A new lightsaber made its debut in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, and as you might expect it’s stirred a great deal of controversy across the Internet.

So controversial that even the French are up in arms.

Many folks (way too many, you may be thinking) are concerned that the unidentified Sith in the trailer could unintentionally slice his hand because of a dangerous-looking crossguard. Which is not an entirely misplaced concern, all things considered.

Maybe he’s just a later-generation Skywalker who learned from experience by adopting a claymore-like hilt to protect his forearm from other lightsabers?

The Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson spoke to “certified master bladesmith” Kevin Cashen to get clarification. He said that while the crossguard is indeed meant to protect in that way, the lightsaber version “would be very bad to have around your hand.”

But the Post was on top of this developing story like Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate, and Brian Fung added some deep reporting:

In the Star Wars universe, there are certain rare materials that are thought to be lightsaber-resistant. Among these are substances like phrik, cortosis and Mandalorian iron, which have been used to create weapons and armor that can deflect or short-circuit lightsaber beams. There's a precedent for lightsabers made of phrik: Emperor Palpatine's lightsaber was, according to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary. In Star Wars video games, cortosis has been shown to block lightsabers, and sometimes shut them down.

Not to be outdone, The Verge proffered an alternative theory (from a commenter) for the lightsaber hilt’s usefulness: “maybe this guy is an old Sith ‘reawakened,’ and that he has an early model lightsaber.”

Reawakened Sith? Are we finally going to see zombies, complete with antiquated lightsabers, in the Star Wars universe?

The apparent design flaw bothered TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington enough that he decided to try his hand at fixing it, adding a metal guard below the hilt to protect the wielder’s hand.

Of course, the trailer only clocks in at 88 quick seconds and we get almost no context whatsoever for the odd-looking new lightsaber’s place in Star Wars canon. Given the creepy, snowy forest the Sith is walking through, maybe the hilt is just some sort of advanced hand-warmer technology?

Or maybe it was just meant to look strikingly cool.

What do you think? Is the new Star Wars lightsaber a forward-thinking innovation in Sith weaponry or Jar Jar Binks-level ridiculous?