Lightsabers are an all-important asset in George Lucas’ fictional world of Star Wars. They are a weapon used predominantly by Force users, be their Jedi or the Sith, but there are some variations that have been used by other characters.
The fact that they are mostly used by Force users is explained by the fact that they are actually very hard to control for people who don’t have a strong connection to the Force. They are not heavy or anything, but total control over a lightsaber requires a lot of skill, which is why “regular” characters usually avoid them, although there have been instances in the Expanded Universe where non-Force users used a lightsaber in combat.
The movies initially presented three different lightsaber colors – blue, green, and red – but this was expanded as the franchise developed and now we have several different iterations of Lightsaber colors.
We are bringing you a list of lightsaber colors, as well as their meanings and the most famous users. You’re also going to find out a bit about the process of making a lightsaber and how the color is actually determined.
How Are Lightsabers Made?
Lightsabers are an essential part of Star Wars mythology. We have explained that they are generally used by the Jedi and the Sith, although there are some variations of the weapon used by non-Force users in the franchise. The lightsaber is a weapon used for both offense and defense, which makes it a very practical tool to have when in trouble.
Now, the mechanics behind a functional lightsaber are quite complex and they require a lot of skill to compose properly. This is why there aren’t many lightsabers around.
In order to function properly, a lightsaber needs to draw power from an appropriately-sized power cell. Parts that are usually used to make a lightsaber include modulation circuits and an energy gate. The essential parts are a blade emitter shroud, the emitter matrix, and some type of activator to turn the weapon on and off. Additional, but non-essential parts include handgrip ridges and a blade length adjuster. Some lightsabers also had a non-lethal low-power setting used for training.
Single-bladed lightsabers generally had a belt ring so they could be hung from the wearer’s belt hook, or a wheel-shaped attachment that slotted into a matching belt clip on the owner’s belt when not in use. This way is quite practical, if you think about it.
Some specially designed lightsabers could even use unstable kyber crystals; an example of such a lightsaber was Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which featured two laterally facing vents designed to divert excess energy away from the cracked crystal and keep the lightsaber stable.
During assembly, it was important to not accidentally invert the emitter matrix; when activated the lightsaber’s power grid would backfire. At best this could cause the blade to quickly short out, but if it was left on, the faulty weapon would violently explode, potentially killing those in close proximity.
What Are Kyber Crystals?
Alongside the complex mechanics, a kyber crystal is basically the essence of a lightsaber as it is its main source of power, the “thing” that produces the saber itself. Kyber crystals are actually rare, Force-attuned crystals that grow in nature and can be found on scattered planets across the whole galaxy.
They were likewise used by both the Jedi and the Sith in the construction of their lightsabers, although the latter had to put the crystal through a painful adaptation procedure.
As part of their Jedi training, younglings were sent to the Crystal Cave of the ice planet of Ilum, probably the most famous source of kyber crystals, to mine crystals in order to construct their own lightsabers. The crystal’s mix of unique luster was called “the water of the kyber” by the Jedi. There were also larger, rarer crystals of great power and that, according to legends, were used at the heart of ancient superweapons by the Sith.
Although they all had the same denominator, kyber crystals appeared in different types and, through history, a lot of different types of kyber crystals have been discovered and described. The known types are:
- Adegan crystal
- Mephite crystal
- Barab ingot
- Christophsis crystal
- Corrupted crystal
- Cracked Jedha crystal
- Dantari crystal
- Dragite gem
- Ghostfire crystal
- Ilum crystal
- Mephite crystal
- Pontite crystal
- Kimber stone
- Krayt dragon pearl
- Lorrdian gemstone
- Nishalorite stone
- Seeker crystal
- Solari crystal
- Sorian crystal
- Synthetic kyber crystal
- Tainted Nightsister Crystal
- Thontiin crystal
- Varpeline crystal
- Zophis crystal
As Master Yoda once said: “The heart of the lightsaber, the crystal is.” This short piece of wisdom tells us just how important the crystal is and how it, actually, determines the saber’s nature. This is why there are so many different types of lightsabers based on their colors.
Known Lightsaber Colors and Their Meanings
As of today, there are 11 main lightsaber colors that have been identified in the Star Wars franchise. Some of them have specific subtypes, but the majority has just the base form. The table below is going to present the main colors and their basic subtypes where applicable:
|Blue||Light blue||Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi|
|Green||Yellow-green||Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn|
|Red||Red-yellow||Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren|
|Purple (Amethyst)||/||Mace Windu, Cal Kestis, Vernestra Rwoh|
|White||/||Ahsoka Tano, Cal Kestis|
|Yellow||/||Asajj Ventress, Rey, Cal Kestis|
|Orange||Dark orange||Cal Kestis, Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati|
Not what we have given you a brief overview of the colors, we can continue with our article and elaborate what each of the colors means and what each of them actually represents. We’re going to be approaching the colors in the order they are listed in the table above.
