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The following contains spoilers for the lightsaber building experience at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Yes, really.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge promises experiences unlike anything we've ever experienced before, and the new land largely delivers. However, while Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is certainly an innovate and impressive attraction, my favorite part of my own visit to Black Spire Outpost may have been the experience of constructing my own lightsaber.
As had been previously reported, the experience is not a cheap one, and the price alone will, unfortunately, likely turn a lot of people away by itself, but if you can afford, I for one believe that the experience is worth the price.
To get started, what is that price? It's $200. Yes, now that you've swallowed your tongue, let me explain that you're not simply paying for a really expensive souvenir, but a personalized show than ends with a really expensive souvenir.
As you approach Savi's Workshop, once you find it, because I had some trouble, you find employees who claim they work in "scrap metal." If you are interested in purchasing some of their scrap, they'll show you several different options. Each drawer contains different styles of metal pieces. The woman tells me that some of these pieces represent strength, while others represent defense.
You choose which style looks the most interesting to you, then you pay your 200 "credits." You're given a pin that represents your choice and you're led to a waiting area to wait your turn.
When the door to the workshop popped open, a woman stuck her head out and began to look around nervously, as if she were afraid she was being watched. Once satisfied the coast was clear, we were ushered quickly inside, where each us were presented with an empty work bench.
The woman who led us in, Josie, is flanked by a pair of assistants. She begins to tell us about about the noble lightsaber, being the weapon of the Jedi. She talks about the stories that have been told of the noble Luke Skywalker, and how he stood against the First Order. Those stories have drawn many to feel the pull of the Force, including those of us in this room right now. It's a direct reference to the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that may have been the moment that I most felt like I was inside a Star Wars movie. The idea that the four of us in that room, like "broom boy," were potential Jedi whose power was only just now coming out, felt like magic. I had been called here.
First we had to select our Kyber crystals. Four color options are available, blue, green, violet, and red. As Josie takes each crystal she holds it up, and begins to speak on what the color represents and the famous Jedi who have used lightsabers of that color. As she does this, the lights in the room change color to match the crystal, and the music, which I hadn't even realized was playing, and is clearly part of the brand new score reated by John Williams, changes. Each crystal has its own music cue which appears to be controlled actively rather than simply being a case of timing the speech to the music.
I went with the classic blue crystal.
Once you have your crystal, it's time to start putting your lightsaber together. Based on the pin that you're wearing that represents your choice earlier, a set of pieces is placed in front of you.
You're given several pieces to choose from, more than you'll need. This gives you some additional freedom to create the type of saber that you want.
These pieces are the real deal. They're metal, not plastic. They have real weight to them. Put all the pieces together and you have the hilt that looks and feels like what a "real" lightsaber hilt must feel like.
Once completed, a sort of ritual takes place that gives your new lightsaber a blade. It's a surprisingly emotional experience. I think I caught a mother who was there watching her child build a saber, getting a little misty.
At this point, the newly anointed lightsaber wielders are greeted by a voice known very well to the world of Star Wars. I'm not going to spoil it, but, needless to say, if I wasn't feeling emotional before, I was after this.
Each lightsaber is then given a soft case to be placed into. For story purposes, this is to conceal the item because the First Order would not take kindly to people brandishing about lightsabers in the streets, but of course it also makes transporting the object easier as you continue your day, as well as make it easier to carry onto an airplane when you go home.
If you were just spending $200 on a really nice lightsaber, that would be one thing, and it would be tough to recommend. Even as it is, for the 15-20 minute experience that ends with the really nice lightsaber, it won't be for everybody. But for me, it was the highlight of my first trip to Batuu. I can't wait for the next one.