Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm back in 2012 wasn't just to make more Star Wars movies, it was to get to the real money, Star Wars merchandising and theme park rides. Black Spire Outpost is open on both coasts of the United States with the interactive Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel scheduled to open soon, and now it seems like Disney is making real lightsabers. Star Wars fans have already been able to custom make their own lightsabers at Disneyland and Disney World, but the new versions will extend and retract from the hilt like a "real" lightsaber (their ability to deflect blaster bolts is unclear)
WDW News Today brings word of this revelation, which came during a virtual press conference held today. Near the conclusion of “A Special Look Inside Disney Parks," Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro reportedly "pulled out a lightsaber emitter, similar to those you would purchase from Galaxy’s Edge, turned it on, and a true-to-life, just-like-the-movies lightsaber blade rose up." D'Amaro apparently added “It’s real," before the video ended. No photos or videos have appeared online, and likely won't for some time, but the hype train has already left the station on the lightsabers.
News of this revelation has prompted many to recall a patent previously applied for and granted to Disney Enterprises titled "Sword device with retractable, internally illuminated blade." A search on Google Parents for the device reveals an extensive explained for it which reads in part:
"A special effects device for providing an energy sword effect. The device includes two long plastic semi-cylinders, and these two blade body members are rolled perpendicular to their length, which creates compact cylinders of material of small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools in a hilt. To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt unrolls the blade body members from the spools. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway that nests the semi-cylindrical blade body members together as they leave the hilt. To retract the blade, the process is reversed. The lighting of the blade is achieved with a flexible strip of light sources. The light source strip is attached to a blade end cap and positioned in the center of the two blade body members such that it is pulled up along with the blade body members during their extension."
It's unclear when these lightsabers will be fully revealed to the public, along with a price tag, but with a tease like this it seems likely that they could be shown off by year's end, especially as the Disney parks begin to re-open with larger capacities.