How Apple Helped J.J. Abrams Design the New ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber

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Lucasfilm

The new Star Wars: Episode 7 lightsaber was the most hotly debated topic that came out of the first teaser trailer. What is this thing? Where did it come from? It turns out those answers might come from a very unlikely source: Apple.

Jony Ivy is the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple and the man credited with designing the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iOS 7. But, now he can add to his resume an even more impressive title: Lightsaber Designer Guy.

In a recent profile in the New Yorker, there's a very interesting anecdote from Star Wars director J.J. Abrams:

Ive once sat next to J. J. Abrams at a boozy dinner party in New York, and made what Abrams recalled as “very specific” suggestions about the design of lightsabers. Abrams told me that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would reflect those thoughts, but he wouldn’t say how.

“But he wouldn't say how.” Yeah, no s---. Well, luckily Ive himself isn't exactly as well-versed in the ways of the Mystery Box as Abrams. The Apple designer later explained his input:

I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty [...] more analog and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous.

Also, like most Apple products, the battery will run out halfway through something really important.

The sequence at the end of the Star Wars trailer where Kylo Ren (Kylo Ren?) walks through the snowy woods and activates his new-fangled lightsaber does immediately set an ominous tone. The crackling, “spitty” texture of the blade is nothing like we've ever seen before in the Star Wars universe and sets Ren (Ren?) apart from previous Star Wars villains in an exciting way.

Ive was very quick to clarify that he had nothing to do with the controversial crossblade, nor did he seem to have any details on why this particular lightsaber looked so “primitive”. But, it's interesting that a designer, best known for his sleek and smooth works, could now be known for something so ragged and rough.

Star Wars: Episode 7 opens in theaters on December 18.

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