George Lucas, Mark Hamill and Ben Burtt discuss the history of the lightsaber from the early days of its creation to the blindingly-fast battles of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Hokey religions and ancient weapons may be no match for a good blaster at your side, but when it comes to iconic Star Wars weaponry, nothing – nothing – matches the lightsaber. Like much of Star Wars, the famed laser sword has its roots in earlier films, particularly the swashbuckling pirate flicks of the 1940s, and although working a melee weapon into a film that’s ostensibly about great, futuristic armies clashing across the galaxy was a bit of a stretch, Lucas, Hamill and sound designer Burtt do a good job of not just explaining the rationale, but making sense of it, too. Even the evolution of lightsaber fights, from the lumbering throw-down between Obi-Wan and Vader to the acrobatics of Yoda and Dooku, is covered in a way that’s close enough to plausible to be satisfactory.
The video touches on just about everything you could imagine – did you know that the famous lightsaber sound has its roots in the hum of an old film projector? – but the best parts are the behind-the-scenes clips, of which there are many, primarily from the original trilogy. If you’re a Star Wars fan (and come on, who isn’t?), you won’t find a better way to blow 16 minutes today than this.