Everybody who loves movies has sen this iconic prop. It could even be argued, that it is one of the most recognizable props in the entire history of movies. It turns out that the original lightsabers from the Star Wars movie franchise are made from vintage camera flash guns.
In a very interesting short documentary episode of DigitalRev In-Focus dives into this almost forgotten little nugget of movie trivia. The clip explains how set decorator Roger Christian is singlehandedly responsible for giving us the now iconic look of the lightsaber. It happened on a chance day in London’s West End where the set decorator ran across the vintage camera flash guns. Due to the relatively small budget, since nobody knew what a worldwide hit Star wars would become, Christian had to find his inspiration in the local thrift stores and antique dealers. In one of the stores he was successful and found a 1940s Graflex camera with a attached flash gun. The handle would later become the base of the lightsaber.
The actual build cost of the original lightsaber from Star Wars was merely $15. One of the two originals created for Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader respectively was sold to a museum in Seattle for the staggering amount of $250000. This makes this prop one of the most expensive movie props ever sold.