Lightsabers are cinematic icons, having appeared in every Star Wars movie since 1977’s A New Hope, when Luke Skywalker first fired up the blue blade entrusted to him by Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi. The blue color wasn’t arbitrary. There’s a story behind all the lightsaber hues, from the red blades wielded by Darth Vader and the Imperial Inquisitors hunting Obi-Wan to the black and white ones seen in The Mandalorian.
During the production of each movie in George Lucas’ saga, the lightsabers’ blades were actually white. Effects wizards later gave them color using a technique called rotoscoping. And it was concept artist Ralph McQuarrie who decided to associate a blade’s color with a character’s moral standing. So for this May the 4th, let’s take a look at what the characters’ color choices say about them, and the history of some of their weapons.
“I tried to make the laser beam as bright as possible, and I changed the colors for the various swords — a color for the good guys and a color for the bad guys,” he said.
We’ll look at all the different shades of lightsaber, and the characters who wield them. Be warned that great big Star Wars SPOILERS for the movies and shows follow.
Blue is the color of the very first lightsaber we see, and it’s by far the most common hue. Since Luke wields it, one might easily assume that blue corresponds with younger Jedi. However, Obi-Wan used a blue blade throughout his career (it’ll appear in his Disney Plus show later this month) and Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which passed between the central characters of the saga (from Anakin to Luke to Rey, via Finn), was blue.
This weapon’s kyber crystal can be seen as Rey examines the split hilt at the end of The Last Jedi. She repaired it between that movie and The Rise of Skywalker, when she used it and General Leia Organa’s blue-bladed saber to destroy Emperor Palpatine once and for all. Then she retired the two lightsabers in the sands of Tatooine….
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