Here’s Why Sith Lightsabers in Star Wars Are Traditionally Red

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There were only three different lightsaber colors when the original Star Wars trilogy came out. These were blue, green, and red, but we have gotten multiple different Lightsaber colors over time while the franchise has grown. One thing that has stayed consistent is that the Sith have always used red Lightsabers, with a few exceptions here and there. What started as a very simple reason has now been enriched with tons of new lore and backstory, which we are to break down! Here’s why the Sith traditionally use red Lightsabers! 

The original reason George Lucas gave the Sith red blades was simply because they were bad guys. Throughout different media, the meaning of Lightsaber colors has been expanded upon, and for a Sith to have a red blade, they must bleed an existing Kyber Crystal, which is the process where the Sith Lord pours all of his hate and anger into a pre-existing Kyber Crystal. They can do this with one of their old blades or take it from a fallen enemy. 

Now that we have briefly discussed why Sith Lords have red Lightsabers, let’s analyze it more thoroughly! If you’re interested in what exactly bleeding a Kyber Crystal is, why they do it, and whether or not Jedi can do it, stay with us and keep reading! 

What was the original reason for red Lightsabers?

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Originally, the only Lightsaber colors were green, blue, and red. Green and blue were meant for the good guys, and red was for the bad. George Lucas never had any specific reason for Lightsaber colors; the only reason for red Lightsabers was to show that the user was a villain. This has since been expanded upon in different media throughout the years, and now red Lightsabers are created through bleeding a Kyber Crystal.


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What does it mean to bleed a Kyber Crystal?

A Lightsaber is a lot more than just the weapon of a Jedi or Sith. They are powered by Kyber Crystals, living things that generally belong to the Light Side of the Force. The most common colors for a Kyber Crystal are blue and green, with the possibility of other colors.

The one color it does not create is red, as the Dark Side user does this. A Sith would bleed a Kyber Crystal by pouring all of their hate, rage, anger, fear, and pain into the crystal. This would then cause the crystal to change color.

However, because Kyber Crystals are products of the Light Side of the Force, they could resist the Dark Side user. Many would bleed their old blade if the Sith were a previous Jedi. However, some Sith, like Emperor Palpatine, believed that a Sith blade should be taken from a fallen enemy.

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One instance we see of a Kyber Crystal being bled takes place in the comic pages of ‘Darth Vader’ (2018) by Charles Soule. After defeating a survivor of Order 66, Vader takes his blade and bleeds it red. He pours all of his hate and anger into the weapon but then quickly realizes that the crystal has a mind of its own and fights back.

He gets visions of Obi-Wan Kenobi and other elements of his past life, which try to bring him back to the light. He then pushes past these temptations to turn back and successfully bleeds the crystal. Vader then returns to the Emperor and ignites his new crimson blade, properly becoming a full Sith Lord. This Lightsaber gets destroyed, but because he has successfully bled the crystal, he can use the crystal and construct a new weapon, the iconic Lightsaber we know from the original trilogy.

Can Jedi wield red Lightsabers?

Traditionally, a Jedi would not use a red Lightsaber as that would mean giving themselves over to the Dark Side to bleed the Kyber Crystal. As Kyber Crystals are living things, Jedi see the bleeding process as cruel and harmful to the Force.

However, if a Jedi were to defeat a Sith Lord, nothing would be stopping them from using the red Lightsaber that belonged to their opponent. In canon, no Jedi have owned a red Lightsaber, as Jedi are not permitted to use the Dark Side of the Force. Due to Kyber Crystals being part of the Light Side, it was possible for some Jedi to actually restore a crystal that had been bled and bring it back to its original color. 

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An example of a Kyber Crystal being restored is in the book, ‘Ahsoka’ by E.K Johnston. During the book, Ahsoka comes across the Sixth Brother and ends up in a duel. Ahsoka wins the duel by slicing through the Sixth Brother’s Lightsaber hilt, causing an explosion that kills her enemy. She notices that the Kyber Crystals are unharmed, and she restores them by meditating and channeling the force into the crystal, causing it to purify and restore it to her white blades that we see today. 


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Can Sith use blue Lightsabers?

Like the Jedi with red Lightsabers, Sith can use a blade of a different color if it was their old weapon before it was bled or they only have access to another person’s Lightsaber.

If a Sith had not bled their blade, it would have meant that they had not fully given themselves over to the Dark Side and would not be a proper Sith. There have been instances in Legends where some Sith have had different colored blades, but it would have been for a specific reason. However, in the current canon, the Sith use exclusively red.

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