New Star Wars Concept Reveals Carrie Fisher's Scrapped Tribute In Rise of Skywalker

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Rise of Skewalker characers, Leia Organa, Star Wars logo

What can be said about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that hasn't already been discussed at length? The 2019 capper to the nine-film series was, in a word, divisive. Fans and critics alike heavily panned the pacing, script and story. And while the movie had very likable elements as well, much of the fanbase was immensely dissatisfied with the final results.

Of course, Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa does appear in the film, despite the beloved actress' untimely passing in 2016. Leia was worked into the plot by way of archival footage left over from The Force Awakens that Lucasfilm digitally inserted into Rise of Skywalker scenes.

There was also a brief flashback to a time shortly after 1983's Return of the Jedi, which features a younger Luke and Leia sparring with lightsabers during the princess' Jedi training. Rey later takes up her blade in the final confrontation with Palpatine.

Now, in the final released version of the movie, Leia's lightsaber was blue in color, much like her father before her. But a new piece of concept art has surfaced that shows this was not always the case.

Leia Originally Had a Purple Lightsaber

Adam Brockbank, a concept artist on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker took to Instagram to share a piece of artwork he had done during the film's development process.

The piece in question, which can be seen below, shows the aforementioned training duel between Leia and Luke. What's notable, though, is that Leia's lightsaber is actually purple, as opposed to the blue it was in the actual movie.

Rise of Skywalker concept art featuring Luke and Leia
Adam Brockbank's Instagram

Why the difference? According to her 2016 memoir (via Cinema Blend), Carrie Fisher wanted her character to have a purple lightsaber, were she ever to wield one. The concept art makes it clear that, at one point, Lucasfilm was going to posthumously honor the late Fisher's request, a notion that was ultimately, and unfortunately, discarded.

Why Was Leia's Saber Changed?

It's interesting to speculate on just why Lucasfilm dropped the concept of Leia having a purple lightsaber entirely, especially considering that they surely knew that was what Fisher would have wanted. And if they weren't aware, then why make the blade purple in the above concept art?

It's worth noting that there's currently only one character in the entire Star Wars canon who has a purple lightsaber: Jedi Master Mace Windu. While Attack of the Clones was in production, Samuel L. Jackson, who, of course, portrays Windu in the film, specifically requested that he have a purple saber. He asked this directly to George Lucas himself, and the director obliged. 

Mace Windu

There have been other characters who have had purple lightsabers in the Star Wars franchise - Mara Jade and Darth Revan come to mind. But those characters only exist in "Star Wars Legends," which is the official name for all content that came before Lucasfulm was purchased by Disney. As such, it all falls outside of official continuity and is deemed non-canon.

So, is the implication here that just because Mace Windu was the only one who owned a purple lightsaber, Leia was not permitted to have one by the studio? Perhaps not, as it seems a little petty on Lucasfilm's part, particularly since efforts have always been made to respect Leia and Carrie Fisher's legacy by the studio going forward after her death.

Perhaps the purple blade was merely something that Brockbank added to the concept art as a personal touch, without first getting the go-ahead from the higherups?

But then, consider the fact that in Rise of Skywalker's third act, Rey and Ben Solo team up to destroy Emperor Palpatine, using Luke's and Leia's lightsabers, both of which are blue. Maybe the filmmakers wanted the visual symmetry of both characters using the same colored blades for a single goal, possibly to drive home the fact that Ben had returned to the side of good.

Whatever the case may be, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available to stream on Disney+ and is available for purchase on physical and digital media.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.