By George Bate and Josh Reilly B.
“She surrendered her saber to me and said one day it would be picked up again by someone who would finish her journey.”
Luke Skywalker uttered these words to Rey on Ahch-To as he made sure she left the planet with two lightsabers. One was the Skywalker family lightsaber, seen wielded by Anakin in the prequel trilogy and Luke in the first two Star Wars films, and the other was Leia Organa’s weapon. Before The Rise of Skywalker, Leia’s Jedi path was unclear and unknown, particularly as Carrie Fisher’s iconic hero was not a full-blown Jedi in the sequels. However, the ninth and final Skywalker Saga movie revealed the hidden truths in Leia’s history, including her training as a Jedi in the years after Return of the Jedi.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Leia and Luke were seen practice-dueling on the rainforest planet of Ajan Kloss, the world where the Resistance were based in the present day. In this flashback sequence, Leia was seen holding the lightsaber that Luke later gifted to Rey. Leia was said to have built this saber in the years after the Battle of Endor, a major milestone in her Jedi training. In previous Star Wars projects, such as Return of the Jedi, the construction of a lightsaber seemed to signify the completion of one’s training, as Darth Vader noted to Luke in Episode VI.
It’s unclear how Leia constructed her lightsaber, as fans have yet to be shown a scene similar to the deleted sequence of Luke building his green weapon in Return of the Jedi. However, in the prequel trilogy, and even in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, young Jedi padawans were shown traveling to the planet of Illum in order to complete a quest that would, at the end, grant them their personal kyber crysal that powers a lightsaber. In canon, Ilum was turned into the Starkiller Base by the Empire and the First Order, so while the planet wasn’t officially destroyed at the point in canon when Leia obtained her Jedi weapon, it also seems unlikely that she followed this ritual.
Leia’s saber was designed as an elegant weapon, described in Star Wars canon as a work of art due to the symmetry seen on the hilt of the blade. The colors also hark back to Leia’s upbringing on Alderaan, with silver and gold appearing frequently on the planet. The top of the handle also resembles Luke’s green lightsaber to a certain extent, as both have a thin neck leading up to the edge.
As stated, Leia used this in her training with Luke in the years after Return of the Jedi, but surrendered the lightsaber after having a vision of her son dying if she continued on the path to become a Jedi. Visions are seemingly common in the Skywalker family, with Anakin having them frequently throughout the prequels. At this point, Luke kept his sister’s saber hidden for years, even taking it with him to Ahch-To.
It was here that Rey was given the weapon to take to Exegol, and she used it to defeat Emperor Palpatine on the Sith planet. The Skywalker twins’ lightsabers were used together to defeat the family’s ultimate enemy, Darth Sideous, by a young Jedi that just so happened to be related to the Sith Lord. Rey later traveled to Tatooine to bury both Leia and Anakin’s sabers in the sand outside Luke’s family home that he grew up in.
Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm