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In this guide to Anakin’s lightsaber, I’ll explore why Anakin’s lightsaber is so crucial to the saga. It isn’t the main character or any kind of sentient being. Still, it is a physical manifestation of Skywalker, the Force, and the concept of the Chosen One. Although known as Anakin’s lightsaber, it’s often referred to as the Skywalker saber. It is owned at various points by Anakin, Luke, and Rey.
Without any further ado, let’s get into it.
Key Details Up Front
Anakin’s lightsaber – or the Skywalker saber, as it would be known – features in six of the nine Star Wars episodes (and all through Clone Wars). It was first built by Anakin after his old one was destroyed in the droid factory on Geonosis (thankfully, Obi-Wan didn’t kill him). The Jedi then carries this saber through the Clone Wars until he falls to the Dark Side.
After being defeated by his betrayed mentor, the newly named Vader’s lightsaber was picked up by Kenobi, who took it with him into exile on Tatooine. Eventually, he would pass it on to Anakin’s son, Luke. The latter wielded it until he, too, was disarmed (literally) by his father. Over time, it fell into the possession of Maz Kanata, who allowed Rey to take it after the Force drew her to it. Rey carried it (although she briefly passed it to Ben Solo) until she buried it, her mission completed, and the galaxy saved. It sank in the sand on Tatooine, along with Leia’s lightsaber, at the twin-sunned home where it all began.
Anakin’s Lightsaber: Description
All lightsabers are powered by a kyber crystal built into the hilt. Like all the weapons, Anakin’s lightsaber would have been assembled through careful Force meditation, allowing the pieces to fit together. The blade is light blue, like those of most Jedi of the time.
The metal hilt is around a foot in length and is designed to be wielded with two hands (although one was often possible). It has rubber grips at the base to allow for more accurate rotational slashes. The gold-colored power cell can also be found near the bottom. The emitter and stabilizer ring (where the blade leaves the hilt) contains a slight guard. The activation matrix (that’s “the ON switch” to you and me!) would have been in the vicinity of the wielder’s strong-handed thumb, which holds the top half of the hilt.
Not much changes in Luke’s hands (or hand – sorry). It’s near enough the exact same lightsaber that his father, Anakin, constructed. After Rey and Kylo Ren shear the saber in two, she rebuilds it, although never managing to retain quite the same aesthetic. There are apparent weld marks at the shatter point.
Anakin’s Lightsaber: Timeline
All Jedi lightsabers are traditionally constructed on the planet Ilum, as The Gathering (Clone Wars S5E6) and video game Fallen Order show. Anakin’s first and second lightsaber must, therefore, have come from these kyber crystal caves. However, as yet there isn’t a particular definitive canon source to describe either of these events.
- First lightsaber: 29 BBY to 22 BBY. Forged about 29 BBY, destroyed on Geonosis in 22 BBY.
- Second lightsaber: 22 BBY to 19 BBY (in Anakin’s hands); buried 35 ABY. Created shortly after the First Battle of Geonosis. Lost in his (Vader’s) duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Eventually passed onto Luke, then Rey, before being buried in the sand on Tatooine.
Although it’s really a different topic, it’s well worth noting Vader’s lightsaber timelines.
- First lightsaber: 19 BBY to about 18 BBY. Vader killed Jedi Kirak Infil’a, taking his lightsaber and bleeding the crystal on Mustafar to turn the blade red. Destroyed on Cabarria during a fight with mercenaries.
- Second lightsaber: about 18 BBY to 4 ABY. Constructed a new lightsaber in his star shuttle during his return to Coruscant. Kept this weapon until Luke sliced his hand off above Endor, the weapon falling into the you’re-only-probably-dead Death Star reactor core.
