In the first Star Wars film that was released in 1977, it debuted with two lightsaber colors. These two colors were blue and red. It wasn’t until later that the other colors were added to the line-up. Once the expanded universe came into fruition, there was a whole rainbow of lightsabers used in the Star Wars franchise. There are seven common (known) lightsabers that are apart of Star Wars canon.
What are the seven lightsaber colors? The blue and red lightsabers were the first to be introduced, but they are by no means the only colors anymore. Currently, the Star Wars canon line-up of lightsaber colors are as follows:
- Blue Red
Each of the colors is designated to specific people or groups of people within the Star Wars universe.
Of course, there is more to it than, “each character gets his or her favorite color.” There is a back story to how the colors come to be and who gets what color, this is Star Wars we’re talking about after all. Not only does each color have a meaning, but some colors are rarer than others. Some think that the colors are based on the personality of the character using it, but this is not necessarily the case.
What Are the Seven Lightsaber Colors?
When the first Star Wars film debuted in May of 1977, A New Hope, there were only two lightsaber colors in this film, and they were used for a duel. Luke Skywalker was given a blue lightsaber by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. The same lightsaber he used to duel with Darth Vader and his red lightsaber.
Blue and red were the original lightsaber colors because they were supposed to showcase the good guys versus the bad guys.
The lightsaber, otherwise named “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age” by Obi-Wan Kenobi, has made history in and of itself. In fact, in 2008, in a survey that was conducted by film fans, the lightsaber was dubbed the most popular weapon in film history. Proving that fans aren’t just obsessed with the storyline and characters of Star Wars, they are obsessed with the weapon the characters use. Even down to the color.
Over the years, we have seen numerous different colors of lightsabers. When Star Wars Expanded Universe was created, so were a whole rainbow of lightsaber colors. In today’s Star Wars canon, though, there are really only seven different colors. Each color is also designated to specific people within the galaxy. Below is a list of the seven lightsabers along with the characters that use each color:
- Jedi lightsaber color: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
- The dark side Force: Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Snoke
- Experienced Jedi lightsaber color: Luke Skywalker, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Yoda
- Rare Jedi lightsaber color: Mace Windu
- Used exclusively by Jedi Temple Guards
- Ahsoka Tano
- Stolen from the Jedi hundreds of years ago by the Mandalorians. Current whereabouts are unknown
Just because these are the seven known lightsabers in Star Wars canon, doesn’t mean we won’t see new colors in the last movie. In fact, some fans are anticipating a comeback from the orange lightsaber in particular.
Throughout the entire Star Wars franchise, more colors have been seen, including orange. However, in the Star Wars canon, orange is not a color on the roster. It has been seen in a few video games, including the newest game Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order. It is because of this video game release that fans are wondering if they’ll see a return of the orange lightsaber in the last movie.
All of the lightsabers in movie production are white. They are given their color later in post-production using a technique called rotoscoping. The person that does this editing is named Nelson Shin, a Korean animator. He accepted the assignment of animating the lightsabers and immediately began drawing the lightsabers with a rotoscope.
Rotoscoping is the process when animators trace over objects in a film frame by frame.
He explained to Lucasfilm that because the lightsaber is made of light, they should look a little shaky, almost like a fluorescent tube. He actually recommended they insert a frame that was lighter than the rest to add to this fluorescent feeling. Shin was also the one that recommended adding a degausser sound to the lightsabers on top of the other sounds. This helped the lightsabers sound more like a magnetic field.
The whole process took him one week to complete.
Ben Burtt is the sound designer that produced the sound effect for the lightsabers in the movies. In order to create a humming, buzzing sound, Burtt had to put only two sounds together. He used the hum of the idling interlock motors in an old movie projector. To produce the second sound, he was looking for a sound of interference.
The second sound he actually stumbled upon accidentally. Burtt ended up using the interference caused by a television on a shieldless microphone.
