The most common (and known) lightsaber colors in Star Wars are blue, red, and green, which help distinguish both sides of the force, but the Star Wars universe has a variety of colors for these weapons – eight, to be precise, including the orange lightsaber, recently made canon thanks to Jedi: Fallen Order. Like most objects from a galaxy far, far away, the different colors of lightsabers have a meaning, and are used by different people depending on their role (and the side of the force they’re a part of).
Lightsabers are used by the Jedi, Sith, and other force-users for offense and defense. These weapons consist of a plasma blade, powered by a kyber crystal, emitted from a hilt and can be shut off at will. The kyber crystals are what give lightsabers their different colors – these are rare, force-attuned crystals that grow in nature and can be found on different planets. Kyber crystals are uncolored, but once they are found by a Jedi, they take different colors. Although the personality of the user doesn’t directly determine the color the crystal takes, and the old Expanded Universe lore of different colors denoting different roles for the Jedi is no longer canon, but the color is influenced by their “spiritual alignment”.
As such, the kyber crystals can give different colors to lightsabers, though colors like the Sith’s distinctive crimson red are obtained through different methods. Up to now, Star Wars recognizes eight lightsaber colors as part of canon, each with a different meaning and purpose. Here’s what each lightsaber color represents.
Blue lightsabers, along with the red ones, made their debut in Star Wars: A New Hope. This color is associated with the Jedi. It’s not the only color used by them, but it’s the most common one. Blue lightsabers are said to represent righteousness and bravery, mostly by association with what the Jedi stand for, but the color as it is doesn’t mean anything in particular, other than the result of the user’s “spiritual alignment” with the crystal. This color was used by characters like Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Tera Sinube, who had a light blue blade. In Star Wars’ Expanded Universe, this color designated a Jedi Guardian.
Green lightsabers are the second most common color used by the Jedi. Like the blue lightsaber, a green blade doesn’t mean anything in particular, though this color is associated with those who value concord, harmony, are helpful, cooperative, spiritual, and demonstrate goodwill. The green lightsaber was commonly used by wiser, more senior Jedi, such as Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, and later Luke Skywalker. It’s worth noting that Ahsoka Tano uses a pale green shoto lightsaber as well. In the Expanded Universe, green lightsabers designated a Jedi Consular.
A very rare color also used by the Jedi, most notably by Mace Windu. The purple lightsaber was actually a request by Samuel L. Jackson, whose favorite color is purple. As such, there’s no actual meaning to this rare lightsaber within the Star Wars universe. However, in the Expanded Universe it indicated moral ambiguity, uncertainty, and reconstruction, as purple is a combination of red and blue – therefore, it represented that the user showed an affinity with both the light and dark sides of the Force. Windu’s purple lightsaber first appeared in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and was lost when it fell out a window during the confrontation between Windu and Darth Sidious in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
This color is used by Jedi Temple guards, who carry double-bladed yellow lightsaber pikes. Little is known about this particular lightsaber color, so whether these are made intentionally yellow to distinguish the guards or the crystal chooses the temple guards by turning yellow it’s unclear. Characters like Asajj Ventress and Ahsoka herself have wielded this lightsaber color at some point. In the Expanded Universe, yellow lightsabers were used by Jedi sentinels, and when the ancient Jedi Jaden Korr purified a red lightsaber crystal, it turned yellow.
The newest addition to Star Wars canon are orange lightsabers, thanks to Jedi: Fallen Order. The color was revealed as a pre-order incentive for the game, so there’s no backstory to it yet. In the Expanded Universe, orange blades have sometimes been used by the Sith/dark Jedi, but in new canon there's no indication what (if anything) it means – at least, hopefully, until Jedi: Fallen Order comes out.
White lightsabers were used by Ahsoka Tano, and are proof of her mastery of the Force. Ahsoka retrieved the kyber crystals from the lightsaber of the Sixth Brother, an Inquisitor she killed during the Imperial occupation of Raada while she was in hiding after the collapse of the Jedi Order. These originally emitted a red blade, but Ahsoka purified them with the use of the Force and restored them to a white color, which ended up representing her status as an autonomous individual, as she was no longer affiliated to the Jedi and had no affinity to the dark side. These new white crystals were used by her in two lightsabers, one of these a shoto blade.
The lightsaber color that represents the Sith. Unlike the Jedi, who share a connection with their kyber crystals, with these then changing colors, the Sith are unable to discover connect with them, and thus have to steal their kybers or employ other methods to build their lightsabers. The process is known as “bleeding”, and consists on pouring all their hate, fear, and other negative emotions into the crystal, causing it to “bleed” and turn red. Meanwhile, in the Expanded Universe, the Sith similarly couldn’t use kyber crystals for their lightsabers, so they made synthetic kybers, which turned out to be red. This color has been used mostly by the Sith, as seen with Darth Vader, Count Dooku, Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber, Darth Sidious, and Kylo Ren. Fans are now waiting for an explanation on Rey wielding a red lightsaber in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker.
The black lightsaber (or Darksaber) is a one-of-a-kind blade created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian. The Darksaber has a unique blade, shorter than that of most lightsabers, and shaped like a traditional sword. After Vizsla’s passing, the Darksaber was kept in the Jedi Temple, and was later stolen by members of House Vizsla. This weapon became a symbol of leadership for Mandalorians, and according to Mandalorian custom, the only way to obtain it is by defeating the previous owner in combat.
All the colors mentioned above are part of Star Wars canon, but there are many others that haven’t made it there yet, and remain part of the Expanded Universe. In it, other crystals aside from kybers are used to build lightsabers, and the color of the blade depends on the crystal. Because of this, the Star Wars EU has seen a variety of lightsaber colors, such as silver, cyan, gold, viridian, bronze, and more. With many elements from the EU jumping to canon lately, maybe some of these lightsaber colors will also join the Star Wars canon in the near future.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019