In the first two released Star Wars films (A New Hope, and The Empire Strikes Back) Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) does not wield his own light sabre – he wields his father’s, given to him by Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness in the aforementioned films).
His father, Anakin Skywalker (played by Haden Christiansen), made the weapon during the events of the prequel Star Wars films. Obi-Wan gives the light sabre to Luke, and Luke continues to use it until it is lost at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, cut from his hand by Darth Vader in that iconic scene in Cloud City.
In Return of the Jedi, Luke reappears, this time with a weapon forged by his own hand and powers, and reflective of his own traits as a Jedi. This one is bright green and – in my opinion – one of the best sabres of the series. The handle is styled after the sabre of Obi-Wan Kenobi, though the colour of the bade is obviously different.
So, Luke has a green one now, right? Well, not so easy as that.
With the release of The Force Awakens, we see Luke’s blue lightsabre handed from Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong’o) to the Jedi apprentice Rey (Daisy Ridley). So it isn’t lost?! Then Luke is finally found on the planet Ahch-To, hiding himself away on a remote island, and he doesn’t have the green lightsabre – his second sabre – with him. Where did that one go?
Is this just a continuity issue on the part of the filmmakers, or is there some solution in a careful examination of the stories?
That Luke took on the green sabre as his primary weapon seems clear. He constructed it himself, and he uses it on Tatooine to kill Jabba Desilijic Tiure’s bodyguards when he rescues Han Solo. For a long time, it was assumed that Luke lost the green sabre when the second Death Star exploded in Return of the Jedi, based on the scene in which he tosses it aside, giving himself over to the residual mercy and goodness of his father Anakin, at that time still in the garb and persona of Darth Vader.
That assumption was overturned in 2017 with the release of The Last Jedi, in which there is a flashback to Luke’s Jedi school. In the flashback scenes, Luke confronts his nephew, Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver), formerly known as Ben Solo (the son of Han Solo and Princess/General Leia). Luke clearly has hi green lightsabre when he was training a new crop of Jedi knights, which took place before the events of The Force Awakens. So, Luke still had the green sabre after the end of Return of the Jedi.
The explanation? None has ever been given to fans, which might mean that it was a simple mistake.
At no point in the sequels does Luke reveal the whereabouts of the green lightsabre he made. We don’t know if he lost it, gave it to someone else, or cast it away in some kind of renunciation of his efforts to continue in and propagate the Jedi way. If he still has it, why doesn’t he use it?
Some thoughts have been offered.
First, he might have lost it in the battle with Kylo Ren when the new Jedi Order fell. Luke may have destroyed his own weapon after those events, seeing himself as unworthy of even being a Jedi, never mind training more of them. It also might have been sunk in the ocean around Ahch-To, thrown into the waters at the time when he sank the X-Wing. The X-Wing would be more likely to stay in place, like a shipwreck, while something as small as a lightsabre may have been washed away.