Lightsabers are perhaps the most iconic symbols of the whole of Star Wars, and duels using the sacred weapon of the Jedi have seeped their way into the cultural zeitgeist since the release of the franchise's first film in 1977.
From Obi-Wan's sacrifice at the hands of his former apprentice in A New Hope to the dramatic reveal of Vader's true identity at the end of The Empire Strikes Back; from the operatic Darth Maul fight which salvaged The Phantom Menace to Luke Skywalker's Force projection fight in The Last Jedi, lightsaber duels elevate Star Wars from a simple soap opera set in space to a fusion of high fantasy and science fiction, blending a contemporary take on magic (the Force) with the sword fights of samurai and fantasy movies.
Often used as a cinematic allegory for wider wars between opposing ideologies, the weapon's short range encourages an intimacy between combatants not seen in other sci-fi franchises.
As epochal as the films' lightsaber duels are, the weapon forms the forefront of more than just the movies. Some of the best canonical lightsaber duels - in terms of both choreography, vision, emotional intensity and consequence - can be found beyond the nine films that form the Skywalker Saga, with the series' cartoons in particular proving a fitting home for fights involving the blade.