believe the quote is that he’s the dumb guy’s idea of a smart guy, someone who tries to pass off obviously dumb actions by saying it was part of his Master Plan!!!
    The book Thrawn just did awesome, successful, well-planned actions first, and then explained how he did it.

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