Many sci-fi films have a dedicated following, but few franchises compare to the empire of fans Star Wars has. With countless fans worldwide, it’s no surprise that there are tons of licensed merchandise for people of all ages.
Between “baby Yoda” dolls and Lego Death Stars, arguably, the most iconic thing for a fan to own is their very own lightsaber. Lightsabers are a popular product that ranges from exciting toys to intricate models for collectors. Many fans were excited to hear that Disney unveiled their own twist on the classic piece, with technology that sets it apart from previously licensed models.
So, how does Disney’s “real” lightsaber work? Let’s take a look.
What Is a Lightsaber?
In the Star Wars universe, lightsabers are the ultimate weapon of choice.
The traditional design consists of a metal hilt (handle) and a retractable plasma blade, and glows like a beam of light. Users typically wield these like a standard sword; although there are some variations, including double-bladed models, flexible whips, and even a pistol, none are nearly as iconic.
The exact appearance of the weapon varies between the user and their affiliation. For example, green and blue lightsabers are typical of the Jedi and red by the Sith. Different colorations reflect the “spiritual alignments” (or lack thereof) of the wielder in response to connecting with the kyber crystal, which powers the weapon.
Lightsabers are incredibly powerful, their blades able to slice through everything from people to doors. They hold great significance within both the fictional universe and the real-life fan base.
While the technology behind such a powerful weapon is fictional, there are tons of lightsabers on the market for fans of all walks of life.
Of course, real-life, Disney-licensed lightsabers can’t cut through walls. But that doesn’t stop fans from getting them, whether they want to display them next to their Star Wars Lego collections or reenact their favorite battles with their friends.
There were tons of different products available for players and collectors alike. However, many of them shared one particular design.
Instead of popping out at the push of a button, most models required users to flick their wrist to force a cascade of interlocked pieces to slide out and lock into place.
When you watched to withdraw the “plasma blade,” you could try flicking the model again (but often “retracting” the blade meant ceremonially pushing it down with your hands.
Another popular design involves using multiple pieces which snap into place when a user wants it to look like their blade is out (or switch the colors).
Many of them found different techniques that allow the models to illuminate or even make sounds like in the movies.
While companies and fans worldwide make countless different prop replicas, it seems that it’s actually the retractable component that is difficult to recreate.
What Makes Disney’s New Lightsaber Model So Special?
Disney wants to take their lightsaber game up a level and teased their upcoming Star Wars product epically. Following a presentation in April 2021, Disney Parks Chairman, Josh D’Amaro, showed off a never-before-seen lightsaber.
What separated this model from the previous ones was that this one is actually retractable! No more flicking your wrists and having your “plasma blade” jam or fall apart in the middle of combat.
D’Amaro whipped out a lightsaber that retracts at the push of a button—just like the ones in the Star Wars universe.
To make everything even more dramatic, no one got the action on film (although Disney does tease this new realistic model in a teaser trailer for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser).
How Does This Lightsaber Work?
According to the patent illustrated by the company’s VR Developer Ben Ridout, Disney is taking inspiration from something straight from your household toolbox.
Standard tape measures easily maintain their sturdy shape pulled out so long as you pushed down on the thumb lock. As soon as you watch to close them, you simply unclip the thumb clip, and it slams right back into place. By adding a motor, the tape can go in and out all on its own.
By integrating this technology directly into the “blade,” you don’t need to flip your wrist anymore.
The patent suggests that the hilt would house two devices like retractable tape measures and a motor and flexible LED light strip.
Unlike the traditional retractable tape measures, the ones used in the lightsaber will have an increased curvature and be a little wider. When positioned correctly, the resulting product creates a closed cylinder when the tape measures open in unison.
When the user activates the motor, the “tape measure” will pop out of the hilt and simultaneously pull up the LED strip, illuminating the cylinder.
When deactivated, the illuminated cylinder will pull back down (and the LED strip with it).
Without the technical jargon, we can expect that this new light saber’s blade will be fully retractable! This new feature will add an extra element of realism to any reenactments you may want to do.
Ridout explained the concept behind the lightsaber’s functionalities in a thread on Twitter.
Where Can I Get the New Realistic Disney Lightsaber?
Disney has yet to release too much news about their newest model. Fans get the best look at it so far from the teaser trailer for the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser adventure. Disney lets fans live out their greatest fantasies at Walt Disney World in 2022.
The video depicted the character Rei wielding a realistic lightsaber model, offering a peek into what fans can expect. Considering the experience includes lightsaber training, some fans speculate that visitors might get some hands-on experience with the newest model in the best possible environment.
The experience also includes tons of other exciting features, such as dining out at the Sublight Lounge, exploring the Black Spire Outpost, and learning how to operate the ship itself.
Until then, we’ll have to be patient—and stay tuned to the latest Star Wars apps and news sources to stay up to date with the latest news.
Should I Get Disney’s New Lightsaber?
If you are a Star Wars fan, this lightsaber looks like it will be a must-have for any enthusiast. From what we can tell so far, it seems like an excellent design that will redefine what fans should expect from model lightsabers.
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