Home USEFUL ARTICLE The Volume Limitations to Other Types of Big Action Sequences (Lightsaber Duels)

The Volume Limitations to Other Types of Big Action Sequences (Lightsaber Duels)


The Volume Limitations to Other Types of Big Action Sequences: Most Star Wars stories have a light saber combat as their most notable element. They mark the turning point in a narrative, when words can no longer resolve a problem and only the clash of the blades can. This usually takes the form of preventing someone from doing something or going someplace, and it happens so frequently in the franchise that we no longer give the reasons behind character conflict much thought. Instead, we just enjoy it.

The Volume Limitations to Other Types of Big Action Sequences (Lightsaber Duels)

The Volume Limitations to Other Types of Big Action Sequences

While particular story arcs’ climaxes often involve lightsaber duels, the overall idea of the story is usually resolved through greater conflicts. We’re talking about ground combat scenes where conflicts are fought, thus the entire production needs to be more physically based. Two flashback scenes from the younger Ahsoka (played by Ariana Greenblatt) appear in Episode 5 of Ahsoka. These conflicts during the Clone Wars have similar problems to the lightsaber duel.

As a director (and a good one at that), Filoni is clearly trying to convey the sense of chaos that wars and battles are known for. George Lucas himself does the same in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones during the Battle of Geonosis, a natural reference to make in most war movies. Only in the movie we could feel the urgency of the situation because the fog was literally all around and combatants were everywhere. Ahsoka reduced a lot this scale, making it clear they didn’t have that much space to move in the first place in both flashback scenes.


Of course, Attack of the Clones is a movie and Ahsoka is a TV series, there are bound to be limitations. But there are good examples of scenes in Star Wars television that make use of open sets in a much more effective way. In The Mandalorian Season 2 we have two episodes that show battles in different ways. In “The Jedi”, Ahsoka duels with Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) inside the confinement of her koi pond in the Citadel on Calodan, everything made digitally in the Volume. The following episode, “The Tragedy”, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal/Brendan Wayne/Lateef Crowder) joins forces with Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) to fight a platoon of Imperial forces on Tython. This second sequence was filmed in an open set and provides much a wider variety of techniques and ideas for the characters to move and fight because there is an actual set involved. There are hills where Fennec Shand can hide, wide spaces where defense formation can be taken, and so on.

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What Ahsoka has been doing to sort of remedy this limitation is to rely a lot on choreography that’s based on Kendo and the fights in classic Samurai movies. Those are definitely great inspirations to draw from and hit all the right spots with the fans, but it still isn’t enough if done repeatedly as it’s currently being done. As important as those references are for Star Wars, they are not all that make the duels and battles in the franchise as good as they are. Deep down, Star Wars is also fantasy, so there is a lot of room for getting a little crazy when designing lightsaber duels and battle scenes, beyond the physical limitations of the Volume.


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