By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
These are not the lightsabers I’m looking for. After the excitement of seeing the final film of the cinematic Star Wars saga, the excitement and fervor of wanting to hop the next plane to Anaheim to enjoy Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland is half and half.
According to CNBC:
…more guests will flock to the two lands after the opening of the Rise of the Resistance ride. The ride will open in Orlando on Dec 5 And in Anaheim on Jan 17.
This new combination coaster and live action show will be crazy. Those who want to be on this ride already bought their tickets for the queue, and I can’t simply travel down on a whim and expect to get in on that day. I know this performance theatre experience puts Universal Studios’ T2 3-D: Battle Across Time from years ago to shame. It’s sad that park attraction shut down.
Since attendees will see full scale AT-ATs and experience pyrotechnics, that’s enough to get me super excited. It’s better than strapping on a VR helmet and imagining standing toe to toe with one, and wishing to be like Luke Skywalker–to take one down with a lightsaber and grenade. However, we’re not allowed to interact with this ride. No flight simulator is required here (that’s the other attraction).
The Millennium Falcon simulation is good enough for most people eager for an early experience. That’s assuming they live not too far away for repeat visits. Those living further away are no doubt waiting until there’s at least three rides to make the sabbatical worth it. I’m anxiously waiting for a Hutt Palace to be built as the next offering, and I’ll be there in a heartbeat when that happens! Nothing has been confirmed yet, but I’m sure this side of the Galaxy’s Edge has more attractions in the works.
What I desire is a lightsaber duel and trench battle experience to make my plans for a trip truly memorable. Will it happen? Disney’s Imagineers are not saying what they plan for the future. In addition to visiting this part of the park, there which I’ve done to death (namely the former Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror now a Guardians of the Galaxy experience) in the past I bi-yearly went. The thrill is gone and it’s good new attractions are built, but I need more!
Ask any kid or Gen X fan, and most will say the lightsabers define a key part of why they love Star Wars. The last rite of passage for a Jedi (or Sith) is to build the hilt. The story behind how normals can get their hands on one is due to scavengers finding scrap parts for us visitors (willing to pay a hefty $200 USD fee) to assemble to make our own.
We need not be a force user. That’s okay for the sake of explaining how Black Spire Outpost has bits to propagate this much coveted laser sword. You’re building from scavenged parts from fallen warriors. This outpost is a mix of free and black market trade, and attendees are required to hunt around to find this operation if they want it. They then have to choose a card of select bits before being able to assemble. As for whether they may combine bits from another set, the comments from the Internet say no. Friends going together in a party of three or more can probably get away with it, but when you are on your own, what you see is what you get.
Buying additional scrap parts has been discontinued for months now. I’m betting the scoundrels wanting to profit during the early months of this attraction were discovered too late; Disney is smart to stop eBay resales. People can at least buy a bag of kyber crystals to change the colour of the blades. It’s programmed in the plastic with an RIF chip, much like how Disney’s Infinity game can change player avatars.
Although the choices are limited (for now), I’m hoping the ability fashion a unique sabre be expanded upon. I’ve been sketching out my own ideas for hilt designs which are more fanciful in design than practical. With my skill with a dremel tool, salvaging parts from vintage radios, having one rod sleeved into an endo shell and electronic bits I had, I can fashion my own piece to build a truly unique saber (pictured right).
It was said long ago, in a galaxy far, far away that these fabled weapons were kit bashed from bits and pieces the warrior had at hand. In our world, the prop master looked at what he got and built it from old camera parts and tanks–which ultimately became iconic for A New Hope to Return of the Jedi. These weapons are an extension of their personality. Master Yoda and Dooko’s weapon are unique for that reason.
Episodes 1 to 3 had the laser sword constructed when metalsmith shops were aplenty. They lack the finesse of those sabers we first saw in Episodes 4 to 6. Thankfully, episodes 7 to 9 was a return to form. Kylo’s weapon was retooled from his previous version. Leia’s looks like a variant of Obi Wan’s and Rey’s own piece had parts from her staff. I knew this was coming, and in the Rise of Skywalker, a detail that’s new is how she activates her weapon. The ring is a far more intuitive design to make melee or pommelling fast.
Just like in Harry Potter, the stick selects you and no single piece from Ollivanders Wands is exactly the same as another.
As cool as Disney’s offering is to get immersed in the Star Wars universe, it’s still an amusement park. The mileage will vary depending on how much of a junkie you are for particular parts of the trilogy. For the quintessential staple in all films (which tends to make up the climax of each film), the lightsaber must be 100% unique to each individual. Mathematically, there’s only 16 permutations from within the set is possible until mix and matching between other theme packs are allowed. For those wanting even more choices, Ultrasabers and Saberforce offer better choices.