Star Wars' Biggest Lightsaber Mystery Could Reveal A New Kind Of Jedi
Orange is the new green.
The color of lightsaber blades is a big deal in Star Wars canon. What began as a somewhat arbitrary color-coding in 1977, eventually evolved into a nitty-gritty metaphysical symbolic taxonomy. The color of a lightsaber isn’t random, it means everything. And now, with the orange-ish lightsaber blades swinging in the upcoming Disney+ series, Ahsoka, a whole new kind of Force warrior might be unveiled.
Here’s why the lightsabers wielded by Baylen Skoll and Shin Hati are so unique, and why Ahsoka might create an entirely new kind of character in the Star Wars canon.
The history of lightsaber colors
In April 1977, about a month before Star Wars hit theaters for the first time, Luke Skywalker — as depicted in Marvel comics — had a red lightsaber. In fact, throughout the entire Marvel adaptation of Star Wars, a deep red was the default color for everyone’s lightsabers. Some Obi-Wan Kenobi action figures sported yellow lightsabers, further proving that George Lucas and everybody else involved didn’t quite have their minds made up about what the lightsaber colors were supposed to represent. In terms of what was on screen, for the first two films, blue lightsabers were good and red were bad. But then, Luke lost his blue lightsaber in The Empire Strikes Back and got a green one in Return of the Jedi.
But, this green lightsaber was a last-minute decision. Indeed, even early posters and 1982 trailers for Return of the Jedi featured Luke rocking another blue lightsaber, not a green one. In fact, the color was only changed to green because ILM decided it looked better against the sand dunes and blue sky of Tatooine. Basically, a blue lightsaber against a blue sky looked weird and a green one looked better.
From there, canon allowed for more lightsaber colors. Famously, after requesting a purple lightsaber from George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson’s character Mace Windu became the first onscreen Jedi to have a blade that wasn’t red, blue, or green. (Though early Phantom Menace-era Mace Windu action figures had a blue-bladed saber.) In Legends canon, the lightsaber color came from the color of the crystals used to construct it. Before The Clone Wars, the crystals weren’t always called “kyber crystals,” but were often called Ilum crystals, because they came from the planet Ilum. (Later in “real” canon all of these words become interchangeable.) In Legends canon, the reason Sith blades were red is that the crystals were unnatural and synthetic. But, even in the prequel era, several toys and comics depicted Light Side Jedi rocking red lightsabers (like Adi Gallia), making the color system, again, seem somewhat arbitrary.
And then, lightsaber color canon truly changed. Thanks to the 2016 book E.K. Johnston book, Ahsoka and the Charles Soule Marvel 2017 comics series Darth Vader (both in canon), we learned that Sith actually “bleed” Light Side kyber crystals and turn them red. (This idea was simplified in the quasi-canon Visions episode “The Ninth Jedi,” in which lightsabers instantly turned red in the hands of a Dark Side user.)
However, Light Side Force Users could turn corrupted red crystals back to a different color. For example, Ahsoka’s white lightsabers — which first appeared in Rebels, then The Mandalorian, and now, Ahsoka — were red Sith crystals that she reclaimed for herself.
Because Ahsoka didn’t affiliate with Jedi or Sith in Rebels, Dave Filoni specifically wanted her to have a uniquely colored lightsaber. This brings us to the latest mystery.
Lightsaber color meanings in Ahsoka
Speculation around the lightsaber colors glimpsed in the Ahsoka trailer engulfed aspects of Star Wars fandom, just moments after the trailer dropped. Series creator Dave Filoni has confirmed these lightsabers are of an orange-ish red hue and that this decision was “very intentional.” On top of that Filoni has also suggested that the color of the sabers could hint that these two characters — Baylen Skoll and Shin Hati — may not be “what you think they are in the beginning.”
All of this strongly suggests that perhaps Baylen and Shin aren’t villains at all, but perhaps a new kind of Force user, separate and apart from Jedi and Sith. Many fan theories seem to suggest that, overall, Ahsoka will introduce several new different kinds of lightsabers, and that Baylen’s blade will be heavy, which is in keeping with the idea of the hefty Darksaber and much older lightsabers. Fans have also pointed out that Shin seems to have a Padawan braid, indicating she might have been some kind of corrupted Jedi.
But, if Baylen and Shin aren’t actual baddies, and Ahsoka continues to dabble with the interdimensional realm, the World Between Worlds, that opens up all sorts of possibilities. Some fans believe that Baylen is actually standing in the World Between Worlds in the trailer, which could possibly suggest he’s from another time or even another dimension. And if you squint, he does look a bit like the way Obi-Wan Kenobi was depicted in the Marvel comics in 1977, back when anybody could have a red lightsaber.
This isn’t to say Baylen is literally Ben Kenobi from an alternate universe, but could he be some alternate Jedi, in general? The basis of Ahsoka rests on the idea that time travel exists in the Star Wars canon, simply because Ahsoka herself wouldn’t be alive without it. So, if there’s time travel in Star Wars, then can we also accept that there might be parallel dimensions?
In the Star Wars timeline, as we know it, orange lightsabers aren’t really a thing, at least not yet. But, perhaps, in some alternate timeline, people rock lightsabers like this all the time. The Force warriors Ahsoka encounters in the new show are neither Jedi nor Sith. But maybe, they’re not even from this universe.