Blade flicker is a visual effect that simulates a flame-like unsteady flare or lively glimmer in a lightsaber blade. Unstable blades, like the blades on the Kylo Ren lightsaber or the Dark Rey folding lightsaber, exhibit blade flicker. A flicker may range in speed and depth. For example, a flicker could appear fast and chaotic or slow and subtle. How much or how little the flicker warps the appearance of the blade could vary as well.
Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive for came up with the concept of a flickering lightsaber blade. Prior to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ives and director J.J. Abrams talked about lightsabers at a dinner party. Ives mentioned that he “thought [a lightsaber] would be more 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.”
SOURCE: Parker, Ian. “Jonathan Ive and the Future of Apple.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2015, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/shape-things-come.
Released in 2005, the Star Wars: The Black Series Kylo Ren Force FX lightsaber is the first officially licensed lightsaber to feature a blade flickering effect. Plecter Labs, a France based custom lightsaber soundboard company, introduced a custom and customizable blade flicker visual effect in 2006 on the Crystal Focus V1 soundboard and Luxeon driver.
Troubleshooting Unintentional Blade Flicker
A lightsaber may suffer from unintentional blade flicker if the batteries are loose or low on power. The problem can often be solved by securing the batteries in the battery holder or by charging or replacing the batteries.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT Lucasfilm/Disney
Image depicts Kylo Ren with crossguard lightsaber