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With his stoic, commanding presence, Jedi Master Mace Windu captured the admiring attention of many moviegoers when he debuted in Episode I, and he remains hugely popular in fandom. Although there’s certainly a lot to say about Windu, a key figure in the Clone Wars, fan commentary tends to center not on his personality or achievements but rather on one particular accessory linked to him: his purple lightsaber.
There’s no mystery why Windu’s lightsaber attracts so much interest. Purple blades are exceedingly rare in the Star Wars universe; in fact, Windu is the only Jedi known to wield one, at least in current canon. As you undoubtedly know already, the Jedi almost always carry blue or green blades.
So why is Mace Windu’s lightsaber purple, anyway? That’s a question with two vastly different answers: one of them based in behind-the-scenes film production deliberations occurring here on Earth, and the other based in Star Wars mythology.
Why Does Mace Windu Have a Purple Lightsaber: The Real-World Origin
The simplest and most direct explanation for Mace Windu’s lightsaber is that actor Samuel L. Jackson wanted his character to wield a purple blade on-screen. Jackson felt that a unique lightsaber color would enable his character to stand out among the sea of sabers on the screen during the chaotic Battle of Geonosis (from Episode II). He also believed that his character, a high-ranking member of the Jedi Order, was entitled to that kind of special consideration. As Jackson put it in a TV interview, “I’m like the second baddest Jedi in the universe next to Yoda.”
George Lucas, ever the purist about these matters, resisted Jackson’s proposal at first, but eventually decided in post-production to add the purple to Windu’s lightsaber. If you watch the Battle of Geonosis from Episode II, you can indeed see how Mace Windu’s lightsaber is easy to spot amid the ruckus.
That’s the real-world explanation for Mace Windu’s lightsaber. But there is another explanation, which can be found in a relatively obscure (and non-canonical) corner of Star Wars mythology.
Why was Mace Windu’s Lightsaber Purple: The Star Wars Universe Origin
One possible origin for Mace Windu’s lightsaber is recounted in the comic book Star Wars Tales #13, published by Dark Horse Comics in 2002. One of the stories in that issue, “Stones,” relates the journey of a 14-year-old Mace Windu, then a Jedi Initiate, to the planet Hurikane at the behest of Yoda.
Windu’s mission is to locate the parts needed to construct his first lightsaber. He immediately runs into a problem, however, when he’s attacked by the native inhabitants. Easily repelling the assault, Windu accidentally causes one of the natives to fall into a gorge and sustain serious injuries. The Jedi initiate heals his adversary with help from the Force and, by way of thanks, is given a gift: purple crystals. He uses these crystals to assemble his lightsaber, which emits a distinctive purple blade.
However, it must be kept in mind that this tale is considered non-canon at the present time. It may well be that the true origin of Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber will be revealed sometime in the future.
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