Mace Windu famously wields a purple lightsaber throughout the Star Wars prequels – but why is he the only Jedi to wield such a weapon? Samuel L. Jackson is something of a geek in real life, and famously landed the role of Jedi Master Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace by making a personal appeal to George Lucas whilst being interviewed on a British talk show. Windu only has a couple of scenes in The Phantom Menace but Lucas would give Jackson a lot more to do in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones.
The finale of Attack Of The Clones features Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and a host of other Jedi battling in a large arena. In addition to his distinctive purple lightsaber, Windu’s crowning moment in this battle is when he beheads bounty hunter Jango Fett in a brief showdown. The purple lightsaber caused a lot of chatter in fandom upon the prequel’s release, but there’s a very simple explanation for its appearance – Samuel L. Jackson just wanted a purple lightsaber. The actor knew the final battle would feature a large crowd of characters fighting, so to make Windu stand out he asked George Lucas to make the character's lightsaber purple.
Lucas was initially resistant to the idea, telling the actor lightsabers only come in green, blue or red. The director eventually eased up on this rule, revealing to Jackson during reshoots on Attack Of The Clones that Windu was given a purple lightsaber. Of course, there’s a much more in-depth explanation for the rarity of purple lightsabers in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
In the current Star Wars canon, not a lot is known about the origins of Mace Windu's purple lightsaber. It contains an amethyst crystal that gives it a distinctive color, but otherwise, it's an accepted rarity in the galaxy; only a handful of other characters have wielded one.
A possible origin was teased in the Star Wars Tales comic story “Stones”. The story suggested that, as a Jedi initiate, Windu had a vision of the lightsaber he would construct, but he was unable to craft this weapon due to lacking the necessary parts. He was sent to planet Hurikane to seek these parts, but upon arrival, he was chased by the angry planet natives. One of these natives accidentally fell into a canyon and shattered, but Windu was able to reconstruct them using the Force. The natives would then gift Windu with a purple crystal in gratitude, which allowed him to construct the lightsaber of his literal dreams. This story was non-canon even before all pre-Disney stories were made "Legends", but it highlights just how lauded a purple lightsaber was.
In addition to his purple lightsaber, Mace Windu also used Form VII saber combat, an aggressive fighting style often favored by dark side users, making his weapon even more distinctive in Star Wars canon.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019