Star Wars fans, I’m going to need you to sit down before letting you in on the latest news. Sitting yet? Okay good. Apparently, your chance to become a full-fledged and fully-equipped Jedi Knight is coming closer to reality. That’s because there have been some scientific breakthroughs that will soon bring up completely retractable lightsabers to the mass market. That’s right, no more turning on your heavy-duty MagLite and shining the beam at the night sky. You could now be in possession of a lightsaber that’s “blade” goes on and off like Luke, Rey, and the rest of the crew. Disney is close to bringing one to the larger market.
This new lightsaber came out as part of a presentation at the Disney theme park within the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area. According to reports, no recording devices (phones or cameras) were allowed in the presentation, but at the end of it Josh D’Amaro, Disney Park’s Chairman, pulled out the big guns (or swords) and demoed a *real* working lightsaber for the crowd. Apparently, it looked just like those used in the films and he added a quick little aside saying “It’s real.”
Now, how real this lightsaber is remains in the Jedi eye of the beholder. Of course, no one is contending that this device can slice through metal or humans (right?) in the way we see throughout the Star Wars franchise. Rather, this device is meant to retract and extend its *solid* beam of light to mirror what the actual weapon looks like in the movies. The key difference between it and say the aforementioned flashlight is that the beam only extended the distance of the lightsaber blade itself and not off into infinity like we’ve had to pretend with before.
It’s an extremely cool development in lightsaber technology, especially in the science-fiction, fan space around having these things as part of a costume or, in this case, theme park attraction. The fundamental difference in holding on to and “wielding” a lightsaber that has the appearance of those in the films without some dull shine, or worse, plastic encasement does give the feeling like we are speeding into the future on this kind of technology. Plus, it’s just going to look so cool.
This news follows other tidbits we’ve been getting about a possible lightsaber over the last year or so. There’s was first was YouTuber The Hacksmith who showed off a bespoke version of the weapon to his channel, demonstrating the ability to actually but through certain materials. Plus, we got word of a physics breakthrough a few months ago that pointed to the possibility around the reality of creating a lightsaber in the very mold of those wielded by Jedis.
Neither of these examples is what they showed off in the Disney attraction, but the latter would be much more accessible to a larger market because it won’t, you know, kill people. The timeline on when they will actually hit the market isn’t clear right now. But they are coming. So make sure you get stocked up on a Jedi tunic to complete the ensemble. You’ll need it when lightsabers actually hit the shelves.