‘Star Wars’: Actor Samuel L. Jackson Fought With George Lucas Over Mace Windu’s Purple Lightsaber

In Star Wars, Jedi Master Mace Windu’s lightsaber is an iconic purple color. However, this was almost not the case. According to Samuel L. Jackson, who played Windu in the prequel trilogy, he had to convince Star Wars creator George Lucas to let him keep the purple lightsaber. 

Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber is unique to Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Star Wars’

George Lucas and Samuel L. Jackson, who debated over Mace Windu’s lightsaber in ‘Star Wars,’ stand next to each other at Spike TV's Scream awards in 2008.
George Lucas and Samuel L. Jackson | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Star Wars is filled with tons of lightsabers. However, there are typically only two colors. Blue is associated with the Jedi while red is associated with the Sith. One additional color is green, which belongs to both Yoda and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). A yellow lightsaber was also introduced for Rey (Daisy Ridley) at the end of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

The purple of Mace Windu’s lightsaber is unique to that character. While there are explanations behind the meaning of a purple lightsaber in Star Wars lore, Jackson simply wanted a different color from red or blue because he wanted to stand out amongst the other Jedi. 

Jackson asked director George Lucas for a purple lightsaber to stand out

In an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, Jackson spoke about shooting the Star Wars prequels. In it, he discussed the reasoning for why he wanted a lightsaber color that stood out. 

“In Episode II, there’s that huge scene in kind of like a war stadium,” Jackson explained. There’s all these Jedi out there. And when I was reading it I was like ‘How am I going to find myself in this?’ So I thought, ‘Different colored lightsaber!’ So I said, ‘George, can I get a purple-colored lightsaber?’ [And he said,] ‘They’re green, they’re blue.’ I said, ‘What, seriously, that’s it?’ And that was the end of the conversation.”

Jackson is referring to the scene where the Jedi rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) on the planet, Geonosis. The scene features a lot of Jedi and lightsabers, so Jackson is correct that a different color makes it easier to find him in the crowd.

Jackson almost lost his purple lightsaber due to fan reaction

Star Wars fans are known to notice the smallest changes and it happened with this lightsaber color decision. According to Jackson, Lucas almost decided to hold back on the color due to backlash from fans. 

“But then we finished shooting reshoots, I had to fly back to London, and he was like ‘I want to show you something,’ and I was like ‘What?’ Jackson said. “So he shows me a purple lightsaber. But then he says, ‘It’s already causing a s***storm online, so I don’t know if I’m going to keep it,’ and I was like ‘Really? Come on! And how do people online know anyway?’ But sure enough, when the movie opened, he was like, ‘Ok, you get to keep the purple lightsaber.’ Because in episode one, I never even got to pull it.”

While Windu is in Episode I, he doesn’t reveal his lightsaber until Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Jackson is correct in his reasoning because now whenever we think of Windu, the first thing that pops up is his purple lightsaber. 

Star Wars is currently streaming on Disney+. 

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