In Star Wars canon, the lightsaber is not a mass-produced accessory—far from it. Every lightsaber is constructed by, and thereafter closely linked to, a specific individual. Even in those cases when the saber eventually falls into the hands of another person, it tends to retain its association with its first owner if their identity is known. That’s why serious fans instantly know what is being referred to whenever there is mention of “Rey’s lightsaber” or “Luke Skywalker’s second lightsaber” (i.e., the green one). Each of these lightsabers is a unique item; it certainly didn’t come off an assembly line.
Although every lightsaber may be unique, the process of building a lightsaber normally follows certain long-established guidelines. There are various customs and procedures that have been developed through the millennia to guide Jedi who wish to assemble their own lightsaber. One of the most important steps calls for Jedi to conduct a search for lightsaber crystals—known as kyber crystals—to find the right one.
For Jedi younglings, it’s a special day when they are finally able to hold their very own lightsaber. It isn’t simply awarded to them, though. By Jedi tradition, they are required to make a special trip to the icy planet Ilum and retrieve a kyber crystal from the maze-like Crystal Cave. This is a Jedi rite of passage known as the Gathering.
Kyber crystals, as you may already know, are fundamentally the power source of the lightsaber, responsible for generating the plasma blade that protrudes from the emitter of the hilt. An uncommon material, they can be found in small quantities on various planets throughout the galaxy, but custom obliges younglings to get their kyber from the Crystal Cave.
In the Crystal Cave, younglings are beset by powerful Force-generated phantasmagoria intended to compel the aspiring Jedi to confront and overcome their fears and doubts. If they are successful in doing so, younglings find themselves drawn to a specific crystal that is attuned to them through the Force. The crystal—which is colorless in its natural state—permanently turns blue or green once it has become attuned to the Jedi initiate.
With their kyber crystal in their possession, the youngling leaves Ilum to begin assembling their lightsaber under the tutelage of the legendary architect droid Professor Huyang.
Other Methods of Lightsaber Construction
Jedi lightsabers can be (and often are) created outside the context of the Gathering. Sometimes Jedi must construct a new lightsaber to replace one that has been lost or damaged. For instance, Luke Skywalker assembled his famed green lightsaber after losing his father’s saber at the duel in Cloud City. Experienced Jedi may also build a new lightsaber to signify a change in status, as Mace Windu did upon becoming a senior member of the Jedi Council. His distinctive purple blade reflected his honored station. As always, it’s necessary for Jedi to find a kyber crystal to power the lightsaber.
The Assembly Process
The hilt of the lightsaber may be put together from any materials suitable for the purpose, and there are many possibilities. Metal of some sort is commonly used, but there are other options as well, such as the ultra-strong wood of the Brylark tree. Similarly, the internal components of the saber usually can be derived from a wide range of sources. Unlike the kyber crystal, these parts aren’t particularly rare.
So what happens once you have all the necessary parts? You’ve got your focusing lens, your emitter, your focusing crystal, your kyber crystal, your pommel, your field energizer, your stabilizing ring, your flux aperture, your activation stud, and everything else you need for a well-functioning lightsaber. All that remains is to put these components together so they can work in a harmonious way. For that, you need the Force.
The Jedi should go into meditation and, guided by the Force, slowly assemble the various lightsaber parts, taking care to ensure that everything is in its proper place and in full compatibility with other components. This is not a quick process; it can literally take months to get a lightsaber in working condition. But there is no other way to build a Jedi lightsaber. Only the Force can form a lightsaber properly so it can fulfill its age-old function as the multi-purpose hardware of the Jedi.
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