- "Kylo Ren. […] That's what his army called him. He was dressed in black, carried a 'laser sword' like in the old Jedi stories."
Kylo Ren's lightsaber was a crossguard lightsaber wielded by Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader of the First Order and master of the Knights of Ren. The lightsaber was previously Ben Solo's lightsaber, constructed by Ren in his life as Ben Solo while training as a Jedi Padawan under his uncle, the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Originally the weapon had a blue blade, but after his destruction of the Jedi Temple and fall to the dark side in 28 ABY, Ren modified it into one with a red blade. The modified lightsaber incorporated a crossguard hilt based on an ancient design dating back to the Great Scourge of Malachor and contained a cracked Kyber crystal, requiring it to have lateral vents on either side of the handle in order to divert the extra heat generated by the crystal.
During the Cold War, Ren used the lightsaber to strike down Lor San Tekka, a member of the Church of the Force. When his father, Han Solo beseeched him to leave the First Order, Ren ignited the crossguard lightsaber through Solo's torso in an act of patricide. He later dueled the former stormtrooper known as Finn, and the Force-sensitive scavenger Rey, though he lost to the latter.
After recovering from his defeat on Starkiller Base, Ren assassinated his dark side master, Supreme Leader Snoke, and fought alongside Rey against the Elite Praetorian Guard. He killed several guards using his crossguard lightsaber before taking control of the First Order as Snoke's successor. On Crait, he was confronted by his uncle and former mentor, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and attempted to strike him down in battle. However, Ren's lightsaber was ineffective against his opponent as Skywalker had only projected his appearance on Crait whereas his physical form was still on Ahch-To.
The next year, Kylo Ren continued to use his lightsaber until he faced Rey on the remains of the second Death Star on the ocean moon of Kef Bir. Following their confrontation, Ren saw a vision of his late father, who showed his son that he loved him. Ren ultimately cast his Sith lightsaber into the ocean and, in doing so, became Ben Solo once more.
Ben Solo's Jedi lightsaber originally had a blue colored blade. Like all Jedi lightsabers, Solo's had a kyber crystal at its core as a power source, and contained a diatium power cell cradled within the grip as an additional power source. The blade was ignited using a sliding activation switch located near the top of the hilt.
Kylo Ren's crossguard lightsaber was modeled on weapons that were used in the Great Scourge of Malachor, an event that occurred millennia before the New Republic Era. Despite its ancient design, Ren's lightsaber contained modern components within it. The lightsaber was crudely assembled and its unstable condition was evidence of Ren's inexperience in constructing such a weapon.
It was built around a dangerously flawed kyber crystal; therefore, the lightsaber relied on its lateral vents to prevent the cracked crystal from overloading. Its focusing crystal activators served to split the lightsaber's red-yellow plasma stream into three channels, creating the crossguard blades, or quillons, which appeared after the ignition of the main blade. The lateral vents, from which the quillons emerged, diverted the extra heat produced by the crystal to either side of the hilt, giving the crossguard lightsaber an unstable and serrated appearance. Though he was capable of repairing his lightsaber, Ren favored its unstable and volatile nature. Its partially exposed inner workings allowed for easy modifications and upkeep.
At some point between 15 ABY and 25 ABY Ben Solo constructed his lightsaber while training as a Jedi Padawan under his uncle, the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, as was the tradition of the Jedi Order. After Solo fell to the dark side of the Force and adopted the name of Kylo Ren, master of the Knights of Ren, he continued to use the same weapon, modifying it to suit his new preferences as a dark Force-user. The modified crossguard lightsaber would serve as his weapon throughout his time as the dark apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke, as well as afterward as Snoke's successor.
Ben Solo used his lightsaber during his training with his uncle, Luke Skywalker, and wielded it during his travels with Skywalker throughout the galaxy. During their excursion to the Jedi outpost on Elphrona, Solo and Skywalker encountered the Knights of Ren. Skywalker fought the six Knights and their leader Ren, keeping his nephew and their companion Lor San Tekka from harm. Solo ignited his own lightsaber, in preparation to join the fight, but Skywalker and Ren diffused the situation through other means.
One fateful night, Solo woke to see Skywalker, fearful of the dark side within him, standing over him with his own lightsaber raised. Fearing his uncle had intended to kill him, Solo immediately used his lightsaber to defend himself. The brief duel that ensued concluded with Solo using the Force to destroy the structure around them and knocking Skywalker unconscious. Believing his uncle dead, Solo left the ruins of his room and brandished his still-ignited lightsaber in despair while crying out, wondering why Skywalker would betray him. Consumed by his emotions, a great storm brewed and destroyed the temple, killing the other students. When his fellow Jedi Voe, Hennix and Tai arrived from off-world to find Ben Solo alone before the burning Jedi temple, they confronted him. Though the other three Jedi fought with their own lightsabers, Solo left his weapon clipped to his belt and instead warded off his opponents with only his Force powers. He fled to Snoke, who became his new master and eventually took up the name Kylo Ren and modified his Jedi lightsaber into an unstable, red crossguard lightsaber to suit his new identity.
Instrument of destruction
- "I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?"
- ―Kylo Ren and Han Solo
Ren led the armies of the First Order as its champion, leaving a trail of destruction from Tehar to Jakku. Eila, a child from Tehar, witnessed the massacre of her village by Ren and his soldiers. She would remember him not only by his dark appearance, but also by the lightsaber he wielded, which reminded her of the legendary Jedi Knights. During the Cold War, the dark knight used his crossguard lightsaber to kill Lor San Tekka, a member of the Church of the Force. Ren later used his lightsaber aboard the Finalizer, in a rage-induced temper tantrum —regarding a report about Finn's involvement in BB-8's escape from Jakku, destroying a computer terminal.
