The History of Lightsabers in Star Wars
It’s May the Fourth, which for us nerds can only mean one thing… it’s Star Wars Day! There’s almost nothing that screams “Star Wars” louder than a lightsaber, an elegant weapon from a more civilized age. So to celebrate we thought it’d be fun to search the galaxy and round up some of the coolest sabers from our favorite Jedi, Sith, and everyone in-between. We also smuggled a few fun facts along the way. So grab some blue milk (or green milk) and let’s punch it!
Darth Maul’s Dual Blade
Back in 1999, Darth Maul blew us all away when The Phantom Menace revealed that lightsabers could have two blades. Since then, it’s become a regular choice of force-users and even a heavily featured gameplay mechanic in the Jedi: Fallen Order video game.
- Maul was the first to wield two blades, but certainly not the last! The Inquisitors use double-bladed sabers, Asajj Ventress can connect her two hilts into a double-blade, and the Jedi Temple Guards also have them – but with stylish yellow blades.
- Ray Park portrayed Darth Maul in live-action. Park is an extremely skilled martial artist and choreographed a lot of Maul’s lightsaber skills. He’s also played Snake Eyes in the G.I. Joe franchise and Toad in the 2000’s X-Men film.
Mace Windu’s Purple Lightsaber
“We had this big arena fight scene with all these Jedi, and I was like ‘ I want to be able to find myself in this scene.’ I said to George, ‘You think I can get a purple lightsaber? I’m like the second baddest Jedi in the universe.’”
In Attack Of The Clones, Mace Windu’s saber was the first new color since Luke’s green blade in Return Of The Jedi. Mark Hamill got an upgrade because the green would show against the blue sky above Jabba’s barge better than a blue one. But Mace Windu’s unique color was Samuel L. Jackson’s idea. Legend has it, George Lucas was reluctant to give him a purple blade but eventually gave in.
- Older Star Wars stories suggested that Mace’s purple blade resulted from his connection to the force, his balance of both the light and dark sides. The current canon dances around any reasoning for his unique weapon, but still enforces that its uniqueness is a mark of a formidable opponent.
- When Attack Of The Clones wrapped, the production gave a hilt to Samuel L. Jackson and presented it inscribed with “BMF”. A nod to Jackson’s character from Pulp Fiction.
Darth Talon’s Lightsaber
Darth Talon is a Sith Lady featured in the Star Wars: Legacy comic series throughout its 50-Issue run. If you haven’t seen her in Star Wars media, you’ve likely seen her through either cosplay or fan-art because despite her relatively low exposure, she is a fan-favorite villain. Her lightsaber hilt is thought to be made of Yorik Coral, a living alloy, with a very organic look.
- She was originally planned to be a part of Episode VII. Talon was considered for the Sequel trilogy because of her popularity. In the early stages of what would become The Force Awakens she would have corrupted Han and Leia’s son, but as her role became more refined, she became the story framework for Kylo Ren.
Count Dooku’s Master Saber
Count Dooku’s trademark curved lightsaber hilt was designed to be elegant and sophisticated. A reflection of Dooku himself, these elements were chosen to reflect Christopher Lee. The hilt’s curve allows for more finesse and precise moves, favoring a single-handed stance.
- Christopher Lee was asked to play Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope. He turned it down, and Tarkin was played by his friend Peter Cushing.
- When he became a Jedi Master, Dooku set aside his padawan lightsaber and created a new one that represented his own style. One that would have no connection to his master, Yoda.
Asajj Ventress has been a Nightsister, a Jedi, a Sith, and a Bounty Hunter. Her blade is as unique and versatile as she is, two curved hilts that are able to connect into a unique staff – reflective of her skills under Dooku’s teaching. As well as those of Sith before her.
- Ventress was created for the 2003 Micro-Series Star Wars: Clone Wars (the traditional animation, not the 3D animated series!). Since then, she’s become a fan favorite throughout series, novels, and comics.
An ancient version of the Jedi weapon, The Darksaber was forged in Beskar by the first Mandalorian Jedi Tarre Vizla. After being reclaimed from the Jedi Order many years later by Clan Vizla, the unique conventional-sword-shaped blade became a symbol of power and unity for Mandalore.
- As clearly noted in the latest episodes of The Mandalorian, the Darksaber must be earned. It’s become imposing as a cultural symbol of integrity in battle as much as a powerful weapon.
- Throughout the years it’s been carried by Tarre and Pre Vizla, Maul, Bo-Katan (The Clone Wars), Sabine (Rebels), Moff Gideon, Mando (The Mandalorian), among others.
Kanan’s Incognito Saber
As a youngling during the Clone Wars, Kanan Jarrus survived the Jedi Purge and went into hiding. While evading the Empire, he stored his lightsaber on his belt split into two parts to avoid recognition. Kanan’s story is not unlike Jedi: Fallen Order’s Cal Kestis, but Kanan’s remains the only saber to disassemble without separating into 2 lightsabers.
- Kanan is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. of Scooby-Doo fame. He’s reportedly a huge Star Wars fan himself, and his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar joined him on Rebels as the Seventh Sister.
Ahsoka Tano’s Twin Sabers
Originally red in color due to being owned by a Sith, Ahsoka Tano’s dual-wielded white lightsabers were the first white-bladed sabers to ever be shown on film or television. After purifying the kyber crystals with the force and thus changing their color, Ahsoka crafted this pair of sabers (one single blade, and one shoto) to be used and brought with her everywhere and signified her loyalty to neither the Jedi nor the Sith. They were after this time seen in television shows such as Rebels and The Mandalorian.
- Ahsoka is voiced by the wonderful Ashley Eckstein. Eckstein also launched the clothing/accessory brand Her Universe featuring Star Wars and other pop culture icons.
- The starting point for Ahsoka was George Lucas himself. When Dave Filoni and co began work on The Clone Wars, George insisted that Anakin did in fact have a padawan during that era. Filoni wrote a backstory and the character developed into Ahsoka Tano.
Kylo Ren’s Crossguard Lightsaber
After leaving Luke’s Jedi temple, Kylo rebuilt his saber into the uniquely cross guarded blade we see throughout the sequels. Explained as harnessing a fractured kyber crystal, the crossguards are a result from adding vents to prevent the hilt from overheating. Mixed with added wiring and access panels cut in, the result is a kitbashed flair favoring function over style.
- Adam Driver typically won’t watch movies he appears in. He made an exception for The Force Awakens and attended a private screening with co-stars Daisy Ridley and Carrie Fisher.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Third Lightsaber
After losing his 2nd lightsaber, Obi-Wan Kenobi builds his iconic hilt, which we see in A New Hope. We see Obi wield this blade as Alec Guinness in ANH, and later as Ewan McGregor in The Revenge Of The Sith. It’s also the one featured with its animated counterpart in The Clone Wars. Luke used its design as a framework for his second saber in Return Of The Jedi as a tribute to his master.
- Obi-Wan was revealed to have almost left the Jedi Order for Duchess Satine of Mandalore. Satine curiously shares a name with Ewan McGregor’s love interest in Moulin Rouge. Officially, the Clone Wars writers stand firm that it’s a big coincidence. Emotionally, the jury’s still out.
- Making its first appearance in A New Hope, the original prop was built out of a World War I-era British rifle grenade, the balance pipe of a Rolls-Royce derwent jet engine, a battery pack, and a faucet handle.
What’s Your Favorite Lightsaber?
Which favorite of yours didn’t make the list, and why is it Anakin’s? Tell us on social media! May the force be with you, always.