Sometimes the amount of threads connecting pieces of the Star Wars universe are so numerous, it can be overwhelming. Between the films, television shows, novels, and comics there are dozens of plates spinning across decades of lore. Things that may seem insignificant in the moment may end up as crucial touchstones between time periods and characters. Such is the case with Jyn Erso’s pendant — given to her by her mother Lyra — from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Throughout the film, Jyn holds onto the necklace as a tangible memory of her childhood. Lyra implores the young Jyn to “trust in the Force” and the audience comes to find out the pendant is a shattered fragment of a kyber crystal, the crystals that power the lightsabers of both the Jedi and the Sith. However, the camera never lingers on this talisman and the film doesn’t go into detail about how Lyra ended up with it. But StarWars.com recently updated their Databank with dozens of Rogue One entries, including a closer look at the necklace. What it revealed an inscription and a new mystery.
The inscription is written in the universal Star Wars language of Aurebesh which is a simply English-letter replacement code. Translated, the etching says “Trust in the” with the broken-off section most likely once contained the word “Force.” That explains why everyone keeps intoning that phrase when touching the pendant, but it raises several questions: Who wrote the inscription? What happened to the rest of the kyber crystal? And where did Lyra Erso get it?
To answer the last question first, according to Star Wars: Rogue One – The Ultimate Visual Guide, Lyra acquired the crystal during the family’s flight from Coruscant. It caught her eye amongst Galen’s research materials and she rescued the small stone, sensing the kyber was a good omen. Lyra would later convert it into a pendant.
Returning the the first question, who etched the words “Trust in the” onto the crystal? I’m going to rule out Lyra as there’s little reason she’d inscribe only half of her life’s motto onto the stone. Besides, kyber crystals are notoriously difficult to alter, with mishaps leading to just about everything but the crystal left as rubble. Whomever left the carving most likely had both the skill to do so and the trust of the kyber crystal itself to allow such a thing. (Kyber crystals are at least semi-sentient and can be moody when provoked or betrayed).
This leads directly into the final question: What happened to the rest of the kyber crystal? Knowing the Lyra pulled the stone from her husband’s research materials narrows it down. In the prequel novel Star Wars: Rogue One – Catalyst, Galen is “gifted” a case full of kyber crystals by Orson Krennic. Kyber crystals that are cut in such a way that it is clear they were pried out of Jedi lightsabers. The other tie-in novel, Ahsoka, shows that removing a kyber crystal from its lightsaber housing can be as dangerous as diffusing a bomb. It stands to reason that if an experienced Force-wielder can cause an explosion when dismantling a lightsaber, a run-of-the-mill Empire minion would have an even higher chance. So the most likely scenario is the kyber crystal shattered while it was being pillaged from the corpse of a fallen Jedi.
But that leads to an even more tantalizing mystery. Why is the kyber crystal white? Within the lore set up by the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and continued with Star Wars Rebels, kyber crystals are colorless until this bond with a Jedi youngling. At that point they take on the color they will have for life. Sith lightsabers are universally red because the kyber crystals are “bleeding” since they are being forced to work for the Dark Side against their will. The only instance of a kyber crystal reverting to a colorless state also takes place within the novel Ahsoka after she heals a Sith crystal and it is heavily implied the hue is due to Ahsoka’s gray nature*.
*I have a theory that if/when the Force is properly balanced, all Force-users would have white lightsabers, but that’s a story for another day.
So if the pendant is made from a kyber crystal that was once in the possession of a Jedi, why is it colorless? Despite the death of the owner, the kyber should retain its pigment. On the one hand, it may have never bonded with a Jedi but as Galen was using stolen lightsaber crystals to further his research, it seems unlikely an inscribed kyber would be without an owner. The only other in-universe explanation? It belonged to a reformed Sith, or a a gray Force-wielder. Is it possible Jyn Erso was in possession of a fragment of Ahsoka Tano’s lightsaber? Or — based on the expanded religiosity shown in Jedha — is there an entire sect of canon Force-users who balance the light and the dark?
Whatever the case may be, the necklace belonging to the Erso family is holding more secrets than first glance would indicate.