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This weapon is your life- Obi-Wan to Anakin
The image of mighty Darth Vader in his black helmet and cloak, with a magnificent red lightsaber in his hand, surely brings back a lot of dark memories.
Lightsabers were one of the most ancient weapons of Force-sensitive creatures. The Force connected a wielder to his lightsaber, and this connection could not be defeated. However, although more commonly known as a Jedi’s weapon, lightsabers weren’t exclusive to Jedis and were used equally by Siths.
Furthermore, non-Force users such as General Greivous and Sabine Wren of Mandalore were also famous wielders of the lightsaber. Anyhow, it is a topic for another debate, and this guide will be focused only on the lightsaber of the fallen “Chosen One.”
Anakin Skywalker, a young boy from Tatooine, grew up to be one of the most resilient and capable Jedi. Before turning to the Dark side of the Force and becoming a Sith Lord, Anakin owned two lightsabers, both remarkable in their build and action. Still, the red-bladed lightsaber he wielded after becoming a Sith Lord was the deadliest of all. Although he wasn’t seen much flashing his fancy weapon, it was this lightsaber he used to cut off Luke’s hand and kill Obi-wan, his ex-mentor and friend.
In this guide, I am going to talk in detail about the connection Darth Vader shared with his lightsabers, the role they played in his journey as a Sith Lord, and almost everything you need to know about those dynamic weapons. So let’s begin!
Bottom Line Up Front
After turning to the Dark side of the Force, Vader wielded his blue Skywalker lightsaber briefly before losing it to Obi-Wan. From killing Count Dooku to chopping off Mace Windu’s hand, from killing young padawans to wiping out the Separatist Council, this Jedi’s weapon saw it all.
After losing the Skywalker lightsaber to Obi-Wan on Mustafar, Vader stole Jedi Master Infil’a’s curved-hilt green lightsaber and bled it on Mustafar to make it a Sith lightsaber. But after the hilt got destroyed on Cabarria, Vader built a new one.
With a cylindrical-shaped hilt and a dual-phase function, this red lightsaber was one of a kind. This newly built Vader lightsaber killed Obi-Wan, amputated Luke Skywalker, almost killed Ahsoka, and caused destruction beyond imagination.
Description and Powers
Anakin’s First Lightsaber
The first lightsaber Anakin ever wielded had a blue-plasma single blade, a 28 cm long hilt made of Alloy and carbon composites with forward-mounted adjustment knobs that he created to suit his needs. Furthermore, it also had thick ridges on the handle, making it easier to hold. These ridges usually came in handy while blocking a strong blow or thrusting the lightsaber to a hard surface. Anakin had this weapon for seven years before losing it on Geonosis in 22 BBY.
If we think about it, it was the first lightsaber that sowed the seed of Darkness in Anakin’s heart when he mercilessly massacred Tuskan Raiders on Tatooine.
The Second Lightsaber Used Both by Anakin and Vader
It’s heavier than I thought- Padme
The second lightsaber, known famously as the “Skywalker lightsaber,” was built by Anakin in almost the same fashion as his previous one. He modified it specifically to assist him in practicing Form V lightsaber combat, aka the Perseverance Form.
It had a solid grip, a covered blade emitter, a sturdy casing, and could operate underwater. The blade on this one was also blue. This Skywalker lightsaber was the one Darth Vader used in his initial period of transformation before losing it to Obi-Wan. It’s only fair to say that this lightsaber had witnessed both the Light and Dark Sides of the Force.
The Iconic Sith Lightsabers Used by Vader
The lightsaber that Darth Vader stole from Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a was a curved-hilt green lightsaber, which he later bled red. However, he lost it very soon during a skirmish on Cabarria.
This Sith Weapon, or the “Vader Lightsaber” that Darth Vader built himself after losing the first one, was really magnificent. It had a dual-phase function which allowed its wielder to alter its length during combat, a unique feature that his previous weapons lacked.
Furthermore, its design shared a striking resemblance to his first and second Jedi lightsabers. It had a cylindrical-shaped black hilt with a red plasma blade, making it look ever so intimidating.