Anakin’s Lightsaber: History
Anakin’s First (Padawan) Lightsaber
Before creating his iconic lightsaber, Anakin built another as a Jedi Padawan studying under Obi-Wan. He used this until he and Padme were captured on Geonosis when a cutting blade in the droid factory broke it. There would be no time to repair it, as the two were immediately strung up for execution along with Kenobi. When the Jedi arrived in an almost-futile rescue attempt, Skywalker was handed a temporary green-bladed saber. However, this, too, was destroyed, this time in his duel with Count Dooku.
Anakin’s Second Lightsaber: The Skywalker Saber
Soon after the First Battle of Geonosis, Anakin created his new lightsaber. He would use it to lead troops of the 501st into battle against the Separatist (CIS) battle droids throughout the years-long campaigns. Crucially, he’d also teach Ahsoka with it. The weapon saw hundreds, if not thousands, of occasions of combat action in Skywalker’s hands. To list them all would be a very long task. Instead, suffice it to say that Anakin’s lightsaber was responsible for saving countless lives in every corner of the galaxy far, far away. Well, until things took a turn for the worse, that is.
As a Jedi Knight who felt betrayed again and again by the Jedi Council, Anakin was deceived. The good man was led astray by the twisted words of Shiev Palpatine, the Sith Lord who slithered his way into complete control of the Galactic Republic. Manipulating events into forcing Anakin to choose between the woman he loved and the Jedi, the self-declared Emperor succeeded in defeating Skywalker. In his place, a new man – an evil man – would arise, introduced as Darth Vader. Now, rather than saving the lives of the innocent, it would take them.
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In Vader’s Hands
Anakin, now Darth Vader, used the lightsaber to cut off Jedi Master Mace Windu’s hand., leaving him defenseless against Palpatine’s Force Lightning. The weapon had been used offensively for the first time. Now, feeling there was no direction in which he could turn, Vader initiated the attack on the Jedi Temple. The strong Force users were spread thin across the galaxy. As Order 66 compelled their clone troopers to execute them, Anakin was sent to deal with the small concentration left on Coruscant. He killed most of the Knights and Padawans with no trouble but, most hauntingly, ended the Jedi younglings’ lives.
Sidious (Palpatine) then sent Anakin to Mustafar, where he had gathered the leaders of the Separatist army. Although the new Emperor had promised them peace, they were also deceived. Vader used his lightsaber to cut them down in a merciless execution, eradicating all potential threats to his rule in one swift day.
Obi-Wan then stowed away on Padme’s ship to find his old apprentice. The two dueled, and Obi-Wan prevailed, his careful wisdom and defensive approach overcoming Vader’s flurrying lightsaber attacks. He cried out as he stood there, unable to deal the finishing blow to the dear friend he loved most in the galaxy. Obi-Wan picked up the Skywalker saber and left Vader to burn in the lava river. Emotional, right?
Passed from Obi-Wan to Luke
Through the coming twenty years or so, Obi-Wan carried the lightsaber with him, keeping it hidden as he disconnected from the Force to protect the young Luke. Eventually, when Anakin’s son came to find him in the Tatooine wilderness, he passed the weapon on to him. Luke would then use it to challenge Vader in a duel on Bespin, where his hand was cut off and it, along with the Skywalker saber, dropped out of sight. Luke learned of his true relationship with the Sith Lord in the same meeting.
… and Then to Rey
A long time passed. Wow, it’s like the introduction to a fable! I use that expression because Disney hasn’t really confirmed what happened next. Whatever happened, when, eventually, the lightsaber is next seen (in Maz Kanata’s castle), the Force calls to Rey and instructs her to take it. She isn’t a Skywalker by blood, and yet she’s still willed to take it. Although she initially rejects the sword, having experienced a terrifying vision of Ren’s slaughter of the Jedi when she touched it, her friend Finn carries it for a short while. After Rey’s capture and the subsequent rescue attempt (during which Kylo Ren kills Han Solo), Finn takes on the young Sith apprentice. He loses. Badly.
