When you think of Darth Vader, you most likely conjure up an image of his menacing presence along with his famous red lightsaber in his hand.
He always seemed poised and ready for battle. Yet, Vader is not always holding his lightsaber. So, how does he carry it?
Not many scenes in the Star Wars movies directly reveal where Darth Vader carries his lightsaber. One scene, in particular, does show that he carries it on his left hip, just underneath his black robe.
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The Power and Origins of Darth Vader’s Lightsaber
Two types of crystals have powered Darth Vader’s lightsaber. The first is known as a synth-crystal that Sith engineers developed to align with how Vader used the Force.
The second type came from the Adega system. These crystals are created from minerals that are in touch with the Force. Darth Vader could thus effectively become one with his lightsaber.
Anakin lost the first lightsaber after he dueled Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. By the time Darth Vader came to power, he was using the second version.
Vader built the second lightsaber himself. According to the Darth Vader comic series and Wookieepedia, Vader modeled this lightsaber after the one from Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a, whom Darth defeated in battle. It had a thicker and longer grip, or hilt.
Further, Sith Lord Vader can change the length of his lightsaber depending on the situation. This dual-phase function provides a more flexible lightsaber.
Putting all these facts about the second lightsaber together leads to a key conclusion about wielding it. Darth Vader must have it ready to use at any moment–a quick draw of the blade. But it must not be kept in a cumbersome place.
Where Does Vader Carry His Lightsaber?
In the opening scene of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, we can see where Darth Vader carries his lightsaber. It is on his left hip, just inside his robe.
In this scene, his lightsaber is easily accessible, but he does not use it since all of the Republican troops have been defeated.
In other scenes from A New Hope, we can see that it is in the same position. For example, when Vader meets with Grand Moff Tarkin to discuss how Obi-Wan Kenobi is on the Death Star, his lightsaber is slightly visible on the same left hip side.
This left side positioning is aligned with how most Jedi carry their lightsabers. Luke Skywalker, for example, keeps his lightsaber on his left side. However, Luke carries it more to the front than Vader carries his lightsaber.
As with Vader it is the ease of access that explains why Jedi carry it this way. It is also because most Jedi are right-handed.
It is easier to draw a lightsaber from your opposite side, going across, rather than reaching down.
Darth Vader uses this approach in the movies. In Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, Vader meets Luke in the carbon freeze chamber.
After a fearsome stare-down between father and son, Vader draws his lightsaber with his right hand from his left side.
What Hand Does Darth Vader Use His Lightsaber With?
In the Star Wars movies, Vader is usually shown using his lightsaber with his right hand. He often Force-chokes with his left hand.
In The Empire Strikes Back, for example, Vader fights Luke Skywalker using his lightsaber in his right hand. As on other occasions, he uses the Force with his left hand, casting projectiles at Luke.
In the Star Wars comics, Vader is also depicted as right-handed. This aligns with how Darth Sidious fought as well. Yet, Sidious is also ambidextrous.
Although the Sith species tend to be left-handed, Darth Vader does not follow this trend in terms of using his lightsaber. In comparison, Darth Maul is an example of a Sith Lord who carried forward the left-handed tendency.
Since Darth Vader uses his left hand frequently, we think he may also be left-handed.
However, Darth Vader appears to have equal abilities with both his right and left hands. He just tends to use his lightsaber with his right.
The same goes for Luke Skywalker. He is ambidextrous but likewise fights using his right hand. This contrasts with Mark Hamill, who is actually left-handed.
Darth Vader is also known to use both hands when in a lightsaber duel. For instance, in his duel with Ahsoka Tano during the early years of the Empire, Vader used two hands against her two lightsabers.
Where Does Darth Vader Keep His Lightsaber?
Like the Jedi, the Sith usually carry their lightsabers with them. On the rare occasion when Sith Lords such as Darth Vader does not have their lightsabers, we can assume they are usually within arm’s reach.
When Vader is in his meditation chamber, for example, we can assume his lightsaber is on the chair beside him. It is in this chamber where he removes his mask and helmet, so we can safely assume he also removes his lightsaber.
Yet, just like his life support elements, he would want to keep his lightsaber close. The Jedi have been compared to samurai. Both wish to keep their sword near them at all times. The Sith would follow such measures as well.
How Does Darth Vader Carry His Lightsaber?
On some occasions, we see Darth Vader with his lightsaber drawn. At other times, we cannot directly see where he carries his lightsaber, but we can conclude that he carries it on his left side.
The Star Wars movies do reveal how he carries it. Although we do not know for certain what Vader does with his lightsaber when he is resting, we can assume it is similar to the Jedi.
When Vader’s lightsaber is not actively being used, it is always at the ready.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.