On a recent episode of The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert expertly explained the three-bladed lightsaber seen in the teaser for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (previously). The lightsaber has been subject to some ridicule online by fans who call the design impractical. Colbert used a tweet from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax star Bill Corbett as an example of fan outrage, but Colbert defends the design of the lightsaber’s unique crossguard by saying it is not three separate beams, but rather one continuous beam of plasma.
hilt on light saber stupid and impractical childhood ruined everything ruined!!!1!
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) November 28, 2014
For reference, here is the teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The lightsaber in question can be seen at the 53-second mark.