What color is your lightsaber?
Personal choice of lightsaber color is an ubiquitous question in any discussion of Star Wars. Some people study who wields what, when, and how to determine why – “yellow lightsabers are wielded by temple guardians” a youngling told me after we’d watched The Rise of Skywalker. Others focus on an external understanding of color meaning – red is passionate, green is natural, purple is balanced. Plenty of people choose based on what their favorite character wields or what their own favorite color is – my younger daughter recently answered “if I had a lightsaber I would want it to be pink or orange.” Pink is her favorite color and orange is the color of the lightsaber wielded by her favorite character. Or so she thought.
I grew up with three brothers. I’m easily the biggest Star Wars fan of the group (take that stereotypes!) but like most kids exposed to the galaxy far, far away we all loved to play lightsabers. We didn’t have shiny, ultra-realistic sabers that glow and spark and make screen-ready sound effects. And while we sometimes had the more affordable collapsible light-up versions, we most often played with flashlights or colored in paper towel rolls. And we most memorably played with popsicles.
The popsicles came in four colors: blue, red, green, and orange. The colors indicated different flavors but they didn’t taste very different to me, and taste was secondary to color anyway because they so conveniently matched up to lightsabers. Blue for Luke – or Anakin’s wielded by Luke – and Obi-Wan, red for Vader, green for Luke, and orange. . .
I don’t remember which of us decided that Lando had an orange lightsaber. But it very quickly became a true fact to us. We didn’t care that it never happened on screen and we didn’t care that Lando isn’t actually a Jedi. We all talked about Lando’s Orange Lightsaber with such veracity that thirty years later my daughter believed it was real.
And to me, it is. Not canon, but as real as anything else in the wider fantasy that is Star Wars. Somewhere, in some version of the galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian has an orange lightsaber, and so does my daughter.
There are many reasons to choose a lightsaber color because Star Wars is many things to many people. And they don’t all match. They can contradict, which causes tension, and left to fester, toxicity. And that’s when I like to bring up the story of Lando’s orange lightsaber. Without Star Wars our popsicles were mundane, just frozen flavored water in four different colors. With Star Wars our popsicles were magic, transforming all of us into Jedi – even Lando.
What color lightsaber would you choose? How did you play Star Wars when you were a kid?