Do you remember when the first images of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens were released? I certainly do. Among the grainy set photos one detail stood out that everyone, Stephen Colbert included, went crazy over. While the TV shows and Expanded Universe material have displayed bizarre lightsaber designs in the past, the seventh installment in the Star Wars saga is the first time we've seen a live-action lightsaber look like this:
Months later, with all the controversy and discussion about how the thing even functions has died down, (mostly) everyone has accepted the design. While I'm as excited to see how Kylo Ren's lightsaber plays into the story as anyone, I think we got so hyped up over the "new look" that we missed the REAL importance of lightsabers in The Force Awakens. Ladies and gentlemen, Kylo Ren's lightsaber is not the most important saber in the upcoming movie. This one is.
That's right, the old-fashioned and VERY familiar lightsaber with a blade as blue as Aunt Beru's milk is the key to the story. Before we get into all that, let's go over the basics. Do you remember the last time the lightsaber pictured above was seen in a Star Wars film? I certainly hope you do: it was in a severed hand.
For most of you, that's not huge news. If it is, that's okay, you get to go to sleep with the comforting thought that you aren't as nerdy as some of us. Regardless, this lightsaber has somehow found its way from tumbling down the bowels of Cloud City to a shipwreck on a planet far, far away.
Big deal right? Another lightsaber pops up in the middle of nowhere. Ren already has one that looks much more intimidating...or does it? There's something strangely different about his lightsaber than any other saber we've seen before, and it's not the broadsword-looking hilt. Compare the gifs below and see if you can spot it:
I encourage you to check out any other lightsaber in the Star Wars saga to reinforce this fact: Ren's lightsaber blade is the only one that doesn't appear smooth and well-contained in all of the movies thus far. That's juicy piece of information numero uno:
Kylo Ren's Lightsaber is Not Your Dad's Lightsaber
Now this is the part where I knowingly confuse my own train of thought for the sake of a pun, because if Ren's lightsaber did date from the days of the Grand Republic, it would look and function much more elegantly. Which leads us into our next point of interest, and the key words are "dad" and "elegant".
Remember where Luke got his lightsaber in Star Wars: A New Hope? Obi Wan Kenobi gave it to him. Where did Obi Wan get it? Right off the ground next to the burning body of Luke's very own dad: Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a Darth Vader.
That's important info nugget number 2:
The Found Lightsaber Belonged to Darth Vader
So the lightsaber that shows up on Jakku isn't actually just any old lightsaber: it was built by and belonged to Darth Vader himself. Surely anyone would consider the weapon of such a legendary force to be valuable, but the final trailer for The Force Awakens revealed why it would be so valuable to one Mr. Kylo Ren:
What we have here is a man (thing) who appears to consider Darth Vader to be a role model, and considers it his responsibility, his duty, to take up the mantle of his fallen "hero". This obsession is our third info point:
Kylo Ren is a Darth Vader Groupie
The final piece of our puzzle comes from two sources. First, the title of the movie. As we've seen from the trailers and teasers and images, The Force hasn't been around for a while. In fact, it appears that the existence of The Force is considered a myth, save for the people who've seen it in action:
The second half of this elusive piece comes not from the appearance of something in the trailer, but from the lack of it. Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master and Savior of the Galaxy, is nowhere to be found. With the expulsion of the Expanded Universe from Star Wars canon, the odds are overwhelming that Luke is the only being left in the galaxy who knows how to make a real lightsaber. That's the final piece:
The Force (and the Jedi) are MIA
Now let's take a look at all the pieces together, in a slightly different order:
- 30 Years after The Battle of Endor, The Force is Absent
- Kylo Ren has Taken Up the Mission of Darth Vader
- Ren's Lightsaber is Not Well-Made
- Darth Vader's Second Lightsaber Shows Up After 30+ Years
So here we are: 30 years after the Rebels won a great victory over the Empire, war is still raging between the First Order and The Resistance. The Jedi are gone, The Force has disappeared, and the stories of what happened 30 years ago have faded away. A being has risen up and taken on the visage and mission of the Sith, vowing to quell the galaxy once and for all. His attempt at building a lightsaber succeeded, but only somewhat: the blade is ragged and it spits exhaust out of the hilt. It's the best he can do, since no one remains to teach him how to make one. Then word reaches him that the lightsaber of his exemplar has been found on a distant planet, and he will stop at nothing to claim it and use its power to crush his enemies beneath his might.
38 years after Star Wars began, it's all set to begin anew just as it did before: with a Skywalker lightsaber. Where do you think Luke Skywalker is? Do you think the news of his lightsaber being found will convince him to return? Sound off in the comments, and thanks for reading!