In all of science fiction, there are only one or two weapons that don’t blend in with the white noise of blasters and lasers and their kind, and the most famous of the standouts is, without doubt, the ligthsaber. These glowing weapons are the perfect blend of elegance, technology, and tradition, bringing the romance and heroism of both Arthur and his knights, and the ancient traditions of the samurai, into the futuristic (I know it was ‘A long time ago…’) setting of the Star Wars world. Even the sound is iconic. Play the shvreem, sound of a ligthsaber firing up, and there isn’t a fan in the world who can keep that smile off of their face.
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Along with the history and technical elegance of the weapon type, comes a further detail that makes them even cooler: these things aren’t sold at your local space port; each Jedi or Sith makes his or her own weapon as part of their training. Sure, there might be one or two floating around after a Jedi or Sith is killed, but to truly wield this weapon to its full potential, it must be the maker who holds the handle.
Even pretty hardcore fans might not know, however, what creates the colour of the sabres. We know that blue and green are usually the good guys, and red the bad guys – but do you know why? The process is slightly different for the Jedi than for the Sith. Where the Sith either create a synthetic version of the crystal, or get a real one and make it ‘bleed,’ the Jedi form a more symbiotic relationship with the weapon.
In order to make the sabre, a Jedi must seek out, and bond with, a Kyber crystal, which is later placed within the weapon. Kyber crystals are normally clear, but as the Jedi bonds with the weapon, the particular traits of the person influence the colour it takes on. The colour of the sabre tells the Jedi council (and anyone else who knows their meaning) a lot about that Jedi. Is he/she best suited to be a warrior? An Ambassador? How connected is the maker to the Force?
You may not be on the Jedi Council, but now you too can know and understand the meaning of each of the ten ligthsaber colours.
Red ligthsabers are never used by Jedi, and for good reason. Kyber crystals are living entities, and as such they are capable of experiencing pain. Users of the Dark Side force red ligthsabers through the suffering of the crystals, rather than through a willing bond, and so the process is called ‘bleeding’ and is rejected by the Jedi. After Darth Bane implemented the Rule of Two, Sith masters and students could easily be identified by the presence of their red ligthsabers.
Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Lord Tyranus each wield a red ligthsaber. Kylo Ren, though technically not a Sith, forsook the Jedi way for the Dark Side and wielded a red ligthsaber too.
When Chewbacca’s nephew, Lowbacca, joined Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy in the book series Young Jedi Knights, he sought and found four computer components in the Jedi Temple on Yavin 4, one of which had an enhancement jewel in it that he used in place of the Kyber crystal.
Star Wars Legends includes some colours not found in the main films, and included among these is the magenta ligthsaber. Mara Jade wielded one of these, before being given Luke Skywalkers’ blue one.
She made her magenta sabre from a unique crystal given to her by Emperor Palpatine for services rendered as Emperor’s Hand. She lost the blade in a duel after the Battle of Endor. When she later joined the Jedi Order. She made a purple one and became a Jedi Knight.
In Lucasarts game Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Dark Forces II, protagonist Kyle Katarn trains to become a Jedi Knight and wields an orange ligthsaber, a weapon he took from the Dark Jedi Yun.
Fans might remember the Lucasarts game Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II, in which protagonist Kyle Katarn defects from the Empire and joins the Rebel Alliance. The former Imperial agent has a strong connection to the Force, and eventually trains to become a Jedi in between his covert missions against the Empire.
The same colour is used in the comic book miniseries Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: War, in this case by Mandalorian Knights.
Only one black ligthsaber, called the Darksabre, is known. Tarre Vizla, the first Mandalorian to be accepted into the Jedi Order, made it. It had a plasma blade which is shaped like a traditional sabre, with a flat, curved blade. It is a solid form, rather than a beam of energy, and has the unique ability to draw a ligthsaber attack to it, making hitting the wielder of the blade nearly impossible for a Jedi.
Through the use of this weapon, Vizla was able to become the Mand’alor – the supreme ruler of his homeworld. After he died, the Jedi Temple owned the Darksabre and were to keep it until members of House Vizla came looking for it.
Among the rarest of the colours among Jedi, yellow blades are usually used by the Jedi Sentinel. The path of Sentinel could be chosen after Jedi Knighthood, and those who walked it understood that not every problem could be solved through the use of the Force. Practical knowledge, street-smarts and similar skills made then excellent spies, but they were exclusively employed as Jedi Temple Guards.
Jedi Master Plo Koon, Ahsoka Tano, and Rey Skywalker each used yellow ligthsabers on occasion, but these were not their primary colours.
These are the most common ligthsabers within the Jedi Order. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker (at least initially), and Ezra Bridger each made and used a blue light sabre.
Most wielders of blue ligthsabers are Jedi Guardians. They defend the order itself from outside danger. These Jedi are the best trained in Jedi martial arts and they are known for participating in – and winning – duels, more than any other type of Jedi.
Rarer than most colours, the purple ligthsaber indicates a Jedi who has trained right up to the edge of the Dark Side, without entering it or being corrupted by it. Few Jedi are strong enough to study and practice Form VII ligthsaber combat style, as it requires the practitioner to go very close to the dark side.
Jedi Master Mace Windu, however, was strong enough to train in this way, and his purple ligthsaber is evidence of his power.
One character is known to have wielded a white ligthsaber, though there are unnamed references to the use of white ligthsabers back into the High Republic Era. When Ahsoka Tano left the Jedi Order on bad terms, she had to hand in her two green ligthsabers. She then met a Sixth Brother of the Inquisitorius on the farming moon Raada, and created her white ligthsabers from his red ones. She restored the Kyber crystals to their original clear state (see them in Star Wars: Rebels and The Mandalorian Season 2).
Jedi who had a strong connection to the Living Force tend to bring out the green in a ligthsaber. Many of these became Jedi Consulars after achieving Jedi Knighthood. The Living Force (beyond the regular Force) included a strong mindfulness for the energy flow of living things around them, which provided them with a heightened sense of perspective.
Qoi-Gon and Master Yoda both wielded green ligthsabers, as did Luke Skywalker when he made his second one (Return of the Jedi).
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