In the years since the first six Star Wars films were released, we’ve learned more about, well, everything. But since an article explaining everything would be way too long (even the Internet has word-count limits), let’s focus on what we’ve found out about lightsabers. Here are five things you might know about lightsabers that we’ve learned in recent Star Wars movies, animated series, and novels.
1. Rite of Passage
It seems a given that the construction of a lightsaber would be a rite of passage for those following the Jedi path, and we got to see it in action in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The arc that kicked off with “The Gathering” showed us younglings who went to Ilum to find their kyber crystals (later seen in Rogue One), so they could then learn how to craft their lightsabers. It wasn’t as simple as a scavenger hunt; younglings had to face trials from without and within to acquire their crystals and move on to the next step.
2. The Crystal’s Call
The caverns of Ilum were so full of kyber crystals that they sparkled from wall to wall. Younglings couldn’t run and grab the first one they saw though. That’s not how it worked. They had to listen for a crystal to call to them. Each of the thousands of kyber crystals is a little different — they’re living crystals, after all. They sang to the younglings, and by reaching out a welcoming hand, the crystal allowed the Jedi youngling to use it and learn from it. We also learned from this arc in The Clone Wars that the crystals were colorless before they were put into a lightsaber.
3. A Long History
We don’t know exactly when the first lightsaber was built, but we do have an idea of how long their history extends. The design of Kylo Ren’s crossguard lightsaber in The Force Awakens is one from long ago; when Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka visited Malachor in the Season Two finale of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra found an crossguard saber with green blades on a war-torn, ancient battlefield.
4. Suitable Hilts
If you’ve looked at images of lightsaber hilts or own replicas, you know they’re usually made from metal. The droid professor Huyang, introduced in The Clone Wars, schooled us on suitable lightsaber materials when he taught the younglings after the Gathering. He educated Jedi younglings on the subject for a thousand generations. Besides metal, strong wood is an option. Gungi, a Wookiee, made his lightsaber from the wood of a Brylark tree. Dark Disciple revealed some lightsabers were made from gems. Darth Sidious’ lightsabers were made from a nearly indestructible metal compound called phrik.
5. Color Changes
As mentioned, a kyber crystal is colorless when it’s first obtained. It takes on color based on the user. The crystals want to be used by someone aligned with the light side of the Force, so when dark side followers want to use the crystal, they have to force submission. Their actions make the crystal “bleed.” That’s why their lightsabers are red. Ahsoka showed us the crystals can be healed though. In the novel, Ahsoka Tano purified two crystals obtained from an Inquisitor’s lightsaber and changed them from red to white.
Have a favorite lightsaber? Let us know in the comments below!
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.