The most intriguing part was that the hilt had two kyber crystals. The first one was called a synth-crystal which was highly uncommon in lightsabers due to its unstable nature. The second crystal used in Vader’s lightsaber was Adegan crystal, which had a special frequency attached to it that could be sensed by any Force-sensitive being.
Origin/History of Vader’s Lightsaber
The First Lightsaber
Since all the lightsabers that Jedi wielded were made from a kyber crystal found on Illum, it was believed that Anakin created it in the same way when he was just a 14-year-old padawan. However, just before the beginning of Clone Wars, Anakin’s lightsaber got destroyed on Geonosis.
Although many fans disagree with this lightsaber having any relation to Darth Vader, nevertheless, in my opinion, by using it to avenge his mother’s death, it was this lightsaber that proved to be the stepping stone for Anakin’s journey toward Dark Side.
The Skywalker Lightsaber
The second lightsaber, a.k.a. the Skywalker lightsaber, was famous for being the one that saved the most lives and wreaked the most havoc.
During the Clone Wars, Anakin used this weapon to fight many battles, such as the Battle of Neimoidia and the Battle of Coruscant. However, the transition of Anakin from a Jedi to a Sith Lord was also made possible because of this lightsaber. The following section discusses the role of this lightsaber in Anakin’s transition into Sith Lord.
Major Lightsaber Events
Killing Count Dooku
Count Dooku, the former apprentice of Darth Sidious and a Sith Lord, was killed by Anakin in an attempt to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. With Obi-Wan injured, Anakin engaged in a lightsaber duel with Dooku. Anakin disarmed Dooku, amputated his arms, and showed strength and skills that even took Dooku by surprise.
The defeated Count bent on his knees and surrendered; after all, he knew it was not a Jedi way to kill a defenseless opponent. However, on Palpatine’s command, Anakin decapitated Dooku with his lightsaber and sent his head rolling across the floor. It was a defining moment in Anakin’s life and the start of his Dark path, as with no Sith apprentice left, he had to take his place very soon.
Chopping-Off Windu’s Hand
The Skywalker lightsaber also proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Anakin’s Light Side. He used it to cut off the hand of Jedi Master Mace Windu, who was about to end Darth Sidious. With one swift blow, Windu was left defenseless and was subsequently thrown away by Darth Sidious. By the end of this final stroke, Anakin was completely corrupted and became Darth Vader after pledging his loyalty to Darth Sidious.
The Massacre at Jedi Temple
The younglings were the first unfortunate victim of this lightsaber, now owned by a new master, Darth Vader. With the execution of Order 66, Vader marched toward the Jedi Temple and killed many young padawans and Jedis with the same lightsaber he once used to save innocent lives.
Eliminating the Separatist High Council
On the planet of Mustafar, Vader again wielded his Skywalker lightsaber to execute the Separatist High Council. And although this lightsaber brought the Separate Alliance to an end, it gave rise to a more formidable and worse evil, the Empire.
Losing the Skywalker Lightsaber
In the Klegger Corp Mining Facility on Mustafar, Vader engaged in a duel with his former Master Obi-Wan, who was deranged seeing his apprentice and friend falling to evil. Although Kenobi tried convincing him, it was too late for Vader to turn back.
This was the last time Darth Vader wielded the Skywalker lightsaber. Amidst the lava-covered facility, this duel was the most heart-wrenching scene of the whole series. The Skywalker lightsaber delivered some serious blows against one of the most trusted friends of Anakin, but, in the end, it was Obi-Wan who emerged victorious. When the fight was over, Obi-Wan, believing Vader was dead, took the Skywalker lightsaber with him and left for Tatooine.
When Luke Skywalker, Vader’s son, grew up, he met Obi-Wan, now going by the name of Ben Kenobi, on the outskirts of Mos Eisley. Obi-Wan gave him his father’s lightsaber and told him that his father was once a remarkable and courageous Jedi who died during the rise of the Empire and wanted him to wield his weapon when he grew up.
