Luke Skywalker returned in The Empire Strikes Back with his father's trusty lightsaber. It was, of course, still made from an antique Graflex 3-cell flash as it was in A New Hope.
Graflex 3-Cell Flash Gun
This time it had a few changes though. One change to the flash itself was the addition of a second red button where the test light lens was located, as seen above. Since the parts were interchangeable the lens and lightbulb were easily removed and the button from a second Graflex 3 cell was put in their place. Some of the ESB Skywalker lightsabers had the tab removed from underneath the red button socket. This sheet metal piece under the button and the post that it pivots on were both removed on these lightsaber props. We've made note of exactly which ones are missing the piece in the list at the bottom of this page.
Graflex Red Button
This time six 3 5/8" long black rubber handgrips were added to the bottom half of the flash (the ANH version had seven). The exact identity of the grip material has yet to be determined, but recent revelations suggest hard black plastic T-track from old cupboards with sliding doors. A great deal of this material was used throughout the trilogy on dozens of props. For The Empire Strikes Back, notches were cut into the Skywalker saber grips near the bottom. Holes were drilled in these notches and fasteners were added to help hold the grips on. The exact type of fastener used on each prop is unclear. The only type known for certain are the phillips head screws used on the Dagobah version. The current Master Replicas lightsaber replica uses rivets in the grips which may have been used on one or more of the original props. On film the fasteners appear dark or almost black which confuses the issue even more.
Note: On at least one lightsaber prop (Dagobah version - seen at top) the grips were reinforced even more with small slotted round head screws added at the top of each grip to the right of the ridge.
The mounting clamp in the middle of the flash is what attached it to the camera. Slid into this clamp is a section of an old HP-44 bus type computer card edge connector. It was cut down to 2" long leaving 13 gold connectors that taper down to thin silver lines. Shown below is an example of the type of computer card used. Some of the lightsabers had the wide gold connector side towards the clamp lever, while others had the thin silver lines that way.
HP-44 Bus Type Computer Card Edge Connector
The name "Graflex" on the middle band was covered by a strip of 1/2" wide chrome mylar tape, made for graphic art applications. One of the lightsabers had "Graflex" covered by 1" wide textured aluminum tape (Dagobah version - seen at top).
The D-ring assembly on the bottom of the lightsaber is the same type used on Luke's Droid Caller from A New Hope (which became the Fusion Cutter for ESB). The piece originally came from an old Kobold camera flash. On the side of the flash is a rectangular piece that the reflector would slide into. On the right side of this piece were a screw and thin long metal plate. These were removed, revealing 2 holes, and a new hole was drilled on the left side at a height to match the topmost hole on the right. These two holes, the newly drilled one and topmost right one, is where a 1" D-ring was attached. The middle section of the D-ring (about 1/4") was removed and the two ends fit into the 2 holes. There were several different Luke lightsabers made for The Empire Strikes Back, all of them had this assembly. One version, seen most clearly stuck in the ice inside the Wampa's cave, had the assembly flipped over and riveted to the bottom of the lightsaber (second version shown below).
Shown here is what the finished D-ring assembly looked like (actual size at 100 dpi)
There were many Luke Skywalker lightsaber props in The Empire Strikes Back.
Here are the 4 we've identified so far:
|Snowspeeder Escape / Wampa Cave Version (seen above)
- 2 red buttons
|Dagobah Version (seen at top)
(only intact version left at Lucasfilm, on display at Skywalker Ranch)
- One red button in the lens socket, button socket is empty.
|Severed Hand Stunt Version
(possibly a leftover ANH lightsaber)
- One red button in button socket, lens in lens socket
|Bladed Stunt Version
(can also be seen on the Darth Vader ROTJ lightsaber page)
- Fighting blade attached
Click Here for Lightsaber Grip Spacing Templates
in the Downloads Section