WATCH: Disney Shows Off Real Star Wars Lightsaber at SXSW

It first started with reports that Disney had filed a patent for a real Star Wars lightsaber. Eventually the company would roll out the tech in just one place, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel. For attendees of this year’s SXSW festival however, the weapon of the jedi was given a prime spot and you can see that actual thing in action. As part of a panel titled “Creating Happiness: The Art & Science of Disney Parks Storytelling,” Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro took to the stage at SXSW and ignited a lightsaber for a room full of people to see. Watch it for yourself below.

Disney’s 100-year legacy is built on the intersection of creativity, innovation, and storytelling,” D’Amaro said about his panel. “We’re humbled by the fact that millions of people choose Disney as their vacation destination every year to escape into our beloved stories. To our guests around the world, I want to tell you that we’ve only just begun….We want to invent the future once again – together – drawing on a range of voices and perspectives that will help us continue to create even more happiness around the world.”

The panel wasn’t just a place to show off lightsabers from a galaxy far, far away, but also for Disney to show off some of their other builds. Among them was a brand-new prototype robot which had the ability to make dynamic maneuvers, including falling down and getting back up, as well as a somersault. Using motion-capture data, the ‘bot is able to create performances that evoke emotion, giving Disney Imagineers a new way to bring out a characters’ personality.

The presentation also included a behind-the-scenes look at another blue-sky concept from Disney Imagineers that lets fans have a live conversation with pixie-sized Tinker Bell. It’s the latest in innovations from Disney Imagineers to bring Disney characters, both big and small, to life in new ways. The Hulk character who appeared at Disney California Adventure Park in 2022 was also on display for the audience. This unique, exoskeleton allows performers to operate large, non-human characters.