When you think of the most iconic weapons in all of Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Sometimes referred to as the Graflex or “The Youngling Slayer 9000” (yeesh), this deadly weapon has been at the heart of some of the most epic battles and has changed hands many times throughout Star Wars history. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, or if you’re just curious about this legendary weapon, read on to learn more about the Skywalker Lightsaber.
In the Hands of Anakin Skywalker
The Graflex was the second lightsaber Anakin Skywalker constructed after becoming a Jedi knight. His first was destroyed in a droid factory during the Battle of Geonosis. Unbeknownst to Anakin, as he was constructing the Graflex has was also forging a legend.
This saber would be Anakin’s main weapon throughout the greater part of the Clone Wars. With it, the legendary Jedi Knight would cut down countless Separatist battle droids, and would be one of two lightsabers used to behead the presumed Separatist Leader and Sith Lord, Count Dooku (the other saber being Dooku’s very own).
Shortly following these events, the Graflex would officially become the first saber of Lord Vader when the former hero of the Republic fell to the dark side. Sadly, it would be the weapon he used to slaughter younglings hiding from clone troopers within the Jedi Temple.
Anakin’s final action with this iconic weapon would be on Mustafar, in a epic duel against his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi. After a lengthy and grueling fight a heartbroken Kenobi takes his fallen brother’s saber and leaves him burnt and dismembered on the banks of a lava river. In an effort to conceal his identity, Kenobi places the Graflex, as well as his own saber, in a case and buries it in the sands of Tatooine where the Jedi Master went into exile.
In the Hands of Luke Skywalker
Anakin’s Graflex remained in Kenobi’s possession for about 19 years until it was time to pass it on to Anakin’s son, Luke, who had been raised on Tatooine by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. The murder of Owen and Beru at the hands of the Empire, along with a distress call from Princess Leia, Luke’s twin sister (although this relation was still unknown to Luke at the time), left Obi-Wan no choice but to leave Tatooine with Luke and the Graflex and begin his Jedi Training.
Luke’s first interaction with his father’s saber was deflecting blaster shots from a training droid on board the Millennium Falcon. He used the saber during the rescue mission to free Leia from a prison cell on board the Death Star, and the Graflex would remain with Luke for many years during the Galactic Civil War through the Battle of Hoth and training with Yoda on Dagobah.
Luke would cut his training with Yoda short as he sensed his friends in grave danger on Bespin. He rushed to Cloud City where encountered Darth Vader, who put Luke’s new skills to the test as they dueled saber-to-saber. Ultimately, Luke would suffer defeat after Vader cut off his hand holding the saber (immediately followed by the massively demoralizing blow of learning that Darth Vader was actually his father). Both Luke’s hand and the Graflex would be lost in the depths of Cloud City.
Once recovered from his wounds, Luke would return to Cloud City to search for legendary weapon, but with no success. However, sometime after Luke’s departure from Cloud City, an Ugnaught technician would stumble across the Skywalker Lightsaber…
In the Hands of Finn
What exactly happened after the Ugnaught discovered Anakin’s Graflex is unclear, be we do know that in ended up in the possession of Maz Kanata, a pirate queen. For over thirty years the infamous Skywalker Lightsaber lay stashed away in Kanata’s storehouses until the day Han Solo showed up with Rey and Finn.
The saber called out Rey, but when Rey reached for it her mind was flooded with visions from the past. Horrified by these visions, Rey refused to take it from Maz, but Finn took for safe keeping when the First Order attacked.
During the attack Finn used the saber to kill at least one trooper. The next time he used it was in a duel with Kylo Ren on the surface of Starkiller Base. Finn put up a decent fight, but being untrained in lightsaber combat and no force-sensitive, he was ultimately bested by Ren.
In the Hands of Rey
Kylo Ren, being a descendent of Anakin Skywalker, felt the iconic Skywalker Lightsaber belonged to him. However, the Graflex passed by Ren and flew directly to outstretched hand of Rey, who used it (along with the Force) to overpower Ren and make a timely escape with the help of Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon.
Shortly after Rey would try to reunite the Graflex with a now reclusive Luke Skywalker, but he would dismiss the offer more than once. Rey would then leave the aged Jedi and rejoin the fight against the First Order.
In the throne room of Supreme Leader Snoke, Rey and Kylo Ren would use the Graflex in tandem to kill Snoke and his Praetorian guards. After the fight Ren would once again try to claim the legendary Skywalker Lightsaber as his own, and it would become trapped in between Ren and Rey as they used the Force to pull it in opposite directions.
Eventually the saber and the kyber crystal inside would break in two as it would succumb to the tremendous strain. Rey was able to escape with all the parts and, eventually was able to repair it, welding the two halves of the hilt back together and fitting them with a leather strap, and using a Force power to mend the crystal.
Rey would keep training with this saber throughout the war against the First Order, until the battle on the Sith planet Exegol, where it would find itself in the hands of Ben Solo (the newly redeemed Kylo Ren). There he would use his grandfather’s saber, along with Rey armed with Leia’s, to overpower and finish Palpatine for good.
This encounter would leave Ben dead and inspire Rey to exile herself on Tatooine out of a concern that she would end up on dark path. There Anakin’s Graflex was once again buried in the sand along with Leia’s lightsaber, where they currently remain.
Original Lightsaber Prop Construction
Skywalker’s Lightsaber is commonly referred to as “the Graflex” because the original movie prop, used by Mark Hamill, was made from the flash attachment of a Graflex 3 cell flash unit. Graflex was a type of camera, manufactured by the Folmer Schwing Company, and were a popular choice for journalist and professional photographers in the mid-twentieth century.