Is there anything from the Star Wars franchise more recognizable than the lightsaber? Wielded by powerful Force-users, it’s “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”
From Darth Vader to Rey and everyone in between, we see a lot of lightsabers in a galaxy far, far away. We even laid eyes on the unique and mysterious Darksaber in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
But what makes each of these lightsabers different? Why does the Darksaber look and behave so differently than the rest of them? Why do the Jedi get a rainbow of different colors, while the Sith only ever wield a crimson blade? And do all those different colors symbolize different things? (They do, even though it has never been spelled out on-screen.)
Not included here? Any other colors that are not considered canon. Star Wars Legends has plenty of other lightsaber colors, but we’re not going to get into them here.
How a Lightsaber Works and Where the Color Comes From
Lightsabers are powerful weapons consisting of a plasma blade emitted from a hilt. They are powered by Kyber crystals, which grow in nature and are found on different planets. Once a Force-user bonds with a crystal, it changes into a specific color. Most of these turn blue or green. But we have seen them turn plenty of other colors, like yellow or purple.
So how does one go from a crystal found in nature to a powerful lightsaber? Here’s the basic idea of how it works. Inside the hilt is a power cell. The energy is sent through focusing lenses that convert it into plasma, which is then channeled through the Kyber crystal. While there are a lot of parts that work together, the blade gets its color and power from the Kyber crystal.
The red color of Sith-owned lightsabers comes from a very different process. Those on the Dark Side apparently can’t bond with their Kyber crystals. Instead, they get that crimson hue through a process called “bleeding” – but more on that later.
Altogether, we have seen eight different lightsaber colors in the Star Wars canon. This includes the unusual Darksaber and an orange lightsaber that was made canon with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
These colors have been used in the galaxy far, far away to represent different things. Let’s take a look at each of the eight colors that have appeared in the canon Star Wars universe – including the symbolism traditionally associated with each of them and the famous Force-users who have wielded them.
Symbolism: Righteousness, Bravery, Stability, Loyalty
Blue is one of the original lightsaber colors introduced in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi hands Luky Sywalker the lightsaber that belonged to his father. For the rest of the movie, blue is the only color we see wielded by the Jedi.
Used by characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker before his turn to the Dark Side, it is easy to conclude that blue lightsabers represent bravery, loyalty, and righteousness – much like the Jedi who wield them.
Famous Owners: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Leia Organa
Symbolism: Wisdom, Skill, Experience, Cooperation, Spirituality, Harmony
Traditionally, green lightsabers are associated with the most powerful of Jedi Knights. Those that wield a green lightsaber have a very strong connection to the Force. They are also commonly wise Jedi who pursue diplomacy and typically only use a lightsaber as a last resort.
Within the canon Star Wars universe, the wiser Jedi, such as Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn, stand out against other Jedi onscreen with their green lightsabers. Luke Skywalker also wields a green lightsaber by the time we see him in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi after completing his Jedi training.
Famous Owners: Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke Skywalker
Symbolism: Passion, Anger, Hatred, Fire, Power, Danger
Anyone who has seen at least 5 minutes of any Star Wars movie is probably familiar with the Sith’s red lightsabers. That red hue is unquestionably synonymous with turning to the Dark Side.
But where does that red color come from, and why don’t the Sith have multiple colors like the Jedi do? It’s because of a process known as “bleeding.” A Sith must pour all of their passion, anger, hatred, and other emotions into the Kyber crystal to bend it to their will. The corruption causes it to crack and “bleed,” turning it red.
The process also makes it pretty unstable. We see this with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. His blade also features a crossguard shape, which was created in an effort to vent the unstable and cracked crystal.
Famous Owners: Darth Vader, Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress
Symbolism: Individualism, Moral Ambiguity, Uncertainty, Nonconformity, Power
The real origins of the purple lightsaber happened off-screen. George Lucas never had plans to introduce a purple lightsaber, at least until Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Mace Windu. Jackson wanted his lightsaber to be purple because it was his favorite color!
The only other known canon character to wield a purple lightsaber is Revan. Most of Revan’s appearances are part of the non-canon Star Wars Legends, though the Sith lord was originally slated to appear in the animated series The Clone Wars. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally made the character canon, but only through reference. In any case, the Jedi-turned-Sith-turned-Jedi ended up with a purple lightsaber, which can symbolize his Light Side allegiance while also showing his unconventional and nonconformist nature.
Famous Owners: Mace Windu, Revan
Symbolism: New Identity, Change
Up until Rey constructed her own lightsaber, yellow lightsabers in canon were mostly only wielded by Jedi Temple guards. They carry the lightsaber pike, which features two yellow blades on each side. Asajj Ventress wielded a yellow lightsaber after Count Dooku betrayed her, but she acquired it from the black market. In The Rise of Skywalker, we see Rey build a lightsaber out of materials she salvaged from her quarterstaff.
No solid information has been given concerning what the color symbolizes. It is easy to assume that yellow lightsabers could symbolize change. For instance, Rey constructs a yellow lightsaber as she takes the name Skywalker in the sequels. The Jedi Temple guards wield yellow lightsaber pikes after they give up their identities for their position, and Ventress acquires a yellow lightsaber as she distances herself from Dooku.
Famous Owners: Rey Skywalker, Jedi Temple Guards
Orange is relatively new to the canon universe, thanks to the 2019 game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The game is canon, so it counts. Unfortunately, the color was simply introduced as a pre-order incentive for the game, so we don’t really have any information on the meaning or symbolism associated with the color. It’s exclusive, it’s marketable, and it has zero backstory (as of yet, anyway). While there are characters, such as Jedi Master Yaddle, who wield orange lightsabers in Star Wars Legends, Jedi: Fallen Order’s Cal Kestis is the only character with an orange lightsaber in canon.
Famous Owners: Cal Kestis
Symbolism: Purity, Beginnings, Positivity, Power, Neutrality
White lightsabers are among the most unique in the whole galaxy. In fact, the only canon examples we have are Ahsoka Tano’s dual white lightsabers. These lightsabers were actually created from Kyber crystals that Ahsoka took from a double-bladed lightsaber that belonged to the Sixth Brother. Originally corrupt and red, Ahsoka purified them with the Force. She then salvaged other parts to build her own lightsabers.
The fact that she was able to purify the crystals while they remained completely usable is a testament to her strength in the Force. Still, she does not choose the Jedi or the Sith, and the white color is a sign of her neutrality.
Famous Owners: Ahsoka Tano
Symbolism: Mystery, Power, Aggression
The ancient Darksaber appears to be one-of-a-kind, with a unique, shorter blade that is shaped like a traditional sword. The hilt is beskar. It was created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order.
After Vizsla’s passing, the Darksaber was stolen by members of House Vizsla, a faction of loyal Mandalorians. Since then, the weapon has become a symbol of leadership to the Mandalorians. The only way to obtain the Darksaber (and rule over Mandalore) is by defeating the previous owner in combat.
Famous Owners: Tarre Vizsla, Din Djarin