As you probably already know, G4's Webmaster hates you. But he doesn't hate his job. He loves his job. Not only does his job get him chicks, a slow Friday workday will often result in a company-wide, nerd-riffic email chain of ultimate win.
Courtney K: Do light-sabers work underwater? Inquiring (nerd) minds want to know.
Matt K: Nerd thrusters are go.
Generally, no. If water gets into a non-waterproof saber and it isn’t allowed to dry out, it will short out when activated. This originally was supposed to happen to Obi-Wan in Episode 1, which is why Liam Neeson has to save his ass when he comes running into the scene being chased by the droid on the STAP. But the scene where Neeson lectures him about it was cut. After this incident, Obi-Wan waterproofed his saber, which is why he doesn’t have a problem with it fighting Jango Fett in the rain in Episode 2.
Some stories indicate that sabers will short out if the blade even touches liquid, but this is generally ignored because it implies that the best weapon against a Jedi is a bucket of water. It is possible to make a saber that can be used fully underwater. Kitt Fisto is of an amphibious alien race and uses a specially designed saber that could be used for underwater combat.
Courtney K: Therefore, Wonder Twin Zan > Jedi.
Mike B: Marry me, Matt K.
Matt V: The “wrist hilt” is pretty sneaky. Although one downside I see to that is that you’d probably have a ton of shirts with the end of the sleeves burnt/charred off, especially if you’re a little guy with sloping shoulders. You’d have to have a “go out to attack someone” and a “just goin’ out” wardrobe. And on a Jedi salary, that may not happen.
Adam J: Jedi’s get a salary? I wonder what tax bracket they’re in?
Jedd S.: Do Jedi’s still get year-end bonuses if the Imperial Senate falls to the Galactic Empire?
Matt K: Yes. That’s why Palpatine had them all killed. It Saved the Empire billions.
Rob R: Wouldn't the Saber instantly turn the water to steam? As the water molecules came in contact with the saber, wouldn't they expand and move away, causing more H2O molecules to come into contact with the saber? Thus producing a runaway steam outgassing like a small volcano vent on the bottom of the ocean?
Robert J.: I'm fairly confident that you just detailed the plot from 'Jedi Steamroom Adventures 6' out this Spring on Vivid Video.
Courtney K: That's assuming that a saber is "heat," rather than "light." If it's heat, perhaps. If it's light, then I would guess that it would just refract differently under water (and other atmospheres) just as the light from a flashlight would. If it's both, then...???
*Braces herself for getting bashed by people who know more about physics*
Rob R.: Well, if it was just a flashlight, it could hardly slice through metal, or arms, or whatever you are slicing through.
Matt. K: It's already been demonstrated in Phantom Menace that they can use a light-saber to cut through a heavy steel door, and made it glow red-hot, so I'm going with the "light sabers are really hot" theory.
A saber cut cauterizes wounds and leaves molten metal behind at cut points. In Episode 1, Qui-Gon uses his saber to bring the durasteel blast doors of the Trade Federation ship to melting point. So sabers are definitely hot, but whether or not they give off heat at all is a matter of debate due to the differences in effects between the original films and the prequels.
Before the prequels, it was assumed that a lightsaber was a perfectly efficient device. It doesn't give off any heat or light outside of what you see in the blade. This was partly due to having to explain why the sabers didn't cast a colored glow on their surroundings, because they were just drawn in during post.
In the prequels, the tech existed to have the light sabers cast colored glow on everything around them...and so they did. This contradicts the "perfect efficiency" thing, however, leading to questions of whether or not a saber bleeds off heat, as well.
In the case of plunging a saber into water, you probably would end up with a violent evaporation situation, judging by the way the raindrops in several videogames hiss when landing on a saber blade. That would actually be an awesome way for a Jedi to get away from pursuers, which may explain why Lucas never thought of it.
Jeremy R. WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE NOT WORKING?!! (Just kidding, loving this nerd parade.)
Jonathan G: (Ed: A brief explanation of G4 lore: A long time ago, a G4 email thread about the merits of breakfast foods from the East Coast raged on for several days and several hundred emails. Since then, Dunkin' Donuts has become a signifier for "This thread has gone on long enough!")
(Ed: A brief explanation of G4 lore: A long time ago, a G4 email thread about the merits of breakfast foods from the East Coast raged on for several days and several hundred emails. Since then, Dunkin' Donuts has become a signifier for "This thread has gone on long enough!")
If there's some angle on the under-water light saber issue the meticulous nerds here at G4 missed, please add it in our comments section below!