On May 4th, Disney released a first look at what many Star Wars collectors hope is the holy grail of lightsabers. In a tech teaser for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, an actress playing Rey activates a prop lightsaber that is both a bright blue and white beam of light and fully retractable.
When it comes to commercially available lightsabers, Star Wars fans have had to choose between two different compromises. A saber that’s essentially a plastic tube on a flashlight, but which can be fully retracted or pulled out of its scabbard with a cool twist – or a rigid fiberglass tube full of customizable LED lights. The LED look is perfect for recreating the dark room and light saber photo shoot that you have always wanted. However, it must be removed and stored manually if you want to hang the handle on your belt like a Jedi.
A brand new lightsaber that combines both the more screen-accurate LED lighting and Full retractability was first noted at the Disney’s Parks presentation in April 2021. However, the presentation did not allow video recording. Hence, the lightsaber in the Galactic Starcruiser teaser is our first widespread look at the prop. We even have a pretty good idea of how it works, courtesy of Polygon’s friends on the edge and Developer Ben Ridout, and Disney’s patent for 2018 for a “retractable, internally illuminated blade”.
If the new saber follows this patent, its blade will be made up of two strips of translucent plastic that are flexible enough to be wrapped like a tape measure on its vertical axis, but sturdy enough when unwound and curved into a curve on its horizontal axis Shaped – also like a tape measure – keep them in an unbending line.
The handle of the saber contains the two plastic spools, a shape that forms them into a curve as they roll, and motors that drive their travel out and back. The shape curves the strips into overlapping semicircles and forms a tube when they extend with a rounded cap on the end to complete the silhouette of a lightsaber blade. The inside of the cap is attached to the end of a flexible LED strip of light that winds up and down inside the outside of the blade as it extends and retracts.
Yes they did.
It won’t melt through metal doors or cut off your hand, but it does have a lighted blade that extends and retracts with the push of a button.
This animation shows the concept behind the technology. pic.twitter.com/e7fwP06CxF
– Ben Ridout (@benridout) April 12, 2021
Without a formal announcement, there are still many questions about these new lightsabers. Will they be available to the fans? The Official Disney Parks Blog dance around the theme and just say:
Guests who experience Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be the first to see it [the new lightsaber] in action […] Seeing this lightsaber activate right in front of your eyes is just one of the myriad possibilities it offers […] You will be immersed in a Star Wars story where your choices and actions take place […] Determine how your personal journey will develop.
A blade made from a flexible plastic sheath may not be exactly ready for playful mass production. Speaking of which, how robust is the blade? Can I use it to strike another lightsaber? What about my little brother What’s on his arm? Once only? He hit me first. He owes me a hit.