During the last part of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren faces Finn in a snowy forest on Starkiller base. Finn lights up Luke's lightsaber to fight against Kylo Ren. Kylo immediately says something like:

That lightsaber, it belongs to me!

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My question then is

How can Kylo Ren possibly know that this lightsaber was Luke's and Anakin's? Did Maz Kanata show him before the events of the Force Awakens? Did he feel through the Force that it was his

old grandfather's saber?

Did he not know and this line was just a bit confusing?

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    Didn't The Force users have the ability to look into the past?
    – user13267
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 11:07
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    Another character, when first touching this same item earlier in the movie, suddenly had a series of flashbacks (which weren't their own). So the item is very powerful, Force-wise.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 11:32
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    @MrLister - no, he recognized it by sight (confirmed via novelization), NOT from the Force Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 13:03
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    Luke showed it to me when I was younger, I just happen to still remember what it looked like.
    – KyloRen
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 7:24

3 Answers 3


There are a couple ways Kylo Ren would know about and recognize the Skywalker lightsaber:

  1. Information on Anakin's lightsaber was likely communicated to Kylo Ren by Luke himself. Kylo Ren was initially trained by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. Since they trained together, and are family, Luke probably told him about Obi-Wan giving him Anakin's second lightsaber. As far as recognizing it on sight, Luke could have shown him recordings or diagrams from R2-D2's memory banks or even sketches to help illustrate how to make a lightsaber.

  2. Kylo Ren appears to be obsessed with Vader. He even tracked down Vader's burnt helmet. If he's willing to hunt down Vader's burnt helmet, he'd probably be interested in other artifacts connected to Vader. While hunting for anything connected to Vader, he would have learned about Anakin's lightsaber. Images of the lightsaber were probably on file in old Imperial or Republic records.

It could also be that Kylo Ren recognized the lightsaber for reasons that are purposefully left unexplained, meaning the forthcoming films will address why Kylo Ren could recognize the lightsaber and why he said it was his.

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    I'd suggest you add: When Rey touches it, she has visions through the Force. That lightsaber killed a LOT of Jedi/Padawans, it probably has a pretty heavy imprint on it, like the cave on Dagobah does.
    – Nate
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 13:50
  • @Nate - nope. He didn't recognize it through the force but on sight. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 13:04
  • @DVk if I didn't respect you so much I would destroy you with the very red blade of my lightsaber.
    – Nate
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 6:48
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    @DVK like how? Add the words "we learn in Ep. 7 that _" to each point? I guess I don't know how to reference canon any more without access to a script or novelization for direct quotes.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 7:40
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    @Axelrod I'll edit my answer to make it clearer how Ren would recognize the saber and why he'd say it's his.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 22:12

This isn't a compete answer since the canon doesn't have an answer yet.

How did he recognize? Not through Force!

However, your second guess (some special Force signature) is not correct. According to both WGA leaked script, and Alan Dean Foster's TFA novelization, he recognized the lightsaber on sight:

In reply, Finn TURNS ON LUKE'S LIGHTSABER -- upon seeing the weapon, Kylo Ren REACTS IN SHOCK.
That lightsaber. It belongs to me!

and novelization

He pulled and activated the Skywalker lightsaber.
For some reason, the sight of it was enough to give Ren pause. He stared at it for a moment before reacting.
“That weapon—is mine.”
Finn all but snarled his reply. “Come and get it.”

Please note that he is unlikely to have sensed it through the Force, because he ONLY reacts to it when Finn unleashes it. As opposed to, when Finn and Rey are above him while he deals with Han; or when he first confronts them in the forest. For that matter, if he Force-sensed it, he'd have turned back and gotten it from Maz Kanata back on Takodana - he wasn't that far from the castle since Finn saw him carry her to the shuttle.

So how did he know?

  • In TFA novelization, Leader Snoke tells Kylo Ren that he witnessed rise and fall of the Galactic empire. And he tells him details of what happened on Second Death Star between Luke, Emperor and Vader.

    It is not impossible that he also told Ren what happened in Cloud City.

  • in Aftermath book, we have a group that seeks to buy Vader's lightsaber from a dealer. That means the information about such things is publicly available in general.

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    The pause indicates he may have been sensing it with the Force, and perhaps recognized it as his through the Force. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:51
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    I haven't read the novel yet, but reading this, it could almost be interpreted as him saying, "You can't have a lightsaber. I'm a powerful Force-wielder, only I should be using a lightsaber." Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 15:49

We've officially established the following:

We don't know where Maz Kanata obtained Luke's old lightsaber.

Kylo Ren is using a lightsaber of ancient design, inexpertly crafted, in his service to Snoke.

About thirty years have passed since the lightsaber was lost.

There is a distinct possibility that Luke Skywalker had found his old lightsaber in the ~30 years since RotJ and Ben was trained with it.

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    Also, Maz's chest didn't contain Luke's hand. Not that that proves anything, but it would have been a visual cue that she was the original finder.
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:46
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    How do we know Kylo's saber is old and makeshift? I do not remember anyone saying as much in the movie Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:52
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    @DaveJohnson It's described in canon sources.
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:12
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    Since we're already in spoiler territory, it's also worth mentioning that it isn't so weird to think that Luke would give his first lightsaber to his nephew. Also, it's likely the lightsaber used to kill Luke's new Jedi order -- as well as being the saber used to kill the younglings of the old order!
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:15

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