Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber is atypical. Many fans have theorized about its significance… when in fact, a little-known filming anecdote explains the color! But first, let’s talk about the characteristics of his sword.
Characteristics of Windu’s lightsaber
A sturdy handle: the handle is black with a silver metal band and a box-like guard at the base. The sword was made of a hardened alloy, decorated with gold and black stripes, and covered with a soft leather for a better grip.
A blade with a purple crystal: a blade that shines with a very distinct light. It is wider and heavier than most lightsaber blades, making it a powerful and imposing weapon. It is also longer than standard blades, with a total length of almost one meter. The amethyst crystal that made up the blade was supposed to reflect the color of the inferno he produced when confronting his enemies.
A single guard: it extends in two points above the blade. This guard allows Windu to block attacks from all angles.
A symbolic meaning: because the color purple represents the combination of the Light Force and the Dark Force. It reflects Windu’s philosophy that Jedi must be willing to use all forms of the Force to defeat the dark side. This same philosophy is reflected in his own fighting technique, called “Vaapad”. It allowed him to get closer to the dark side… to better fight it! Master Windu shared the teaching of this dangerous discipline with several of his apprentices, including Depa Billaba, Adi Gallia, Echuu Shen-jon, and his friend Sora Bulq.
Why is Mace Windu’s sword purple?
An anecdote from the shoot
Initially, in the first scripts and designs, Windu’s lightsaber was designed with a classic blue blade. This is the lightsaber color of most other Jedi in the Order. However, it all came to a head during a conversation between the actor who plays Windu, Samuel L. Jackson, and director George Lucas. The actor requested that the color of Mace Windu’s blade change to purple…
When Samuel L. Jackson saw the script for the Battle of Geonosis, where many Jedi were supposed to fight with blue or green lightsabers, he immediately expressed his desire to stand out from the other characters.
“When I saw this, I thought it was going to be impossible to see me on screen. So I asked George if I could have a different color sword than the others. Some time later, when we were doing reshoots, George came to me and said, “You have to see this… it’s already messed up on the net. And he showed me a shot of me with a purple sword. I was super happy, because now even though I’m lost in the middle of 300 Jedi, I still know where I am.” Samuel L. Jackson reported. George Lucas finally agreed to the request. Thus, purple has become a distinctive element of Mace Windu.
A symbolic meaning?
Purple is a combination of 2 primary colors: blue and red. Some have speculated that the purple represents Mace Windu’s ambivalent character, halfway between the Jedi and the Sith. However, this theory was denied by Samuel L. Jackson himself, who explained that the color purple had no particular meaning.
Even so, Star Wars fans have been searching for a canonical explanation for this unusual color. Some comics have explored the origin of Mace Windu’s sword. These show Mace Windu traveling to a distant planet to retrieve the crystals that will give his saber the color purple.
How did Star Wars justify the actor’s request?
When Samuel L. Jackson asked for a purple saber for his character Mace Windu in Star Wars, Georges Lucas couldn’t resist his insistence. However, it needed a justification in the Star Wars universe…
That’s where Star Wars – Icons Volume 9 comes in, a collection of comics, in which Mace Windu tells the story of the journey that gave him a purple lightsaber. In the story titled “The Stones,” the Jedi recounts how he had visions of an ideal saber materializing in his consciousness, but it could not take the physical form he hoped. Master Yoda sends Windu to the planet Hurikane to remedy this problem.
On Hurikane, Windu discovers habitats made of stones, including purple fragments. A native tries to jump over a precipice and falls into the void, breaking into a multitude of pieces. Mace Windu then uses the force to rebuild it, and in gratitude, the rock beings offer him amethyst crystals from Hurikane. This reward allows him to ride the purple lightsaber that we all know.
Although the weapon is not wielded by Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, figures are already available showing Windu with his original blue lightsaber, never seen in the films. This comic book gives an explanation about the change of lightsaber color, caused by the actor’s requests.
Another well-known actor had also expressed a similar request. It is Christopher Lee, who plays the role of Count Dooku. The latter got his weapon bent, for no known reason.
Master Windu’s legendary battles
As a Master-at-Arms, Mace Windu was renowned as one of the finest lightsaber fighters in the Jedi Order. His fighting style was aggressive and unpredictable.
He had a gift called“breakpoints“, which allowed him to predict changes in the course of events.
During the Clone Wars, Mace Windu used his lightsaber on several fronts, including Ruul, Haruun Kal and Boz Pity. However, Mace Windu’s most memorable duel took place on Coruscant against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was actually the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
Accompanied by Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin, Mace Windu went to the Senate Administrator’s Building to ask Palpatine to relinquish his powers. This led to an epic duel between the four Jedi and the Sith. Despite their courage and skill, the Jedi were defeated one by one, leaving Mace Windu to face Palpatine alone.
Using the Vaapad, Mace Windu nearly defeated the Sith by blocking its lightning with his lightsaber. However, Anakin’s lightsaber will reverse the scenario… In one fell swoop, Anakin cuts off Mace Windu’s hand, preventing him from defending himself against Palpatine’s Sith lightning. Mace Windu was thus projected into the void, leaving the field free for Palpatine to set up his dictatorship!
An unusual blade color: amethyst violet. A fighting technique created by Mace Windu himself: the Vaapad (variant of form VII). The gift of “breakpoints”: used by Mace during his fights, it allows him to guess changes in the course of events.
The purple color of the saber, symbolizing the coexistence of the Light and Dark Forces, reflects this Jedi’s vision that “the end justifies the means”. For Mace Windu, the Jedi’s mission is to defeat the dark side of the Force, and this fight knows no bounds in his mind: no matter how, any method is good as long as it allows the Dark Force to be defeated.