What New Kyber Crystal Details Mean For Rey In 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

Kyber crystals. Before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, they were probably not in your lexicon (and might not even be after it). Sure, if you watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels, you might be a bit more familiar. The Rogue One prequel novel Catalyst, the young adult novel Ahsoka, and the just-launched Darth Vader series set directly after the ending of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith continue the expansion of knowledge. So why are Kyber crystals suddenly so front-and-center in Star Wars, and what does it mean for Rey (and her lineage) and Kylo Ren going forward, especially Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe

Kyber 101

Kyber crystals are best known as the small crystals that power lightsabers. A commonly explored item in the old Expanded Universe, they didn't get the official canon name of Kyber until Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5, episode 7, "A Test of Strength." In that story arc, centered on younglings in that era, they travel to Ilum, where Kyber grows in abundance in caves. This is when we first learned of the crystals themselves having some sort of resonance in the Force. Indeed, the crystals call out to individual Jedi, bringing them to the crystal. Thus begins the bonding between a Jedi and their lightsaber, and shows why some have different colors of blades, or wield two or a double-bladed saber instead of one. It's the Kyber crystals, and the Force, that willed it that way.

Thanks to more recent books, we've learned that their resonance in the Force is even more pronounced than the show revealed. Remember when Chirrut Îmwe knew Jyn had a Kyber around her neck, despite him being blind, her having it tucked into her shirt, and being across a busy street? Yup, that's because it "talked" to him through the Force.

Kyber crystals are most commonly found in small sizes used for lightsabers, but they've also been used to power weapons of mass destruction throughout the ages. The Sith constructed superweapons using Kyber, like the one on the planet Malachor that also used a Sith Holocron to unlock it, and of course, the legendary Death Star's superlaser was powered by Kyber crystals (thanks to the research of Galen Erso). In the Sequel Trilogy era, the First Order has weapons in some of their Star Destroyers powered by Kyber – using crystals taken from somewhere in the Unknown Regions (click that link for another deep dive).

ahsoka lightsabers

What Kyber Wants, Kyber Gets…

Kyber being a near-living and near-conscious material is central to the recent writings and stories about it. Nothing has been as revealing, perhaps, as the novel Ahsoka and the first issue of Darth Vader from Marvel Comics, both of which detail how a dark side user's Kyber crystal turns red. You see, they don't start that color and dark siders would actually have a hard time wielding a lightsaber powered by a regular Kyber for very long. Instead, they need to use the dark side of the Force to overpower the crystal, and dominate it into serving them. That makes crystals bleed into a dark red. Furthermore, a Sith Lord is meant to not simply convert a Jedi crystal that they used before turning to the dark side (both Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker served the Jedi Order before they served Darth Sidious, after all). Instead, they must take a Kyber from a fallen foe, and dominate that to power their crimson blade. Mostly for extra darkness. Note, in the old Legends continuity, Sith blades were powered by synthetic crystals, causing their color. The new explanation is way cooler.

However, Kyber crystals still want to be on the light side, and can be purified. When Ahsoka Tano was on the run from the Empire during the early years of the dark times, she heard the call of a pair of kyber crystals – the ones in the spinning double-blade of the Inquisitor called the Sixth Brother. The crystals called out to her, choosing her, and wanting to be pure once more. When she defeated and killed him, she acquired his crystals. Taking away the dark side energy caused them to revert from the blood red to a clear white, resulting in her unique lightsabers as we see in her appearances in Star Wars Rebels.

Interestingly, when Sidious and Vader defeated the Jedi order, killing the vast majority with Order 66, it wasn't enough to simply kill the light side Force wielders. They also collected most of their lightsabers and destroyed them in a kiln; the resultant explosion of light side Force energy flew high above the former Jedi Temple, which further shows how they're connected directly to the Force. It also seems to imply that their inherent connection to Jedi (and the fact they could potentially "call out" to other burgeoning Force users) was considered a threat by the Emperor.

But what does all of this mean for Rey and Kylo Ren? Let's dive in.

