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What Lightsaber Colors Really Mean for the Jedis Who Wield Them

Discover the significance of nine lightsaber colors in the Star Wars universe.

One of the most enduring and recognizable pieces of iconography from the Star Wars universe is the lightsaber. Starting with the 1977 original movie, viewers have been watching Jedi Knights battle with a range of colors of lightsabers, with more shades added in as the years go by. The first film, Star Wars Episode: IV — A New Hope, features blue and red blades in the initial combat we see between the light and dark sides. As the film series continues, more lightsaber colors have been featured, including green and purple. And as the franchise has extended beyond the nine Skywalker Saga movies into other Star Wars canon—including spinoff films, live-action TV series, animated shows, and comics—even more unique lightsabers have been added.

There has also been further explanation in the franchise about how lightsabers are made. According to the Star Wars website, "In order to build a lightsaber, Jedi would go on a rite of passage type journey known as the Gathering. Younglings would travel to the sacred planet of Ilum, where they were tasked with finding their kyber crystals in the ice caves." The younglings—or Jedi-in-training—essentially match with the lightsaber crystal that is right for them. Kyber crystals are only one part of the lightsaber, but they are the element that determines the color.

As the site explains, "These luminous gems typically respond to the original Force user that found it, immediately turning one of the following colors: green, blue, purple, or yellow. Red crystals are not natural and must be corrupted by the dark side to be that color."

In the movies and series, the lightsaber colors are not chosen purely for how they glow on screen—though, as you'll see, in some cases they are—but rather mean something more about the Jedi who wield them. Read on for nine lightsaber colors and their meanings.

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Lightsaber Color Meanings


Mark Hamill in "The Empire Strikes Back"
20th Century Fox

Wielded by: Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Rey

In the first two Star Wars movies, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), all of the lightsabers we see are blue or red. The Jedi Order fight with blue lightsabers, while red ones signify the Sith, who wield the power of the dark side of The Force. Before becoming Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones), Anakin uses a blue lightsaber, which is then passed down to his son Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness in the original trilogy) It later ends up with Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the final trilogy of the Skywalker Saga.

CBR explains that blue lightsabers are associated with Jedi Guardians, who fight to defend the Jedi in battle. According to the Star Wars resource Wookieepedia, there are three branches of Jedi, including Guardians, Jedi Consular, and Jedi Sentinel; though this concept is not canon.


Darth Maul with red double-sided lightsaber
20th Century Fox

Used by: Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, Darth Sidious

A red lightsaber represents evil or the Sith. In A New Hope, Darth Vader is the first character to use a red lightsaber, but many other Star Wars villains take red weapons into battle, as well. In the latest trilogy, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) uses a crossguard red lightsaber when he's in thrall to the dark side but notably switches to blue when he and Rey team up to defeat Darth Sidious, a.k.a. Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).


Liam Neeson in "The Phantom Menace"
20th Century Fox

Used by: Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn

Fans first saw a green lightsaber in Return of the Jedi (1983). Luke built this lightsaber himself after losing his blue one while battling Vader. But, there was also a practical reason for this color change.

"The intent was the lightsaber was going to be blue. In that universe, at that time, as far as anyone knew, lightsabers were red or they were blue," Lucasfilm exec Pablo Hidalgo told Vanity Fair. But, Luke's lightsaber was changed to green so that it would standout against the blue sky in one of the main action sequences of Return of the Jedi. "As much as we like to mythologize why it's green and what that all signifies, sometimes there are very pragmatic filmmaking reasons behind these things," Hidalgo said.

Back to the idea of the three branches, Jedi Consulars are considered wise Jedi who have devoted a lot of time to studying the Force philosophically. CBR puts forth that they are associated with green lightsabers. That Luke is less impetuous and more wise in the third film in the first trilogy aligns with this theory.


Samuel L. Jackson in "Star Wars" with a purple lightsaber
Star Wars / YouTube

Used by: Jedi Master Mace Windu, ancient Jedi Jaden Korr

A purple lightsaber was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002) as used by the Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). And while fans have ascribed additional meanings to lightsabers over the years as more Star Wars content has been released, this color was added to the lightsaber rainbow, because Jackson requested it. Hidalgo told Vanity Fair that the actor wanted to be able to spot his character in a battle scene full of Jedi and their lightsabers. "Lo and behold a purple one came into existence," he explained.

Jaden Korr from the video game Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy also uses a purple lightsaber, in addition to two others.

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Rey with a yellow lightsaber in "The Rise of Skywalker"
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Used by: Rey, Jedi Temple Guards, Luke Skywalker

At the end of the final film of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Rey has a new yellow lightsaber that she's built. As noted by Screen Rant, yellow lightsabers had previously been associated with the Jedi Temple Guards in the animated shows, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. "As a result, the yellow lightsaber signifies a protector of the Jedi Order itself, being highly skilled and dedicated to the Jedi as their last line of defense," the website explains. As for how this connects to Rey, the site points out that she "is technically the last line of defense for the Jedi, as she is responsible for making sure they rise again rather than fall into obscurity." Additionally, Luke uses a yellow lightsaber had that belonged to guards of the Jedi Temple in a canon comic.

The third non-canonical branch of Jedi, Jedi Sentinels, also use yellow lightsabers, CBR says. They combine the schools of thought of the Consulars and the Guardians.


Ahsoka with white lightsabers in "Ahsoka"

Used by: Ahsoka Tano

White lightsabers are associated with Ahsoka Tano, a character who has been featured in several Star Wars properties, including the live-action 2023 series Ahsoka, in which she's played by Rosario Dawson. Originally, the kyber crystals of her two lightsabers made them red, but Ahsoka purified them using the Force, which makes them appear white. As explained by Game Rant, Ahsoka uses the Force, but is not a Jedi: "The pure white of her lightsabers conveys her neutrality within the Force, as opposed to a mastery of both Light and Dark sides like Mace Windu."


Shin Hati with an orange lightsaber in "Ahsoka"

Used by: Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati

Orange lightsabers are also associated with the show Ahsoka and are wielded by the characters Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). As CBR points out, these characters are villainous but are not part of the Sith, so the orange color could show their dark side without making them fully committed. Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni told Screen Rant that Skoll and Hati "might not straight up be what you think they are in the beginning … Nothing is accidental."

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Bo-Katan with the Darksaber in "The Mandalorian"

Used by: Tarre Vizsla, Pre Vizsla, Darth Maul

The black lightsaber is also known as the Darksaber in Star Wars canon. The blade portion appears black and has a white-colored aura around it. It has been featured in Star Wars: The Clone WarsStar Wars Rebels, and The Mandalorian. The weapon was created by Tarre Vizsla, who was the first Madalorian to become part of the Jedi Order, and is a major part of Mandalore history.


Tera Sinube in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"

Used by: Tera Sinube

The lightsaber of Jedi Master Tera Sinube (voiced by Greg Baldwin) has also been described as both white and pale blue. In a chart about lightsabers, Vox categorized it as silver, which the site noted "may be controversial." But, however you describe it, Tera Sinube's lightsaber is a unique one—it even doubles as a walking stick. This character appears in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the comic The High Republic Adventures, among other Star Wars media.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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