In early April Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro ended a virtual press event about Disney’s upcoming Avengers Campus area with a major surprise: a working lightsaber. (A non-lethal one, presumably.) He pulled out a hilt, flipped a switch, and a column of colored light shot up out of it. It was apparently somewhat stunning; instead of the plastic lightsabers you can buy at Disney parks, or the much fancier illuminated kind you can custom-build at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, here was a lightsaber that looked like a special effect from Industrial Light & Magic, but in the real world. The Disney bloggers and press members on the call immediately hyped up the new lightsaber all over social media, but no footage of the event has been officially released, leaving Star Wars fans wondering how the supposedly realistic lightsaber actually looks and works.
Well, today the world finally got its first official look at Disney’s realistic lightsaber. And as many predicted, it all ties back in with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the immersive hotel experience being built at Disney World in Florida.
Earlier today Disney released a short YouTube video that depicts the lightsaber in action.
That video was released as part of a Disney Parks Blog post that updated us on the progress and timeline of the Galactic Starcruiser project. Per Jeremy Schoolfield’s post, Starcruiser guests will be the first to see this new lightsaber in action when the resort opens, which is currently scheduled for some time in 2022.
Here’s a quick recap if you aren’t familiar with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. It aims to be an all-encompassing immersive experience that’s a little bit like a cruise into the universe of Star Wars. It’s a two-night stay in a hotel themed as a ship in space, with a variety of Star Wars-related activities for guests to enjoy, along with an “excursion” to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Vehicles themed like space shuttles take you directly to and from the hotel to help create the illusion of leaving the planet, and once on board windows show the deep expanse of space instead of central Florida.
Today’s blog post reveals more about what guests can expect once the Starcruiser is open for business. It gives details on some of the characters that will make up the cruiser’s staff, including a Twi’lek singer who performs in the Crown of Corellia Dining Room. It also mentions the lightsaber training that Disney had previously announced, and which we now know could potentially make use of that fancy new lightsaber they’ve built.
As Schoolfield writes, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser isn’t about storytelling, but “storyliving.” That marketing term might be a little on the goofy side, but it does accurately describe the focus on immersion that Disney has taken with many of its recent theme park projects. And based on everything we know about the Starcruiser so far, it does seem to take that to the next level.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will open at some point in 2022. For more info, keep tabs on its official site. Also, as of today there’s a model of the Halcyon, the ship on which the Galactic Starcruiser is set, on display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World.