Star Wars

How Do Sith Get Their Red Lightsabers? The Acolyte Could Explain

Tell me... do you bleed?

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Sith have always been few and far between in the Star Wars galaxy, but that might work to their advantage in The Acolyte. The upcoming series positions the dark side wielders as the underdogs, the opposite of their role in the original Star Wars trilogy. Antagonists like Mae (Amandla Stenberg), a former Jedi padawan turned assassin, will be working hard to destroy the Order one Jedi at a time. Whether she’s alone or doing the bidding of a yet-unknown Sith lord (Darth Plagueis, maybe?), her efforts are enough to knock off a few seasoned Jedi Masters... and that’s all before getting a lightsaber of her own.

In The Acolyte trailer, Mae is armed with only a dagger and her own formidable martial arts skills. As the Jedi Order is regarded as an invincible institution, she clearly has the benefit of stealth on her side. But as we also see in the series’ first teaser, the Sith won’t be content to hide in the shadows for long: a figure will emerge that feels more in line with our ideas of the Sith as dark-side users with red lightsabers. Could this be Mae? It seems likely, but how will she get her hands on a lightsaber in the first place, much less a saber with that trademark red blade?

The Acolyte’s antihero could bring Sith lore to the big screen for the first time.


Creating a lightsaber is tricky work, and it’s even harder for the Sith. Force wielders must have access to kyber crystals, the precious gem that powers the blade, before building their hilt. This process can produce a blue, green, yellow, or purple blade, but to make a red lightsaber, the Sith have to take it one step further. Dark side users create red blades through a process called “bleeding,” in which they pour all their hate, fear, and pain into their crystals.

Though we haven’t yet seen the practice on screen, Star Wars comics have depicted it in detail, especially in The Rise of Kylo Ren #4. The acolyte formerly known as Ben Solo bled the crystal he’d received as a Jedi padawan, imbuing it with his rage and frustration over his family legacy. His technique wasn’t perfect, resulting in a cracked crystal and Kylo’s less-than-traditional saber design. But this depiction of bleeding was a big step in Star Wars canon, as before we’d only seen Jedi cleanse already-bled crystals.

Ahsoka Tano healed two Sith blades in her eponymous novel, which gave the former padawan her trademark white lightsabers. Luke Skywalker’s green lightsaber was also the result of healing a red crystal. It’s a remarkably cool process, one that further deepens the interconnected lore of the Jedi and Sith. Surprisingly, though, we’ve yet to see bleeding or cleansing depicted outside of books or comics.

Mae isn’t working alone in The Acolyte — could this be a Sith pulling strings in the shadows?


The Acolyte is uniquely positioned to change that. There’s still so much mystery surrounding the show and its characters, but The Acolyte could expand Sith lore in a way no other Star Wars project can. As Mae is likely a Sith apprentice, we could see her learn their rituals and build a lightsaber of her own. Will it be stolen from one of the Jedi she assassinates, or given to her by her mysterious master? Time will tell, but The Acolyte is already shaping up to be a great exhibition of hidden Sith history.

The Acolyte premieres June 4 on Disney+.

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