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After having seen The Force Awakens, I am having a bit of trouble trying to figure out when the blue lightsaber that Finn uses to fight Kylo Ren first appears in the saga.

We know that its last user was Luke Skywalker, who received it from Obi Wan in Episode IV, and that Obi Wan "stole" it from a dying Anakin Skywalker in Episode III.

Now here is when I lose its trace. Did Anakin construct that blue lightsaber some time in between Episodes I and II during his Jedi training? Or was that actually the same lightsaber used by a young Obi Wan in Episode I when fighting Darth Maul?

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    I'd say constructed as that is a rite of passage for every padawan. But there might be a more accurate answer, possibly within the extended universe. – Suman Roy Dec 21 '15 at 13:08
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    @SumanRoy I think some doubt was whether or not this lightsaber was Anakin's first lightsaber. He mentioned losing his lightsaber in Attack of the Clones. – Thunderforge Dec 21 '15 at 19:46
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We first see the lightsaber in The Clone Wars film and TV show.

The Force Awakens: Visual Dictionary states that Anakin constructed this lightsaber at the start of the Clone Wars:

enter image description here

This lightsaber, Anakin's second lightsaber, is first seen in The Clone Wars CGI film and TV show and in Revenge of the Sith. This is the same lightsaber Obi-Wan gave to Luke and that Rey uses in the sequel trilogy.

DIAGRAM


Timeline of this lightsaber throughout the Star Wars saga:

Anakin's second lightsaber is first seen in The Clone Wars 2008 CGI film and is subsequently used throughout The Clone Wars CGI TV show.

clone wars

Anakin continues to use this lightsaber in Revenge of the Sith. Obi-Wan picks up Anakin's lightsaber after facing Anakin/Vader on Mustafar.

rots

Obi-Wan gives the lightsaber to Luke in A New Hope.

anh

Luke lost the lightsaber when his hand was severed on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.

tesb

Because "someone salvaged it from the city's industrial depths", we see the lightsaber has ended up in Maz Kanata's possession in The Force Awakens. Finn uses the lightsaber to defend himself on Takodana and Starkiller Base. Rey then confronts Kylo Ren with the lightsaber on Starkiller Base. Rey travels to Ahch-to and offers the lightsaber to Luke Skywalker.

tfa 1 tfa 2

However, in The Last Jedi, Luke tosses the lightsaber off the cliff. Rey retrieves the lightsaber and continues to use it during the film until it is finally severed in two.

tlj

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    1+ awesome detective work except... the Cartoon one seems to have a button like thingy at the bottom and the one underneath it looks like it is 100% smooth at the bottom. Doesnt seem to have the trademark ridges. It also looks like it has some kind of guard on the side facing Awat from Anakin. – Cherubel Dec 22 '15 at 6:53
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    That bump is the new way they hook them to their belts. I'll look for a better image though. – RedCaio Dec 22 '15 at 7:02
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    aaah.. like a clip on? makes sense. had a work phone that clipped on to my belt a longass time ago. – Cherubel Dec 22 '15 at 8:04
  • Great answer. Well researched and perfect image support. – theMaestro73 Feb 28 '18 at 16:06
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Disney Canon

According to R.A. Salvatore's Attack of the Clones novelization, Anakin's first lightsaber was destroyed on Geonosis.

Anakin kicked out, both feet slamming a winged creature that had pursued him in, knocking the Geonosian away. He struggled mightily against the unyielding grip of the machine and managed to turn enough, just in time, to avoid the cutting blade—with his arm, at least. He could only watch in horror as the machine sliced his lightsaber in half.

Thus the lightsaber that was eventually handed down to Luke was constructed after the events of Attack of the Clones, but it is not yet clear when that was.

Legends Canon

According to Wookiepedia (I'll try to hunt down canon cite), it was built sometime between Geonosis and 20BBY time of Battle of Rendili when we first see it (see the image from Star Wars Republic 70 - Dreadnaughts of Rendili, #2)

enter image description here

Please note that it won't be shown in actual use as a lightsaber till #3 of the comic, when he duels Ventress on Coruscant.

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    Good luck with that! He goes through quite a few lightsabers in the movies and the animated cartoon. – Cherubel Dec 21 '15 at 13:36
  • @Cherubel - is "animated" the Tartakovsky one? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 21 '15 at 13:53
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    bloody hell that's a good bit of research! I am however having a hard time understanding why there is not a well explained/thought-out story in neither the series nor the literature explaining what the origins of that lightsaber are. After all, it is ONLY the most important lightsaber of the whole saga. On top of that, I have the feeling it could be one of the pillars of the new trilogy. – Adam Dec 21 '15 at 13:57
  • @Adam - Wookiepedia can be a good resource, as long as you don't fall for its frequent use of making up narrative to explain a minor canon fact by (ab)using extrapolation. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 21 '15 at 13:59
  • @adam - I suspect Disney will actually make up a canon backstory/retcon for it. Bet? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 21 '15 at 13:59

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