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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Lightsaber

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Darth Maul wielded a deadly double-bladed lightsaber. ©Starwars.com/databank/lightsaber.

When we hear the word lightsaber, its inimitable sound automatically comes to mind. By just hearing its humming and swooshing sound, we can already imagine wielding one and fighting off the Dark Force. The legendary lightsaber is one of the most precious items a Star Wars ultimate fan wants to possess.

This fictional energy sword is more than just a colourful blade. There are fun and amazing facts that a sworn Star Wars addict needs to know.

Get to know more about the infamous lightsaber. And may The Force be with you.

 

Using the Force, a Jedi can predict and deflect incoming blaster bolts, and reflect them. ©Starwars.com/databank/lightsaber.
Using the Force, a Jedi can predict and deflect incoming blaster bolts, and reflect them. ©Starwars.com/databank/lightsaber.

1. They Were Originally Called Laser Swords.

Seems least interesting, that’s probably why George Lucas – the original chairman of Lucasfilm changed the name to lightsaber in later drafts of the movie.

 

2. Roger Christian Designed The Lightsaber.

The Academy Award winner was also the amazing designer of R2-D2, the iconic robot admired worldwide, and the Star Wars trilogy sets. Christian later became a film-maker himself, directing Battlefield Earth.

 

3. Lightsabers Were Supposedly Ordinary White-Bladed Weapons.

George Lucas originally imagined that lightsabers were ordinary white-bladed weapons carried by many characters in the film, including the Stormtroopers. Eventually, he decided to make them coloured blades as a signature weapon only carried by the Jedi Order and the Sith for a more mystical image of the characters.

 

4. The Hilts (Handles) Of The Prop Lightsabers Were Made From Antique Camera Flash Handles.

John Stears constructed the film prop hilts. He used old press camera flash battery packs and other hardware. Luke’s was Graflex Flash Gun, while Darth Vader’s was an MPP microflash. Obi-Wan’s hilt was made from a Rolls-Royce Derwent Mk.8 jet engine balance pipe. Christian found the flash handles in a box of junked items in a photography store.

 

5. That Unique Sound Of The Lightsaber Was Discovered By Accident.

Ben Burt, the sound engineer who created all the sounds for Star Wars, developed the unique sound of the lightsaber. The sound was accidentally discovered while he was looking for a buzzing, sparking sound to add to the projector-motor hum. It was later developed from the hum of interlocked motors in old cinema projectors and old tube television when he placed his microphone near it.

The pitch changes of lightsaber movement were produced by playing the basic lightsaber tone on a loudspeaker and recording it on a moving microphone, generating Doppler shift to mimic a moving sound source. The Doppler effect (or the Doppler shift) is the change in frequency of a wave (or other periodic event). The Ignition sound was a combination of hitting a taut metal wire (almost like a percussion instrument/cymbal) and gas running through a valve, the deactivation was a reversal of that same recorded sound, and both were heavily synthesized and modulated.

The lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi, an elegant weapon of a more civilized age. ©Starwars.com/databank/lightsaber.
The lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi, an elegant weapon of a more civilized age. ©Starwars.com/databank/lightsaber.

6. In Jedi Lore, The Lightsaber’s Colour Depends On The Crystal That Focuses The Energy.

In the story, a Jedi or a Sith must assemble their own lightsaber by hand as part of their training process. It is partly electronic but must incorporate natural crystals that cannot be made artificially. Each lightsaber is unique to its maker.

A Synthetic lightsaber crystal, commonly referred to as a Synth-crystal, is a type of lightsaber crystal that is artificially created, rather than naturally formed by geological processes. Due to the methods used in their creation, they often formed with a red coloration, though they could be made with any color through special manipulations of either the creation process or the crystal itself, often through the Force, such as the green synth-crystal powering Luke Skywalker’s second lightsaber.

 

7. Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber Was Originally Blue.

It was only changed to green during a fight scene at Sarlaac in Episode VI where Luke’s lightsaber got lost in the blue sky-background.

 

8. Lightsaber Cost.

The total production cost for one lightsaber for the first Star Wars movie was just £9.

 

9. The Actual Lightsabers Used On Set Had A Wooden Pole Where The ‘Blade’ Would Be.

Christian managed to hand-make the first prototype of a lightsaber prop for Luke before production began. Then, John Stears created the wooden dowel rod with front-projection paint so that the animators would have a glow of light to enhance later on in post production.

 

10. Scientists Have Been Trying To Recreate The Lightsaber In Real Life.

Yes, the moment when you can handle a real lightsaber is drawing near. With the rapid advancements in technology, it may not be impossible to recreate the lightsaber in real life. As of now, scientists are still struggling to find the right technology to make every Star Wars fan ecstatic. According to Matt Gluesenkamp, an engineer at General Electric, the most plausible technology would be super-hot plasma. However, there is no power source available yet that is strong and small enough to fit in the handle. Scientists at Harvard actually managed to create a way to bind photons together which gives them mass and may one day recreate a similar Star Wars effect. Cross those fingers and hope that talented scientists may one day reach success in this endeavour.

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