Star Wars has basically perfected the art of spoiler-free marketing ever since the franchise relaunch with The Force Awakens, and it looks like the absence of Luke Skywalker’s green lightsaber from marketing for The Last Jedi is one of the newest missing puzzle pieces. Mystery surrounding Luke’s post-Return of the Jedi backstory is nothing new, starting with his near complete absence from TFA advertising, resulting in crazy speculation about his role in the film, with some fans going so far as to question if he was actually Kylo Ren (despite evidence to the contrary). As it turned out, his absence from the marketing was due to the fact that he was almost entirely absent from the whole movie, only showing up at the last moment before the credits.
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Fortunately, he will play a much bigger role in The Last Jedi and has been a much larger part of its marketing, but there’s still a lot of mysteries, one of the biggest being the absence of his green lightsaber. It would be one thing if he just wasn’t shown using a lightsaber at all, but two posters have been released showing him with his father’s original blue blade, and collectible glasses from Alamo Drafthouse also show him with the same, but we haven’t even seen his newer hilt anywhere. Even the action figures come sans saber (blue or green), yet the hand of some of his figures are shaped to hold one, and there’s an accessory hook on his belt, but no saber or other accessory designed to use the hook. So why aren’t they showing it in marketing?
He Didn’t Lose it On the Second Death Star
For years, many fans thought that Luke’s new lightsaber had been lost it on the second Death Star. At the culmination of his battle with Darth Vader, after he’d put his father in a position of vulnerability, he responded to the Emperor’s command to finish him off by throwing his lightsaber and declaring he’d never turn to the dark side. He’s not explicitly shown retrieving the hilt before fleeing the exploding station, but that doesn’t mean he left it behind. Not only can you clearly see it on his belt during the raging Ewok after party, but he’s also shown wielding it in the canon Shattered Empire comic, which takes place right after the battle of Endor.
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So we know he has it, the question is, why isn’t he using it in any marketing for The Last Jedi? The fact that he’s being marketed with his old lightsaber (which we know is now referred to as “Rey’s saber” by Lucasfilm) instead of the new one presents two options: He either doesn’t have it anymore, or he does, but there are spoilers related to it. Sure, there’s a third option, that he does have it but he’s just not using it and there’s nothing going on storywise with the classic green-bladed saber, but the fact that it’s completely absent from all trailers and a few posters show him with the blue saber, yet none of his action figures come either saber suggests that’s not the case.
So Why is it Missing?
He could have lost the lightsaber in a variety of ways. With 35 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, there’s obviously ample opportunity for it to be lost or destroyed, but it could have also been damaged or stolen by Kylo Ren when he betrayed Luke’s new Jedi Order. We’ve also seen some promotional material indicating Luke’s X-Wing is crashed and sunken in the water off the shore of his island, so it’s also reasonable to assume he had to abandon the blade with his ship, and never needed it during his exile, seeing as his neighbors are mostly porgs.
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If there are spoilers surrounding it: that means the saber or its condition factors into the plot somehow. In order for that to be the case, it would need to have been changed in a way that reveals something about Luke’s backstory. That means there’s some kind of modification, specific battle scarring, or a changed blade color for some reason, indicating the blade had to be rebuilt. The latter example could have even resulted in a red blade if Luke had given into the dark side at the time of reconstruction – which would obviously be a major spoiler for the much speculated “dark side Luke” theories, as recent stories have explained that the dark side makes crystals “bleed” red during construction.
Whatever happened to it, fans will definitely be looking for answers when The Last Jedi arrives in December, presumably hoping for a dramatic appearance a la its original reveal when R2-D2 shoots it too him to initiate the battle on Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge.