Red Lightsaber Meaning and History

The red lightsaber was one of two original colors used in the Star Wars universe. In the beginning, there was only red and blue, with other colors coming later. Red was the color for the Sith or other dark side users of the force. Red lightsabers could only be made by pouring dark emotions into the Kyber crystal, corrupting it, and turning it red.

This article will cover the lore surrounding red lightsabers, along with who carried a red lightsaber and what is the greater meaning of the color red within the Star Wars franchise.

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The Meaning of Red

Colour theory suggests that red represents strong emotions. This can include anger, power, passion, danger, and love. This intensity represents the Sith well, as it is all emotions that are forbidden from the Jedi Order. When powerful Sith embrace these stronger emotions, it is often that which tempts them towards the dark side of the force.

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Darth Vader red lightsaber

Star Wars Canon

Kyber crystals are naturally attuned to the light side of the force. As such, dark side users of the force are unable to use kyber crystals in their natural state. If a dark side user of the force were to try and use a natural kyber crystal, the effect could be unbearable.

One such example was when Darth Vader attempted to use a green lightsaber he took from a Jedi Master. The kyber crystal inside the lightsaber gave Darth Vader visions so strong that they nearly drove him insane.

To use a kyber crystal, Sith use a process known as bleeding. To bleed a kyber crystal means a dark side user of the force would pour their dark emotions, such as anger and fear, into their lightsaber’s kyber crystal, therefore corrupting it.

The original kyber crystal could have started as any color, but the resulting color after a bleeding is almost always red. There are some rare examples of Sith using other colors, such as black, but in general, it’s almost always red.

The shade of red the Sith uses can have some variation. Reds can vary from crimson red, to even pink. Magenta, a close cousin of red, will be covered in a separate article.

Some of the most famous red lightsabers that have been seen in Star Wars canon have been owned by Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Darth Maul and the Inquisitors. Red lightsabers are also used by the Inquisitors.

Star Wars Legends

In Star Wars Legends, dark side users do not always use true kyber crystals in their lightsabers. Instead, synthetic kyber crystals, or synth-crystals, are sometimes used in their place. Synth-crystals are almost always red, and despite being synthetic, still can make a powerful lightsaber.

While red is most often associated with the Sith, within Legends there was one Jedi who used a red lightsaber for a short time, Adi Gallia.

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List of Red Lightsaber Users

Star Wars Canon

Darth Vader

Darth Maul

Kylo Ren

Darth Sidious

Darth Tyranus

Darth Atrius

Darth Noctyss

Asajj Ventress

Aaron Malicos

The Inquisitors 


Star Wars Legends

Jedi Master Adi Gallia

Darth Angral

Darth Atroxa

Darth Bandon

Darth Charts

Darth Desolous

Darth Kruhl

Darth Lachris

Darth Maladi

Darth Maleval

Darth Malora

Darth Plagueis

Darth Reave

Darth Stryfe

Darth Tenebrous

Darth Vengean

Darth Zash

Lord Calypho


Sharad Hett

Lord Skere

Lord Vindican

Uthar Wynn

Learn about all lightsaber colors in the Star Wars universe