How an antique camera flash became the most famous Star Wars prop ever

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May 2, 2017, 10:38 AM EDT (Updated)

Back when George Lucas was putting together Star Wars: A New Hope, he was working on a relatively small budget and had to cut a few corners in creating a galaxy far, far away. In fact, one of the most iconic props from the film was made from a broken piece of an antique camera flash.

As DigitalRev In-Focus points out, Luke's lightsaber was put together for a mere $15 by set decorator Roger Christian. He visited a little photography shop on London's West End, where he ran across a three-cell flash gun attached to a 1940s Graflex camera. All it took was a few tweaks and Luke's lightsaber was born. It's a fascinating bit of sci-fi history, and a testament to the fact that a bit of ingenuity can trump a million-dollar FX budget any day.

As for Christian's original $15 lightsaber props? One of the two he created recently sold to a Seattle museum for $250,000, which places it among the most expensive movie props ever sold (it landed behind Deckard's gun from Blade Runner, in case you're wondering).

If you want a deep dive into the creation of Luke's lightsaber, check out the video feature below.