George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful and beloved in the entertainment world. Having produced six wildly popular movies that have earned him a net worth of $5.8 billion, Lucas will go down in history as one of the greatest storytellers of all time.
Numerous drama and adventure movies inspired Star Wars, with Lucas getting many of his ideas from pirate and romance films of the 1940s. This inspiration can be seen in several aspects of the Star Wars universe, from its costumes and storylines to its themes and action sequences.
One of the most notable props in the Star Wars franchise is the lightsaber, a laser-powered sword ubiquitous with all Star Wars media. Yet, while every fan knows of the lightsaber’s design and power, few know of Lucas’ true intention behind creating it.
George Lucas developed ‘Star Wars’ because space operas fascinated him
Before Star Wars, Lucas had a desire to produce a film adaptation of the iconic Flash Gordon serial, according to PopMatters. However, he was unable to obtain the rights to the intellectual property and decided to create something of his own. Fascinated by the space dramas of his time, he created a treatment for the original Star Wars, which would become the premise for Episode IV — A New Hope.
Although studios were initially skeptical about investing in Star Wars, the original trilogy was a massive success and spawned six more movies that formed the sequel and prequel trilogies. Although Lucas initially was supposed to create nine Star Wars films, he stopped at six.
Lightsabers were unique Jedi and Sith weapons
While many characters within the Star Wars universe were involved in the conflict between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, only a few of them carried lightsabers. Lightsabers were sword-like weapons of Jedi Knights and Sith Lords that consisted of kyber crystal-powered plasma blades. Most other soldiers, criminals, and civilians in the Star Wars universe relied on blasters to protect themselves.
On the surface, lightsabers might seem like archaic weapons in comparison to the futuristic blasters. However, there’s more to their design than viewers might know.
Lightsabers were symbols of a ‘simpler time when honor ruled’
The romantic side of fighting inspired Lucas, and he wanted to create an “elegant weapon from a more civilized age.” On the Star Wars YouTube page, Lucas explains the reasoning behind the weapon’s creation.
“There was chivalry and honor, that sort of thing,” Lucas said. “In developing a group of peacekeepers … I needed a weapon that was appropriate. … It was more a symbol of a simpler time, of a time before the Empire had taken over — a time when honor ruled. So it was more a symbol than it was an actual weapon in the movie.”
Wanting to stick with his original idea of having the Jedi fight with swords, Lucas created lightsabers to give the weapons a futuristic edge while making Jedi defensive, not offensive fighters.