Oscar-winning Set Designer Roger Christian on the New ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber

Oscar-winning Set Designer Roger Christian on the New ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber


Ever since the teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last Friday, the new lightsaber design has been a source of some controversy over its functionality and practicality. The BBC went to the man responsible for creating the original lightsabers for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – Oscar-winning set designer Roger Christianfor his initial reaction to the new design.

From the BBC:

The maker of the original lightsaber has taken a keen interest in the latest version, seen briefly in the newly released teaser.

Christian said: “Looking at the lightsaber in the trailer it has to be a found, older one as the blade is rougher, it’s flame-like, so not as smooth as the newer blades.

“The snowy environment would hint that someone has found an ancient saber so I surmised this is an older laser sword.

“For sure there is a lot of debate going to be blogged now about the little blade protection side flames. They look cool, but aren’t practical, and that was the original Star Wars mantra, everything had to look used and real. George wanted it that nothing ever stood out as designed, just a used universe that was real.

“So there has to be a reason coming for this laser sword. J J Abrams would have considered every visual in this first teaser.”

His last point is a good one – J.J. Abrams would have carefully considered everything he put in that teaser. He knew that lightsaber would attract attention, and that debates over its functionality would ensue. It seems unlikely that the design wasn’t well thought out from the get-go. The reasoning behind it will become clear on December 18, 2015.

You can read the full interview with Mr. Christian at BBC.com.

While we’re here, shall we take another look at that lightsaber? I think we should….

Thanks to CWK listener Kenny Kraly, Jr. for the heads-up!

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  1. Dennis Keithly (@DJKver2)
    December 2, 2014 at 13:58 Reply

    Those are some good points. I like the saber. Not everything in Star Wars makes the most technological or design sense. Take the AT-ATs. That isn’t the best design for a tank like transport. Four giant legs lumbering over the terrain is an obvious weakness. However, most people choose to focus on how cool the AT-AT is and not its design flaw.

    1. Lisa
      December 2, 2014 at 15:40 Reply

      Agreed. I think we should always bear in mind that Star Wars is fantasy, too. Fantasy allows for more leeway that science fiction.

  2. Melinda
    December 3, 2014 at 20:04 Reply

    I never get tired of watching the trailer — including seeing that cool looking lightsaber! 🙂 Awesome!!! (even if it is in the hands of a Dark Sider 😉 )

    I agree with Dennis — not everything in Star Wars always makes the most technological or design sense. Let’s use a little imagination here! Isn’t that what Star Wars is all about?

    It won’t be long before I begin my official countdown to the new film’s release. 🙂

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