Decades after the release of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, many Star Wars fans still wonder why Luke’s lightsaber changed from blue to green. Fans have been searching for hidden meanings behind the mysterious change ever since the movie came out. Some fans think Luke created a green one to express his new individuality as a Jedi Knight, while others think that Luke found materials to make a green lightsaber at Obi-Wan’s old hutt and it was solely a coincidence. The real reason for the change, however, is now known to the public, and it is surprisingly practical.
When Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, much of the saga’s mythology was not yet established, and there were not any meanings behind lightsaber color. It was a simple time where a blue lightsaber meant that the character was a jedi, and red represented a sith. There were no other colors besides blue and red at the time, but one film location changed that. There is a scene near the beginning of the movie where Luke fights some of Jabba’s henchmen on the sail barge. This was filmed in a desert in Arizona where there were no clouds. Evidently, a blue lightsaber was not going to stand out with a blue sky in the background, so the best possible solution was to change the color. Lucasfilm story group creative executive stated, “as much as we like to mythologize the significance behind why it is green, sometimes there are pragmatic reasons behind filmmaking decisions.” This was reiterated by the 2020 book, Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection. The decision to change the lightsaber from blue to green was a late decision, as many posters advertising the movie had already depicted Luke with a blue lightsaber.
Despite the practicalities behind this decision, different lightsaber colors in the Star Wars universe still have special meanings. Blue means that the jedi is better skilled at using a lightsaber while green means they are better at using the force. Fans will always try and find hidden meanings, theories, and perspectives from little details in the Star Wars universe. After all, this is truly what makes ‘the galaxy far, far away’ so special.