NSFW: About the crossguard on that lightsaber...

NSFW is a weekly op-ed column in which I talk about whatever's on my mind. Sometimes it'll have something to do with the technology we cover here on iMore; sometimes it'll be whatever pops into my head. Your questions, comments and observations are welcome.

On Friday, Disney released a teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie, which won't come out until the holiday season next year. Haven't seen it? Go check it out. I'll be waiting here. It's entitled The Force Awakens, and in the brief footage, we get to see stormtroopers, a spherical droid bouncing along, a Sith-looking character with a wicked-looking lightsaber, and the money shot: the Millennium Falcon in all its glory, dodging and weaving as it fights TIE Fighters. Predictably, Star Wars fans on the Internet found something to lose their minds about: In this case, the crossguard on the light saber.

I was seven years old when A New Hope came out. And like for many people of my generation, Star Wars was a total game changer. It was a mythology that grabbed ahold of my attention in a way very little else did at that age. I asked for the toys for Christmas and birthday presents. I read the comic books. I stood in line to see the films, and played in back yards with my friends re-enacting scenes from the movies.

I felt invested in Star Wars like few other things in my life. The mythic archetypes expressed in the films: The battle of good and evil, the rise of the hero, the defeat and ultimate redemption of the villain, the love story — all the stuff Joseph Campbell wrote about in The Hero with a Thousand Faces — that all resonated with me on a profound level.

Of course, times and tastes change, and by the time the prequel trilogy arrived, I was a parent myself, an adult, and very cynical. Besides that, simply as films, the first three chapters of the Star Wars saga are utter crap.

So I consider myself pretty typical in taste and experience when compared to the average Internet sci-fi nerd.

I was skeptical when I heard that J.J. Abrams would helm the next Star Wars film. Abrams ruffled more than a few feathers with his reboot of the Star Trek franchise, basically tossing accepted Star Trek story canon to the wind by creating an alternate timeline in which his stories work. The films made money, but there are still some die-hard Star Trek enthusiasts who rankle at what he's done.

Still, the second I heard the The Force Awakens trailer would drop on iTunes, I got excited. I couldn't wait to see what Abrams has in store for us next year.

The second I saw the crossguard on that light saber, I thought to myself, "Hey, that looks kinda wicked." And then I thought to myself, "Yeah, but if you get into a lightsaber duel with that thing and just slide up to the hilt, wouldn't you just cut the crossguard off?"

In that moment, I knew what was going to happen. The Internet didn't disappoint.

Twitter and other social networks erupted in chatter, and before too long tech blogs across the Internet were buzzing too.

The complaints range across the board: Some people are upset that others are calling it the "hilt" instead of the "crossguard." Others scoff at the implausibility of how the crossguard would be used, or what purpose it would serve. Others hit upon the same question that I had, and are quick to point out there are lightsaber-proof substances in the Star Wars universe: Substances whose very existence would appear to be eradicated by Disney's decision to axe the "expanded universe," as others have countered.

In short, in the past 24 hours I've seen more words spilled on tech blogs and in tech podcasts about the stupid crossguard on that stupid lightsaber than just about anything else that happened this week.

Well, Apple is shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I guess people needed something to write about. And yes, smartasses, the irony isn't lost on me, of my complaining about the complaining.

I'm pretty sure that everyone responsible for this movie nerded out on Star Wars the same way the rest of us did when they were kids, and knew exactly what they were doing when that scene was shot and when it was included in the trailer. So as fun as it is to speculate about how the crossguard functions and what it's made of, I think writing it off as a problem or as an error is totally premature. I also suspect that seeing the Internet expend a lot of energy ruminating on it is exactly what the moviemakers had in mind.

So to all of us who have spilled ink or recorded podcasts or whatever else about the The Force Awakens trailer in the past day, congrats! You've been part of a successful viral marketing scheme. And to anyone who's still taking the debate about that stupid crossguard seriously, relax, nerds. It's only a movie.