Disney’s ‘actual’ lightsaber is not fairly as cool because it appears to be like
You have to hand it to Disney. Regardless of a relative dearth of Star Wars content material launched on Might 4, which apparently we’re nonetheless not tired of calling Star Wars Day, the corporate nonetheless managed to dominate the nerd information cycle with a single 13-second video.
The video in query is Disney Parks’ tease of the Star Wars lodge opening in Disney World in 2022, the Galactic Starcruiser. We have written extensively about the Starcruiser experience, which over three nights will immerse you in a narrative a few ship being boarded by First Order troops and saved by the Resistance. Estimated value: $1,400 per particular person.
Which on the one hand feels like numerous scratch, however then again…this.
Sure, that is a Disney solid member dressed as Rey, demonstrating what seems to be a “actual” lightsaber — by which we imply absolutely extendable. If you happen to’ve ever seen a fan-built mannequin, or constructed a $200 lightsaber at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, you will know that they are actually plastic tubes with LED lights inside. Enjoyable, however not precisely the Star Wars dream of urgent a button and having a beam of sunshine go psshhhhhewwww. That is a lot nearer.
So what is the deal? Is Disney stepping into the superpowered laser enterprise? Will solid members should take out additional insurance coverage towards unintended severance (lightsabers are all enjoyable and video games till somebody loses a hand)? And most significantly, will they shut up and take our cash so we will play too? The solutions are not any, no, and doubtless not. Here is what it’s essential to know.
1. Lightsabers aren’t actual. But.
Once in a while we’re handled to an overblown story about an inventor who claims to have constructed the world’s first “actual” lightsaber. In 2020 we acquired this version fueled by propane, in addition to this engineer igniting hydroxy gas to provide a particularly unsafe jet of flame that appeared just a little like Kylo Ren’s spitting crimson saber. Neither goes to allow you to face off towards a Sith Lord — not until it is hooked as much as an R2-D2-sized gas tank, which could impede your cool duel choreography considerably.
At MIT in 2013, scientists managed to create a “photonic molecule” — mild particles that bind to one another, creating mass with out weight. However provided that they might solely create photonic molecules inside a vacuum chamber that was cooled to close absolute zero, headlines that dubbed the experiment a “real lightsaber” have been greater than just a little deceptive.
We’re not there but. On condition that physics would not work in our universe the best way it really works in area fantasy, we could by no means be. Heck, even George Lucas (who at all times stated he “needed to disregard science and have enjoyable” with the films) needed to invent the Kyber crystal simply to hand-wave away the important thing query of how these unbelievable laser swords drew their energy.
2. Disney’s ‘lightsaber’ works like a tape measure.
Sure they did.
It will not soften by metallic blast doorways, or lower off your hand, nevertheless it does characteristic an illuminated blade that may lengthen and retract on the push of a button.
This animation reveals the idea behind the tech. pic.twitter.com/e7fwP06CxF
— Ben Ridout (@benridout) April 12, 2021
We first acquired wind of the Starcruiser lightsaber on April 8, when Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro demonstrated it throughout an unrelated press occasion for Disneyland’s Avengers Campus. The reporters current have been very excited by D’Amaro’s demo — “not a ‘I am carrying round this lengthy stick’ lightsaber,” one tweeted, “a FUCKING LIGHTSABER LIGHTSABER” — however no pictures have been obtainable.
The web, undefeated, set to work and found a patent Disney Enterprises filed in 2018: “Sword machine with retractable, internally illuminated blade.” The equipment it described contained spools and a motor that rolled and unrolled two “plastic blade physique members…appearing very similar to a metallic carpenter’s tape measure.”
That is proper: If you happen to ever prolonged a metal tape measure as a child, and ran round a workshop making lightsaber noises, you have been forward of the sport. And if you happen to’d solely patented the concept, Disney might need been paying you a ton of cash proper about now.
There’s extra to it, after all. The patent describes two semicircular translucent tape measures, principally, which can be “zipped” collectively once they exit the lightsaber base, and studded with LED lights. VR developer Ben Ridout went into element in this viral Twitter thread, full with animations. Nonetheless, as with all magic, as soon as you know the way the trick is finished it would not fairly look as cool as all that.
3. You may deal with them. However we do not know if you should buy them.
“You may have the chance to coach within the historical methods of the lightsaber,” in line with the Might 4 Disney Parks blog post teasing the most recent particulars of the Galactic Starcruiser. The corporate additionally launched idea artwork exhibiting a Starcruiser visitor wielding a lightsaber towards what seems to be a wall-mounted distant.
That is as a lot as we all know, formally. Additionally notable was what the Parks weblog did not say. Whereas the patent affords a tantalizing risk of providing the lightsaber as a “collectible,” Disney’s official unveiling makes no point out of with the ability to buy the cool new lightsaber — or of any precise lightsaber-on-lightsaber motion aboard the Starcruiser.
Which leaves us questioning: How sturdy is that this patented retractable sword machine anyway? If you happen to ran across the workshop with a tape measure, you in all probability skilled that Freudian second the place your lightsaber…all of a sudden went floppy. As a result of if it is retractable, and winds round a spool, then it’s by definition bendable, and unlikely to take care of its form when hitting the same object.
Which in flip means that this new lightsaber may not be one of the best toy for a choreographed duel — not until what you are making an attempt to duplicate is the schwartz-on-schwartz battle from Spaceballs. The sturdier plastic housing for the Galaxy’s Edge lightsaber does enable for such tough dealing with, so do not anticipate that to go away any time quickly.
Our guess can be that the Starcruiser lightsaber will solely be utilized by company underneath very restricted, managed situations — separately, with no risk for unmoderated dueling. Nonetheless, its very existence is more likely to persuade hundreds of nerds to half with $1,400 for the Star Wars journey of a lifetime. And that is the way you flip a patent for a flexible lightsaber right into a internet constructive for the corporate.
Evil genius, Disney. Evil genius.