After accomplishing the sound he wanted for a resting lightsaber, Burtt needed to figure out how to make the sound move when the lightsabers were moving. To accomplish sound in motion, he simply placed the lightsaber sound he generated onto a loudspeaker. He then recorded it on a moving microphone; this created a Doppler shift and mimicked a moving sound source.
What Do the Lightsaber Colors Mean?
It would be unlike Star Wars to not have a reason behind something, especially some as prominent as the main weapon used in the franchise. The color of each character’s lightsaber tells a lot about the character. Luke Skywalker, in particular, is one of the only characters in the franchise that has had different color lightsabers.
He first started with a blue lightsaber, the one that was given to him, but in the movies following, he is seen with a green lightsaber. It has been said that Lucas wanted him to have a green lightsaber to stand out from the color of the sky in battle scenes, but there is also a deeper meaning aligning with Luke Skywalker’s story.
When Luke lost his blue lightsaber in the duel against Darth Vader, he was going to need a new one for Return of the Jedi. It was in this film that Luke Skywalker debuted his green lightsaber. Although it isn’t necessarily shown in the movie, it was later discussed by George Lucas in a conference that Luke Skywalker was forced to make a new lightsaber after the first movie. It was then that the new lightsaber turned green for him instead of blue.
So, what do the colors mean anyway? I have listed each color and its given meaning below:
– Justice and protection
– Evil and power
– Peace through Force, when necessary
– Moral ambiguity (the mixture of light and dark Force)
– Strength, intrigue, and pursuit
– Calm, obedience and service
It is important to note that you rarely see purple lightsabers in the Star Wars films. Samuel Jackson’s character, Mace Windu, is really the only character that uses a purple lightsaber. The simplest explanation for this is that Samuel Jackson asked George Lucas if his lightsaber could be purple because it was Jackson’s favorite color. Lucas approved this request, and the lightsaber color was changed.
However, if you are looking for an answer that goes with the storyline, it goes something like this:
Mace Windu’s lightsaber turns purple because the purple color represents a mixture of light and dark forces. Mainly because purple is simply a mixture of red and blue. Because of his moral vagueness, and the ability to fight like a Sith, as well as a Jedi, his lightsaber became purple.
How Do Lightsabers Get Their Color?
All of this talk about the different lightsaber colors, who uses what color and what each color means, may have you asking another question. Just how do the lightsabers get their color? Is it randomized? Well, of course not. Nothing in Star Wars is randomized. Do the lightsabers change according to the character’s personality? Not quite, but you’re getting closer.
It all starts with one crystal.
When a young Jedi comes of age, he is taken by his mentor to the planet of Ilum. It is here, inside of a frozen cave, where the Kyber crystals are located. These are rare crystals that grow naturally and have a direct connection to the Force. Each lightsaber gets one of these crystals, and is known as “the heart of the lightsaber.”
Searching for your crystal is a mostly intuitive process. Almost like the crystal is choosing you rather than the reverse. When the Jedi walks into the cave, he is only able to see the crystal that is meant for him. His pull to the crystal is influenced by his personal relationship with the Force, whether he knows or not.
If the crystal is harvested in the allotted time, that is when the Jedi moves on to the assembling process.
There is more to just placing the newfound crystal inside of a lightsaber, though. The Jedi is required to meditate with the crystal. First, this is what instills the crystal with the Force. It is said that until this preparation happens, the crystal is colorless. It is the meditation session that gives the crystal and lightsaber its color.
The color is not randomized at all. In fact, the color appears during the meditation session when the Jedi’s spiritual connection with the Force aligns with the crystal. When the Jedi’s true nature is seen, the corresponding color is produced.
The same cannot be said for the red lightsabers notoriously used by the Sith lords, though.
The Sith cannot form the same relationship with a Kyber crystal as a Jedi. They are forced to one of two options. A Sith can either steal a crystal from a Jedi or make his own crystal synthetically. There is a story describing why each option produces a red lightsaber as the outcome.
