Star Wars: Why a Rogue One Hero’s Weapon Was HIGHLY Illegal

Baze Malbus' MWC-35c weapon, nicknamed "Staccato Lightning," left a sizeable impression on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and anything that was caught in its crosshairs. The heavy-duty repeating cannon was not only effective, but also notoriously illegal because of just how much destruction it could cause. It was only ever meant for the battlefield, not to be used in civilian-populated areas, like Jedha where Baze got ahold of it.

According to Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, "the equivalent of five laser rifles' worth of destructive output streams through the weapon." Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know states the cannon contains 35,000 blaster shots. That is a massive amount of firepower, which is why Baze had to carry power cells and coolant tanks on his back for the cannon to function. Staccato Lightning was efficient in both close combat and for larger, more widespread targets that swept over the battlefield.

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This deadly weapon was not meant to be carried by a single person, in fact, it was designed to be mounted on an Imperial vehicle as support artillery. The 2017 novel Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills details how Baze liberated the weapon from a stolen shipment: "'The gun, my new gun,' Baze said. 'I found it at Denic’s. It was part of the shipment we stole. It was meant for the Stormtroopers. This weapon, Chirrut, it’s a support weapon. It’s supposed to hook into a vehicle’s power and coolant systems. It’s that kind of firepower.'"

Baze wondered why the Stormtroopers would need a weapon of this magnitude to patrol the city with, when it is clearly is something that belongs on the battlefield. When Baze inquired about what it is used in the city for, he received the horrifying answer: "crowd control." As a hardened warrior and freelance assassin, Baze took the weapon upon himself, so as to bring the fight to the Empire, since they had already brought these weapons into his streets. The thought of using a highly destructive weapon on Imperial troops that they might have used on the civilians of Jedha was a satisfying karmic twist that Baze couldn't resist.

He rigged up the gun to his body armor, noting that it was nearly impossible to conceal in public. However, this didn't outweigh "the benefits of having a weapon that would do what he needed it to do." Staccato Lightning featured two modes: rapid-fire perfect for close combat, and a second mode that collected energy into a single shot to take down larger enemies. In its standard mode, the MWC-35c had a smart targeting system that would group shots into bursts to maximize the firepower on specific targets. The second mode required a pump action to prime the power burst. True to its classification as a repeating cannon, the MWC-35c could be automatic and have the output of a cannon. Calling this weapon a blaster would not do it justice.

Staccato Lightning not only had an enormous output of firepower, but also smart targeting features to make it an effective weapon in many types of combat. This level of firepower and vicious versatility would've outright annihilated any unarmed civilians Stormtroopers pointed the MWC-35c at for "crowd control." But, on top of that, it was definitely illegal for a civilian to have in the Empire. It did make Baze a one-man army and an invaluable member of the resistance fight, helping clear the path of Stormtroopers for Jyn Erso's mission.