As the chosen weapon of the Jedi, lightsabers are arguably the most iconic weapons in the Star Wars universe. Many of our favourite characters can be seen wielding different colour lightsabers in the neverending battle against the Dark Side and the Sith.
However, just like the Jedi, the Sith have also learned to wield the power of lightsabers, albeit for evil. Also, unlike the Jedi, the Sith use a completely different method to construct their lightsabers which characteristically feature red blades. Some notable characters that wielded red lightsabers include Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and Darth Revan (from the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game). Replica Darth Revan lightsaber, darth vader lightsaber and Darth Maul lightsaber are also available for fans who wish to experience the thrill of the Dark Side.
But how do the Sith come by their red lightsabers, and how do they turn a saber’s crystal red? Keep reading to find out.
In the Star Wars universe, Kyber crystals are what mainly powers a lightsaber. These crystals, which grow throughout the galaxy but are mainly gotten from Ilum (an ice planet), possess concentrated energy through the Force. Some even claim that the crystals are sentient and have a collective consciousness. Because the energy inside these crystals is responsible for forming a plasma blade, kyber crystals are a vital component for creating lightsabers.
According to Star Wars canon, kyber crystals are naturally colourless and only gain colour when a Force-sensitive attunes to them. The colour they take on depends on their owner’s essence and relationship with the Force. Most Jedi end up with either blue or green kyber crystals; however, other colours like purple, yellow, and orange do exist.
How Lightsaber Kyber Crystals Turn Red
The process of choosing a kyber crystal for a lightsaber is one that is very special to the Jedi. It is an important rite of passage for Jedi younglings and Padawans. However, as the Sith tend to oppose the way of the Jedi, they achieve their red lightsabers by changing the colour of regular kyber crystals, which they obtain (most likely forcefully) from the Jedi. They do this through a process known as ‘bleeding’.
Bleeding of Crystals
As mentioned earlier, Sith lightsabers feature blades that are characteristically red and although these lightsabers have Kyber crystals, the method with which they are constructed differs significantly from that of the Jedi. Because kyber crystals are practically sentient, they refuse to work with Dark Side practitioners, so the Sith cannot bond with them in the same way Jedis can.
In order to use these crystals, the Sith have to resort to a special ritual known as bleeding. The bleeding process involves a Sith attempting to bend a kyber crystal to its will by overwhelming the crystal with negative emotions like fear, anger, rage, and hatred. When such negative emotions consume the crystal, it bleeds and changes to red which then gives the owner’s lightsaber a red or crimson colour.
Although bleeding can be done on any kyber crystal, most Sith and Dark Side users believe it is customary and better to bleed crystals that they’ve captured from a Jedi’s lightsaber.
Lightsabers are the most iconic weapons in the Star Wars universe, and both the Jedi and the Sith are capable of wielding their power. They are powered by Kyber crystals that take on different colours depending on a user’s relationship with the Force. While kyber crystals typically don’t work for Sith and Dark Side users, they can be forced to work through a process known as bleeding. It is this bleeding process that also changes the colour of a lightsaber’s crystal to red.