How the Toy Lightsaber Evolved

Compared to clumsy and random ones from the 70s, today's are elegant

Obama with a lightsaber

President Obama Wields A Light Saber

All right, lightsabers are still pretty far off. But scientists have taken their first steps into a larger world by creating "molecules" of light that might someday let them build things from photons.The White House via Wikimedia Commons

A long time ago (nearly four decades at this point) Star Wars burst out of theaters and straight into the marketing departments of companies like Kenner and Hasbro. Action figures and starship models have long populated the landscape of nerdy childhoods around the world, but no one toy was ever as coveted or abused as the plastic toy lightsaber.

Writer Jon Waterhouse put together a thorough exploration of all those generations of toys, that all those generations of kids whacked each other with in their backyards.

You might have ventured into the toy section recently as an adult, and been shocked by the quality and mechanics making everyone's favorite Jedi weapons look more realistic and cooler to play with.

Depending on exactly how old you are, lightsabers have changed a lot: from inflatable blades to stacking segmented translucent plastic, sound effects and motion sensors.

It even includes some of those high end replicas that you and I definitely didn't blow $200 on just so we could hit our friends in high school.

After all, they were designed for kids of a more civilized age.