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This article is about Darth Vader's lightsaber. You may be looking for the first lightsaber he used as Anakin Skywalker, the second lightsaber he used as Anakin Skywalker, or the lightsaber he obtained from Kirak Infil'a.
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"I knew Vader's lightsaber mattered to him—it was the only object toward which I had ever seen him demonstrate emotion of any kind. In meetings with Palpatine, on occasion, he would touch it, clearly unaware of his actions."
Wilhuff Tarkin[8]

Darth Vader's lightsaber was the third and final lightsaber personally built by Anakin Skywalker after he became Darth Vader, a Sith Lord who served as Darth Sidious' last apprentice and Commander-in-Chief of the Galactic Empire's military. He built the weapon after he lost his previous lightsaber during a skirmish on Cabarria.

The lightsaber was used to kill many Jedi in the Great Jedi Purge and rebels during the Galactic Civil War. Darth Vader most notably wielded the lightsaber in several duels with Obi-Wan Kenobi until the latter's death, and later with his son, Luke Skywalker, where he would cut off the young Jedi's right hand. During their final confrontation on the second Death Star, Luke returned the favor, cutting off Vader's right hand, which then fell into the reactor shaft, still clutching the weapon.

Description[]

WeStand-Transformations

Darth Vader used his lightsaber until his death on the second Death Star.

The lightsaber was equipped with a dual-phase function, allowing the blade's length to be manually controlled and altered in combat.[1] The weapon featured a black-ridged handgrip, black power cell chamber, beveled emitter shroud, two dual-phase focusing crystals,[6] high-output diatium power cell, and customary power and length adjustment knobs.[9] Darth Vader was constantly fine-tuning and upgrading his lightsaber for maximum blade power and stability.[6] As observed by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, the lightsaber was something that Vader actually cared about. That left it the only object Tarkin had ever seen the Sith Lord display any emotion towards.[8]

Because of the modifications Vader made to his lightsaber over the years, its exterior also changed, somewhat, in appearance (though its design was mostly based on his first Jedi lightsaber). Vader appeared to have experimented with a rounded emitter shroud similar to his second Jedi weapon.[10] As a Dark Lord of the Sith, Vader would often utilize his lightsaber during confrontations with Jedi, but also against other opponents, even though he sometimes preferred to use the Force to dispatch lesser victims.[11] Like his Jedi lightsaber,[12] Vader's lightsaber could operate underwater.[13]

History[]

Creation[]

"Darth Vader lost his Jedi lightsaber in the same duel that left his organic form ravaged. Soon after his body was rebuilt, his quest to find a new weapon commenced. Vader first claimed the lightsaber of Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a, making the once-pure crystal within sing a hymn of darkness. When that weapon was destroyed, Vader salvaged its crystal and constructed his own lightsaber, simple in design but devastating in function."
Darth Sidious[14]

A short time after the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Sith Lord Darth Vader was tasked by his master, Darth Sidious, to kill a Jedi and retrieve their kyber crystal in order to power a new Sith lightsaber.[15] Vader went to the Jedi outpost Brighthome where he temporarily used a green lightsaber from the wall to kill most of the clone troopers.[16] He tracked Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a to the river moon of Al'doleem and confronted him. Vader eventually killed the Jedi Master and retrieved his curved-hilt lightsaber.[17] He headed to Mustafar, where he bled the lightsaber's crystal, turning it from green to red.[18] Vader used Kirak Infil'a's lightsaber in conjunction with his corrupted, red kyber crystal in multiple conflicts, such as when he briefly fought the Grand Inquisitor[19] and Jocasta Nu in the former Jedi Temple.[20]

VadersSaber-Vader2017-12

Vader's Sith lightsaber was powered by the corrupted kyber crystal of the Jedi Kirak Infil'a, with Vader designing it a new hilt after the old one was destroyed.

He also wielded the hilt during a lesson with Darth Sidious in the Works, where Sidious used his remaining lightsaber to demonstrate that the lightsaber was nothing more than a symbol for the true power that anyone who stood against the dark side would face.[21] Infil'a's hilt was destroyed on Cabarria by a family of mercenaries hired to assassinate Vader, during which the hilt was shattered by the combined strain of a tractor rifle and Vader's pulling it back with the Force.[22] Vader then used the Ninth Sister's lightsaber to deal with the bounty hunters. The destruction of Infil'a's hilt provoked Vader to build a hilt of his own design. During his journey back to Coruscant, Vader constructed a new hilt for his crystal while aboard his personal starship. Vader later presented the weapon to Sidious, who was impressed with his apprentice's new weapon.[4]

