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Star Wars: Luke’s Green Lightsaber Was a Filmmaking Necessity

by  in Movie News Comment
Star Wars: Luke’s Green Lightsaber Was a Filmmaking Necessity

Luke Skywalker has a thing for losing lightsabers, but it seems he just can’t keep them out of his life for long.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens reintroduced a classic weapon to the mix – Luke Skywalker’s blue lightsaber. While that lightsaber now belongs to Rey, it’s not the only one to which Luke has ever laid claim. After losing a hand — and his father’s lightsaber – in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke reappears in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi wielding a green lightsaber. Fans have wondered for years where that lightsaber came from, and why Lucasfilm chose green. Luckily, now we know.

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The origins of Luke’s green lightsaber was explored in a recent Vanity Fair article in which Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive, revealed the rather practical reasoning for giving Luke the green weapon, as opposed to the traditional blue.

“The intent was the lightsaber was going to be blue,” Hidalgo said. “In that universe, at that time, as far as anyone knew, lightsabers were red or they were blue.”

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That had to change, though, according to Hidalgo, because of the change in location. While much of the swordplay in the first two Star Wars films takes place inside Imperial vessels and other similarly lit interiors, Return of the Jedi saw Luke and crew travel to the planet Tatooine, a sandy world with – you guessed it – lots of blue skies. Unfortunately for Star Wars traditionalists, this meant that the color of Luke’s blade had to change so that it would stand out against yellow sand and those pesky blue skies.

“As much as we like to mythologize why it’s green and what that all signifies,” Hidalgo said, “sometimes there are very pragmatic filmmaking reasons behind these things.”

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The green lightsaber began a long trend of customized energy weapons, including Darth Maul’s double-ended lightsaber in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber seen throughout the prequel trilogy, all the way up to Kylo Ren’s red lightsaber with its fiery hilt. Hidalgo also cautioned fans against ascribing too much meaning to the color of lightsabers; a favored pastime for Star Wars fans looking to add deeper meaning to the franchise’s already expansive lore.

There remains one question, though. If Rey has Luke’s blue lightsaber, where did his green weapon go, and will it ever make its return? Regarding this, Hidalgo was purposefully vague.

“We take to heart the lesson that Obi-Wan tried to impart to Anakin: ‘This weapon is your life.’ We’re not ones to lose track of lightsabers.”

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