Kylo Ren, once known as Ben Solo, is the son of Leia, the grandson of Anakin Skywalker, whom he knows as Darth Vader. As Vader’s heir, he tries to Force Pull the lightsaber from the snow to claim it as his own. However, as the hilt flies through the air, its path is suddenly diverted, and it ends up in the hands of Rey. The scavenger girl, having never held a lightsaber before, bests Ren. However, natural forces separate the two before she can deal a final blow.
Rey takes the lightsaber and finds Luke Skywalker in hiding on Ahch-To. He rejects it, having set himself to never train another Jedi, to never risk another Kylo Ren. Eventually, Rey leaves (with the saber), unable to convince him to join the fight. She travels to confront Snoke and Ren onboard their flagship, where the Skywalker heir uses it to assassinate his Sith Master. Together, he and Rey fight off the guards before each staking a claim to the saber. They each want each other to join the other’s path, something neither of them feels able to do. As each powerful Force user pulls at the Skywalker saber, the kyber crystal shears in two, creating a massive explosion, knocking them both out.
Rey comes to first and, taking the broken hilt, hitches a ride with Chewbacca in the Falcon. They head off to save the Resistance.
A Vision of a Lightsaber?
In the meantime, Ren, now the new Supreme Leader, follows the remnants of the Resistance to an old Rebel base on the salt planet Crait. As he corners them in preparation for their slaughter, Luke Skywalker arrives. He’s holding Anakin’s lightsaber. Seemingly immune to the First Order’s mighty artillery fire, Kylo is forced to fight his old mentor one-on-one. Luke never engages Kylo directly, constantly dodging his attacks. We later learn that he’s simply distracting the boy to allow the Resistance to escape, projecting a vision of himself across the galaxy. He and the lightsaber fade into nothing as Rey rescues the trapped fighters from the cave. They live to fight another day, and Luke becomes one with the Force.
Rey continues carrying the lightsaber, using it in various skirmishes as she hunts for the Sith Wayfinder, pointing to Exegol. She uses it in a duel with Kylo Ren amidst the wreckage of the Second Death Star. She loses, but Leia, knowing the need to save Rey and redeem her son, uses the last of her strength to beam a message of compassion to him through the Force. She passes away, and Rey uses the momentary hesitation to run Kylo through fatally with his own saber.
Showing compassion, she heals him before taking his ship and heading to Exegol alone. Here, she’ll confront Palpatine (otherwise known as “Grandad”, as she’s soon to find out!). Ben Solo later follows her, having returned to the Light.
Tool of Redemption
As Rey debates striking Palpatine down in anger to save her friends, Ben Solo arrives. Through their dyad in the Force, she hands him Anakin’s lightsaber – the weapon he’d always dreamt of owning – and pulls out Leia’s old hilt. He then cuts down the Knights of Ren and rushes to her aid.
The two youngsters are initially overwhelmed by Palpatine’s sheer power. Ben Solo is thrown down into a cavern while Rey, his granddaughter, is encouraged to kill him and manifest all the Sith. Instead, Rey finally connects wholly with the Force and, embodying all the Jedi, uses the Skywalker saber (along with Leia’s) to deflect the Emperor’s lightning back at himself. His body is overwhelmed, and he definitely dies this time. Definitely. Pretty sure.
The selfless act also ends Rey’s life. Ben Solo climbs back up to the throne space. Using the last of his strength, he restores her life – something only possible due to their dyad in the Force. The effort kills him, and he finally becomes one with the Force in peace, where he can join Leia and Luke; but Rey is back.
After the celebrations wind down, she returns to the Skywalker homestead on Tatooine. Here, she wraps Anakin’s lightsaber with Leia’s and uses the Force to bury them in the ground. The fight has been fought and won. The job is done. The saga is over. She then activates her new yellow saber as a passer-by asks her identity.
In the end, a Skywalker – one who wields the mighty lightsaber passed from generation to generation and uses it to restore balance to the Force – isn’t defined by blood. They’re defined by character.
