This article contains major The Rise of Skywalker spoilers. You can read a spoiler free review here instead.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of Rey’s journey. Like Luke Skywalker before her, she’s defeated the Sith and saved the galaxy from another evil Empire. With the Resistance and her friends left to celebrate their victories, Rey goes to Tatooine to complete one last task before the end of the movie.
The young Jedi takes us back to the Lars homestead, where the saga began more than four decades ago, to put both Luke and Leia’s legacies to rest, burying their lightsabers in the sand. Rey, who until now has used the Skywalkers’ legendary weapons throughout the Sequel Trilogy, no longer needs them. She has completed her training and constructed a new lightsaber.
We get only a brief look at Rey’s yellow lightsaber, and the new color blade raises a lot of questions. When did she build it? Where did she get the kyber crystal, a rare crystal that is essential to powering a lightsaber’s energy blade? It’s possible these questions might be answered in tie-in novels or comics down the line, but for now, there are plenty of clues we can draw from Rey’s actions and the appearance of the new saber.
How did Rey build her new lightsaber?
Rey’s new lightsaber has a black, flanged emitter and a metal hilt. The pieces look battered and scavenged, appropriate for Rey. One theory suggests about the lightsaber’s construction is that it’s made from parts of Rey’s quarterstaff, the other weapon she uses for much of the trilogy. Judging from the weapon’s salvaged look, it seems that she has reconstructed the staff, the center cored to make room for the lightsaber’s electronics and the kyber crystal. According to Wookieepedia, the saber also has “a spinning gear-like activation matrix rather than a standard button matrix,” referring to the weapon’s emitter matrix, which is the part that actually emits the blade.
Yellow light can be seen between the flanges at the end of the saber. This is slightly reminiscent of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which featured the combination cross-guard/vents at the base of the blade. This new type of lightsaber, where the blade can be seen elsewhere on the hilt, offers a nice juxtaposition to the more traditional ones carried by Luke and Leia.
Why a yellow lightsaber?
Rey’s choice of a yellow blade might have additional connotations for fans who are familiar with old Legends Star Wars continuity. According to the now non-canon tomes of information about Jedi training, three different classes of Jedi schools were established in the days of the Old Republic: Sentinel, Guardian, and Consular. These classes began as specializations in the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republicand were used primarily in video games and tabletop games afterward as a way to vary Jedi characters’ abilities.
Each had an associated lightsaber blade color, which was not a mandatory choice but helped distinguish each Jedi’s particular school. Guardians (blue) focused on physical combat, Consulars (green) on diplomacy and the peaceful aspects of the Force, and Sentinels (yellow) existed between these two extreme ends. Sentinels also often used other skills to augment their Force abilities, such as specializations in hacking or mechanical aptitude.
So what does it mean that Rey has a Sentinel yellow blade? Perhaps nothing, since these classes aren’t canon anymore, and Rey doesn’t necessarily need to follow any of the traditions of the old Jedi Order, even if she can now get in touch with the spirits of the people who came before. But the yellow lightsaber does suit her. She’s not completely aggressive or completely pacfist, existing somewhere in the middle. And she’s skilled in pulling mechanical objects apart and putting them back together, so the Sentinel class would make sense.
There are examples of yellow lightsabers in Disney canon, as well. In The Clone Wars series, Jedi Temple Guard, the Knights in charge of protecting the Order’s headquarters, were armed with lightsaber pikes with yellow blades. As the keeper of old Jedi texts and traditions as well as the future of the Order, Rey constructing a yellow lightsaber seems to symbolize her role as “the last Jedi.”
Throughout The Rise of Skywalker, Rey’s unwillingness to wield Luke’s lightsaber represents her confusion and reluctance regarding her Jedi journey. Multiple times, Leia insists that Rey should keep Luke’s lightsaber, but she prefers to set it aside or return it to Leia. The saber was a symbol of the path of the Jedi for Luke too, who threw it away in The Last Jedi but returned it to Rey with his blessing in The Rise of Skywalker after learning from his former student the value of staying in an honorable fight and not giving in to fear.
Leia’s saber is also a step on Rey’s journey. Luke reveals its location and says Leia would have wanted Rey to have it. This emphasizes a new emotional beat in the familial relationship between Rey and Leia. Leia put down her saber and stopped her Jedi training when she had a vision that her training would lead to the death of her son. It eventually would, although not in the way she might have imagined, with an innocent Ben Solo struck down by an evil Force user. Instead, Ben, the last of the Skywalker bloodline, dies saving Rey.
Rey feels that she is part of the Skywalker family in more practical ways, too: Luke and Leia have sheltered, supported, and taught her. She takes the Skywalker surname, abandoning the evil connotations of the surname Palpatine and ensuring that the late Emperor’s legacy won’t even live on as a name. She clearly loved the Skywalker twins, but also does not feel that their lightsabers are, symbolically or practically, a sign she needs to carry by her side. The fact that she made her own lightsaber marks that she has found her own place in her Jedi story.
So what’s next for Rey? Now that Finn is confirmed to be Force sensitive, she could perhaps train him as another Jedi. With the yellow lightsaber by her side, it’s time to create a new future for the Jedi.