Arguably, the lightsaber is one of the most recognized symbols of Star Wars. If you walk around just about anywhere with a lightsaber, people will be able to identify it as the ‘cool laser sword’ from Star Wars. That said, the lightsaber hobby remains unknown to many people, including Star Wars fans.
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The lightsaber hobby encompasses many sub-hobbies, including: lightsaber collecting, lightsaber DIY projects, lightsaber dueling clubs, lightsaber choreography and more. There’s something for everyone, really.
Lightsabers are still somewhat obscure, even among Star Wars fans. Although I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the 1990s, I only found out about custom lightsaber manufacturer Ultrasabers just a few years ago. Ultrasabers is one of the oldest and largest customs saber companies around (they were founded in 2005). Many other Star Wars fans don’t know about or don’t collect lightsabers either. Some fans know about the existence of the officially licensed Star Wars Force FX lightsabers, but know little to nothing about the lightsaber hobby as a whole.
The lightsaber hobby is growing rapidly. Although Ultrasabers, Saberforge and Vader’s Vault are some of the largest and most established custom saber companies, other popular customs saber companies have popped up just in the past two or three years including: Electrum Sabercrafts, Sabertrio, The Pach Store, and Kyberlight, among others.
Similarly, lightsaber dueling clubs, like The Saber Legion (TSL), have enjoyed explosive growth. The Saber Legion, founded in 2015, has amassed thousands of members worldwide in a just a few short years. The Saber Legion hosts lightsaber tournaments around the United States. ESPN 2 even featured a TSL tournament in the programming in August 2018.
Maybe the lightsaber hobby will never become mainstream. Maybe collecting and dueling lightsabers forever remain a niche endeavor. Still, given the explosive growth hobby has enjoyed in just a few short years, maybe lightsabers have a shot a going mainstream after all.
Interest in lightsabers often spikes around the time of new Star Wars movie release. The final installment of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is slated for release in December 2019. It will be fun to see how much the lightsaber hobby has grown and evolved by then.