Lightsabers are the iconic symbol of Star Wars. Not only do they provide glowing, humming combat scenes, but they also are an excellent symbol for the character who wields them. Take Ahsoka Tano. Over the course of her training, she started with a single green blade, then added a second to show her progression. When she leaves the Jedi Order, she leaves her sabers behind too, but Anakin later returns them after “some improvements,” turning them blue to emphasize their connection. Finally, she changed the color yet again to white to denote her departure from the Jedi faith.
But one big lightsaber change still eludes fans. In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker’s saber goes from blue to green in Return of the Jedi. And for 40 years, we haven’t known why. Thankfully, a new Star Wars comic finally explains this shift — and shines new light on just how these weapons work.
In Star Wars #35 (released in June by Marvel Comics), Luke looks for help after his blue saber sustained damage. He finds Dr. Cuata, a strange and shady character. Luke gets a lesson in how sabers work. Then, Dr. Cuata presents him with a red Kyber crystal, asking Like to drain its Dark Side.
When Luke tries, he instantly finds himself in a vision of a room surrounded by Dark Side figures — including his own father. After fighting his way back to consciousness, Cuata presents Luke with a clear, “raw” crystal, and asks him to see what would happen when he connected with it.
Luke finds himself back on Dagobah and has a conversation with his old master, Yoda. When he finally comes to, the Kyber crystal he was holding has turned green. Cuata gives him his repaired blue saber and tells him to keep the green crystal to replace the blue one later — explaining that shift in color.
It’s worth noting that we technically know why Luke’s lightsaber changed. Because the big fight scene at the start of Return of the Jedi takes place outside against a clear blue sky, a blue blade wouldn’t have stood out. So George Lucas swapped in a green saber and figured nobody would notice. (This isn’t the only continuity error in that scene.)
But the in-universe explanation never quite made sense. We know Kyber crystals are hard to come by. The “Gathering” episode of The Clone Wars also confirmed Kyber crystals choose their Force user. So Luke getting by with hand-me-downs so far is impressive.
By imbuing what is essentially an empty vessel crystal with a symbol of his bond with Yoda, Luke basically brute-forces a crystal with the personal resonance that most Jedi find when they go through the Gathering ritual. (This comic also reveals there are experts in saber-building other than the ancient droid Huyang, who also debuted in The Clone Wars and will appear in the upcoming Ahsoka series.)
So while this saber change may have initially been caused by a lighting concern, we now know it’s just a way for Luke to have a connection with his saber in a way he wasn’t able to before.