Good news or bad news?
Okay. The good news is that there is a possibility we might get our dream retractable plasma lightsabers in the coming years. Though there is still a lot of work to be done to help the dream come true.
However, we cannot overlook something. At least for now, the manufacturing of retractable lightsabers is not a complete ‘NO’. Since 2018 Disney Imagineers have been working on building a retractable lightsaber using high tech and engineering methods. Later at the beginning of this year there was even a spectacular appearance!
Before we get ahead of ourselves. It is time for the bad news.
The appearance I talked about?
The moment of truth!
Yup About that appearance.
At tech, film, and music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) the director of Disney Parks and Resorts made a spectacular appearance. Josh D’Amaro held a retractable lightsaber. He held a silver hilt that was suddenly activated and a neon blue blade appeared that even has realistic Star Wars sounds.
Josh D’Amaro talked about the advancements they had made in the Star Wars attraction. Here were many gasps and awe inspiring oohs in the audience. As many Star Wars fans saw their dream of a cool and realistic gadget coming to life.
‘I have the coolest Job in the world.’ D’Amaro said proudly to the audience.
After that many experts took to Twitter and explained the working of the retractable blade.
According to the patent, Micheal R. the basics behind the retractable blade are simple and mechanical. The idea is that the flexible lights are rolled and hidden in the hilt. At the touch of the button the tapes are activated and the light blade expands out to show a real blade.
‘Two lengthy plastic semi-cylinders that are part of the device's blade body are rolled perpendicular to each other. This results in compact cylinders of material with a modest volume that may be placed on a pair of spools in the hilt.’ The patent explained along with the demonstration of the product.
However, how does the blade retract when it is the moment to shine? The motor inside the blade unrolls the light. They are nestled in an aligned cylindrical manner. It unfolds straight into the air. Similarly, the blade lights retract the same way.
However, the catch is that the display lasted for a few seconds. You will be disappointed to know that Disney does not plan on using the retractable lightsabers at Disney Parks anytime soon.
This is not the first time Disney has come up with an idea like this. Back in 2021, at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel, there was a similar presentation. Those retractable lightsabers were produced for special purpose and limited use. Only actors and certain other people were allowed to use those lightsabers in Star Wars.
As for the recent development Josh D’Amaro sounded more secure and proud of the retractable invention. He held and waved around the lightsaber like it would not break on a light strike.
Which makes me think that Disney Imagineers are putting real effort into building a real lightsaber. However for now, in 2023, they do not plan on using the displayed retractable lightsaber in public.
If we want to see a real plasma blade that can deflect blocks and cut through metal gates and droids then we have a long way to go!
Okay but…Only Disney?
There have been other tries apart from Disney attractions where few have been successful in making the real life retractable Star Wars lightsaber.
Thing is that to build a real retractable lightsaber you need high energy technology with stability of over 500 to 700 degree Celsius temperature. That is quite a lot of work. Not to mention the expenses that go into that.
The nearest anyone has gone is a YouTuber, Alex Burkan. He holds a record of making a real life plasma retractable lightsaber that produced a 1 metre long plasma blade for 30 seconds straight.
His ideology is the use of electrolysers that source power from environments hydrogen and oxygen. The gas is automatically compressed without the aid of a device. Successfully, producing a thin light in air that illuminates like a plasma blade.
You need a high energy source for the blade to last longer which is not ideal in the form of batteries. So more work to be done here as well.
In the End
Let’s see what Disney attractions bring our way in the upcoming years. From my experience and passion I see that there are a lot of Star Wars fans like me who are willing to pay to experience a bit of this amazing technology. However, we have a long way to go.
Till then we can enjoy replicas and other amazing Star Wars props at Dual Sabers!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a real retractable lightsaber?
A real retractable lightsaber needs a high energy source and over 700 degree Celsius stability. Not to mention the rest of the expenses. For now retractable lightsabers are not available.
Is The Disney Lightsaber Real?
It seemed real when Josh D’Amaro took the stage in Austin and whipped out a real lightsaber. The retractable blade was so realistic and made the same sound as the lightsabers in Star Wars. However, Disney attractions does not intend to release these lightsabers to the public.
Are Neopixel lightsabers retractable?
You can buy replicas with retractable blade features at Dual Sabers. They may not be the same as real retractable blades but you get to enjoy similar features. Not to mention numerous customization options!
How much do real retractable lightsabers cost?
An original lightsaber can cost over $200. There are several retractable lightsaber alternatives available. At one time Disney: Star Wars Galaxy sold retractable lightsabers however to a limited population.
How does a retractable Lightsaber work?
The working in simpler words is that a foldable light strip unfolds itself from the hilt. When the motor inside the hilt is activated by pressing the hilt button.