UPDATE: Turns out Disney’s definition of “real” is nothing more than a plastic LED blade coming out of the hilt using a sort of retractable light-up tape measure-like mechanism. Got our hopes up for nothing, boys and girls.
If you are a sci-fi fan, particularly a Star Wars fan, you have likely thought about or at least considered the possibility of owning a lightsaber, the iconic weapon of choice between the Jedi and the Sith alike. Over the years, more recently as technology has advanced, various metal-workers, fans, and artisans of sorts have all tried their hands at making a realistic lightsaber. And while some are closer than others, it seems Disney is actually working on one as well.
Earlier this week on Thursday, a press event regarding the Disney Parks focused on the date in which the highly-anticipated Avengers Campus would open. However, while Marvel was the main course, Star Wars was a very exciting dessert, so to speak. Apparently, Josh D’Amaro, the Chairman of Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products ended the conference by unveiling a truly real, working lightsaber and flat out confirmed to viewers that yes, “it’s real”.
Sources were unable to provide pictures or video of the reveal as Disney would not allow photography or video recording during the event, but Scott Trowbridge, Disney Imagineering’s Portfolio Creative Executive tweeted out that “yes it was/is really real, and…. not yet.”
A lot of questions today about whether the lightsaber that Josh D'Amaro revealed today was real or CGI, and, whether I'd share photos or video.
— Scott Trowbridge (@strowbridge) April 9, 2021
It is indeed unfortunate that we don’t have anything to show for this reveal because we have so many questions. Does it require being connected to a power source via cable? Does the laser blade portion shoot out of the hilt like in the movies or is it a rod that just gets really hot? As with these questions, that leads to countless more but most importantly is – when can we see it and when can we buy the damn thing?!
We assume it may be a while before they can be purchased (and no one said they would be, but we hope so), it also stands to reason that they may cost a small fortune if they are to be sold at all. Personally, I will be shocked if it operates like they do in the movies and if they will go into mass production. I figure they will likely be limited quantities that will sell on eBay for more than you or I make in a year, if they are indeed to be made available to the public. Just keep in mind that while they are saying it’s “real”, take that with a grain of salt as Disney’s definition of “real” also remains questionable.
While you and I remain skeptical of this real-life lightsaber, I would like to point out that apparently, Disney registered a patent in 2017 for a working lightsaber. Below is a description of what the patent is all about:
“A special effects device for providing an energy sword effect. The device includes two long plastic semi-cylinders, and these two blade body members are rolled perpendicular to their length, which creates compact cylinders of material of small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools in a hilt. To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt unrolls the blade body members from the spools. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway that nests the semi-cylindrical blade body members together as they leave the hilt. To retract the blade, the process is reversed. The lighting of the blade is achieved with a flexible strip of light sources. The light source strip is attached to a blade end cap and positioned in the center of the two blade body members such that it is pulled up along with the blade body members during their extension.”
Hacksmith Industries on YouTube has come the closest, at least in what we have seen, in making a real-life lightsaber. However, the tech is limited as it requires a connected power source and the blade itself is indeed a rod that just heats up to 4000°. It works, it looks cool, but it leaves much to be desired. For those interested, take a look at the video below: