Rey's New Lightsaber in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,' Explained

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This is not the lightsaber in question | LucasFilm
This is not the lightsaber in question | LucasFilm
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the entire plot of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final movie in the sprawling Skywalker saga. You should leave now if you haven't seen the movie.

At the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we learn that one possible meaning of the title may refer to Rey's visit to a very familiar Tatooine moisture farm, where she is asked who she is. "Rey Skywalker," as she now calls herself, hasn't just returned to the childhood home of Luke Skywalker to gaze at the twin suns; this might be where she lives now, as hinted at by the title of the accompanying track to John Williams' The Rise of Skywalker score: "A New Home," obviously designed to riff on the subtitle of the very first Star Wars film, A New Hope. The scene also marks the debut of a puzzling new weapon, when Rey ignites a never-before-seen lightsaber, one goldish yellow and framed against the blue desert sky.

It's a beautiful shot, one that comes after Rey uses the Force to bury the two lightsabers of the Jedi Masters who trained her. There's Luke's legacy lightsaber, the light-blue one originally wielded by Anakin Skywalker, and the weapon Rey uses for most of the movie (including in the picture above). And there's Leia's lightsaber, also blue, introduced earlier in this film during a flashback of Leia training with Luke training soon after Return of the Jedi, before Luke formed his doomed Jedi Academy that would produce Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren. At some point after the second Death Star blows up in Jedi, Leia must have constructed the lightsaber for herself, a key part of a budding Jedi's training. It makes sense Rey would reach this point and construct a lightsaber as well, hence the debut of her yellow saber.
Also read: Where does the Star Wars Universe go after The Rise of Skywalker?

If it looks familiar when it's hanging off of Rey's hip as she strides through sand dunes, that's because it has been constructed out of the staff she wielded throughout The Force Awakens. The official visual dictionary for that movie describes it as a "salvaged quarterstaff" and the bottom part of it looks like she may have constructed her staff, in part, from salvaged lightsaber parts in the first place. To build the lightsaber she holds in the final moments of the film, it appears she has fused together two of the tapered parts of her quarterstaff, using one as the pommel cap (the bottom part of the handle) and the other as the emitter (the part where the lightsaber blade comes out). Rey's emitter has a jagged gate that opens to form a crown shape at the base of the blade and allow the plasma to come out.

I'm guessing at this based off The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, but it appears that Rey has modified a salvaged Imperial capacitor bearing. Here's a picture of one that's Star Destroyer-sized, or roughly three times the sides of the ones on Rey's staff. You can see the same tapered-off shape with raised fins that makes up her new emitter:

The possibly repuporsed star destroyer capacitor bearing | Dave Gonzales

Both Darth Maul and Mace Windu had this type of part on their lightsabers, which has lead to some long-gestating theories that lightsaber parts weren't that hard to scavenge. Thanks to corporate synergy, the parts that make up a lightsaber aren't rare in the Star Wars Universe -- or in ours. That's because the Galaxy's Edge theme parks at Disneyland and Disney Hollywood Studios feature a "secret" place called Savi's Workshop where you can fork over a stack of credits to get access to "salvaged" lightsaber parts. In the Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire novel written by Delilah S. Dawson and meant to tie in theme parks, Savi's scavengers pick through junk from all over the galaxy, saving parts that can be used for lightsaber construction and the occasional "rare" kyber crystal, which gives a lightsaber its color.

For the most part, the new Star Wars canon, established after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, swept all of the previously canon Expanded Universe content under the non-canon banner Legends, has made lightsaber construction easier. The Kyber crystals, the part of the lightsaber that focuses the energy of the battery into a plasma blade, have been made much more prevalent in the galaxy. The crystals are still rare, but not as rare as they were when used by the Empire to make the Death Star weapon, as we learn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. You know that Death Star tech is everywhere, so therefore the focusing crystals are also around. (You can even buy them yourself for under $20 in a Galaxy's Edge theme park -- the theme parks are in-canon, y'all.)

So while the specifics of where Rey acquired her Kyber crystals will be saved for some future novel, comic book, or theme park experience (for only $500, watch Rey's lightsaber ceremony!), but since they're around, it's safe to say that she picked up a blank or clear crystal and then bonded with it to make the yellow blade. That's because pure kyber crystal are clear, and when a Force-sensitive user bonds with it, the crystal chooses a color. Traditionally for Jedi, these colors have meaning.

Rey, with the blue lightsaber, in Guardian mode | Lucasfilm

A blue lightsaber is a color common to a "Jedi Guardian," one of the schools of the Jedi Order (yeah, they had different schools within the "Jedi" title, just ride with it) and those sabers represented that their wielders were more or less battle-ready. They'd focus on learning different lightsaber combat techniques and increasing their power in the skills needed by a warrior. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker both line up with that definition, and are good examples of the mindset of the Jedi Guardian.

The green lightsaber is usually found with the "Jedi Consulars," who are a bit more thoughtful with their approach to being a Jedi Knight. Instead of focusing on combat techniques, the Consular has a closer connection to the non-physical Force. These Jedi will, as much as possible, avoid using the Force to attack, and are forced into action typically only in defense of a Jedi ideal. Good examples are Yoda and Jedi Luke as he appears in Return of the Jedi.

The yellow lightsaber has only been glimpsed so far in novels and cartoons in canon, but they are the color of the "Jedi Sentinel," a type of Jedi that learns practical skills and seeks a more balanced view than the Consulars and the Guardians. The skills they learn are useful to them in their lives (like Rey's knack with electronics), not used primarily for combat, even though Jedi Sentinels are formidable fighters. They also aren't as close to the Force as a non-combat skill as Consulars.

In the Legends lore, Jedi Sentinels have been depicted as being some of the most complex Jedi. The Guardians of the Jedi Temple in Star Wars: The Clone Wars used double-bladed yellow lightsaber pikes to defend the Order's most sacred locations. Asajj Ventress, a Sith who turned to the light, finds a yellow-bladed lightsaber on the intergalactic black market and wields it once she's turned good. In canon, we haven't seen a yellow-bladed Master on screen before, so Rey Skywalker is our first.

The design of Rey's lightsaber is more meaningful than a lot of blades that have come from the previous wars in the stars. The hilt is made up of who she actually was -- Imperial scrap turned into an improvised weapon. She was a Palpatine left to grow up amongst the ruins of the Empire, and through her embrace of her Jedi side over the dark side, she learned the place of the Jedi is not through blind combat (Guardian school) or staying away on Ach-To to avoid conflict (Consular school). She's something else: Rey (meaning "king"), the first Jedi Sentinel master, with a crown at the base of her saber of gold.

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