To whom it may concern at The Walt Disney Company and / or Lucasfilm:
Show me the damn lightsaber. I know you have a real one now. And it’s time to fess up.
Let’s backtrack a bit. Yesterday, at a seemingly routine press event for the upcoming launch of Disneyland’s new Avengers Campus area on June 4th, Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney parks, ended his presentation with a surprise reveal of a new lightsaber.
According to tweets from theme park reporter Carlye Wisel, who attended the press conference, the lightsaber was not the typical IRL lightsaber of “a giant light up stick attached to a neat-looking hilt.” In fact, it was the holy grail of replica sabers: one that can fully extend and retract its blade, just like the “real” lightsabers in the films.
I just attended a virtual press conference and Josh D’Amaro had a lightsaber and it worked like a LIGHTSABER not a “im carrying around this long stick” lightsaber like a FUCKING LIGHTSABER LIGHTSABER
— carlye wisel hosts Very Amusing! (@carlyewisel) April 8, 2021
There’s plenty of evidence that a better toy saber has been on Disney’s mind for a while. The company’s current crop of replica props and customized Galaxy’s Edge sabers are already hugely popular, to start.
The company is clearly aware of the fact that the large plastic blades are a cumbersome annoyance — both Disney and plenty of third-party sellers offer carrying bags. And a truly retractable saber that lights up and looks good (and no, those lame plastic ones of stacked tubes don’t count) would be a huge upgrade for park fans and cosplayers.
More illuminating is a patent that Disney filed in 2018 for a “Sword Device with Retractable, Internally Illuminated Blade” — a lightsaber hilt with a motorized retractable blade that can extend out of the hilt, complete with lighting and sound effects.
To be clear, given that Disney’s new model almost certainly lacks the ability to coalesce a beam of pure energy that can slice through any object, it’s still not a real lightsaber. Plus, I’m not sure where Disney would be able to source kyber crystals. Hacksmith Industries’ retractable 4,000-degree plasma blade is still the closest to achieving that, but that build required a massive power pack and is almost certainly not safe to sell as a children’s toy at a theme park.
But to return to my original point: after teasing this fantastic upgraded saber… DISNEY DIDN’T RELEASE THE VIDEO.
There are probably a few reasons for this. Wisel’s report notes that the new saber “*zhooped*” out of a “little box (like a hilt but much wider),” suggesting that the retractable saber is still in the design stage and that there’s probably some work that needs to be done before it’s ready for primetime. Disney may also be planning to save the new sabers for its upcoming immersive Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel, where the more realistic sabers would fit right in.
But I don’t really care about all those very logical business reasons. I just want to see the cool new lightsaber. Ball’s in your court, Disney.