More than being the standard for a good sci-fi film, Star Wars is a required viewing for Philosophy majors. On the surface, it looks pretty black and white, where you have good Jedis on one hand, and evil Siths on the other.
However, there are many references to moral greyness, like the fall of Umbaran Jedi Master Phanius, or Darth Vectivus, the Sith who is famous for never doing any evil. We also have Jar Jar Binks, the personification of a moral conundrum.
Indeed, the need to keep balance in the Force has opened many opportunities for a ‘Middle Way’ to rise up, but unfortunately this potential was wasted in the original, canon trilogy.
‘The Middle Way’ and Everything White Lightsabers Stand for
All this changed when Ahsoka Tano walked in with her double-wield white lightsabers. We haven’t seen a lot of white lightsabers in the entire universe, which only magnifies the importance of white lightsabers and the ‘middle way’ that it stands for.
Ahsoka Tano’s Disillusionment
Not all Padawans are created equal. A lot of them come and go without leaving any legacy behind, but not Ahsoka Tano. For starters, she had the rare privilege of learning under the tutelage of Anakin Skywalker. Because of her commitment to the Jedi Order, Ahsoka originally wielded green lightsabers.
However, tragedy eventually struck after Ahsoka supported Anakin in defeating a droid army in Christophsis and rescuing the captured son of Jabba the Hut along the way. A close friend and confidant betrayed her and framed her for treason, so Ahsoka found herself veering away from the Jedi Order– completely disillusioned and realizing that not all Jedi are noble.
Still, her resolve to do good kept her far away from the Dark side as humanly possible. So she set off on her own missions, collecting mechanical pieces, seemingly compelled by some unknown force to do so.
That was until she met an Inquisitor who is simply known as the Sixth Brother. Sensing hostility, Ahsoka defeated him in battle, and claimed his kyber crystal for herself.
The crystal called out to her, but she didn’t quite understand why. After all, she knew she was never meant to carry a red lightsaber, since she had zero intentions of falling over to the dark side.
Still, she obliged with the invisible force that told her she was meant to have this crystal. In order to undo the ‘bleeding,’ Ahsoka purified the crystal, and created two lightsabers from what remained of it. The resulting sabers soon emitted a white, almost silvery hue.
Now, after the collapse of the Jedi Order, Tano and her white lightsabers went on to fight against the burgeoning Galactic Empire. She played an indispensable role in the Death Star battle against Darth Vader himself. Here, it was revealed to her that the insidious Sith is actually the same Jedi Knight she once learned under.
Obviously, Tano had an impossible choice between taking her white lightsabers back to the Jedi side, where they would be a great addition, or she could take the weapons to join her previous master’s side.
She chose neither. Ahsoka Tano is one character who is mostly controlled by her logic, and not her emotions. This proved beneficial for the many times she could have chosen to fully commit to either side of the force.
It would seem that Ahsoka’s reluctance to reunite with Jedi Knights and her stronger resolve never to dabble in the dark side paved a ‘middle way,’ best illustrated by her white lightsaber, which appeared more and more to signify independence and obedience to a larger order that’s beyond the dichotomy of Jedis and Siths.
One of the creators of Star Wars Rebels, David Filoni, confirmed this theory by saying the white color is meant to reflect Ahsoka’s non-affiliation with established orders on either side of the Force.
At this juncture, the cameras have stopped rolling for the Skywalker saga. This leaves Disney in an unenviable position to make an important decision, for which they first have to answer the question: are people ready for a Star Wars hero who’s not a Jedi?
If so, their best bet is with someone who wields a white lightsaber, the canonical symbol for obedience to the greater good, and not just to the ethics of the Jedi Order.
Imperial Knights and a Larger Cause
Despite being the most iconic wielder of the white lightsaber, Ahsoka Tano is actually not the only one. In fact, in the time of the Fel Empire, there is an entire Knight Order who swore by the white lightsaber.
The badass Imperial Knights who are loyal, refined, and maybe even more skilled than Jedis, protected the Fel Empire with white blades. Just like Ahsoka, they were never drawn to the dark side, but also did not strictly follow established rules of light side characters.
They also dislike being associated with the Jedi Order, and would often refer to themselves as “the better knight order.”
This points to the fact that they believe the quarrel between Jedis and Sith lords were somewhat beneath them. They do not dabble in such matters, because they are preoccupied with a higher calling, and servitude to a larger cause.
Like Ahsoka, the Imperial Knights are bound to manage their emotions even in the face of adversity. They practice strict mental discipline in order to resist temptations of the dark side, something that Padawans and Jedis are notably susceptible to.
The New Jedi Order thinks of them as a grey area, but in reality, the Imperial Knights simply pledged their allegiance to the force, so much so that if the Emperor they were serving were to ever be tempted by the dark side, it is part of their duty to remove him from office, or to bring him back to the light.
Taking a look at Tano and the Imperial Knights who all wield white lightsabers, we come to the conclusion that this blade signifies high moral ascendancy, independence, and a reverence to the ‘middle way.’ It’s a noble color that’s perhaps even more admirable than the green or blue blades of the Jedis.