Many viewers were no doubt confused during the final battle between Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, especially when Luke ignited his father’s blue lightsaber (which was shattered in two just a few scenes before) instead of his own green lightsaber. Speaking with IGN, director Rian Johnson revealed his reasoning behind this decision and also shed more light on why Kylo Ren didn’t recognize his grandfather’s lightsaber during their duel.
It has been discussed several times before that Rian Johnson planted multiple hints in the final battle between Luke and Kylo, showing us that the Master Jedi is actually not there. While the blue lightsaber is one of these hints, there is also a particular reason why Luke decided to use it instead of his own green lightsaber. Here’s what Rian said to IGN:
[Luke] is basically tailoring this projection to have maximum effect on Kylo,” Johnson explained. “He knows that Kylo’s Achilles heel is his rage, and so that’s why he kind of makes himself look younger, the way Kylo would’ve last seen him in their confrontation at the temple, and that’s why he decided to bring Kylo’s grandfather’s lightsaber down there — the lightsaber that Kylo screamed at Rey, ‘that’s mine, that belongs to me.’
Now remains the question, why didn’t Kylo react to the appearance of this lightsaber, which we saw split in two just mere moments before that? Rian has the answer for that too:
We as an audience saw that… The truth is, we see the lightsaber split in half — Kylo sees a blinding flash of light and is knocked unconscious, and then Rey takes the lightsaber away before he wakes up,” he said. “So if you really want to dig into it and get an explanation, you can say that he doesn’t 100 percent know what happened to the lightsaber.
We know how much Kylo is fond of his grandfather’s possessions from The Force Awakens, and it was a clever move by Luke to use Anakin’s weapon so that his nephew would be even more blinded to the trick the Jedi was pulling. But even without this explanation, I think the scene works perfectly well. It is very obvious that Kylo is consumed by his rage towards his uncle, and I think he wouldn’t have noticed even if Luke was using Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber.
And now it’s time to ask what you thought when you saw Luke staring down the AT-M6 assault and surviving the full barrage from the First Order. Did you think he was just too powerful or that something else was going on? My first reaction in my first viewing was that the walkers killed the Jedi with their first shot and what we saw next was Luke’s Force ghost. What did you think?