For many years, Luke Skywalker wielded his father’s lightsaber, but he lost it in a first face-off with his father, Darth Vader. However, decades later, this lightsaber ended up with Rey Skywalker, who used it to defeat the resurrected Darth Sidious before finally laying this “Skywalker heirloom” to rest alongside Leia Skywalker’s lightsaber.
The Sith Lightsabers
Darth Sidious ordered his apprentice, the newly transformed Sith Lord and Commander-in-chief of the Galactic Empire’s military, to build a Sith lightsaber for himself after he lost his previous one. Sidious ordered him to kill a Jedi and steal his weapon to ease the process. Since almost all the Jedi were executed and vanished, Sidious advised him to find the one who had escaped. Consequently, Vader tracked down a Jedi Master, Kirak Infil’a, to Al’doleem and killed him before stealing his lightsaber.
Although there had been a long debate about how the Siths’ lightsaber turned red, thanks to the Star Wars comics, we are at least aware of the process now. The Siths turned the plasma-blade red by bleeding the kyber crystal by using all the negative emotions and power of the Dark Side they had inside them.
“Through the Dark side, you must pour your pain into the crystal. And when, at last, the agony becomes more than it can stand … a beautiful crimson. The color of your rage.” -Darth Sidious
The Sith lightsaber was a reflection of the emotions they had. In order to build himself one such lightsaber, Vader went to the deadly planet of Mustafar and bled the kyber crystal of Infil’a’s lightsaber. The bleeding process wasn’t initially a success, with him getting visions from his future, where he would turn back to the Light Side and kill Darth Sidious. However, Vader used all his power to pour his hatred and rage into the crystal and turned it red.
Building a New Hilt
While spreading the Emperor’s influence in the Galaxy, Vader’s newly built lightsaber’s hilt got destroyed when an assassination attempt was made on his life on the planet Cabarria. Therefore, Vader proceeded to construct a new hilt that was more potent than ever, even impressing the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious.
It might be interesting to know that Vader’s newly built hilt was just like the one he held as Anakin Skywalker. He wielded this weapon for more than two decades, and let’s just say the Dark Side of the Force was really stronger with it.
Major Lightsaber Events
Even though Vader’s lightsaber was powerful enough to take down any enemy in a battle, surprisingly, Darth Vader didn’t use it as much. He was so strong with the Dark Side of the Force that he didn’t bother yielding his lightsaber against the opponents he didn’t consider dangerous enough. Remember Vader Force-choking Admiral Motti? So, whenever there was a show of Vader’s lightsaber, it was always worth mentioning.
Chasing Ferren Barr
The beginning years of the Galactic Empire were a play of hide-and-seek between the Jedi who survived Order 66 and the Imperial forces tracking them down. Galactic Empire was trying to extend its influence in different regions of the Galaxy. While on the other hand, an early rebellion against the Empire had started where the remaining Jedi and the Rebel Alliance were trying to get independent systems to stand up against the Empire.
Darth Vader, in his early years, was sent on one such mission to Mon Cala, where a former Jedi padawan Ferren Barr was trying to influence the King of Mon Cala to join the rebellion. Vader and his Inquisitors faced massive resistance from the people of the planet.
Vader found himself plunged into the darkness of the Great Ungeness Trench and was surrounded by the Rebel Alliances. However, the resistance only unleashed Vader’s wrath, who used his weapon to kill several soldiers, invaded the King’s security, and eventually captured him. He then engaged in a lightsaber duel with Barr, but the once padawan was no match for the mighty Sith Lord Vader. Vader cut through him with his lightsaber, proving once again how deadly he and his weapon were.
Face-Off with a Former Apprentice
Vader’s lightsaber faced many opponents, and almost none stood a chance against his iconic lightsaber. When Ezra Bridger, a famous Jedi of the Alliance, was leaving with the Sith Holocron he had retrieved from the Sith Temple on Malachor, he was confronted by Vader.
