The Star Wars films may be about a bunch of warriors, smugglers, and monarchs fighting for the fate of the galaxy, but it’s also about how good they look while doing it. That’s thanks in part to their iconic poses. Every Star Wars character has a preferred stance for how they hold their weapon of choice pre-combat. We’re here to not only explore but celebrate the art of looking cool while holding a toy gun or fluorescent lightbulb on a stick.
The tried-and-true stance for any Jedi, the shoulder-height two-handed grip may lack flash, but it makes up for it with pure skill. These folks are ready for a fight. Yoda’s lightsaber reveal packed the biggest punch, coming off as a big surprise during Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and causing everyone in my audience to cheer (even as some fans griped about the implausibility). Rey’s grip is strong and secure—with the added bonus of her knee not coming past her ankle, a must for anyone wanting to protect their cartilage.
Luke Skywalker, arguably one of the greatest Jedi in the franchise, runs the gamut from Absolute Master to kid first learning how to play baseball. And poor Obi-Wan Kenobi. At least Ewan McGregor showed you at your prime, because that lightsaber’s looking like a foam noodle that was just fished out of the pool.
Every person who wields a lightsaber tends to get flexible with how they hold and use their weapon of choice. The two-handed grip might be the standard, but everyone likes to put their own spin on things. However, I wanted to pull out these three gents as special mentions of the “I do what I want” style of lightsabering. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader’s style tends to grow and adapt from film to film, so you never quite know what to expect with him. Erza from Star Wars Rebels played around a bit with his technique, especially when he was dabbling with the Dark Side. And Kylo Ren...he’ll just adopt any pose that he thinks looks cool. “I’m an individual, Dad!”
Mace Windu loved to experiment with ways to properly hold a lightsaber, although none of them seemed to stick. He always seemed on the cusp of figuring out that perfect stance, but something kept him from truly mastering it. Maybe it was the direction Samuel L. Jackson was given, or the fact that the movies needed him to be unsettled in his fighting style so Anakin and the Emperor would be able to overpower him more easily. Who knows, maybe it’s Maybelline.
It’s a special treat anytime a Jedi Master (or Sith Lord) shows off the fact that they’re not limited to one lightsaber. After all, the single lightsaber thing is so yesterday. We’ve got Ahsoka, the duel wielder. Darth Maul, whose double-bladed lightsaber meant double the pleasure, double the fun. And then, of course, you’ve got General Grievous, who’s just, like, “Look at me, I’ve got a billion arms and each one’s holding a lightsaber, asshole!”
Fashion kills, and whoever says it doesn’t is a nerf-herder.
Now, we move on to the blasters. And boy, the tried-and-true blaster holding technique is “My arm keeps wanting to fall down under the weight of this giant space gun but I’m not going to let it.” Poe’s the only one who manages to hold his gun in one hand; everybody else has that second grip going like their gun is seconds away from falling to the floor.
Cassian Andor doesn’t even look like he wants to hold a weapon—but rather, he’s doing it out of obligation. I mean, it could make sense, given how he’s a spy, but he’s also a spy who’s not afraid to shoot people in the mouth at the first sign that they’re no longer useful. So, you’re giving us some mixed signals there, buddy. I get that this stance is designed to make sure you’re not shooting people in the face—practicality over finesse—but man oh man does it look boring.
These fighters know that in order to stand out from the crowd, you’ve gotta pack a punch. And that includes your weapons stance. Boba Fett is looking a bit similar to Captain Phasma in the previous shot, but he looks more like he’s holding it up instead of keeping it from falling down. Chewbacca is just being himself, and that’s enough for me. I have no clue what the hell Rex from Star Wars: Clone Wars and Rebels is doing, but it looks fantastic. And Hera from Rebels is pulling a modified version of what I like to call the Queen Stance, which I’ll get into below.
The ladies of Star Wars refuse to let their guns take a nap. It’s too unrefined. Instead, they’re going to point them up to the sky as if to declare “You’re about to be shot in the face by fucking royalty.” Of course, Qi’ra isn’t technically a member of the monarchy, like Padmé Amidala and her daughter Leia Organa are, but she’s the queen of a major crime syndicate, so it’s close enough.
Special mentions for those who are unconventionally always ready for a fight, even if they’re just hanging out. Rose Tico’s automatically got her stunner ready to blast Finn in the face for desertion, Greedo greets Han with the not-shoot-him-first approach, and Emperor Palpatine likes to keep his lightsaber on his arm rest like a white Persian cat that he constantly strokes with his multi-ringed fingers of evil.
Han Solo gets his own category because it’s easier to ask how he won’t hold his blaster than how he will. He is a god of blaster posing, giving us every possible look, angle, and position. He’s got the Queen Stance, full Battle Mode, the Devil-May-Care pose. He isn’t even afraid to point the gun at himself for no goddamn reason. This man is a weapons-wielding legend. Props to Alden Ehrenreich for emulating some of Harrison Ford’s iconic poses in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but you can’t beat the genuine article. Props to you, Han, you’re a master of your craft.
P.S.: A special shout-out to Battle Droid C-3PO from Attack of the Clones, because I’m pretty sure there was no worse fighter in the galaxy.