Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Lightsabers Will Fulfill Your Jedi Dreams
I keep a wand from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on my bookshelf. I haven’t even read the books. It’s the memory of getting something that’s “mine” during a much-needed vacation that stuck with me. And soon I’ll get to have that same experience in a galaxy far, far away.
At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening later this year, Disney’s parks will let me and many others build a “real” lightsaber in a new, immersive experience — and at a fraction what I’d pay in the current custom lightsaber market.
This could easily be one of the best attractions at Galaxy’s Edge. In allowing guests to actually experience one of the most fascinating and unseen parts of Star Wars story, the park could potentially blow minds by putting the rich lore of Star Wars to practical use.
This week, io9, Slashfilm, Entertainment Weekly, and other outlets published details pertaining to Galaxy’s Edge, the full-blown Star Wars expansion coming to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Designed to be more immersive than anything at Disney, Galaxy’s Edge takes place on Black Spire Outpost, a way station on the planet Batuu that makes up the most of the 14-acre experience. There’s even a story. Set in between 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and this year’s Star Wars: Episode IX, Black Spire is occupied by the First Order, who are are looking for something — or someone.
Among the many, many cool things guests will get to experience (ride the Millennium Falcon! Drink blue Bantha milk!), a “hidden shop” — named Savi & Son Salvage — hides a secret from the First Order. Savi & Son Salvage is a front where you can build your own custom lightsaber.
As reported by those who visited the “set” of Galaxy’s Edge, Savi & Son is an immersive, 15-minute experience that will allow guests to build their custom lightsabers from sorta-scratch. While you’re not molding the hilts, you can pick “from assorted parts” and assemble a personalized, civilized weapon of a civilized age. You can also pick your kyber crystal, the key engine that makes a lightsaber a lightsaber. (It also decides your color.)
As Star Wars fans know, in the days of the Old Republic, part of a Jedi’s training was to build their lightsabers. (To me, it remains a misstep that director Richard Marquand cut out the scene of Luke Skywalker building his saber in Return of the Jedi.) Years later, as the Resistance and the First Order collide for what could be the final time, a brave few here on Batuu are preserving the dying art of lightsaber creation.
io9 and Slashfilm report that there are also “disciplines” that will play a factor in creating one’s lightsaber. They are:
- Power and Justice (Republic-era Jedi designs)
- Power and Control (Dark Side)
- Elemental and Nature (Saber designs that use natural materials)
- Protection and Defense (“ancient, almost medieval in style”)
Helping guests will be employees known as The Gatherers. “They have dedicated their life to balancing the Force through sharing their knowledge of it,” says Brian Loo, an Imagineering merchandise creative producer in an interview for EW. “In this experience, our guests will go on a guided tour with the Gatherers to build their lightsaber.”
Entertainment Weekly reports that sabers will cost about $109 for a finished hilt, plus a blade for $49.99. It’s a pretty high price for a theme park souvenir, but it is also a perfect middle ground for what’s currently available to blade-less Jedi.
Right now, the only lightsabers Padawans and Jedi can purchase at Disney parks come out of cheap toy kiosks that merely provide instructions how to put together the pieces. There is no immersion, no real interactivity. From the get-go, you know you are buying a toy. At $22, the lightsabers are comparable to the Hasbro toys you can buy at any Walmart or Target. (Toys R Us, RIP.) For what it is, the fun only lasts for so long.
Other options for custom lightsabers that would satisfy an older fan’s itch are also very expensive and cost-prohibitive. There are spots at Disney’s parks that sell the fancier Force FX lightsabers from the collector-oriented Black Series line, some of which are branded “Disney Parks Exclusive” that come with additional features (i.e. removable blades). Unfortunately, these are straight replicas of existing lightsaber designs. You can’t create your “own,” and buying them isn’t any more intricate than buying anything else at Disney.
For truly custom lightsabers, you have to look outside of Disney and go online to places like SaberForge or Ultrasabers. While these sites sell some really neat sabers (check out SaberForge’s katana saber), their insanely high prices reflect their craftsmanship and customization.
Somehow, there hasn’t been any in-between options, until Galaxy’s Edge. If you want an affordable lightsaber, you buy a toy. If you want a nice display piece, you have to spend lots of dough on a movie replica or a custom piece you still don’t get to build yourself.
Now there’s Savi & Son. It’s got all the Star Wars set dressing you could want, plus a deeper sense of immersion that could top Ollivander’s. That’s the wand shop at Universal’s Wizarding World where you can buy replica wands or your “own” from a selection of designs employees pick for you after performing a breezy personality test rarely done in-character.
Awhile back on vacation, when I purchased my wand, an employee grilled me with questions like “What’s your favorite anime?” I answered, Cowboy Bebop. “Ah, a fine choice,” they said. I took home a wand, but it was that experience I paid for. I can’t wait to feel that way again at Galaxy’s Edge.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens Summer 2019 at Disneyland and Fall 2019 at Disney World.