A lightsaber duel broke out between them but ended soon, just after 3-4 strikes, with Vader cutting through Ezra’s lightsaber. If it wasn’t for timely intervention by Ahsoka Tano, Vader’s former apprentice and once a Jedi padawan, Ezra would have died.
Then we saw the emotional lightsaber face-off between Ahsoka and her former Master, which was the most anticipated scene after the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Vader tried convincing Ahsoka to join the dark side of the Force to which Ahsoka refused. When Vader told her that her former Master, Anakin, had died and he killed him, Ahsoka pledged that she would avenge his death. She still believed that behind that mask and a red lightsaber was Anakin.
The duel between them was definitely one of the best scenes of the whole Star Wars series. The first blow came from Ahsoka’s dual lightsabers; however, after a few strikes, the former Jedi couldn’t hold her ground against Vader’s lightsaber and was pushed into the chasm of the temple below. She jumped back, pushing Vader’s lightsaber away, and delivered a powerful blow that exposed half of his Master’s face by damaging his helmet.
And I wouldn’t be lying if I say, with his lightsaber retracted, when Vader called her name with such a deep voice, I felt that he had returned to the Light Side. Anyway, this poignant scene did not last for more than a few seconds, and with Vader drawing his Sith lightsaber, he was again engulfed by the Dark Side.
The Duel between the Apprentice and His Master
All the Star Wars OG first witnessed Vader’s lightsaber in action in Episode IV when he engaged in a duel with Obi-Wan on Death Star-I.
Obi-Wan, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker boarded Death Star to rescue Leia Organa. However, during their escape, Obi-Wan encountered his former apprentice. Vader took out his lightsaber, and they both fought the first lightsaber duel the fans had ever seen. Obi-Wan knew his time to become one with the Force had come.
So, during the duel, he told Vader that even if he killed him, he would become more powerful than ever. Then on the spur of the moment, Obi-Wan looked at Luke, surrendered his lightsaber, and let Vader kill him with his iconic Sith lightsaber.
The Infamous Duel between Father and His Son, the Battle Between Skywalker and Vader Lightsaber
Vader wielded his lightsaber against his son more than once, but this event was quite special because Vader was put up against his previous lightsaber, the Skywalker lightsaber. On the Cloud City of Bespin, Vader took Luke’s friends hostage in an attempt to lure him. Consequently, Luke, sensing that his friends were in danger, left his Jedi training in the middle and went to Bespin.
On Bespin, Luke faced Darth Vader in a carbon-freezing chamber where Vader was waiting for him for some father-son chat (literally). Vader tried turning his son to the Dark Side, but Luke was also a Skywalker, after all. They engaged in a lightsaber duel, and once again, Vader wielded his lightsaber against someone he loved.
After several blows, blocks, pushing, and moving across the chamber, Vader started to get more serious with his lightsaber-wielding. Luke tried to put up with the Sith Lord, but he was a padawan, after all. After making Luke “walk the plank,” with a quick blow from his Sith lightsaber, Vader sliced off Luke’s hand, which was holding the lightsaber, and both his hand and the lightsaber fell into the smelting core of the planet Bespin.
This duel between Vader and Luke showed how desperate Vader had become. His rage, reflected through his lightsaber, had become uncontrollable. He was willing to go to all lengths to retain power, and his lightsaber was indifferent to any bond or relationship.
The End of Vader’s Lightsaber Journey
The last lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and his son, Luke, on the second Death Star, was actually a duel between the Light and Dark sides of the Force. And this duel in the Emperor’s throne room became a turning point for both Vader and Luke.
An array of red and green lights flashed through the room. Both Vader and Anakin displayed their skills with their lightsabers to the fullest. And although Vader struck Luke several times with his lightsaber, this time, it felt like he didn’t want to kill him or chop off his other hand.
Luke sensed the conflict going on in his father’s mind and called him out to turn back to the Light Side. However, still going through the existential crisis, Vader told him that he would turn his sister, Leia, to the Dark Side instead.
