Lightsaber crystals, also known as kyber crystals, are a powerful curiosity in the Star Wars Universe. Doubly so are the ones which power fearsome Sith sabers: Red lightsaber crystals.
But with how rare they are, where are the Sith finding enough to color-coordinate with?
The answer lies both within the wild forces of nature as well as man’s imitation of it!
Table of Contents
- What Are Kyber Crystals?
- Are Red Lightsaber Crystals Natural?
- How Are Red Lightsaber Crystals Made?
- Can Jedi Use Red Lightsabers?
What Are Kyber Crystals?
No weapon in the whole of Star Wars is more well known than the lightsaber. Even those who know next to nothing about the series could tell you about the power of these blades! But what gives it that power?
These mystical crystals are the backbone of nearly every lightsaber as well as the powerhouse of some truly fearsome weapons. They aren’t just inert lumps of rock, though!
Kyber crystals are composed of both inorganic and organic material. Pair that with their connection to the force and they present themselves as a kind of living organism.
This property allows them not only to resist the will of the dark-side of the Force, but also the temperature and pressure at the core of a star!
The exact properties of kyber crystals and how they’re formed depend on which stories you look at. Both the current Canon and Legends have similar conclusions but have different ways of getting there.
In Canon, kyber crystals don’t naturally have any color to them. They gain their color when they are attuned to the user through the Force.
The color that the crystal takes on is reflective of the essence of the user.
This leads to many Jedi having green or blue lightsabers. By manipulating the crystal through the Force, however, any color is possible.
A good example of this is Mace Windu’s lightsaber which is a strong purple color.
Within Star Wars Legends, the story is different and slightly more complicated. Kyber crystals can be manipulated to be any color but they also have an inherent color to them naturally.
In this case, the color of a lightsaber is dependent on what color kyber crystal is selected to be used.
When the Empire took over, they banned the trade of lightsaber crystals which limited the Jedi’s supply. In turn, this left only green and blue kyber crystals to be used.
Although it was much more common for the Sith to use synthetic kyber crystals, it was also possible to find naturally red ones. This is only the case in Legends.
In current Canon, red kyber crystals were obtained through a special process the Sith did to regular kyber crystals.
Are Red Lightsaber Crystals Natural?
For the Jedi, the process of collecting a kyber crystal for their lightsaber is special. It is one that requires the padawan to use their connection to the Force to find one in a special cave.
With the Sith’s tendency to oppose the Jedi, it’s no surprise that their kyber crystals are almost exclusively synthetic. Almost.
They weren’t just useful to Sith either, even the Jedi used this source. The caves allowed them to obtain rarer colors (like purple and yellow) and were a popular source until the discovery of Ilum.
The process by which the eggs got the red kyber crystals is unknown and a mystery that has been wondered by Jedi since its discovery.
Half-way between natural kyber crystals and purely synthetic ones are crystals that have been “bled”. In their natural state, kyber crystals’ connection to the Force inherently rejects dark-side users; They can, however, be forced to work.
In a process called bleeding, a Sith can funnel all of their anger and darkness into a kyber crystal. If the Sith is able to overcome the crystal’s resistance it will take on a deep crimson color.
Although this process can be done with any natural kyber crystal, it was customary for a Sith to bleed the crystal from a Jedi’s lightsaber.
How Are Red Lightsaber Crystals Made?
Collecting and bleeding a crystal wasn’t the only way to obtain a red kyber crystal, though! By using a machine called a geological compressor as well as the Force it was possible to grow synthetic kyber crystals.
It’s important to note, however, that this method exists only in Star Wars Legends; That is, stories which are not canon but could be.
Synthetic Kyber Crystals
Originally intended to mimic the geological conditions on other planets to study, a geological compressor was capable of making synthetic kyber crystals!
The color that these crystals have is made during the growing process through the Force. A synthetic crystal could be any color, but it was customary for Sith to have red ones.
The synthetic nature of these crystals paired with Force manipulation during their creation makes them incredibly powerful. Most synthetic crystals were much stronger than natural ones, though they were also more unstable.
Still, they were coveted by the Sith for the crystal’s ability to be easily modified.
Variations and Modifications
Both the conditions of the geological compressor and the use of the Force directly influenced how the synthetic crystal formed.
If the conditions that the crystal grew under were miscalculated, or intentionally different, a compressed crystal would be produced. This led to a lightsaber blade that was much thinner but also gave more precision to the user.
A more serious error could even lead to unstable crystals! These crystals would cause the blade to crack and surge with power; They were good at doing more damage in a battle, but they were also harder to control and could more easily short out.
Synthetic Crystals and the Sith
In Star Wars Legends, the use of red synthetic kyber crystals was nearly universal. And not only because of their inherent power!
As the Sith became more powerful and used red kyber crystals more, the color fell out of use with the Jedi. This in turn made these crystals into a fearsome symbol of the Sith.
It’s important to note, however, that in Star Wars Canon the Sith universally used kyber crystals that had been bled. This is because the existence of synthetic kyber crystals was a later addition to the canon.
Can Jedi Use Red Lightsabers?
It seems like some unspoken rule that all Sith will have red lightsabers and all Jedi will have anything but. There’s more to it than that, though!
In canon, the only way to have a red kyber crystal is to corrupt one with the dark side of the Force. There’s no reason for a Jedi to do this and so they would never use a red lightsaber of their own.
That doesn’t stop them from using a red lightsaber, however, but the kyber crystal would fight them. In this way, it’s very similar to a Sith trying to use an un-bled kyber crystal.
Just as a kyber crystal could be bled, a corrupted one could also be purified back to the light side!
One such case was when Ahsoka Tano obtained two corrupted crystals after defeating a Sith. Through the Force she was able to purify them, turning them white.
Color in Legends
Within the Star Wars Legends, the story is slightly different but comes to nearly the same conclusion. In this case, the color of a lightsaber is just a color.
Rather than a kyber crystal gaining its color through the Force of a Jedi, in Legends kyber crystals have an inherent color. This leads to green and blue being common colors while purple and yellow are much rarer.
Because the color doesn’t reflect the user in Legends, there’s no Force-based reason that a Jedi couldn’t use a red lightsaber.
Instead, something that’s arguably more powerful and influential than the Force prevents it: Tradition and culture.
The prevalent use of red kyber crystals by the Sith eventually led to it being a staple of the dark side of the Force. Because of this, Jedi were heavily discouraged from using red kyber crystals.
Red kyber crystals are a mysterious force within the Star Wars universe, both in Canon and in Legends!
They can be made to bleed and turn red through the darkness of the Sith. Customarily this is done with the kyber crystal from defeated Jedi.
Through unknown forces they can be found naturally within the eggs of fearsome arachnids called kinraths.
And cooler still, they can be forged by mimicking the temperature and pressures of entire planets and turning them red through the Force!
No matter the case, they are universally the symbol of the Sith. And whether it’s through the Force, as in canon, or through tradition, as in Legends, the Jedi are greatly discouraged from using them.
There is still much more to see though! Here we’ve just scratched the surface of these powerful crystals with the hope that it will help you learn even more about them.