Kylo Ren and the Allegorical Crystal

That brings us to Kylo Ren, who is an interesting case study on two levels. First, the nature of Kyber crystals seems to perfectly mirror Kylo Ren's nature. Remember, Ren, or Ben Solo, is inherently attuned to the light side, first, and has forced (no pun intended) the dark side upon himself. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as he attempts to channel the dark side, he speaks to his grandfather's charred helmet and he says he can feel the light side calling out to him.

"Forgive me. I feel it again, the pull to the light. Supreme Leader [Snoke] senses it. Show me again, the power of the darkness, and I'll let nothing stand in our way. Show me, Grandfather, and I will finish what you started."

Here, Kylo Ren is just like the Kyber crystals – he's been forced into darkness, by Supreme Leader Snoke, but he still feels called back to the light. Indeed, as we've discussed previously here, Ben Solo's natural affinity to both sides of the Force is why Snoke recruited him (as revealed in The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary).

Also of note is that the crystal in Kylo Ren's lightsaber is cracked. This seems to imply one of two things: he failed when attempting to dominate the crystal or the crystal does not belong to him.

Kylo Ren's entire lightsaber appears cobbled together – wires emerge from the sides, the crystal is cracked, and he required the vents that form the crossguard blades to prevent the lightsaber from malfunctioning entirely. If he simply found this particular red crystal, that helps to explain both why he wields the saber like a broadsword, relying much more on brute-force attacks than on the graceful many-formed battle techniques of most Force users. If the crystal didn't choose him and he didn't dominate it himself, he has essentially no true connection to it. And as these crystals resonate in the Force, if he's not connected directly to its dark side energy, it can't connect back to his, meaning it's certainly not helping him maintain that connection.

Alternatively, if Kylo Ren did dominate this crystal himself, the crack that made it unstable is equally interesting. That would mean itself one of two likely possibilities, that he either used so much raw dark side Force that the crystal broke under pressure, or that his focus, split between the light and the dark as it is, didn't allow him to properly complete the ritual.

Either option is an interesting one, and helps to explain Kylo Ren's personal connection to each side of the Force. It's not likely this will come up directly in the films, but in future novels and comics, it will almost certainly be addressed.

star wars the last jedi trailer 4 rey

Rey, the Call, and Parentage

And that brings us back to Rey. Since the first time she was seen in a trailer, fans have been speculating about Rey's parentage. Who are her parents? Why did they abandon her on Jakku? Are they, or at least one of them, Jedi? The events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn't help matters – she had deft use of the Jedi Mind Trick, something Obi-Wan Kenobi, and later Luke Skywalker demonstrated a strong hand in during the Original Trilogy. Then the Skywalker lightsaber, which was built by Anakin Skywalker, held in the custody of Obi-Wan for 19 years, and passed to Luke before being lost, called out to Rey, again seeming to show a direct familial connection to one or both of those famous lineages. In the Force vision that ensued, she heard a couple of notable voices, including Obi-Wan saying to her, "Rey, these are the first steps."

These are all great sources of speculation. However, it could very well be a whole bunch of red herring being served up to fans. Using what we know now about Kyber crystals, and just how "alive" in the Force they are, it's very possible that something else has simply attuned this crystal to Rey. When she heard the lightsaber, it wasn't the completed object calling to her, it was the Kyber itself – that's the part of the lightsaber that is one with the Force. Yes, it's possible it was linked to her because of her parentage, but that's not the case all the time – the crystals in the Sixth Brother's lightsaber called out to Ahsoka, and we don't assume they had been used by anyone in her family.

So, this is a new wrinkle in the Rey parentage sweepstakes. The lightsaber link has been at the core of the vast majority of theories thus far, but recent canon suggests the Kyber crystal could be calling to her despite her heritage, not because of it. Sorry if that put a flaw or two into your own theory (it did for mine), but it's too notable to not be acknowledged.

So those are Kyber crystals, the strange connection between a Jedi and their weapon, a source of Force energy, and a component that tends to show exactly how the Force is willing something. Again, we don't expect much of this to be addressed directly in dialogue in The Last Jedi, as that would just be heavy exposition, but it's another great example of how the expanded canon is being used to make the galaxy of Star Wars stories that much richer.