One of the key attractions of Disney’s new Star Wars lands will be the opportunity for fans to build their own unique lightsabers. Now, thanks to a special VIP-only presentation from the team at Disney Parks, we finally know how the build process will work. We’ve also held the final product in our hands. I’m happy to report that these are stunning reproductions, and a lot heavier than they look.
Product experts from the Disney Parks team were on hand at this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago for a handful of presentations that included examples of the final product. Here’s how the process will work.
Two different lightsaber shops will be available at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The first, called Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, will sell a series of 10 legacy lightsabers based on famous blades from the Star Wars canon. The second, called Savi’s Workshop, will allow fans to build their own lightsaber from a discrete collection of parts.
Both the legacy and the custom lightsabers will be compatible with a universal blade system. Blades are available in different lengths and sizes, and each one will light up in a variety of colors depending on the hilt that it is attached to.
The legacy blades on display at Celebration included replicas of both of Luke Skywalker’s lightsabers, as well as the iconic weapons carried by Ahsoka Tano, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Mace Windu. Each will come packed in its own satin-lined presentation case, complete with a unique chevron on the outside.
Some blades will also come with additional accessories to make them more accurate. Kylo Ren’s blade will come with two additional blades to accommodate its iconic crossguard, while Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi will feature a special attachment point for its extremely narrow emitter.
The custom blades are a different animal entirely. Building one will be part of an intimate, small-group experience inside the park.
Before entering the “build chamber” at Savi’s Workshop, guests must first choose from one of four types of lightsaber kits. Options include the Jedi-focused Peace and Justice set, the Sith-focused Power and Control assortment, the more naturalistic Elemental Nature set, and the mysterious Protection and Defense kit. Once inside the build chamber, cast members called Gatherers will arrive and offer a choice of three differently colored kyber crystals.
The crystals themselves are random. Guests will know the color, but not the cut or kind of crystal until they open it. Once selected, crystals will then be inserted into a holocron, which will allow iconic characters from the Star Wars universe to whisper the mysteries of the Force. Disney staff stressed that the crystals themselves contain new and unusual lore about the Star Wars universe.
From there, Gatherers will assist guests in using the discrete set of parts that they have selected to customize their blade.
I hung out for a while at the Disney Parks booth before the demonstration went live, and was shocked when the presenter dropped one of the individual components on the table. The tiny, two-inch square module clanged off the table like a piece of good brass plumbing hardware. Later, when I had the opportunity to hold a custom lightsaber in my hand, I was astounded at the weight of the object. It’s easily much heavier than an old school, 12-inch Maglite flash lite.
Unlike those old school Maglites, however, these lightsabers run on AA or AAA batteries. The weight comes entirely from the high-quality materials that they are constructed from.
A host of accessories will also be on sale, including full-length padded carrying cases for those who purchase the optional blades. Robust, universal belt clips are also available. They offer both direct attachment points and clips for the D-rings common on some lightsabers. Additionally, fans can also purchase their own holocron so that they can “commune with the Force” and learn about their own, unique kyber crystal at home.
No pricing information was available.
Both the legacy lightsabers and custom lightsabers will be available for fans when Galaxy’s Edge opens in California on May 31. Nearly identical shops will also open at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on Aug. 29.