Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn’t just feature the return of Luke Skywalker, but also his green lightsaber from Return of the Jedi. This has caused quite a bit of confusion amongst fans: how can he still have it?
Over the course of Episode VIII, we gradually learn why Ben Solo turned to the dark side – and the results aren’t pretty. After sensing a great power inside his nephew-turned-padawan, Luke is momentarily tempted to kill Ben, stopping himself only too late and for his student to see and succumb to his anger. We’re not interested in what happened here (that’s covered elsewhere on the site), however, but the color of Luke’s saber: it’s green, and revealed in a later flashback to have the same hilt as the one he was last seen throwing away when facing the Emperor on the second Death Star.
Except that wasn’t the last time we saw it. It’s a common misconception that Luke is saber-less at the end of Return of the Jedi, but you can clearly see the hilt on his belt during the Ewok party at the end of the film; he evidently picked it up before carrying his redeemed father to the hangar. Luke never lost the saber, and kept it all the way through to starting his new Jedi Academy.
Not only was it present at the end of Return, it’s also appeared in the canon again already. In Shattered Empire, a comic series set just after Episode VI, Luke uses the weapon multiple times, making clear he’s still in possession of it.
The biggest question coming out of The Last Jedi should really be “where is it now?” While in the film Luke’s not given any real reason to use it, it doesn’t appear to be still with him; the saber is definitely not among his possessions on Ahch-to. It’s possible that it was lost or destroyed at some point in the sacking of the temple, although it’s not out of the question that Skywalker – who’s shut himself off from the Force at the start of Episode VIII – threw it away himself. After all, it’s the ultimate symbol of his failure with Ben.
That’s not the only lightsaber question fans will have after The Last Jedi. During his final confrontation with Kylo Ren, Luke uses a blue saber that appears to have the same hilt as the Skywalker one that was split in two by Rey and Ren just moments before. However, that’s not meant to make sense continuity-wise; it, along with Luke’s trimer hairstyle and less grey hair, is a subtle clue to audiences that this is all a Force projection. Why he didn’t apparate the green saber is unclear – it’s possible he didn’t want Ren, who knew it was lost, to figure out the ruse. However, he may have just wanted to avoid more questions about why he still had it.
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