WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson explains why Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) uses Anakin's blue lightsaber in his climactic duel with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The highly-anticipated sequel to J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens continued the story of Lucasfilm's sequel trilogy while also laying the foundation for Abrams to return for the final chapter in the long-running Skywalker saga: Star Wars: Episode IX.
The Last Jedi contains multiple scenes that were either lauded by audiences or ridiculed by them. Among those scenes is Luke's duel with Kylo Ren on the planet Crait. Throughout the movie, Luke openly expresses his refusal with joining the Resistance. At one point, he even questions Rey (Daisy Ridley) about her expectations of him, because he wasn't going to face down the entire First Order with nothing but a laser sword. However, that ended up being exactly what he did - to an extent. He wasn't actually there during the Battle of Crait. Instead, he projected himself using the Force. And in that projection, he's seen wielding Anakin's blue lightsaber - which was destroyed not too long before that scene - instead of the green lightsaber he constructed prior to Return of the Jedi.
In an interview with IGN, Rian Johnson explains why Luke uses Anakin's blue lightsaber instead of his green saber in The Last Jedi, saying it was meant to have "maximum effect" on Kylo Ren.
"[Luke] is basically tailoring this projection to have maximum effect on Kylo. He knows that Kylo’s Achilles heel is his rage, and so that’s why he kind of makes himself look younger, the way Kylo would’ve last seen him in their confrontation at the temple, and that’s why he decided to bring Kylo’s grandfather’s lightsaber down there - the lightsaber that Kylo screamed at Rey, ‘that’s mine, that belongs to me.’"
The line Johnson quotes is from The Force Awakens, which is spoken towards the end of the film when Rey and Kylo Ren first duel outside Starkiller Base. While Kylo attempts to let go of his past throughout The Last Jedi and even urges Rey to do the same, he's continually drawn back in by his rage, as is evident when he orders his gunners to shoot the Millennium Falcon out of the sky. Another object that sets him on edge is Anakin's lightsaber. And while audiences know the saber was destroyed earlier in the film, Johnson suggests that Kylo Ren himself doesn't know that, which makes Luke wielding it even more irksome.
"We as an audience saw that... The truth is, we see the lightsaber split in half - Kylo sees a blinding flash of light and is knocked unconscious, and then Rey takes the lightsaber away before he wakes up. So if you really want to dig into it and get an explanation, you can say that he doesn’t 100 percent know what happened to the lightsaber."
An interesting thing that many fans have pointed out since The Last Jedi released is that the blue Kyber crystal inside Anakin's lightsaber appears to be somewhat intact, as is seen when Rey is holding the saber in pieces aboard the Millennium Falcon. It's possible that Rey will use the Jedi texts she recovered to learn how to create her own lightsaber by harnessing that Kyber crystal in Episode IX. If so, perhaps she will create a double-bladed lightsaber in the style of the staff she uses in The Force Awakens, but we'll just have to wait and see.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019