When the first teaser trailer of The Force Awakens hit the Internet, a lot of the talk surrounding it was focused on the new lightsaber design. Stephen Colbert went on a very amusing rant and the fan community exploded with theories, anger and anticipation. Not unusual for anything Star Wars-related, really. Personally I believe that Ren’s lightsaber, unlike anything we’ve seen in either the first or the second trailer, could give us an indication of the kind of state that the Galaxy is in during the sequels, or at least The Force Awakens.
There has been some general speculation about this lightsaber being an ancient Sith artifact which Ren collects alongside, potentially, Darth Vader’s helmet and lightsaber, which could potentially explain it’s different look. If it is very old its strange design and seeming wobbliness could be explained. However, there is something else about it which intrigues me. In a recent-ish interview with MTV, Ewan McGregor jokingly joined the debate about Ren’s lightsaber:
If you know how to handle a lightsaber, you don’t need a silly hilt. We managed very well, the Jedi order managed very well without hilts for hundreds of millions of years.
McGregor actually hits on something really interesting, apart from speaking beautifully in character. Let’s not forget that it is Obi-Wan who uses a blaster and then goes ‘So uncivilised’.
In A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi tells us, and Luke, that lightsabers were elegant weapons from a more civilized time. It is by no means certain that the sequels will be set in a more civilized time in which “order” has been restored. Rather it is very possible that we’re in a time similar to the once Star Wars: Rebels is set in, a time without (established) Jedi, with different groups trying to gain control.In such a time constructing a lightsaber would be very different from doing so under the attention and care of a Jedi Order. How the Sith assembled their lightsabers, whether they had similar traditions and trials as shown in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is unknown. Importantly, it is also not set in stone that Kylo Ren is even a fully-fledged Sith, since he’s missing the usual Darth prefix.
So where am I trying to go with this? I am heading towards a fan-theory, that’s where this is going. I think a potential explanation for Ren’s lightsaber, and for himself, could be that Ren is a Sith disciple of sorts. He collects artifacts, works for the First Order and builds his own lightsaber. It’s not a weapon of elegance or tradition since he crafted it on his own without guidance. It is meant for intimidation and battle, hence the two extra blades (which I can imagine could prevent him suffering from loosing his hands). Ren does not strike me as a character who is striving after balance and control, but rather one who is guided by his emotions.
So when McGregor says that this is not a lightsaber is not typical for the Jedi he is completely correct. I can imagine Kylo Ren is trying to imitate the old glory of the Sith with his return to a more brutal design of his lightsaber and, let’s not forget, the face mask.
What are your thoughts about Ren’s lightsaber? Do you think it fits with a potentially fragile time setting for The Force Awakens?
2 thoughts on “Corridor Chat: Let’s Talk About Kylo Ren’s Lightsaber”
Lightsaber assembly is a difficult task requiring a high level of mastery in the Force. Without fine control over small objects and direction from a master, it is likely possible to produce an inferior, and thus fragile, blade. This might account for the flame-like image of Kylo’s blade: poorly attuned crystals producing an erratic surface. While the weapon may appear frightening, it’s appearance could belie it’s inferior construction.
This makes sense to me: with the Jedi, and Sith, all but expunged from the universe, someone Force sensitive would be left on their own to figure out how to produce such a weapon; there would be no institution to help carry this knowledge from master to student. Imagine trying to forge a real, battle ready sword today; it could be done but it would require years of practice and experimentation.
This could be the reason that Kylo is seeking out the lightsaber. A true Jedi or Sith’s lightsaber would have been made under the tutelage of a master and would therefore be superior to anything made by an individual with little guidance. This might also be a metaphor for Kylo’s character; misguided and searching for a connection to something authentic.
So when Finn and Kylo face off in the forest, Kylo may have the advantage of more practice with the Force, Finn will have the advantage of a superior, Jedi-produced weapon.