Do You Have To Be A Jedi To Use A Lightsaber? The Force Might Not Be Necessary To Wield This Weapon
Sure, it's those among the Jedi order who are most often portrayed with lightsabers in hand, but that's not to say that the Jedi alone come into contact with the powerful, humming weapons. Anakin Skywalker's famed indigo blade passes through his son's hands, traveling via Obi-Wan Kenobi and finally falling to Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens. Maz might be Force-sensitive, but she's no Jedi (at least, not that we know). Later, it's picked up by Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren — some of whom wield the Force, but none of whom are graduated Jedi. Despite The Force Awakens appearances, fully-fledged Jedi are far more frequently seen battling it out with lightsabers. The weapons seem to respond to those who channel the Force, prompting an intuitive leap — fights with lightsaber, must be Jedi — that has only been reinforced by icons like Yoda, Luke, and Obi-Wan. But even non-Jedi can use lightsabers, whether they're masters of the Force or muggle-born.
If you previously believed that only the Jedi make and fight with lightsabers, you're not alone. The Star Wars resource Wookieepedia notes that in The Phantom Menace, some in the galaxy were similarly misled, believing that only Jedi carry lightsabers because all Jedi carry lightsabers. But it's not exclusive to that class of Force-operators alone; the Sith also carry lightsabers (who could forget the terrifying Darth Maul's fiery red, double-bladed weapon of choice?), and as seen in The Force Awakens, even untrained characters like Finn and Rey can fight with a lightsaber to great effect.
The lightsaber's origins help explain how it can be the weapon of choice for Jedi and non-Jedi alike. Composed of a powerful crystal embedded in the hilt of the weapon, the lightsaber has been refined over the history of the galaxy, often built to fit the specifications of its particular owner. Luke Skywalker constructed his own green blade in Return of the Jedi, while Kylo Ren also forged his own cross-guarded weapon to make a more savage-looking instrument. (His DIY approach lends the lightsaber a rougher look — its blade quivers, lacking the defined edges of the more carefully constructed weapons.) There's no innate skill with the Force required to turn the lightsaber on or off, but lightsaber training is an integral element of Jedi training.
Many characters associated with the Force, but who never completed — or, sometimes, even began — their Jedi training, appear on-screen with lightsabers, reinforcing the link between the Jedi order and its trademark weaponry. But Han Solo once also held a lightsaber, and Luke Skywalker began fighting with his long before he finished his Jedi training. The most compelling example, perhaps, is Finn at the end of The Force Awakens. The former stormtrooper picks up the Anakin blade and uses it to fend off Kylo Ren. Though Finn eventually falls to Ren, he survives the attack, and when he drops the lightsaber, Rey picks it up to continue his attack. Rey has already evidenced some nascent skill with the Force — though she's never been trained, she successfully blocks Kylo Ren from penetrating her mind, uses the Jedi Mind Trick to escape captivity, and summons the fated Anakin lightsaber when it falls in the snow. It looks likely — and many fan theories posit — that Rey will eventually complete Jedi training, given that the Force is so strong with her. But she hasn't. Not yet, at least.
Still, the lightsaber seems to respond especially well to the touch of a Jedi. The Jedi are the ones with the full and proper training; the Jedi forge their own weapons, giving them a more intimate understanding of the lightsaber's operations. And its response to non-Jedi seems to indicate that individual's innate talent with the Force. When Rey summons the fallen lightsaber more powerfully than Kylo Ren, with his advanced training, it signals a woman with an enormous innate talent with the Force at her disposal. Lightsaber skill is not endemic to the Jedi alone. They're the most closely associated with the weaponry, but it can be used to great effect by those with far inferior training.
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