When the third movie in George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy was released forty years ago, most fans had one question: since when did lightsabers come in green? Since then, we’ve gotten stories that have introduced us to a whole rainbow of lightsabers, but the mystery of why Luke, in particular, switched from blue to green in the time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi has remained a mystery, until now that is. According to Inverse, an issue of Marvel’s Star Wars comic book explains that Luke received his signature green Kyber crystal from shady lightsaber historian Dr. Cuata.
Star Wars #35 from Marvel Comics finally explains why Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Return of the Jedi is green instead of blue.
Everyone knows that Luke’s original hand-me-down blue lightsaber was lost when Darth Vader amputated his son’s hand during their introductory duel on Cloud City. What’s never been explained in Star Wars lore until now is why he didn’t make himself another blue one to pay tribute to Anakin and Obi-Wan’s kyber color of choice. The answer, it turns out, is because of his connection to another Jedi—Master Yoda.
The comics had previously introduced an “in-between” saber for Luke, a yellow one previously owned by one of the Jedi Temple Guards that the young force-user happened upon during one of his adventures. It turns out that this found weapon has little emotional connection to Luke since he isn’t the Jedi who bonded with the saber’s kyber crystal in the first place.
When Luke’s yellow saber is damaged during a battle, he seeks out a Kyber crystal expert on the planet Christophsis hoping to have his lightsaber repaired.
Star Wars #35 introduces us to Dr. Cuata, who tasks Luke with healing a red Sith crystal before treating to help him. The inexperienced Jedi is unable to cleanse the crystal of its dark side emotions successfully and is instead transported smack dab into the middle of a Sith gathering. Luke eventually makes his way back to Dr. Cuata, who next asks Luke to connect with a raw Kyber crystal that has never been touched by a Force user.
It’s through Luke’s bond with Yoda—who himself carries a green lightsaber—that the young hero imbues his crystal with the right properties to turn it green..
It’s during this interaction that Luke accidentally projects himself across the galaxy and in front of Master Yoda himself. Having not seen the little green Muppet in close to a year, Luke has a lot of things to discuss with his former Master. In the end, Luke ends up back on Christophsis with a new green kyber crystal.
It’s through Luke’s bond with Yoda—who himself carries a green lightsaber—that the young hero imbues his crystal with the right properties to turn it green, resulting in fans now having a canon answer as to why Luke switches to an emerald laser sword for the third Star Wars movie.
The Real Reason For The Color Change
Meanwhile, back in the real world, there is actually a practical reason for the change in lightsaber hues from one Star Wars film to another. George Lucas originally shot all of Return of the Jedi with the intention of Luke’s new lightsaber having the same blue coloring that his last saber did.
Promotional material for the movie, including some early posters, even featured Luke holding a blue lightsaber. It was discovered during post-production, however, that the color green would stand out better against the bright blue sky of Tatooine during the movie’s big outdoor action scene near the Sarlacc.
Whether you go by the in-universe reason for the green lightsaber, the real-world explanation, or even your own headcanon, all that really matters is that Luke ended up with the coolest lightsaber in the whole Star Wars saga, and ’80s/’90s kids got a reason to make a “whoooosh!” sound whenever they picked up a stick.