Though Star Wars fans likely won’t be able to buy them anytime soon, best to get that out of the way, Disney has shown off a quick (13-second) look at a “real” retractable lightsaber to sync up with this year’s May the 4th.
Prior to today it had shown the same movie-prop-come-to-life to journalists via a closed presentation.
Now as for what makes this “real,” it’s not that you can slice through someone’s torso/skull/or whatever with minimal effort (in fact, it cannot do that), is that it works without prop blades or special effects or camera tricks. Instead it’s an actual retractable light blade that extends from the handle.
The announcement, which is fair to say is minimal, doesn’t provide many further details. The Verge reports that some internet sleuths have deduced, via the scanning of patent filings, that the way it works is similar to the way a motorized tape measure pops out “retracting and extending a sheet of plastic and LED lights to mimic the ignition effect.”
Now you may be wondering, if you can’t buy them, what these are even for? They’re expected to be included in Disney’s upcoming immersive hotel, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. That will open up in 2022.
“Watching that lightsaber activate right before your eyes will be just one of the countless ways that, from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart, you’ll be plunged into a Star Wars story where your decisions and actions — or even the casual conversations you may have — determine how your personal journey unfolds,” Disney Parks said in a blog post put up Tuesday.
Disney adds that these lightsabers are still being tinkered with by the Imagineering Research and Development squad. Whether they’re ready when the hotel launches next year remains to be seen, but (don’t hold us to this statement) that would at least seem like a good ballpark guess as to when you can get one.