When a Sith steals a Jedi crystal and imbues the crystal with the Dark side Force, the crystal will crack. When this happens, the crystal begins to “bleed” in a sense. This process brings about the red color in the lightsaber.
If stealing a crystal isn’t an option, then the Sith must resort to creating a synthetic crystal. The process of creating a synthetic crystal requires intense heat, concentration, and Force. It is this combination of things that produces the red beam in the Sith lightsaber.
Regardless of how a red lightsaber is created, it is undoubtedly the color for all villains in the Star Wars franchise. There are many other colors belonging to different characters, but the red lightsaber is strictly reserved for villains. This is because of the fact that dark side Force energy users cannot genuinely acquire a Kyber crystal.
Who Has a White Lightsaber?
The white lightsaber is extremely rare in the Star Wars universe. It is associated with Ahsoka Tano, who entered the canon as a teenage Jedi Padawan under Anakin Skywalker. The first appearance was after Clone Wars when Ahsoka supported Anakin in leading a Republic clone army to victory on Christophsis.
Following the clone wars, Ahsoka left the Jedi Order on poor terms, which left her without her normal double green lightsaber. While she was farming on moon Raada, she encountered the Sixth Brother. She defeated him in a duel and took his Kyber crystals. It was then that she was able to create two brand-new lightsabers with curved hilts. During the crafting process, the crystals were changed from red to white.
This happened because she was forced to rid the crystals of all impurities before she could create another lightsaber with the same crystals. The crystal turned white because she was no longer a Jedi, but she was also free from the dark side Force. This left her independent of either side, even though she was still a Jedi at heart. It is because of this that the white lightsaber is a symbol of autonomous individuality and a force of good.
Free of the burdens of bureaucracy.
What Is the Origin of the Black Lightsaber?
The black lightsaber, also known as the Darksaber, is an ancient black-bladed lightsaber. It is also unique because there is only one of its kind, and it doesn’t look like a normal lightsaber either. It is flat and curved, resembling more of a sword than a lightsaber.
This lightsaber was created by Tarre Vizsla, who was the first Mandalorian ever to be inducted into the Jedi Order hundreds of years ago. After Vizsla passed away, the weapon was then kept in the Jedi Temple. However, the Mandalorians that were members of House Vizsla stole the saber from the Jedi Temple during a conflict.
Hundreds of years later, during the Clone Wars, the saber was in Pre Vizsla’s possession, the leader of the Death Watch. It was during this time that a battle happened between Pre Vizsla and Darth Maul and Vizsla was defeated. Darth Maul took the Darksaber and became the leader of Death Watch. The Darksaber continued to be in possession of the Mandalorian’s for many years, but its current whereabouts are unknown.
The Darksaber is different from other lightsabers in many ways, including the sound it emits. Not only are the looks and sounds unique, but the crystal energy is unique, as well. The Darksaber had a crystal that served as a channel for the Force energy. Whoever was in possession of the Darksaber could use its power according to their thoughts and emotions.
What Is the History of the Lightsaber?
What many people don’t know is that the lightsaber actually had a predecessor. In other words, the lightsaber wasn’t a first-generation design. It has been perfected over generations to become the weapon we know and love today. Some of the earliest lightsabers were called forcesabers. Rightfully so, though, the first lightsabers that were designed more like the ones we know today were designed by the Jedi.
All that said, it comes as no surprise that the lightsaber has become just as iconic as the characters and Star Wars franchise itself. The weapon has an entire back story attached to it. Kids and adults alike will invest in lightsaber toys and collectibles ranging in a wide variety of prices, as well as colors. Fans are picky about what color lightsaber they want too.
We may not have a crystal that chooses us and changes our lightsaber to the color matching our spiritual alignment, but we do know what color we would want ours to turn if we did have said crystal. For so many, it is more than just a weapon in their favorite movie. It’s a statement. A statement of justice and protection. A statement of honor and strength. A statement of the Force.