With the real lightsaber, “the Force will be with you, always.” Last week at SXSW, Disney’s parks and experiences chairman Josh D’Amaro made a presentation, and one portion of it has excited Star Wars fans worldwide. D’Amaro introduced the audience to a real lightsaber and explained that Disney parks would be focusing on storytelling in the future.
A video of the event, with the audience’s collective gasp and subsequent applause, was shared online.
Ok, agora eu quero um lightsaber desses! 😱
Uma das surpresas do aguardado keynote de Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman, aqui na @sxsw ! pic.twitter.com/hHNYe49PXk
— Ivan Costa (@Ivan_Costa) March 11, 2023
Disney real lightsaber: Star Wars fans have been waiting for this for so long
D’Amaro said the lightsaber in his hand was similar to the ones used on Disney’s pricey Galactic Starcruiser attraction. However, footage of the attraction’s lightsabers reveals that they feature a tube protruding from the hilt rather than a retractable blade. Unlike others, D’Amaro’s appears to have sprouted from the hilt.
Afterward, the Chairman of Parks and Attractions introduced Leslie Evans. In Disney Imagineering, she oversees research and development. It was a challenging endeavor. Evans admitted, “This was not easy. “Build cinematic moments in the real world,” she explained, was one of the project’s main goals.
D’Amaro replied, “I love firing this thing up,” and he pressed the button again.
A real lightsaber unveiled at #SXSW2023 🤯 pic.twitter.com/ckqfPiEKix
— Star Wars Holocron (@sw_holocron) March 11, 2023
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How does the real lightsaber work?
Spoiler alert: A Google patents page with what looks like diagrams of the hilt and text explaining how a fan linked to the device works.
“…the special effects device (or energy sword, lightsaber prop, or the like) is specially configured to provide an extendable and retractable energy blade that appears to emanate from a handheld hilt due to a lighting effect that appears to provide bright hilt-based lighting.
In some useful embodiments, the special effects device includes two long plastic cylinders that are cut lengthwise. These two pieces (or blade body members) are then each rolled perpendicular to their length (or their central axis), which creates compact cylinders of material of relatively small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools or reels. The spools holding the blade body members, along with other blade-producing elements, are housed within the body of the hilt assembly of the special effects device or lightsaber prop.
To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt body is operated to unroll the rolled/spooled plastic blade body members from their reels/spools with each member (or blade half) acting much like a metal carpenter’s tape measure. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway or passageway that acts to “zip” the two semi-cylindrical blade body members together (or with portions along their length overlapping each other or one nesting inside the other) as they leave the hilt body, thereby forming the energy blade. To retract the blade, the process is reversed with the motor acting to wind the pair of spools to reel or wind the extended blade body members back into the hilt body and onto the pair of spools/reels.”
-Google patents page