Blue Lightsaber Meaning
In modern times, lightsaber colors really don’t have the same weight as they had in ancient times and the interpretations of each color are based on their historical importance rather than on their modern significance, although Lucas and the other authors tried to keep the symbolism in modern characters.
In that aspect, a blue lightsaber, which is also the most common one seen in the galaxy, represents what was historically known as a Jedi Guardian, the protector of the Jedi Order and a person that embodied bravery and righteousness. Jedi Guardians were fighters and they vehemently defended the ways of the Jedi, and the blue color of their sabers represents those qualities in them.
The two most famous owners of a blue lightsaber are Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is the perfect example of the qualities described above, and his former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker and Rey had a blue lightsaber for a while, and even General Grievous, who had been trained by Count Dooku, had a pair of blue lightsabers.
Tera Sinube, an elderly member of the Jedi Order during the time of the Clone Wars, wielded a blue lightsaber with a color so light that it was close to white. The light-blue color of his lightsaber may have been for the purpose of allowing fans to see just how old this character was and how his blue lightsaber’s blade had started to fade due to how old he and his saber were.
Green Lightsaber Meaning
The green lightsaber has usually been associated with the most powerful Jedi Knights. Unlike the blue lightsaber, which is usually associated with fighters and soldiers, the green lightsaber represents wisdom and skill. It is usually associated with Jedi who have a strong connection to the Force.
Owners of a green lightsaber are experienced and wise, they have a deep and fundamental understanding of the Force and they are usually among the higher ranking Jedi Knights. They value harmony and rely more on their mental skills than their fighting skills. That is why they are usually held in very high regard and are among the most respected Jedi Knights in the whole franchise.
By far the most famous owner of a green lightsaber was Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, who is considered to be the most powerful Jedi in history. Yoda was the embodiment of all the qualities associated with a green lightsaber, which is why he is the best example for this section.
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn also had a green lightsaber and had it not been for his rebellious and unorthodox nature, he would have certainly been a member of the Council.
Luke Skywalker also owned a green lightsaber later in his life. Interestingly enough, General Grievous also had a pair of green lightsabers, but like the blue ones, they bore no significance for him.
Red Lightsaber Meaning
History has taught us that kyber crystals had such a strong connection to the Force that they were, practically, sentient objects. With that in mind, we also have to remember the fact that kyber crystals resisted the Sith and there was no natural way for the Sith to control a kyber crystal. The only was for them to do it was to use the Force to subjugate the crystal in a process that was very painful for both the Sith and the crystal.
Since the kyber crystal would “bleed” during the process, the crystal would change color and become red. Thus, a red kyber crystal doesn’t really embody evil, but it does represent pain and suffering, both traits characteristic of the Dark Side of the Force. It also embodies all of the hate a Sith used to make the kyber crystal “bleed”. This is the reason why a red lightsaber is exclusively associated with the Sith since such traits aren’t really characteristic of the Light Side of the Force.
Historically, all Sith Lords are associated with the red lightsaber, with some of them even having more exotic designs, like Darth Maul or Kylo Ren. Darth Sidious is by far the most powerful user of a red lightsaber, with Darth Vader, his apprentice, being very close. Count Dooku, after leaving the Jedi and going to the Dark Side, also used a red lightsaber.
Purple (Amethyst) Lightsaber Meaning
The story of the purple lightsaber is very interesting, as its origins can actually be found off-screen. Namely, Lucas never intended on introducing a purple lightsaber to the canon, but Samuel L. Jackson, who played Mace Windu in the Prequel Trilogy, wanted his lightsaber to be purple because purple was his favorite color. Lucas agreed and that is how this color was actually introduced into the franchise, which means that it initially had absolutely no meaning.
Still, the Expanded Universe authors retroactively gave the color meaning, stating that a purple lightsaber represented moral ambiguity, uncertainty, and reconstruction; this was due to the fact that purple is a combination of red and blue. What does this ultimately mean?
It means that a character with a purple lightsaber has connections to both the Light and the Dark Side of the Force. Such Force users have usually been quite powerful as they had to endure the temptation of the other side in order to maintain their personal path.
The color purple is also associated with power and royalty. We know that the most prominent users of the purple lightsaber color are some of the most powerful Jedi and are also in positions of great influence.
Although Mace Windu, by far the most famous owner of a purple lightsaber, wasn’t really ambiguous – he held the values of the Jedi Order in high regard – he did have his moments and he was far less composed than, for example, Yoda or Qui-Gon. Still, he was exceptionally powerful and his ability to stay on the path of the Jedi despite his lightsaber color proves that. Another famous owner of a purple lightsaber was Vernestra Rwoh, who was one of the most prominent Jedi during the time of the High Republic.
Black Lightsaber (Darksaber) Meaning
A black lightsaber, also called the Darksaber, is actually a unique lightsaber; there is only one example in existence. The Darksaber is shaped like a traditional sword and it’s somewhat shorter than an actual lightsaber; still, it is without a doubt a subtype of a lightsaber. The Darksaber is associated with Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian Jedi, who created the Darksaber as a one-of-a-kind weapon.
