How Lightsabers Were Created in Star Wars

One of the biggest complaints that Star Wars fans have about the prequels (at least those who don’t enjoy them that much) is that it seems like George Lucas abandoned the tangible feel of real sets and practical effects in favor of too many computer generated imagery. The true innovation that brought Star Wars to life came from the production having such a low budget that required Lucas and his crew to be resourceful about how they created sets, spaceships, weapons and more for the galaxy far, far away. And that includes the most iconic weapon in the Star Wars universe.

Here’s a video from DigitalRev explaining how lightsabers were created from vintage camera flashes:

That’s right, lightsabers (or at least their hilts) were originally created from the handles of vintage camera flashes. Production designers and prop makers can find inspiration in the most mundane of objects, and in this case, a tool that hadn’t been used in decades became an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

Production design is an integral part of putting the audience in the world of any story. And in the case of Roger Christian‘s work on Star Wars, he had to create an entire universe that felt like it had been lived in for a long time. The worn down aesthetic of Star Wars is one of its most charming attributes. It’s not a sleek, shiny future, but an industrial galaxy. And lightsabers were just one part of making the world feel real to the audience that was blown away by Star Wars back in 1977.

Now go see if you can find some vintage camera flashes to turn into lightsabers. Or use whatever resources you have at your disposal to make your own. You just might have a career in production design or prop making.

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