The lightsaber is one of the most iconic weapons in pop culture and a staple in the Star Wars franchise, but – in canon at least – its true origin is still something of a mystery. The symbol of both Jedi and Sith, the lightsaber is more than a mere weapon. A Jedi bonds with the kyber crystal contained within their lightsaber, using it to amplify their own connection with the Force. In contrast, a Sith “bleeds” the kyber crystal, imposing their own will upon it, turning it to the dark side. This explains why Sith lightsabers have such distinctive red blades.
The history of the lightsaber, and the story of its creation, is as mysterious as the origin of the first Jedi and Force-sensitives. The old Expanded Universe, now dubbed “Legends” and non-canon, revealed the first lightsabers. In canon, though, things remain a lot more ambiguous, and mysteries surround the first lightsaber.
The Rakata Created A Precursor To The Lightsaber, A Forcesaber, In Legends
In Legends, the precursor to the lightsaber – a so-called “Forcesaber” – was created by the warlike race known as the Rakata. A melee weapon that ignited in the same manner as the lightsaber, the Forcesaber channeled dark side energy through laboratory-grown crystals. The Forcesaber first appears in the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi miniseries by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, and it was used by the Rakata’s Force-sensitive slaves, so-called “Force Hounds.“
The Rakata were name-dropped in Andor, confirming the ancient Rakatan Infinite Empire exists in canon. It’s therefore possible the Forcesaber existed in canon as well, although this has not been officially confirmed. Hopefully Star Wars will choose to reveal more about the Rakata and their Force Hounds, cementing its place in Star Wars lore once again.
A Je’daii Master Called The Weapon Master Made The First Lightsaber In Legends
According to Star Wars: The Old Republic, the first lightsaber was forged by a member of the ancient Je’daii Order known simply as the Weapons Master. He forged what is known as the First Blade, the successor to the Forcesaber – the first lightsaber. Little is known about the Weapons Master, but there’s been some speculation the title was held by a Cathar Jedi named Tem Madog, who lived on the planet Tython and governed the Great Temple of the Forge, Vur Tepe. Tython was originally presented as the Jedi homeworld; although that is not true in canon, the planet has appeared in recent comics and even The Mandalorian season 2, with a Force vergence similar to Legends.
In Legends, the First Blade was kept on Tython for thousands of years, recovered during the Force Wars. It has resurfaced many times in galactic history, although it has only been seen in the Star Wars: The Old Republic RPG. Its hilt was inscribed with the location of a vast storehouse of ancient knowledge, the Found of Rajivari, which made it even more significant.
Lightsabers In Star Wars Canon Are Ancient, But Their Origin Is Less Known
The history of the lightsaber in canon is much more mysterious, with no official confirmation of their origins. Archaeological evidence shows them used by Jedi and Sith by the time of the Great Scourge of Malachor, around 5,000 years before the Skywalker saga, and they were already well-developed. There is no official canon version of the Weapons Master, nor a known Jedi who discovered how to use kyber crystals in this way.
The VR game Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire has, however, introduced a so-called proto-saber – kept locked away in an Imperial base on Mustafar. Rather than emitting a plasma blade, it had two physical prongs rising from a crossguard with a surge of energy. There is still limited information about the proto-saber, though, meaning many Star Wars stories could yet be told about this blade – and the lightsabers that replaced it.