Star Wars is going through a state of transition. For twenty years, an Expanded Universe of novels, comics, and games have supplemented the films and TV shows to create an incredibly deep and detailed Star Wars universe. Soon after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, however, they wiped the canon slate clean, saying they would no longer adhere to the stories of the Expanded Universe in order to have the greatest creative freedom with their new Star Wars films starting with The Force Awakens.
But with the new films, so comes new books, comics, and games in a new continuity to replace the old one. So, what is canon and what isn’t anymore? After twenty years, are these the same characters and planets we’ve always known and loved? Is it even the same universe? Well, in our new column Canon Catch-Up, we’re here to answer those questions and set the record straight.
Today, we’re discussing lightsaber crystals.
So, what’s the deal with lightsaber crystals in the current continuity?
Lightsaber crystals, known as kyber crystals, are rare crystals strong in the force. Scattered across the galaxy on remote planets such as Lothal and the ice world of Ilum, kyber crystals are the most important component of a Jedi’s lightsaber and help focus the energy of the weapon into a blade.
As part of their training, Jedi younglings are taken to Ilum where they must find a crystal in an expansive cave system. Sith, on the other hand, create synthetic lightsaber crystals that produce a distinctive red blade.
What about lightsaber crystals in the Expanded Universe?
In the expanded universe, many different types of crystals can be used in the construction of lightsabers that were found in deposits across the galaxy in locations such as the Adega system, Ilum, and the crystal caves of Dantooine. Some very rare crystals even carried some augmentations to the properties of the blade or the Force capabilities of the user.
Before placing the crystal inside the assembled lightsaber, often a Jedi or Sith had to imbue the crystal with the power of the Force, which required as many as several days of intense meditation to achieve. This process was especially important if using a synthetic crystal, which were used by most Sith and some Jedi in the absence of natural crystals. Luke Skywalker himself created a synthetic crystal at Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hut on Tatooine when constructing a replacement saber from the one he lost on Bespin.
During the time of the Great Sith War thousands of years before the rise of the Galactic Empire, lightsaber colors indicated the chosen path of a Jedi. Blue stood for the lightsaber proficient Jedi Guardian, green indicated a diplomatic and force centric Jedi Consular, and yellow for the balanced pursuits of a Jedi Sentinel. However, the color classification of Jedi class eventually fell out of practice.
Some lightsaber constructions use multiple crystals, which allow for several augmentations to lightsabers including different colors or the ability to extend the saber blade, also referred to as a dual-phase lightsaber.
What does the Expanded Universe tell us about lightsaber crystals in the new continuity?
It seems the new continuity is pretty much following the old one very closely. In both, the Jedi use natural crystals while the Sith use synthetic ones and they come from many of the same places. Really, the only thing the new continuity is missing is the bells and whistles such as dual-phase sabers.
However, given the unique crackling energy of Kylo Ren’s saber, there will eventually need to be an in universe explanation. There are such things are unstable compressed blades that pulsated, but it’s also just as likely that Kylo Ren was not well versed with lightsaber construction and created an unstable synthetic crystal. Either way, we’ll know more once the supplementary material comes out.