This answer showed me something I didn't know; that Luke's lightsaber was blue in the first trailer for Return of the Jedi.

As we know, Luke used a green lightsaber in the film. That same answer mentions it was to make the blade stand out better against Tattooine's blue sky, but doesn't back it up with references.

Why was the blue blade changed to green?

Of course, Luke lost his old blue lightsaber when he was disarmed by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. But that was before Return of the Jedi started production. Yet in the trailer for Return of the Jedi, we see Luke with a blue blade, not with the green blade he would use in the final version of the film.

So possibly, the original idea was for Luke to have somehow recovered his old blue lightsaber, or perhaps his newly constructed lightsaber would've been blue like the old one. But at some point between the release of the trailer and the actual film, the colour of the blade was changed from blue to green.

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    The whole justification of the green lightsaber being because of the color of Tatooine’s sky really does seem quite poorly referenced. I can’t find any confirmation. It’s a plausible assertion, but utterly unsupported in all examples that I’ve seen. – Adamant Nov 17 '16 at 22:28
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    It also makes it more evident when vader says "I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. Your skills are complete" - It may have been up to the viewers to notice the top was different had they not changed the color... plus, new toys. – Kai Qing Nov 17 '16 at 23:31
  • @Adamant But that's only answering why the colour choice of green, right? It's not answering why the change between the trailer and release of Jedi, not that I'm suggesting you actually tried answering the question, I'm actually wondering about your opinion on your own comment's relevance to the Q, since I downvoted one of the answers for that same reason. – Ghoti and Chips Nov 18 '16 at 11:17

Another explanation:

Originally, the color of Luke's new lightsaber was blue, the same as the one he lost in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Luke can even be seen wielding a blue lightsaber in early ROTJ trailers. However, when a scene of Luke assembling and activating his new saber was cut, George Lucas thought the audience might not understand that Luke's ROTJ lightsaber was not the same one he lost on Cloud City. To avoid confusion, Lucas decided to change the color from blue to green, making it clear that Luke was using a new saber. (As part of the Expanded Universe -Legends-, Luke's original lightsaber, used by his father and given to him by Obi-Wan, was recovered (along with his severed hand) from Cloud City and was later wielded by a Luke clone. Luke later recaptured this saber and presented it to Mara Jade, his love.)

"Source": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/trivia?item=tr1643558

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    You "source" should fix that last part, since now we at least know Rey found, though how Maz Katana got it is open... – Zommuter Nov 18 '16 at 12:18
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    This answer makes the most sense, but can anyone find any actual sources to confirm? – DavidS Nov 18 '16 at 12:37

In-universe explanation:

During the duel with Darth Vader in Cloud City near the end of Empire Strikes Back, Luke loses the blue lightsaber that once belonged to Vader himself (which Obi-Wan Kenobi passed on to him). This happens right before the famous "I am your father" scene.

There is actually a deleted scene in Return of the Jedi that shows Luke assembling his new, green lightsaber. The scene was restored in the Blu-Ray remaster:

Star Wars fans were treated to a glimpse of bonus material, in the form of a long-lost deleted scene from Return of the Jedi. The scene has long been talked about online -- a sequence that depicts Luke Skywalker assembling his new, green-bladed lightsaber prior to infiltrating Jabba the Hutt's palace. After completing the Jedi weapon, Luke stashes it in R2-D2's dome. What makes the Jedi deleted clip so remarkable is that it made it all the way to postproduction before it was cut, so it is a rare example of a cut scene with completed visual effects and music.

The real reason for the change might indeed be to make it stand out more against the blue sky. This is parroted a lot on the web. I have not been able to find a credible original source for this claim, however.

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    I know how Luke lost his blue lightsaber, however, that was before episode VI started production. Yet in the trailer, he has a blue blade. I'll clarify that in my question. – SQB Nov 17 '16 at 22:20
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    This answer is not answering the question. The question isn't "Why was the colour of Luke's lightsaber changed from blue to green between Empire and Jedi?", the question is "Why was the colour of Luke's lightsaber changed from blue to green between the trailer and the release of Return of the Jedi?", so while your answer is entirely valid for a different question, I downvoted for that reason, nothing personal or anything like that. – Ghoti and Chips Nov 18 '16 at 11:15
  • None taken ;) I realize that now. It seems the answer then indeed is that the color was changed to contrast better against the sky, and that this change was done in post-production after the trailer was produced. (The fact that Luke got a new lightsaber was of course already established by the time the trailer was produced, regardless of the obvious known fact that Luke lost his previous one, since the deleted scene was not only filmed but also made it to post-production.) Like I said I can't find a primary source on that, but plenty of secondary sources. – tobiasvl Nov 18 '16 at 11:26
  • @GhotiandChips I consider it a valid answer: At the time of the trailer, that assembling scene was either not yet cut or even still planned for filming, thus at that point there was no need for a blue blade. Maybe some test-screening also happened... – Zommuter Nov 18 '16 at 12:20

The blue lightsaber didn't work well filming against the blue sky of Tatooine so they changed it to green. Before this, there were only going to be red and blue lightsabers to signify sith and Jedi. This then led to the other color lightsabers we see now.

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    That possibility was mentioned in the question. Have you been able to find documentation that this was the case? – Adamant Nov 18 '16 at 5:17

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