During her time on Takodana, the scavenger Rey discovered Luke Skywalker's old lightsaber, that once belonged to Ren's grandfather Anakin Skywalker, in Maz Kanata's castle, where she had a Force vision. During the vision, she saw Ren using his lightsaber to cut down a clan leader. Ren later used his lightsaber during the Battle of Takodana to deflect blaster bolts fired at him by Rey.
Ren used his lightsaber again during the Battle of Starkiller Base. First, on a interrogation chair, when he had another a rage-induced temper tantrum, after finding out that Rey had escaped custody.
He also used it on his own father, Han Solo. It later crossed blades with the Skywalker lightsaber. Although he defeated and injured the former stormtrooper Finn in a brief duel, he was in turn defeated by Rey, who successfully channeled the Force within herself to fight back, striking Ren's lightsaber and knocking it from his hand.
Killing the past
- "I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true. And now, foolish child, he ignites it, and kills his true enemy!"
- ―Snoke, to Rey and Kylo Ren
Ren repaired his lightsaber in the wake of his defeat, adding a sleeker black casing to it. While in the presence of Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guards, the lightsaber came into the possession of Rey, who summoned it from Ren's side in an attempt to fight Snoke and his bodyguards. In spite of her efforts, Rey was telekinetically disarmed by Snoke, who commanded his apprentice to kill the aspiring Jedi. But instead of following the command, Ren betrayed his master and used the Skywalker lightsaber to assassinate Snoke by cutting him in half before returning the weapon to Rey. Activating his own lightsaber, Ren fought alongside Rey against the Praetorians, all of whom perished while attempting to avenge their slain leader.
After the battle in Snoke's throne room, Ren assumed the title of Supreme Leader and brought the forces of the First Order to the planet Crait, where he attempted to fight his uncle Luke Skywalker, only to discover that he was fighting a Force projection of the Jedi Master. As a result, the Resistance was able to escape before Ren could destroy them.
Reign of darkness
- "I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it."
- ―Kylo Ren's memory of his father, Han Solo, wills him to cast aside his lightsaber
Following his defeat on Crait, Ren continued to wield the lightsaber as he worked to consolidate the First Order's power. Whispers of the return of the long dead Galactic Emperor and Sith Lord Darth Sidious incited Ren to locate the Emperor and eliminate the threat to his power. These same rumors inspired his Jedi rival Rey and her allies to do to same and the pair's concurrent quests and Force-bond brought them to the ocean moon of Kef Bir in the Endor system. Kef Bir was the site of the ruins of the second Death Star and the location of a Sith wayfinder that could lead the way to the Emperor's location.
On Kef Bir, they faced each other in a final confrontation, Ren bearing his lightsaber and Rey the repaired Skywalker lightsaber. He gained the upper hand during their confrontation, but as they dueled his dying mother Leia Organa reached out to him through the Force, distracting him and causing him to drop his lightsaber. Rey seized the opportunity to grab his weapon and impaled Ren with it, but after sensing Organa's death, healed his grievous wound before departing. As Ren stood alone on the battle station after the duel, he was overcome by a memory of his deceased father Han Solo, who spoke to him and called to his son to change, much as he had in their fateful confrontation on Starkiller Base. Touched by the love of his mother and father and the compassion shown by Rey in healing him, Kylo Ren ceased to exist and Ben Solo was reborn. Having no further use of Ren's weapon, Solo threw the Sith lightsaber towards the horizon so it could sink into the depths of Kef Bir's oceans.
Behind the scenes
Kylo Ren's lightsaber first appeared in Star Wars canon in the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The introduction of the lightsaber was well-publicized in the media, including on The Colbert Report and @Midnight on Comedy Central. The lightsaber was also the subject of a number of pieces of fan art released in the days after the films first teaser trailer premiered.
The lightsaber's original form as Ben Solo's lightsaber first appeared in a flashback scene in the 2017 film Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, the sequel to Episode VII. Though similar in appearance to the weapon later used by Solo as Kylo Ren, it was not confirmed to be the same lightsaber until the 2019 reference book Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo.
Lucasfilm's creative art manager, Phil Szostak, states in a post on Twitter that the lateral beams emanating from Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in Tom Jung's 1977 posters for the original Star Wars is what inspired the crossguard design of Kylo Ren's lightsaber for The Force Awakens.
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Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- According to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, Luke Skywalker began training his nephew Ben Solo 19 years before the Hosnian Cataclysm. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Hosnian Cataclysm to 34 ABY, Solo's Jedi training, during which he built his Jedi lightsaber, began in 15 ABY. His earliest known usage of the lightsaber was an encounter with the Knights of Ren in The Rise of Kylo Ren 2 when he was a teenager, according to an interview with writer Charles Soule on StarWars.com. Because The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary establishes that Solo was born 29 years prior to the Hosnian Cataclysm using simple math it can be calculated that Solo built the lightsaber prior turning twenty years old in 25 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- — The kyber crystal Databank entry states that there is a kyber crystal "at the heart of every Jedi lightsaber."
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Test of Strength"
- The Rise of Kylo Ren 2
- The Rise of Kylo Ren 1
- Star Wars Resistance – "The Children from Tehar"
- The Force Awakens: Rey's Story
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker