This is actual magic, right?
As a child in the '90s, Star Wars was a big deal.
The 20th anniversary of A New Hope saw the original trilogy remastered and re-released in theaters in 1997, showing off new special effects technology, and building up excitement for what would turn out to be the wholly satisfying, universally beloved, not-disappointing-at-all prequel, The Phantom Menace.
And along with that hype came a new line of merchandise for kids to smash together and collectors to build shrines to. But for all the technical advancements George Lucas and his team had brought to the films — and even to a lot of the toys — one area that had remained as flimsy and unconvincing as ever was the field of toy lightsabers.
Sure, the 90s version had some fun sound effects, but the blade itself was a silly plastic cone of dimly-lit colored plastic. It couldn't fully retract, and only extended fully when you swung it with enough force that there was at least a 30% chance that your tiny child's hand would send it flying across the room.
And even if you did manage to hold onto it, the thin plastic was too weak to hold up to serious use. A single afternoon of running around and whacking each other would be enough to leave th blade permanently dinged up, with entire sections likely to come loose.
It was slightly more fun that swinging around a cardboard tube and making the sounds yourself. But only slightly.
It wasn't until 2002 — coinciding with the release of Attack of the Clones — that the Force FX lightsabers were released. With a price tag in the range of $200, they were a huge improvement, with bright LEDs illuminating in sequence, convincing metal handles, and great sound effects.
They weren't perfect, of course. You still had to be careful banging them around, or sections of LEDs could go dead. And when you switched one off, you would be reminded that the blade was actually a white plastic tube. Still, they were cool enough to make the magic of lightsabers — possibly the coolest part of Star Wars — feel almost real for a little while.
Since then, the only significant step forward has been the addition of detachable blades. Short of actually inventing laser sword technology, It seemed like as good a job as anyone was going to do bringing that fantasy to life. It's not like you could actually make that blade retract...
Cut to last month, when Disney unveiled a new model of lightsabers at a parks preview. And now, for May the Fourth (be with you), they have shared the first video of their new tech in action, and it's so much cooler than it has any right to be.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser - Official Realistic Lightsaber Teaser Trailer www.youtube.com
The blade! It shoots right out of the handle! There's nothing there, then a glowing spear of light slides out as smooth as silk.
How is that even possible?! Are lightsabers real now? Can it cut through steel like butter? Can the girl in this video use the force?
Unless Disney is lying to us about how real this new video is, they've cracked the code on fake lightsabers, and I want to throw my money at them, except...they're not for sale.
These new lightsabers are going to be props used by park employees, with no announcement of plans to make them available to the public. Are they too expensive? Too delicate? Or are they just worried that I'd lose my tenuous grip on reality if I was allowed to have a toy this cool?
Perhaps the most upsetting detail of all is the fact that these new lightsabers have been developed for the immersive Galactic Starcruiser resort experience, where guests will have an interactive two-night journey aboard the Halcyon Starcruiser. In other words, to use one of these lightsabers, you'll have to book a stay at a fancy space-themed Disney hotel starting in 2022.
The view inside a room aboard the Halcyon StarcruiserDisney
Which means that the already high cost of a trip to Disney World won't be enough to even see this lightsaber in person. You'll have to fork out for a probably-exorbitant resort stay as well.
So, unless you're gonna start saving now...it's probably better to just pretend that video is CGI, and go back to whacking your siblings with flimsy plastic cones.
- Why "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" Is Breaking Records - Popdust ›
- Kate Hudson's Meditating Daughter Is Going to Be a Jedi - Popdust ›