This article has been updated.
In the original Star Wars movies and assorted apocrypha, a Jedi hopeful became a true Jedi Knight by building their own lightsaber. But now, thanks to Disneyland’s “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge” attractions, becoming a Jedi will just mean you have rich parents. If you want to take home a custom lightsaber from one of the new Star Wars parks at Disneyland, it will cost more than it costs to buy a ticket to Disneyland.
Last week, The Mercury News published an article about the exact financials of the new lightsabers, which are part of the new Star Wars parks opening later this year at Disneyland and Disney World in California and Florida, respectively. Turns out if you want to take home both the lightsaber hilt (handle) and the custom light-up blade (the sword part) it will run you $158 bucks. If you can somehow convince your kid that they will be fine with just the hilt, it will only run you $49 bucks. Now, to be clear, there is a basic, entry-level lightsaber that is priced at $19.99. So, the $158 dollars is connected to the premium version of the lightsaber, which is the one with sound effects and light.
So, the premium lightsaber — with you know, light and sound — is pretty steep when you consider a ticket for one to Disneyland in Anaheim costs $149 buck right now, and will likely only increase in the coming years.
In the ’70s, the prop designers for the first Star Wars movie (which we know call “Episode IV: A New Hope”) made Luke’s famous lightsaber hilt using the handle from an antique Graflex camera flash. Meaning, the old lightsabers were basically pieced-together from technology which, even in the ’70s was becoming outdated. This lent some poetry to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s line about a lightsaber being “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” Personally, when I was a kid in 1993, there weren’t a lot of lightsaber toys. Inspired by what I read about the creation of the OG saber, I made a lightsaber hilt out of a broken lawn-sprinkler and the top of an engine piston that I found in my dad’s tool shed. I still have it. It’s my favorite lightsaber. It cost me nothing.
But, since the ’70 (and early ’90s) the lightsaber has become big business. This new $158 dollar lightsaber is by no means the first super-expensive Star Wars lightsaber toy/replica marketed at the public, but because it exists inside a new Disneyland attraction, it’s probably the first one that will make parents start siding with the Emperor.
Because if these lightsabers are so damn expensive, maybe the Empire — and Kylo Ren — are onto something. Do we really all need to become Jedi Knights if it costs this much?