Conceptual Artwork for Unproduced Gyroscopic Lightsaber
"The Force" Lightsaber was Kenner's second toy version of the Jedi weapon. It debuted with the company's Empire Strikes Back line of products in mid-1980. But the version of the toy that was released to stores differed considerably from the one that was originally planned. Specifically, the "gyroscopic" feature that Kenner had hoped to build into the saber was cancelled in favor of a design that would cause the toy to emit a "whoosh" sound whenever it was swung. Had the "gyroscopic" component been retained, the toy would have been battery-operated and capable of vibrating when its power was activated. The only known prototype of the gyroscopic "The Force" Lightsaber can be seen here. Although it was featured in the 1980 Toy Fair catalog, it was never sold in stores.

Now, the handle designs depicted in these pieces of conceptual artwork don't look exactly like the handle eventually included with "The Force" saber. But they certainly look more like the 1980 version of the weapon than the Inflatable Lightsaber of 1978.

However, the most significant features of these drawings are the large round casings that are shown as being built into each of the handles. These are undoubtedbly meant to represent the housings required for the gyroscopic elements, as a quick comparison with the gyroscopic prototype will prove. As you've probably noticed, these round elements are shown in these two drawings as being in different areas of the handles. Kenner must have been toying around with different design ideas.

This last image shows the date that is inscribed on the bottom of one of these pieces. They were painted in May of 1979, about a year before The Empire Strikes Back was released to theaters. Since it takes around a year to bring a plastic toy to market, this date is consistent with the idea that these images represent an early version of "The Force" Lightsaber.

Unfortunately, none of the items seen in these photos are known to currently be in existence. These images come from a batch of slides unearthed by Chris Fawcett, web master of

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Chris Fawcett
From the collection of: Anonymous
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Product Concepts


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