One of the most exciting scenes in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was when audiences got to see a flashback to a young Luke training a young Leia, which included both of them wielding lightsabers. In the final cut of the film, Luke's lightsaber was green and Leia's was blue, but concept artist Adam Brockbank recently took to Instagram to show off an alternate look of the scene in which Leia instead had a purple lightsaber. While she wouldn't have been the first hero in the franchise to wield a blade of that color, it would have brought with it a number of questions about her trajectory in her Jedi training.
"Realize I'd posted the last image before so here's an earlier version of the same scene," Brockbank captioned the image after sharing more concepts of the sequence.
Throughout much of the history of Star Wars, heroes and villains were defined by the color of their lightsaber blade, with Jedi using blue or green and Sith using red. In the Star Wars prequels, this formula was changed thanks to Samuel L. Jackson, who had been telling creator George Lucas that he hoped to have a purple blade. His wish was granted, opening the door for other blade colors to appear throughout the franchise.
Rather than being an homage to Jackson's Mace Windu, giving Leia a purple lightsaber honors the late Carrie Fisher's wishes to have a purple lightsaber.
As explained in earlier Star Wars films, one component of a padawan's path to becoming a Jedi is constructing one's own lightsaber. Were Leia to have been seen using a purple blade, it likely would have sparked questions among fans about the process of her building such a weapon. Given how brief the sequence was in the finished film, having her use a blue lightsaber likely made for a more streamlined backstory in regards to her Jedi evolution.
Additionally, the nature of concept art is merely to offer a filmmaker a glimpse at the possible pathways a storyline could follow, which isn't always a reflection of what is in a script. Brockbank could have merely opted to give Leia the purple lightsaber in the scene to create a more dynamic image in which to convey the collision of Luke and Leia's blades.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now streaming on Disney+.