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'Rise of Skywalker' lightsaber twist connects Rey to ancient Jedi lore

One classic Star Wars game explains the movie's ending.

Lucasfilm

The lore surrounding lightsaber colors has evolved in surprising ways since the inception of Star Wars more than 40 years ago, both within the canonical universe and outside of it in the extended universe. But the final twist in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker connects Rey to the “thousand generations” of Jedi that came before her in an even more compelling way than you might think, all thanks to her new lightsaber’s surprising color.

Big spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In the final scene of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey visits the Lars homestead on Tatooine where this story began and buries Luke and Leia’s blue lightsabers in the sand. When a stranger walks up, she brandishes a totally new lightsaber seemingly made from her staff with a yellow blade. Based on the length of the hilt, it’s double-sided. So What does it mean for her to have a double-sided yellow lightsaber?

Let’s start with Kyber Crystals.

Kyber Crystals power all lightsabers, and these naturally occurring minerals are innately white with a collective consciousness that borders on sentience. Dark side Force users bend Kyber Crystals to their will, causing the crystal to “bleed” so that it gets the red color.

For Light side Force users like Jedi, the process is one of achieving harmony between a Kyber Crystal and its wielder. Once the attunement process is complete, the Kyber Crystal will change color according to the way it resonates with the wielder. In all cases, the color of a lightsaber says something about its wielder and their personality.

The core Star Wars movies barely explore the nuances of lightsaber colors in this way. Blue is obviously the most common for Jedi with green coming in a close second. Then there’s Mace Windu’s exceedingly rare purple blade, a specific request from actor Samuel L. Jackson that was then folded into canon as a fusion of Light and Dark side energies (hence purple, a mix of blue and red).

But what does yellow mean?

Within the movies at least, we associate double-bladed lightsabers almost exclusively with Darth Maul, but in the comics and animated series, there are plenty more examples of both double-bladed sabers yellow ones too.

The most prevalent use of yellow lightsabers comes from the Jedi Temple Guard’s lightsaber pikes. These guardians protected the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in the times before Order 66. Just like Dark Rey’s collapsible flipping mechanism on her red lightsaber in Rise of Skywalker, these yellow lightsabers fold in the middle. Rey’s double-sided yellow lightsaber from the ending, however, doesn’t seem to fold in the middle, but the color is still a deliberate creative decision.

Thousands of years before the original trilogy, the color of a Jedi’s lightsaber indicated their class, or school of philosophy, within the Order. Jedi Guardians focused on combat and defended the Force with blue lightsabers. Green lightsabers were for Jedi Consulars, who pursued peace through negotiation and meditation, with an emphasis on seeking knowledge. Then there were Jedi Sentinels, a special sect focused on eliminating the Dark side, who were proficient in technological specialties and driven by intrigue; they also wielded yellow lightsabers.

With Rey essentially becoming the new Chosen One, she eliminated the Sith. She’s also a naturally gifted pilot and mechanic. In short, she has all the traits of a Jedi Sentinel!

Promotional art for Bastila Shan in the 'Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes' game.EA

If all this sounds very “video gamey,” that’s because these classes were prominently featured in games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel. Even in Jedi: Fallen Order, the player can swap Cal’s lightsaber color at will and even choose between a single- and double-bladed weapon.

The Rise of Skywalker does seem to borrow several elements from Knights of the Old Republic, in particular Bastila Shan, a Jedi Knight during the Old Republic era who wielded a double-sided yellow saber. She formed an intense Force bond with Darth Revan that feels rather similar to the dyad of Rey and Ben Solo. Darth Revan was also a Jedi who fell to the Dark side and then was ultimately redeemed — just like Ben Solo, for whatever that’s worth.

From a canonical standpoint, the most important thing here is that Rey’s new lightsaber establishes her as something new and different from everything that has come before — even if there’s some precedent for it in deeper Star Wars lore.

A lot of theories were floating around when the title was announced that “Skywalker” would be the name of a new order of Force users established by Rey. We may never know whether or not that’s the case, but Rey choosing to wield a weapon unlike anything we’ve seen before in the movies means that she’s not really a Palpatine or a Skywalker. She truly is her own person.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.

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