Seriously. We thought that thing was lost forever.
Heirlooms are important. We pass them down through history in order to give our society a sense of ongoing culture, which in turn affirms people of their place in the world. If you have a special quarter that your great grandfather used in WWII to bring him luck, it makes you feel like part of a history that will go on long after you’ve left the world. George Lucas understood that, weaving in Anakin’s lightsaber as an heirloom Luke received from Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope.
Anakin’s lightsaber carried with it a lot of history, including past relationships and conflicts of which we could only dream. To Luke, it was a symbol of the legacy that he had to live up to, but also the potential he could fulfill in the future. In The Empire Strikes Back, the filmmakers dashed those expectations by having Luke lose that lightsaber (along with his hand) to its previous owner, who it turns out was the embodiment of evil. Instead of living up to the heritage of a paragon Jedi, Luke was in danger of following him down a dark path of no return. Eventually, Luke did fulfill that promise of greatness in Return of the Jedi… but it came at the cost of the life of the very man he was trying to live up to.
That entire struggle was very much symbolized by the weapon Luke lost in Bespin. In the years since the movie, it’s popped up again in the expanded universe in a pretty well executed piece of character and story. However, since that’s no longer happened the filmmakers behind The Force Awakens seem like they’ve been smart enough to use that legacy as part of Finn’s journey from Stormtrooper to potential Jedi.
But the question remains… how the heck did Finn get that lightsaber?
How did Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber come back in the expanded universe?
During Grand Admiral Thrawn’s campaign against the New Republic, he gained an uneasy ally in the insane Jedi clone Joruus C’baoth. Obsessed with gaining acolytes, C’baoth tried to recruit Luke Skywalker to his cause but was unsuccessful (mostly due to that whole being insane thing). He tried to steal Han and Leia’s Force sensitive twins, but that didn’t go so well either.
So, C’baoth cloned Luke. It turns out the Empire retrieved Luke’s hand along with its lightsaber from Cloud City. C’baoth trained the Clone in the dark side, gave him Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber, and called him Luuke because clones love the letter “u.”
Luke and his begrdging ally Mara Jade faced Luuke, ultimately defeating him and his master. Mara, who had been struggling with the Dark Side thanks to the Emperor‘s early influence, eventually embraced the light side of the Force. As a thank you, Luke gave her his old lightsaber. It’s a great moment and it completes Mara’s character arc throughout the Thrawn trilogy of books.
How will Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber come back in The Force Awakens?
That’s something we know much less about. We’ve heard rumors that the first shot of the film involves the lightsaber floating through space… but if that’s true how did it get there? It couldn’t have floated from Bespin, as if it left the city it would have been pulled into the center of the gas giant.
Someone must have taken it… but who?
Our guess is the new answer is the same as the old one. The Empire or the First Order must have gotten hold of it. It make sense, given that we’ve heard how they view Vader as a martyr and hold him in an obsessive light. As to how Finn gets a hold of it from them is more tough to figure out. We know he must steal a TIE Fighter, escape, and then crash land on Jakku… but when in that time period does he grab a lightsaber? Was it just hanging out next to Vader’s melted mask?
We honestly don’t know, but the use of Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber is very interesting for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it represents to Finn what it represented to Luke… only now there’s MORE history behind it. Finn also seems like he has a farther journey than Luke to becoming a Jedi. After all, being a farm boy is a pretty morally neutral thing to be… but life as a stormtrooper is pretty firmly on the dark side.
The other interesting thing is Finn is using a saber that belonged to the First Order’s idol. The difference is, it belonged to him before he became the figure they worship. Now, Finn is using it against them, which we imagine could be seen as quite a slight against their beliefs. In essence: Finn is committing heresy.
How do you think Finn gets the lightsaber. Let us know in the comments!