The science featured in the Star Wars films has always been more fiction than reality, though the inventive tech on display in the series has sometimes made its way into the real world. While real lightsabers will likely never become a reality, Disney recently filed for a patent that could bring the most convincing replica of the Jedi weapon into the real world that's ever been seen before.
Over on Walt Disney World News Today, a report was shared about a patent on the new item, along with blueprints detailing the product's inner workings. Their report reads, "The new technology exemplified in this patent application is used to build a lightsaber hilt that works like a motorized tape measure. At the press of a button, the tapes will extend to a total length several times that of the hilt itself. The tapes will also have some kind of LED lighting inside, such that the lightsaber can light up similar to the way they appear in the films."
It added, "This new and improved lightsaber has the potential to be the most realistic lightsaber available to date, and will likely command a premium price. In fact, the new invention is a significant improvement on the current collector’s models of lightsabers that are more delicate than the cheap toys sold in the parks, so this new version may likely be sold as a collector’s item rather than a toy for kids."
Given the difficulties of creating a beam of light so strong that it could slice metal like butter, in addition somehow doubling back on itself to achieve a specific length, a real lightsaber will likely never exist in real life, though this new patent is a vast improvement on what fans had to settle for 40 years ago.
The first toy lightsaber was essentially a flashlight with a vinyl sheath on the end, giving the illusion of its glowing menace. It wouldn't be until the '90s that Hasbro would release the first extendable lightsaber, which also lit up and featured movie-accurate sounds.
In 2011, Hasbro unveiled the Ultimate FX lightsaber series, which consisted of a durable plastic blade that, when activated, ignited similarly to what we saw in the movies. Its combat readiness and convincing ignition made it a formidable collector's item.
The description of the patent sounds as though the ignition process would look even more convincing than the Ultimate FX lightsaber, though an application for a patent doesn't guarantee approval, potentially preventing the collector's item from ever releasing.
The timing of the application would seemingly coincide with the opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019.
Also worth noting is that, over the past years, virtually any item could be turned into a lightsaber, even without an actual patent.