Mon Cala Campaign[]

Battlefront Vader

Vader stands with his lightsaber in hand

Around one year after the rise of the Empire, Vader was sent to hunt down and execute a Jedi hiding on the Outer Rim ocean planet of Mon Cala.[23] Upon making it to the planet, Vader and the Inquisitorius encountered great resistance from the native Mon Calamari and Quarren in Dac City. Eventually Imperial forces were able to secure the outpost, however, the natives flooded the city in a massive tidal wave which plunged Vader into the depths of the vast ocean.[24] Sinking deep into the Great Ungeness Trench, Vader activated his lightsaber as a light source in the pitch black.[25]

Eventually Vader escaped the trench and returned to his Imperial forces.[25] The Ninth Sister of the Inquisitorius informed Vader that they had discovered the location of the Jedi Padawan Ferren Barr and his disciples. While en route to the Jedi's location, Vader was contacted by Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, who wanted Vader to capture the King of Mon Cala.[26] Vader entered the King's Royal Command Bunker, where he was met by several native soldiers. Vader used his lightsaber to cut a path to the King, whom he captured. Barr, who had escaped the Inquisitorius, confronted Vader in the Command Bunker. A duel broke out between the two. Eventually Vader cut down the Padawan, ending the invasion of Mon Cala.[27]

Over the course of their careers, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin came to understand that Vader's lightsaber was something he cared about, even observing Vader touching it without thinking during some meetings with the Emperor. When Vader asked Tarkin to hunt him, which Tarkin believed to be Vader looking for some kind of challenge, Tarkin made sure to target and steal Vader's lightsaber early into the hunt. The effort cost Tarkin six of his hunters, which he deemed a bargain for the victory; BX-series droid commando hunter Eighty-One managed to snatch the lightsaber with a cable. Tarkin wore Vader's lightsaber on his belt until Vader reclaimed it in the stormlands. Upon Vader reclaiming the blade, Tarkin compared Vader to someone returning to life.[8]

Acme-EvilLord

Darth Vader wielding his lightsaber

As construction of his personal castle on Mustafar concluded, Vader later used his lightsaber in the Battle of Fortress Vader, leading Imperial forces against attacking Mustafarians. Afterward, Vader dueled the ressurected Sith Lord Darth Momin, whose spirit had helped design the fortress with the secret aim of restoring himself through a locus in the dark side. Although Momin severed one of Vader's arms, causing the mechanical appendage that held his lightsaber to fall, Vader used the Force to crush Momin before entering the portal Momin had created[28] to venture into a metaphysical plain, intending to resurrect his wife Padmé Amidala. Although he failed in that mission, he saw a glimpse of his future lightsaber duel against former apprentice Ahsoka Tano on Malachor. After being hit by a blast of Force energy in his vision that awoke him back in the real world, Vader used the Force to retrieve his lightsaber, which he then plunged into the mound to seal off the portal[29] that had failed to resurrect Amidala,[30] triggering a blast of dark side lighting that raged across the landscape.[29]

Hunting Obi-Wan Kenobi[]

Battle on Mapuzo[]

Scariest-Servant-Vader

Darth Vader wields his lightsaber on Mapuzo

Vader used his lightsaber in a brief duel between his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi, which ended with Vader quickly overpowering Kenobi, who had grown inept after years of not using the Force. As the Sith Lord forced Kenobi to run away, Vader knocked down a storage container filled with flammable rocks while he seized Obi-Wan with the Force. After igniting the flammable rocks with his lightsaber, Vader forces Kenobi into the flames, severely burning him while claiming that his pain had only just begun. The Sith Lord then ordered his stormtroopers to seize Kenobi, but the Hidden Path member Tala Durith arrived and re-ignited the rocks with a blaster bolt, cutting Kenobi off from Vader and his troops while she rescued the Jedi Master.[31]

Fighting the Third Sister[]

When the Third Sister led the attack on Jabiim, Kenobi uncovered the Third Sister's true plan to assassinate Darth Vader. As Kenobi escaped, Vader became distracted, allowing the Third Sister to use her lightsaber to strike at Vader. However, the Sith Lord used the Force to stop the blade. Although Vader didn't use his lightsaber, he pulled the weapon from her hands, splitting it in two and dueling her with one half. Vader quickly defeated the lone Inquisitor, stabbing her with her own lightsaber and soon revealing that the Grand Inquisitor had survived her betrayal.[32]

Fight on a barren moon[]

After Vader tracked Kenobi to a barren moon, he ignited his lightsaber and started dueling his former master. Although Vader initially was able to overwhelm his former master, Kenobi managed to regain his strength and re-engaged Vader, heavily damaging the Sith Lord's armor and cutting open his helmet, revealing his heavily scarred face.[33]

Hunting the rebellion[]

Duel on Lothal[]

Kanan and Ezra face Darth Vader

Vader duels Kanan and Ezra on Lothal.

