Disney Has Made A Real Working Lightsaber, Here’s The Proof

Disney Parks and Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro showed off what appeared to be a functioning lightsaber at SXSW.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star wars force duel lightsaber

Growing up, Star Wars fans often liked to joke about how George Lucas probably had a real lightsaber for himself, but he either couldn’t or wouldn’t sell such a cool invention to the public. While that may or may not be true about Lucas, it looks like Disney wasted no time making a working lightsaber for themselves. And in the tweet below, you can see Disney Parks and Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro giving an SXSW presentation that culminates with him showing off the saber.

D’Amaro is fully aware of just how lucky he is to help make that galaxy far, far away into a reality, telling the audience that “I have the coolest job in the world” before stating the obvious: “I’m holding a real lightsaber.” However, there is already some fan debate about which saber he is holding. During the presentation, D’Amaro claimed that this is the same kind of saber they use on the Galactic Starcruiser, Disney’s ultra-expensive Star Wars hotel experience that immerses Disney World visitors into a space opera world full of Jedi and Sith.

We say “claimed” because previous videos of the lightsabers on the Galactic Starcruiser show that they still have a non-retractible tube sticking out of the hilt. The saber that D’Amaro shows the audience seems to grow directly out of the hilt itself and can be retracted. The implications seem to be that either D’Amaro is lying about what this saber is or, more tantalizingly, that the Starcruiser lightsabers are getting upgrades in the future (this would line up a strange recent event where guests who had Galactic Starcruiser reservations suddenly had their bookings canceled, with Disney claiming that refurbishments were planned for that time).

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While neither D’Amaro nor anyone else spilled the beans on how the lightsaber actually works, one enterprising fan tracked down a patents page that seems to be describing how Disney made the magic work. It basically boils down to a hidden motor inside that unrolls a spool of plastic that zips together on the fly, forming the familiar blue laser sword we first saw wielded by Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The motor can reverse the process by unzipping everything back into the housing, allowing this saber to retract in a way the previous Galactic Starcruiser sabers could not.

Unfortunately, D’Amaro gave no indication that Disney would be selling these special lightsabers anytime soon (or ever). Presumably, limiting killer replicas like this to Disney’s parks is a way of encouraging more people to sign up and pay the exorbitant price for two nights in the Star Wars hotel. However, Disney may eventually do the math and realize there are far more cosplayers that would pay an insane amount for a working saber than there are travelers willing to pay an insane amount to stay in a cramped hotel with cool props that you can’t take home.

At any rate, it was really awesome to see a working lightsaber in action. While it’s one thing to watch sabers in shows like The Mandalorian, it’s another to see the magic of the Force in real life. Sadly, nobody in the audience asked D’Amaro the real question: whether holding the lightsaber filled him with a sudden urge to strike down Bob Iger and rule the Disney Empire himself.