The weapon represented the Mandalorians’ fight against the Jedi and was a very powerful tool in battle; it also represented the emotions of the Mandalorians (something the Jedi avoided) and their murderous rivalry with the Jedi. At one point, the Darksaber was taken by the Jedi and kept under lock, until it was stolen by the Mandalorians and returned to the descendants of Tarre Vizsla.
The owner of the Darksaber also claims the title of the ruler of the Mandalorians and the only way to legitimately claim ownership over it is to defeat the former owner in combat (i.e., kill them).
As far as the famous owners are concerned, the Expanded universe as well as the TV shows have shown us that it has been owned by Tarre Vizsla, Pre Vizsla, and Sabine Wren among others. The Mandalorian has also established Moff Gideon and Din Djarin as its owners.
During the High Republic, a certain Jedi Master also owned a black lightsaber that had the standard appearance of any other lightsaber. In that regard, the Darksaber probably wasn’t as unique as we thought.
White Lightsaber Meaning
Although not completely unique, white lightsabers are among the rarest in the whole galaxy. The only two notable examples are, in fact, Ahsoka Tano’s white lightsabers. They represent neutrality and autonomy; while they are associated with the Light Side of the Force, they represent an individual who has cut ties with the Jedi despite remaining on the Light Side, and an individual that has no connection to the Dark Side of the Force.
An interesting thing here is that a white kyber crystal, the basis for a white lightsaber, is not natural, but is created by reversing the process with which the Sith create red kyber crystals.
Namely, by using the Force, an individual is able to purify a red kyber crystal, removing the Sith’s influence from it. During that process, the crystal loses its red color and instead becomes white, remaining completely usable. This form of purification also has its symbolic value, as stated above.
Ahsoka Tano is not only the most famous, but also the only known user of a white lightsaber in the TV shows. She was able to purify the red kyber crystals from the Sixth Brother’s weapon, thus creating two neutral, white crystals which she used in her lighsabers.
However, it was established in the High Republic storylines that there was another Jedi who wielded white lightsabers. Orla Jareni wielded a double-bladed lightsaber that has a hinge in the middle of the hilt so that the lightsaber can have two parallel blades.
Yellow Lightsaber Meaning
Along with the white lightsaber, a yellow lightsaber is among the rarest in the galaxy. It is not certain what this color actually represents, since it has never been explained by anyone, but we do know that a purified red kyber crystal (which was done by Jaden Korr) turned yellow on one occasion.
That is interesting because the purified color was later changed to white, as per the section above. Jedi Sentinels, the powerful protectors of the Jedi Temple, are usually associated with a double-bladed yellow lightsaber, but their story doesn’t really reveal much about the origins and the symbolism behind one of the franchise’s rarest lightsaber colors.
The powerful Asajj Ventress was the owner of a yellow lightsaber at one point, as was Ahsoka Tano. Still, most people will probably identify Rey, the protagonist of the Sequel Trilogy, as the most famous yellow lightsaber owner, as she is the only one among the three to have appeared in the main movies. The Jedi Sentinels, who guard the Jedi Temple, also use yellow kyber crystals for their weapons.
Orange Lightsaber Meaning
Due to it also being extremely rare, we don’t know much about the orange lightsaber. We know that it was canon before the great Disney purge and that it has appeared in the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game, but there isn’t actually any precise theory on its origins or its meaning. One theory states that it is a rarely used color because it is owned by those who have sworn not to use their weapons unless absolutely necessary.
This would mean that the orange lightsaber represents pacifism. Another theory, on the other hand, states that it was used by the Sith in the early days, but that practice has since been abandoned. Connected to this is the theory that an orange lightsaber contains a partially purified red kyber crystal which still contains traces of its original redness. The game guide, finally, states that an orange lightsaber represents a character with a void inside them, doomed never to be filled.
During the events of the ‘Ahsoka’ series, we saw that the master-and-apprentice duo of Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati wielded orange lightsabers that had darker colorations that made them closer to red. Dave Filoni, the series creator, admitted that he made the blades look red on purpose despite the fact that they were actually orange.
Baylan and Shin were neither Sith nor Jedi but were characters who dwelled in the grey areas as they weren’t evil but were willing to do evil deeds to achieve goals that they believed were for the betterment of the galaxy. That would mean that there’s a good chance that they have dark orange lightsabers that represent how close they are to falling to the dark side despite the fact that they don’t necessarily use the same dark power that the Sith and Dark Jedi are known to use.
As for the other colors that are mentioned in the table but have not been addressed individually, the reason behind that decision is because we have no story to tell. These other colors, as well as some non-canon ones (like gold or bronze), have appeared in the franchise, but the stories never really revealed much about them so we have no clue that they represent. There are certainly going to be more colors in the future so we’ll update the article as they appear, but this is everything we know about the current canon colors of lightsabers in the Star Wars franchise.