As a group of rebels known as the Spectres were escaping on an Imperial shuttle, Vader confronted them with his lightsaber ignited. Jedi Padawans Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger activated their own lightsabers and engaged in a lightsaber duel, but they were easily overpowered. The rebels Sabine Wren and Garazeb Orrelios then threw thermal detonators onto some nearby All Terrain Defense Pods, scattering the stormtroopers and distracting Vader. Seizing their chance, Bridger and Jarrus used the Force to knock the Dark Lord of the Sith off-balance as the walkers crashed down on him. The rebels believed that Vader was dead, but he used the Force to lift the burning walkers into the air.[34]

Duel on Malachor[]

Under the surface of Malachor, outside the Sith Temple located there, Vader confronted Bridger as he was leaving the temple. After questioning Bridger on how he had opened the Sith holocron he was in possession of, he engaged Bridger in combat; though the young Jedi briefly held his own, he was no match for the Sith Lord, who sliced his blade through Bridger's lightsaber, destroying the weapon. As Vader prepared to finish him off, Ahsoka Tano intervened,[35] beginning the event he had foreseen in Momin's portal.[29]

TwilightoftheApprenticethumb

Vader locks blades with his former apprentice.

Vader told Tano that the Emperor would show her mercy if she agreed to join the Sith in hunting down the remaining Jedi. She refused and told him that his Inquisitors had killed all of the Jedi already. Tano let Vader know that her former master could never be as vile as he is. Vader informed her that Anakin Skywalker was weak, and that he destroyed him, to which Tano vowed to avenge Skywalker's death. When Vader stated that revenge was not the Jedi way, Tano told him that she is no Jedi.[35]

The two battled, with Tano pushing Vader back in an initial strike. During this duel, Bridger removed the Sith holocron from the obelisk in the temple with the help of Jarrus, who had just arrived in their ship, causing the temple to start to collapse in on itself. Tano and Vader continued their duel until Vader pushed Tano over the edge into a chasm below.[35]

Vader attempted to pull the holocron back from Bridger with the Force, but Tano climbed back up and attacked him, knocking his lightsaber away and damaging his helmet. With the right side of his helmet destroyed, Vader called out Tano's name, which shocked her. Underneath the torn hole in his helmet, she saw the eye of her former master, and vowed not to leave him again. Vader hesitated before reigniting his lightsaber and telling her that she will die. Meanwhile, around them, the temple continued to close in. The two continued their lightsaber duel as the temple began to collapse. Vader did escape the Sith temple to Malachor's surface, albeit injured.[35]

Galactic Civil War[]

Battle of Scarif[]

VaderProfundity

Vader about to attack the rebels on the Profundity.

During the Battle of Scarif, Vader boarded the rebel command ship Profundity to retrieve the Death Star plans from the fleeing rebels. After boarding into a pitch-black corridor, Vader ignited the blade as he confronted a group of Rebel soldiers attempting to escape with the plans to the Tantive IV. Vader cut his way through them with terrifying ease, but his efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, with the Tantive IV jumping to hyperspace before he could take back the plans.[36]

Duel on the Death Star[]

KarlFitzgerald-DuelonDeathStar

Darth Vader duels his former master for the last time.

Vader's lightsaber was later used when Vader's old master Obi-Wan Kenobi infiltrated the Death Star along with a smuggler and, unbeknownst to Vader, his son, Luke Skywalker. After seeing Kenobi, Vader ignited his lightsaber, and the two dueled while his son and the smuggler escaped along with Leia Organa. During their duel, Kenobi looked at Luke, lowered his defenses and allowed himself to be cut down by Vader's blade.[2]

Duel on Cloud City[]

ESB-BespinDuel

Darth Vader dueling Luke Skywalker in Cloud City.

