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What Happened To Darth Vader’s Lightsaber After ROTJ (In Canon & Legends)

What happened to Darth Vader Lightsaber after star wars return of the jedi

What happened to Darth Vader’s lightsaber after Return of the Jedi? Did it somehow survive like Luke’s lightsaber after Empire Strikes Back?

What happened to Darth Vader’s lightsaber after Return of the Jedi? During the events of the original trilogy’s final film, Darth Vader dueled with his son Luke Skywalker in the Emperor’s throne room on the second Death Star. However, Vader’s arm was cut off by Luke, and he lost his Sith weapon as it fell down a reactor shaft. Coupled with the fact that the Death Star was destroyed shortly after, it would seem as though that would be the end of Vader’s lightsaber. However, there are some potential teases that it might have survived in the years following Return of the Jedi.

Interestingly enough, the Star Wars Legends continuity that came before the now official canon under Disney suggests that Vader’s lightsaber simply fell down the same reactor shaft the redeemed Vader later threw the Emperor down just before his own death and the destruction of the second Death Star. However, the canon continuity actually goes further, suggesting that Vader’s lightsaber may have indeed survived the explosion somehow. This was revealed in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, which takes place in the years between the events of Return of the Jedi and the Battle of Jakku, which ended the Galactic Civil War between the New Republic and the Empire.

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In the Aftermath books, readers are introduced to the Acolytes of the Beyond, a mysterious group of Sith worshippers led by Yupe Tashu, who was one of the Emperor’s closest advisors. In the first book, three of the Acolytes visit a junk dealer on the planet of Taris, who’s been claiming that he possesses the lightsaber of Darth Vader himself. While the Acolytes purchase the blade, the dealer himself admits that he isn’t sure if it does indeed belong to the Dark Lord or not. Regardless, it is a Sith lightsaber, and the worshippers reveal that their intent was to destroy it, so that it might be reunited with its master in death. However, the rise of the New Republic did motivate the Acolytes to hang onto the lightsabers they acquired as they soon became more proactive against the enemies of the fallen Empire and the Sith.

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader face off in Return of the Jedi

Additionally, some fans theorized that the talisman with the red Sith kyber crystal seen in Luke Skywalker’s hut during Star Wars: The Last Jedi belonged to Luke’s father, but it was later revealed in a visual dictionary that it was actually an ancient relic belonging to a Jedi Crusader. As a result, the only real clue that Vader’s lightsaber might have lived on lies with the Acolytes of the Beyond, provided that the lightsaber they purchased did belong to Vader, and that they didn’t destroy it before they decided to become more proactive.

All that being said, it seems likely that Vader’s lightsaber won’t be seen in any Star Wars projects set in the days after Return of the Jedi (as entertaining and dynamic as that would be). One could imagine how symbolic it would have been had the resurrected Emperor gifted Kylo Ren with Vader’s lightsaber in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, creating the opportunity for an incredible duel with Rey who was wielding Luke’s own recovered lightsaber. In any case, it seems likely that Star Wars will never know exactly what happened to Darth Vader’s weapon, though perhaps the mystery is entertainment enough.

More: Why Darth Vader Is Confused That Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Body Disappears


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