The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 236: Star Wars 2

Premier Date: September 5, 2015

It is possible to dodge a barrage of Stormtrooper blaster fire.


By analyzing footage from the Star Wars films, Adam determined that the blaster bolts moved at an average speed of 130 miles per hour (210 km/h). Jamie built a pneumatic cannon to launch projectiles at this speed, testing various materials for safety and behavior in flight. Polyethylene foam slugs and standard Ping-Pong balls did not fly straight or reach the required speed, but foam balls with dart-like shafts and feathers performed satisfactorily.

They set up a replica of a Rebel ship passageway, 40 feet (12 m) long, with the launcher mounted in a stand and firing from one end to the other. After adjustments to the projectiles to make them spin and therefore fly more accurately. Adam and Jamie took turns shooting the weapon while the other man stood in the line of fire and tried to dodge the projectile as it was fired. Neither was able to dodge any of three shots.

In a second trial, the shooter held the launcher in a “carry” position with the barrel lowered, and had to raise it to firing position before each shot. Even with this change, neither Adam nor Jamie was able to dodge any of the shots. They classified the myth as busted, but watched as a fencing expert successfully deflected some shots with a bamboo sword, and they noting that a Jedi knight could possibly protect himself with his lightsaber.

In a one-on-one swordfight, the combatant on the higher ground has a significant advantage. (Based on the lightsaber duel at the end of Revenge of the Sith.)


Adam and Jamie decided that the winner of each duel would be the person who first touched the other with his blade. Adam designed suits made from conductive copper fabric, with belts that lit up when a hit was scored; he also fabricated lightsaber hilts with carbon fiber tubes as blades, covered with foam pipe insulation and copper mesh. He and Jamie fought 25 duels on a flat platform as a control test, with 13 wins for Adam and 12 for Jamie.

They then set one platform higher than the other and fought 25 more duels, with Adam on the high platform. As the duels progressed, Jamie began to score wins by blocking Adam’s attacks and striking at his ankles. Although Adam won 14-11, he and Jamie did not consider their results to be conclusive because neither man had any experience with swordfighting.

After a training session with a fencing expert, they built a set to re-create the conditions of the duel, including a ramp with an uneven surface to match the incline on which Obi-Wan and Anakin fought. They fought 50 duels, with each man taking the high ground for 25; overall, the high man won 24 times, the low man 26. Since the results for the two positions were so evenly matched, Adam and Jamie judged the myth as busted.