After failing to capture Skywalker during the Battle of Hoth, Vader set a trap for his son on the Cloud City of Bespin. He captured Han Solo and Organa to torture them, hoping to bring Skywalker to him. After Skywalker saw a vision of his friends' suffering, he rushed to Cloud City to help them, where he encountered Vader. After a long, grueling duel, the two ended up in Cloud City's center reactor shaft, where Vader used his lightsaber to cut off Skywalker's hand. Vader then revealed to Skywalker that he was his father.[37]

Investigation on his son[]

After the duel on Cloud City, Vader recruited the SP-4 ISC forensics droid ZED-6-7. While in the Lars Homestead on Tatooine with ZED-6-7, Vader used his lightsaber to fight off some pirates. Later in Senator Padmé Amidala's apartment on Coruscant, Vader used his lightsaber to fight off the native Vendaxan land squid that attacked the complex and killed a number of Sabé's crew who were investigating Amidala's death.[38]

Battle of Endor[]

FineArtPrints-A-Sons-Destiny

Darth Vader dueling his son on the second Death Star.

During the Battle of Endor, Vader ignited his lightsaber to defend Darth Sidious when his son attempted to strike him down. Later in the battle, Vader ignited it again in a duel against his son. After Skywalker hid in the shadows of the throne room, Vader taunted him, stating he'd turn his sister Organa to the dark side. Skywalker attacked Vader, knocking him down and cutting off his hand. Vader's lightsaber, clutched in the severed hand, then fell into the reactor shaft of the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station.[39]

Acolytes of the Beyond[]

After the fall of the Sith at the Battle of Endor, Vader's lightsaber became an object of worship for Sith cultist called the Acolytes of the Beyond, and, on Taris, the cult obtained what they believed was the weapon, so they could destroy it and return it to Vader in death.[40]

Behind the scenes[]

VadersLightsaberConceptJohnMollo2

Concept art of Darth Vader's lightsaber.

Technically, the first Sith lightsaber designed was Darth Vader's. However, there were no early plans to make Vader's weapon distinct from the other lightsabers depicted, beyond the black styling on the hilt itself. The concept art of Vader's lightsaber hilt was based upon George Lucas's descriptions of the weapons as jewel-studded cylinders. Ultimately, the hilt carried by David Prowse in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back was made from the flash attachment of a British 3-cell MPP Microflash, a flash tube attachment used on forties-era press cameras, with the ridged grip made by gluing portions of hard plastic 'T' track used for the sliding doors of display cabinets (often mistaken for wiper blades) onto the bare cylinder, and the switch plate fashioned from the LED display of a 1974 calculator.[41]

In Return Of The Jedi, however the original prop was misplaced and a similar 'lookalike' was created by modifying a 3-cell Graflex Flash tube like the one used for Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber, it is believed by some to be a stunt saber used in the first two movies as the MPP Microflash was much harder to find than the Graflex or possibly even one of the original Skywalker sabers heavily modified. The original lightsaber effect was provided by the reflective, spinning dowel that made up the blade, which appeared to glow to the camera.[41]

However, Lucas was unsatisfied with these early effects, and had the glows further augmented by rotoscoped animation. During this phase, it was decided to make the lightsabers have different color blades to further differentiate them, and Vader was given a red blade. While the methods used to create the lightsabers would change over the course of the next two movies, the presentation of Vader's lightsaber itself would remain consistent.[41]

Appearances[]

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DarthVadersFirstRedLightsaber-CVDNE

Darth Vader's first red lightsaber

Non-canon appearances[]

Sources[]

Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ultimate Star Wars
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  3. Star Wars: Timelines
  4. 4.0 4.1 Darth Vader (2017) 12
  5. 5.0 5.1 Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Gadgets and Gear
  7. Ultimate Star Wars states that kyber crystals form the heart of a lightsaber.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Darth Vader (2017) 18
  9. Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
  10. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  11. StarWars-DatabankII Darth Vader's lightsaber in the Databank (backup link)
  12. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Water War"
  13. Darth Vader (2020) 3
  14. Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith
  15. Darth Vader (2017) 1
  16. Darth Vader (2017) 2
  17. Darth Vader (2017) 4
  18. Darth Vader (2017) 5
  19. Darth Vader (2017) 6
  20. Darth Vader (2017) 9
  21. "The Lesson (Darth Vader)" — Star Wars (2020) 25
  22. Darth Vader (2017) 11
  23. Darth Vader (2017) 13
  24. Darth Vader (2017) 14
  25. 25.0 25.1 Darth Vader (2017) 15
  26. Darth Vader (2017) 16
  27. Darth Vader (2017) 17
  28. Darth Vader (2017) 24
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Darth Vader (2017) 25
  30. AltayaCite "Darth Maul and Other Followers of the Dark Side" — Star Wars Encyclopedia
  31. Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part III"
  32. Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part V"
  33. Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part VI"
  34. Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Twilight of the Apprentice"
  36. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  37. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  38. Darth Vader (2020) 1
  39. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  40. Aftermath
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Star Wars: The Complete Vader
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