Secretly, every Star Wars fan would love to have a lightsaber. Although there have been some attempts in the past to mimic the sword from the movies, none of them have truly come close. That was until Disney gave it a shot. In April, they finally revealed and teased their version of the coveted sword and the teaser is nothing short of spectacular. If the new video is anything to go by, this lightsaber is something to behold and an item that should be at the top of any Star Wars fan’s Christmas list.
The new vs the old
The previous versions or attempts at making lightsabers all had similar mechanisms in the form of an awkward retractable blade. Besides looking goofy, the blades often get stuck, or the shoot-out mechanism jams. Before long, your lightsaber can only be used as a whip-out nightstick which sometimes retracts on itself.
If you had a cool one, the plastic would be made from a glow-in-the-dark material, but that is about as cool as they got. The new one is something completely different, though. At first glance, the hilt of the saber looks pretty normal, but that is until you extend the blade. As in the movies, the lightsaber magically extends out of the hilt, emitting a magnificent light, creating the illusion of a functioning saber.
What is behind the tech of the blade?
Disney was not about to give their secret away when the teaser video was released, but where there is a will, there is a way. The force was strong with a couple of smart folks who managed to figure out how the mechanism roughly works. With a bit of research and a good grasp of engineering, they got the gist of how the saber works from the patents that Disney filed. After examining the patents, they were able to surmise that the blade works like a tape measure. Only this tape measure is motorized and extends with a sheet of LED lights that gives the blade the distinct ignition effect.
Looking at the timeframe
Although Disney has made some great progress with the sabers, they are not done yet. The Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development team is still hard at work to perfect the lightsabers, but they will presumably be ready when the Galactic Starcruiser hotel experience launches in 2022. At the moment, there is not an official price for the lightsabers, but if the price of the current ones at Galaxy’s Edge is anything to go by, you could expect to pay anything in the region of $200 or even more.
The current state of Galaxy’s Edge
If you are a Star Wars fan, then you should be familiar with Galaxy’s Edge. This is Disney’s answer to bringing the Star Wars universe to life. Galaxy’s Edge is located at Walt Disney World Resort and the Disney Land resort and features a host of activities and sights that you can explore. This is the place where you can put yourself in the shoes of Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker and live your own Star Wars Story.
Take a ride in the Millennium Falcon and hang out with all the locals. If you are an engineer at heart, you could also give building your droid ago. However, if there is one piece of merch that you would want to walk away with, it is your very own lightsaber. This is already an excellent replica of the one in the movies, but it still lacks some features. The coolest part of the current lightsaber is that you can custom build one by choosing one of the four available hilt themes.
The timing of the lightsabers
Disney has mastered the art of advertising and building hype over the years and they did not fail to hit all the right spots with the new lightsaber. To begin with, the teaser was released on May the fourth, better known as Star Wars Day. “May the fourth be with you” plays on the Star Wars catchphrase, “May the force be with you” and is known to any Star Wars fan and even those who are not fans.
Secondly, the lightsabers are destined to be part of the upcoming Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser immersive hotel. The interactive hotel is unlike any other hotel and is built on the premise of its Galaxy’s Edge Park. You will be at the center of your own Star Wars adventure as the hotel experience expands into a Westworld-style adventure.
What makes the new hotel so different?
For those of us who have dreamed about being in the middle of the action of one of the Star Wars movies, this hotel is a must. This is not just another hotel or park where you can explore static features or take part in mini activities. According to Disney Parks, everything that you do will have an impact on your stay. Watching your lightsaber come to life in front of your eyes is only one aspect of the stay and is worth the money alone. However, every conversation you may have, the decisions you make and actions you take will have an impact on your stay.
During your two-day stay aboard the Halcyon Starcruiser, you will be required to undergo some lightsaber training. Seeing that you are not just another tourist passing by, you will also learn about the navigation and defense systems of the ship. Everyone aboard the ship needs to eat, so there is also the local cuisine to look forward to. The windows of the hotel are digital and forever change as you move through the galaxies.
The interaction with the locals is where things get interesting as there will be opportunities to choose alliances and also interact with Rey. Aboard the ship, you are not just another passerby and due to the interactive nature of the hotel, every visit will be different. Your interactions will send you down a different path every time.