What Is a Force FX Lightsaber?
Distributed by Hasbro (a company that designs and manufactures collectables), Force FX lightsabers comprise a variety of movie-inspired replicas. Prior to 2008, the year when Hasbro started making these products, most toys based on the Jedi and Sith’s iconic weapons had been made for younger fans of the franchise. These collectables joined the Black Series line and shifted the focus to that of quality, bringing these recognisable laser swords to life with intricate details, dynamic sound (like humming and crackling), visual effects (including lighting), and more expensive materials. Though they can be used in real-life duels, such as those that resemble professional fencing matches, it is common for fans to display them in their homes, where these replicas are often protected by glass cases or mounted on walls.
Sith & Jedi Lightsabers
In the Star Wars franchise, the lightsaber is an ancient weapon wielded by members of the Jedi Order and the Sith. They were first introduced in A New Hope (1977), the first instalment in director George Lucas’s original trilogy, with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) receiving from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) the blue-bladed lightsaber that once belonged to his father, Anakin (Hayden Christensen). As the original trilogy takes place decades after the Jedi Purge, an event during which most of the order lost their lives, there aren’t many of these weapons left. Aside from Luke and Obi-Wan, audiences only see the laser sword in the possession of Darth Vader (James Earl Jones and David Prowse), who favours the colour red.
Thankfully, the prequel era gives fans plenty to enjoy, returning us to the time of the Galactic Republic, when the Jedi numbered in the hundreds. Most of them — including the likes of Yoda(Frank Oz), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Plo Koon (Alan Ruscoe) — adhere to the traditional colours (that is, blue and green), but there is one notable exception: Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). This character makes an impression in any scene thanks to his purple blade, which the actor insisted on having to help him be visible in the large-scale fight on Geonosis, near the climax of Attack of the Clones (2002).
Like the Jedi, the number of Sith in the prequels also grows. Naturally, this means that red lightsabers become equally abundant (and more diverse). The Phantom Menace (1999) starts this trend by introducing Darth Maul (Ray Park), whose weapon is unique in that it has a double-blade design. Next, we meet his successor, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who forgoes overt flashiness in favour of an elegant blade with a curved hilt. And finally, we get to see Palpatine / Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) in action, the man who will become the Emperor swiftly despatching several Jedi Masters before engaging in an extended duel with Yoda.
Skipping a few decades, the sequel trilogy focuses on the time following the defeat of the Galactic Empire and introduces both a new hero and a villain: Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The former doesn’t receive her final lightsaber until the very end of the saga, at which point she opts for a yellow colour, but Kylo wastes no time, brandishing one with a cross guard. During the story, we also learn that Leia (Carrie Fisher), another member of the Skywalker lineage, began her Jedi training and is herself a competent dueller.
What Do the Colours of a Lightsaber Mean?
According to Disney’s established canon, the colour of a lightsaber is determined by the Force-imbued kyber crystals that reside within. Jedi crystals were originally representative of their user’s status within the order, with blue being typical of a Jedi Guardian, green a Consular, and yellow a Sentinel. Unlike their light-side counterparts, the Sith use synthetic crystals into which they channel their negative emotions to ‘bleed’ it, a process that changes the colour to a shade of crimson.
As mentioned, there are certain colours that are perceived to be the most common, but this does not mean that alternatives don’t exist. Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), a former Jedi who was prevalent in The Clone Wars, swapped her blue lightsabers for two white ones, and the Mandalorians possess the Darksaber, which is black.