There is a sad reality that Star Wars fans have had to face for decades: As realistic as they might appear, those plastic toy lightsabers aren’t nearly as effective and deadly as the ones depicted in the movies. At best, they’re light-up cudgels with prerecorded “vwing, vwing” sound effects. An electrical engineer named Allen Pan has been working to change that, though. Having already fabricated his own copy of Thor’s famous hammer, Mjolnir—that only he can lift—Pan has now dedicated himself to making an actual, working lightsaber that really cuts through stuff. In truth, Pan’s weapon is more like a flamethrower with a very controlled, focused “blade” made of fire rather than Jedi magic, and it doesn’t seem capable of cutting off anyone’s hand. Yet. At present, Pan is demonstrating the awesomeness of his lightsaber through a few simple but impressive stunts: lighting a cigarette, popping some Stormtrooper balloons, burning the shit out of a picture of Jar Jar Binks, etc. That’s definitely a start. He can even create different color beams. Want a green lightsaber? A little boric acid will do the trick.
While Jedi knighthood remains a distant goal, Pan has a YouTube channel devoted to his strange endeavors. “I’m just gonna do all kinds of crazy stuff,” he promises. In demonstrating his homemade, push-button lightsaber, Pan explains that his model was based on an existing prop, so the familiar sound effects were already built into the hilt of the futuristic sword. The blade itself doesn’t really make that noise. Weirdly, as some sort of safety precaution, Pan requests that those testing out his creation have plenty of alcohol on hand. “As long as we’ve got the beer and a fire extinguisher,” he reports, “then, like, nothing bad can happen.” This can only end well for all concerned.