- Attack of the Clones – as a Padawan, Anakin’s old lightsaber is destroyed on Geonosis.
- Attack of the Clones – when the Jedi rescue him, Obi-Wan, and Padme, he’s gifted a spare. But that also gets destroyed not too long later that day. Anakin!
- Cat and Mouse (Clone Wars S2E16) – currently the next chronological mainstream media after Attack of the Clones. Anakin wields his new lightsaber during the initiation of the mission to Christophsis.
- Shroud of Darkness (Rebels S2E18) – at some point as a Jedi Knight, Anakin records a training hologram. He’s using his lightsaber and demonstrates his unique interpretation of Form IV.
- Revenge of the Sith – Anakin uses his lightsaber (along with the defeated Count’s) to execute Dooku, unwittingly killing him before he reveals Palpatine’s true identity.
- Revenge of the Sith – Anakin turns on the Jedi after feeling betrayed and desiring to save Padme from death. He slices off Windu’s hand, allowing Palpatine (Darth Sidious) to murder him with Force lightning.
- Revenge of the Sith – rechristened Darth Vader, he leads an attack on the Jedi Temple. Before slaughtering the Younglings, he kills several knights, including Cin Drallig and possibly Shaak Ti (depending on which canon source you believe).
- Revenge of the Sith – as the war concludes, Palpatine sends Vader to Mustafar to assassinate the Separatist leaders. He does so mercilessly.
- Revenge of the Sith – realizing that Anakin Skywalker is dead, Obi-Wan faces him on Mustafar. Kenobi’s experience triumphs and he leaves his former friend for dead, taking his lightsaber with him.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi Part I – there’s a brief glimpse of Anakin’s lightsaber in a wooden box buried by Ob-Wan in the desert.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI – as Obi-Wan leaves his hermit cave and travels to the hut further out in the desert, he brings the box containing the two lightsabers with him.
- A New Hope – Obi-Wan retrieves the weapon and hands it to Luke.
- A New Hope – Luke trains to connect to the Force using the lightsaber and a training remote.
- The Empire Strikes Back – Luke confronts a vision of Vader on Dagobah, in which he lashes out and sees his own face behind the mask.
- The Empire Strikes Back – Luke confronts his father, who slices off his hand. The saber drops into the unknown.
- The Force Awakens – the Force draws Rey to the lightsaber on Takodana.
- The Force Awakens – yay, the Finn/TR8R fight. Nice.
- The Force Awakens – Finn and then Rey duel Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base. Rey eventually emerges victorious.
- The Last Jedi – Luke Skywalker, now a hermit on Ahch-To, rejects his old lightsaber (and with it, the offer to join the fight).
- The Last Jedi – Rey leaves and confronts Snoke. Ren uses the lightsaber to slice Snoke in half, and then Rey wields it as the two fight off the guards. Each then lays claim to the weapon, and the Force Pull is so strong that it shears and explodes. Rey takes the pieces with her.
- The Last Jedi – Luke Skywalker wields a vision-version of it in his “duel” with Kylo.
- The Rise of Skywalker – Rey trains using the weapon.
- The Rise of Skywalker – on Exegol, Rey passes the weapon to the reborn Ben Solo through the Force. He uses it to quickly dispatch the Knights of Ren.
- The Rise of Skywalker – although they’re almost defeated, Rey uses Anakin’s and Leia’s lightsabers to deflect Palpatine’s Force Lightning back at him, killing him.
- The Rise of Skywalker – the two sabers are buried in the desert on Tatooine as the twin suns set.
Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin about his first lightsaber (Attack of the Clones):
Next time try not to lose it.
Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker (Legacy of Terror, Clone Wars S2E7):
Because I make observations while you think with your lightsaber.
Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker (A New Hope):
Your father’s lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
Force Spirit of Obi-Wan to Rey when she first touches the lightsaber (The Force Awakens):
Rey, these are your first steps.
