The lightsaber is perhaps the most iconic weapon in cinema history, but it's also one of the most complicated devices to capture on camera. "Every laser sword is part real and part animated," George Lucas says in a "Star Wars" featurette posted to the series' official YouTube account last week. "The Birth of the Lightsaber" offers a 16-minute look at how the sci-fi fighting tools came to be. Most of the lightsabers' neon glow and loud clashing sounds were added in post-production, which makes it fascinating to watch the raw footage of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader battling with what Mark Hamill calls "chintzy" stand-in swords.
Watch the featurette from the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy: