As The Acolyte hits Disney+, fans are asking ‘what does a yellow lightsaber mean?’

New Star Wars TV show The Acolyte arrived on Disney+ yesterday (4 June), well, the first two episodes did, anyway: and they’ve got fans asking a lot of questions.

The new series is a “mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers… [when] a former padawan reunites with her Jedi master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.”

Abigail Thorn stars in The Acolyte; she’s the first out trans actor to appear in a Star Wars movie or TV series. Thorn plays ensign Eurus in the show, which is set at the end of the High Republic era – 500 BBY to 100 BBY – approximately 100 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.

Gay, Black actress Amandla Stenberg, who came out as non-binary in 2016 and uses she/they pronouns, stars as twin sisters Osha and Mae, and has laughed off claims that The Acolyte is somehow “woke” due to the LGBTQ+ casting choices.

Amandla Stenberg in The Acolyte, standing on the seashore wearing a purple hooded robe
Trouble is brewing for the Jedi Order in Star Wars prequel series The Acolyte (Lucasfilm/Disney+)

Another “criticism” of the programme came from a three-star review in right-wing newspaper the Telegraph, which complained that The Acolyte “opts for lightsaber action over anything more cerebral”, however, Star Wars wouldn’t really be Star Wars without its flashy lightsaber battles.

The review continues; “Mae (Amandla Stenberg) (is) not shy about making her presence felt. Less than two minutes in, out come the lightsabers and we’re into a full-on fight sequence, part martial arts, part contemporary dance, in which Mae sets out her stall: she’s here on a revenge mission, to track down and kill the four Jedis who destroyed her family.”

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However, eagle-eyed viewers have noticed that one of the characters in The Acolyte, Jedi Knight Yord, uses a yellow lightsaber. Yellow lightsabers are relatively unusual in the Star Wars franchise, and it’s led a lot of people to wonder what the meaning of a yellow lightsaber actually is. Allow us to explain.

What is the meaning of a yellow lightsaber?

Rey’s yellow/gold lightsaber (Disney/Lucasfilm)

First of all, it’s important to note that lightsabers are powered by lightsaber crystals, also known as focus crystals or kyber crystals.

The wide variety of available crystals means they produce different colours, effects and abilities. Interestingly, Before placing the crystal in the lightsaber, the Jedi or Sith had to imbue it with the Force by meditating on the crystal for many days – creating a strong bond between the force-user and their iconic weapon.

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far far away), or 4000 BBY to be exact, the crystals were used to indicate a Jedi’s class, with yellow indicating a class called a Jedi Sentinel: a sort of sage-like, wise figure who combined battle skills with “scholarly pursuits”, according to Wookiepedia.

Later on, most Jedi lightsabers were powered with a type of kyber crystal called Ilum crystals, which made the blade glow blue or green, while Sith Lords used synthetic crystals, which usually glowed red.

Rey, Luke Skywalker, and the Wookiee Jedi Tyvokka are all characters who have previously used yellow lightsabers in Star Wars. In Rey’s case, that yellow/golden color represents a blending of the green and red lightsabers– a neutral colour that depicts a “balance” to the force. 

Lightsabers could also be made to change colour too: a Jedi named Jaden Korr once used the Force to banish the dark side from the red crystal of a Dark Jedi he had killed – this turned the Dark Jedi’s lightsaber into a yellow-bladed Jedi weapon.

When is The Acolyte episode three on Disney+?

New episodes are being added on a weekly basis moving forward: although the first two dropped on the same day.

The third episode in the series will arrive on Disney Plus on Tuesday 11th June 2024 in the US – although UK viewers won’t be able to watch it until 2am on Wednesday 12th June 2024.

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