Did Samsung’s still-not-released but definitely-really-coming-sometime-next-month Galaxy Fold influence Rey’s flashy folding lightsaber in the next Star Wars film? Probably not. But it’s undeniable that flippy gadgets are having a moment. Rey’s lightsaber would look a lot more silly if that weren’t the case.
I mean, consider the fact that she is using a tuning fork as a blade and that it has a clear weak point (the hinge), which will likely be the first point of failure when the weapon is exposed to extreme Forces. Or that there is no way she doesn’t chop off a limb with one errant swing of the hinge.
And how much give is in the hinge anyways? Is it mean to be more like giant nunchucks or a three-section staff, and if it’s the latter, will her fighting with it hopefully look cooler than every Youtube video I’ve found? (Editor’s note: Cranz insists only three-section staff users look stupid and that nunchucks are always cool).
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Presumably, it’s got a flashy hinge but is ultimately similar to previously seen hinged lightsabers. My colleague James Whitbrook immediately noted to me that Pong Krell has two folding lightsabers in the animated Clone Wars saga.
But the folding action in Krell’s lightsaber never exactly had the flashy flippy moment Rey’s blade gets in the latest footage for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Krell only really ever lit one half of the weapon at a time, and it is very easy to miss that his blades fold. Rey’s blade is undeniably more gadget-like.
It’s not uncommon for lightsabers to tap into the gadget lust. The original ones were constructed from old camera parts, and later ones borrowed from the industrial design of everything from staple guns to a vibrator (Palpatine straight-up wields a lightsaber dildo). We reached out to LucasFilms to see if Rey’s blade was inspired by devices like the Galaxy Fold and will update should we learn more. But even without comment from a Star Wars propmaster, it’s clear this lightsaber is coming from the same headspace the bulging breakable flip phone, long-in-gestation flip tablet, and probably-never-gonna-happen dual-screen laptop come from.
Overly complex gadgets are neat. No one you know actually wants to own a Galaxy Fold, but if you’re a regular reader of Gizmodo’s gadget coverage you probably, on some level, covet one (or at least want to check it out). There’s a pleasure in a goofy gadget like the foldy phone. A quaintness to its complexity that leaves you with a smile. For me, the Fold and Rey’s dumb sword seem akin to devices tugged out of Skymall catalogs and Sharper Images stores that gave me a love for gadgets in the first place. I’ll honestly be disappointed if that lightsaber doesn’t at least have a calculator built in.