Maz Kanata to Rey (The Force Awakens):
That lightsaber was Luke’s and his father’s before him. And now, it calls to you.
Maz Kanata to Rey (The Force Awakens):
The saber. Take it.
I’m never touching that thing again. I don’t want any part of this.
Rey to Luke, after he throws the saber down a cliff (The Last Jedi):
… Master Skywalker?!
Luke Skywalker to Rey when she throws it into the fire (The Rise of Skywalker):
A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.
The Skywalker saber – Anakin’s lightsaber – was destined not to be wielded by someone born of the mighty Skywalker ancestry. It’s not an inherited thing, so to speak. Skywalkers are made, not born. Perhaps this is even a reference to Anakin’s conception, created through the Force by the Sith. It’s why the Force chose Rey to wield the weapon, not Kylo Ren. It’s why she overcame him on Starkiller Base, despite his insistence that the saber should be his by right. And it’s why, at the saga’s conclusion, Rey takes on the name of Skywalker, which may also be a reference to her relationship with Ben Solo.
Anakin’s lightsaber is a central part of almost the entire saga, although it’s rarely thought about too much. I hope this article might provide a different perspective on the importance of family – how it’s not just blood but attitude, common goals, and – most importantly – love. What a pleasant way to end.
Question: What is Anakin’s lightsaber called?
Answer: Anakin’s lightsaber is often referred to as the Skywalker saber or the Skywalker lightsaber. As well as being known as Anakin’s, it’s also wielded by his son, Luke, and self-declared granddaughter, Rey. Thus, it’s also known as Luke’s lightsaber and Rey’s lightsaber, depending on who owns it at the time.
Question: Why is Anakin’s lightsaber important?
Answer: An excellent way to answer this question is to consider why Obi-Wan picked up Anakin’s lightsaber. Why didn’t he just throw it into the lava?
First of all, it’s an emotional reminder of his good friend, the man Anakin Skywalker was before he became Darth Vader.
Second, and more importantly, the Force is strongly connected to Anakin’s lightsaber. It holds something of the spirit of Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One. Thus, whoever it’s passed onto (Luke and then Rey) inherits some of that power.
Question: Why didn’t Anakin’s lightsaber turn red when he became Darth Vader?
Answer: Here’s another excellent question and another that isn’t fully answered yet. However, so far as I can tell, it’s because lightsaber kyber crystals emit a color based on the user who created the weapon. For example, when Anakin is given a green lightsaber on Geonosis, it stays green. When he picks up Dooku’s lightsaber, it remains red. General Grievous’s lightsaber “collection” would, I assume, have the same colored blades as they’d initially had in the hands of their previous (now-slain) Jedi owners.
Anakin’s lightsaber stayed blue because, when he built the lightsaber, it was a manifestation of his character – the Light. The weapon remains the same color even when he becomes a Sith because he hasn’t made a new one or sat down to change the crystal.
According to the current canon, Jedi connect with the Force, flowing through it. The Sith fight the Force, aiming to achieve mastery over it. The two approaches are the reason for the different philosophies: purity, calm, peace, and defense vs. emotion, rage, possession, and attack. For this reason, Sith can’t approach kyber crystals to channel their energy. Instead, they have to overwhelm the crystal by pouring their emotions into it. In Star Wars, this is called “bleeding the crystal”, and it turns the blade red.
So, Anakin’s lightsaber stays blue in the concluding acts of Revenge of the Sith because it was blue when he made it. After Obi-Wan defeats him, he takes the weapon with him to Tatooine. After rescuing Vader, Sidious instructs him to create a new lightsaber. He tells him that his old, lost saber belonged to a Jedi – a man who has died, to all intents and purposes. Vader killed Jedi Kirak Infil’a and bled the crystal on Mustafar. When that one was destroyed, he created another with a hilt similar to his Jedi model. Hence, Darth Vader’s red lightsaber, seen in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Rogue One, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Rebels.