Enraged by his father’s words, Luke gave one swift blow with his lightsaber and cut off Vader’s hand. With Vader’s lightsaber falling into the Death Star’s reactor shaft, Darth Sidious incited Luke to kill Vader and take his place as his new apprentice. However, upon realizing he was about to do what Yoda had warned him about, Luke threw away his lightsaber and declared he was a Jedi, just as his father once was.
Although this was the end of Vader’s lightsaber, those who are still wondering what happened to Luke or Vader next, well, with no lightsabers left in the scene, the Emperor started using Force lightning on Luke Skywalker. But fortunately, upon hearing Luke’s cries for help, Vader had a moment of enlightenment, and he turned back to the Light Side.
Although Vader, now Anakin, didn’t have his lightsaber to make any blow, he gathered his strength, picked up Darth Sidious, and threw him down the Death Star’s reactor shaft, to which he lost his iconic Sith lightsaber moments ago.
Vader’s Lightsabers in My View
It was the only object toward which I had ever seen him demonstrate emotion of any kind. – Wilhuff Tarkin
Darth Vader was hands down one of the greatest Sith Lords to ever exist in the Galaxy far, far away. All the lightsabers Vader held during his lifetime were symbolic of his journey from Anakin to Darth Vader, or should I say, the transition of the Light Side into the Dark Side.
When Anakin first gave away his Skywalker lightsaber as proof of love to Padme, it seemed he didn’t share any emotional attachment towards it. But, with the death of Padme, the love of his life and the reason for his transition toward the Dark Side, Vader was left only with the illusion of power and the means to attain it, i.e., his lightsaber.
Albeit he didn’t often wield his lightsaber against the opponents he considered unworthy, once it was drawn, it was certain that something big was going to happen. And one such example was the Battle of Scariff, which saw the wrath of Vader’s lightsaber in its worst form.
The Skywalker lightsaber reflected how great of a Jedi Anakin was. But the destruction this very lightsaber caused was a reflection of how the thing that was supposed to save innocents could be turned against them.
In my opinion, the red lightsaber Vader created as a Sith Lord was a testament to his pure rage and vengeance. And it would not be wrong to construe that because of its powerful and perilous nature, the Vader lightsaber made Anakin do the worst thing, i.e., kill his “brother” and Master, Obi-Wan, and amputate his son. And it was only after this infamous lightsaber was gone for good that Vader was able to turn to the Light Side.
Major Appearances of Vader’s Lightsabers
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “Victory and Death”
- Star Wars Rebels – “Twilight of the Apprentice”
- Star Wars Rebels – “A World Between Worlds”
- Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Where did Vader build his first Sith lightsaber?
Answer: Being a newly appointed Sith Lord, Darth Vader built his first lightsaber on the lava-filled planet of Mustafar, located in the outer-rim territories. It was actually a stolen lightsaber from Jedi Master Infil’a that he tried to make his own.
It was only fair that Sidious commanded him to go to Mustafar for this process, as it was where Siths would bleed their crystals and make their lightsabers. Not to mention, being a Sith holy site, this planet flowed with the Dark powers and also had the Sith temple.
Question: Which crystals were used in the construction of Vader’s lightsaber?
Answer: Vader’s lightsaber consisted of two power crystals; a highly unstable synth crystal and a relatively stable Adegan crystal. However, the actual credit for Vader’s lightsaber goes to the bleeding that went into its construction, a process that mandated every Sith to put their negative feelings into the lightsaber to make it more powerful.
Question: How many lightsabers did Darth Vader wield during his lifetime?
Answer: Technically, Darth Vader wielded three lightsabers during his lifetime. The first was the Skywalker Lightsaber, the second was the one he stole from Jedi Master Infil’a, and the last one was the creation of his own. Except for Jedi Master Infil’a’s lightsaber, which had a curved hilt, Vader’s first and second lightsabers were pretty identical.
Question: What was the most unique thing about Vader’s lightsaber?
Answer: Although for the power it possessed, Vader’s lightsaber was one of its kind. But the most interesting feature that this lightsaber had was the controllable length of its plasma beam.