The Futuristic Star Wars Prop That Was Actually Just A Razor

The "Star Wars" franchise has always excelled at turning the most random and mundane objects into iconic pieces of imagery (and don't forget the merch). After all, what other franchise could get away with bringing back a literal piece of trash for a nostalgic cameo 45 years later? And let us never forget about Willrow Hood's iconic ice cream maker-like prop from "Empire Strikes Back," which inspired a now-traditional parade at Star Wars Celebration and was recently re-canonized in "The Mandalorian" as a safe.

For millions of people who grew up with the prequel trilogy, however, there's another prop that became just as iconic, and comes from an equally mundane source: Qui-Gon Jinn's Hush-98 communication device (or commlink, in Galactic Republic's terms).

A Long Time Ago in a Shower Far, Far Away

In "The Phantom Menace," the movie about the aging space wizard disillusioned with the organized religion that forces him to serve as a glorified bodyguard until he decides to sacrifice everything to ensure a young orphan boy is indoctrinated into his cult and raised as a child soldier, we often see Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) using a small communicator device to report to his superiors. The device, no bigger than a thumb drive, was not only capable of long-distance communication with zero lag despite being used in the desert, but was even capable of performing blood tests on the fly — take that, Elizabeth Holmes!

When you're crafting the next evolution in sci-fi communication, where do you look for inspiration? Some avant-garde sculpture? Perhaps the already-existing cellular phone? Not if you're George Walton Lucas Jr. Because then you'd look for something much more alien-looking, something that screamed "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" — a women's razor. More specifically, the device (officially referred to as a Hush-98 comlink) comes from a resin cast of a Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel Razor, according to CBS News. That's right, the long-haired, bearded space wizard who probably hasn't shaved in years carried around a razor in his pocket at all times.

Still a Cooler Toy Than the Real Thing

That Hush-98 comlink, later became part of the huge merchandising campaign for "The Phantom Menace," of course. There were the more obvious walkie-talkies, but the coolest version of the toy was the CommTech Reader toy released by Hasbro in 1999. That toy was significantly bigger and less portable than the on-screen version, and its sole purpose was to play sound. Not just any sound, of course — what it did was force you to buy the regular action figures for the film that came with small chips that you could place on the CommTech Reader and it would play back soundbites from the film, and even sound effects for lightsabers and the like. Sure, it may not sound like much, but it's still more fun than a razor.

There you have it. Next time you're watching the prequel trilogy, don't get distracted by the cinematic awe of the podracing sequence. Pay attention to Qui-Gon's comlink, and then go to your bathroom and think of what other appliances could have made their way to the "Star Wars" franchise.