ANH Vader Stunt Lightsaber

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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'd like to open up discussion about this prop, in the context of what we now know. (Thanks to one of our founding members)

So, what we're looking at here, the Barbican Vader saber, is actually the ANH motorized stunt that faced off against the V2. As a back-up, Luke's motorized ANH Stunt Graflex had the tip painted black and it was also used in that scene. (Funnily enough, the ROTJ shots and current BTS footage of Luke's old stunt saber show black tape on the emitter instead of paint, I guess they re-worked it into a vader stunt again, just with tape.)

Like the Luke ANH Stunt, it seems this prop was prepped for use as a fencing stunt, but probably never used. The Luke one, with it's allen screws, was heavily used behind the scenes.

Vader's severed hand was also a cast of this lightsaber.

I'm trying to also date the modifications to this thing.

Anyways, here are all the photos I have. Credit to the folks who originally posted them. If you'd like me to add you, let me know, I don't have them labeled in my hard drive.
 

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tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great pictures. I'm not an expert on the various sabers made, but clearly this was one of the sabers to inspire the ROTS version, which I do like as a prop design.
 

SethS

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’m away from home so I cant post the pic from the guide (p28), but it was at least used in ANH rehearsals as there is a BTS image of it. Also the Kenner ANH vader card has it I think.

And 100% it was the basis for the ROTS saber.
 

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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm also guessing the black pommel dot and the most protruding ring are a separate cap. The casting has an open end after the biggest pommel ring.

and there were 7 grips up until rotj when they cast the hand! so... this is 7 LONG grips. maybe for the ESB MPP... got the idea from the stunt saber?
 
Last edited:

James Kenobi 1138

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’ve never heard that the Barbican was used as an ANH stunt or even around during ANH filming. Was there new information released or is this speculation?

The Barbican shares many design elements and pieces associated with Vader sabers made at the end of ROTJ and used for promotion and Vader tour costumes.

We have many multiple set photos and screen shots of the Luke/Vader stunt saber in ANH, I’ve never seen the Barbican in ANH photos. I had always heard that due to light reflecting off the scotchlight blade onto Vader’s hands a square piece of cardboard/wood/metal/whatever was added at the emitter end but was not permanently attached as it’s not in many shots from the ANH duel.
 

SethS

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’ve never heard that the Barbican was used as an ANH stunt or even around during ANH filming. Was there new information released or is this speculation?

The Barbican shares many design elements and pieces associated with Vader sabers made at the end of ROTJ and used for promotion and Vader tour costumes.

We have many multiple set photos and screen shots of the Luke/Vader stunt saber in ANH, I’ve never seen the Barbican in ANH photos. I had always heard that due to light reflecting off the scotchlight blade onto Vader’s hands a square piece of cardboard/wood/metal/whatever was added at the emitter end but was not permanently attached as it’s not in many shots from the ANH duel.


This is what I presented in the guide, but Brandon gave a bunch of great notes based on what he’s learned at the archives.
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’ve never heard that the Barbican was used as an ANH stunt or even around during ANH filming. Was there new information released or is this speculation?

The Barbican shares many design elements and pieces associated with Vader sabers made at the end of ROTJ and used for promotion and Vader tour costumes.

We have many multiple set photos and screen shots of the Luke/Vader stunt saber in ANH, I’ve never seen the Barbican in ANH photos. I had always heard that due to light reflecting off the scotchlight blade onto Vader’s hands a square piece of cardboard/wood/metal/whatever was added at the emitter end but was not permanently attached as it’s not in many shots from the ANH duel.

In Seth's guide, that's stickied up top of the forum, Brandon took the time to write up a few corrections to Seth's pdf. this was one of them!

The small D ring attached to the silver piece is not on the emitter on this saber. The saber in your photos is not the Barbican. The big thing around the emitter is just a hand guard. The Vader ANH stunt is just a pipe with a slant cut and the top painted black.

http://i826.photobucket.com/albums/zz190/ThePropDen/4f166643.jpg

this saber is Luke's ANH graflex tube stunt with the tip painted black.

The Barbican at the time had a square shoulder

- - - Updated - - -

This was taken from post #292 of that thread.

"ANH Vader motorized (bladed) saber - the one with the square hood and thick emitter seen in several production photos *is* the "Barbican" saber. The front of the square hood was later turned down and possibly other mods made. In BTS stills you can see a piece of T-track near the short side of the Emitter. Looks at the ROJ "severed hand" resin Vader saber. It was molded from the Barbican. It has that same T-track in place. (note: that resin saber would not have been made by Freeborn, but by the prop department.) I don't think this was ever used again as a dueling saber prop, though it was likely prepared for that purpose."

- - - Updated - - -

This was taken from post #292 of that thread.

"ANH Vader motorized (bladed) saber - the one with the square hood and thick emitter seen in several production photos *is* the "Barbican" saber. The front of the square hood was later turned down and possibly other mods made. In BTS stills you can see a piece of T-track near the short side of the Emitter. Looks at the ROJ "severed hand" resin Vader saber. It was molded from the Barbican. It has that same T-track in place. (note: that resin saber would not have been made by Freeborn, but by the prop department.) I don't think this was ever used again as a dueling saber prop, though it was likely prepared for that purpose."
 

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SethS

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Neither did we until Brandon dropped it!

Those pics I posted-- I ASSUME those are the Barbican with it's original head piece. We've always assumed that was a piece slipped onto the Luke/Vader shared stunt, but I think that supposition came from assuming there was only one stunt.

The grips don't lie!
 

James Kenobi 1138

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I still disagree that the Barbican was around in ANH unless I see behind the scenes photos or clear screen-shots.

The thicker shroud matches the thicker shroud used on the Ketzer saber as well as the Energizer saber, and they all have the same detail piece on the top next to the shroud.

Plus you see this thicker shroud on the Planet Hollywood Vader saber that also has small piece of T-track on the underside by the shroud:

2v2JvTdAmx9iKVL.jpg


2v2JvTdwDx9iKVL.jpg


The Planet Hollywood Vader saber was also used in one of the Darth Vader promotional cardboard Standees in the 1990s. The other Vader Standee uses the Barbican saber.

It also features the same square d-ring on the shroud, the same thicker shroud, the same detail piece on the top, the same T-track on the bottom side next to the shroud, but it does not have an MPP clamp- only an MPP lever on a custom made clamp substitute.

At the end of ROTJ they made a handful of promotional Vader sabers for various promo suits and LFL uses as the MPP based ones went 'missing'. I believe the Barbican and the PH sabers were made around the same time.

Brandon knows his stuff, I've just got to see it with my own eyes to believe it. The Barbican has too many similar features to well-known post-1983 Vader promo sabers and it shares so little with the OT MPP based Vader sabers.
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks James, well tempered as usual, I sometimes get over excited haha

i was wondering if the promo sabers were modeled after this one sitting in the archives
 

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Halliwax

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In Seth's guide, that's stickied up top of the forum, Brandon took the time to write up a few corrections to Seth's pdf. this was one of them!



this saber is Luke's ANH graflex tube stunt with the tip painted black.

The Barbican at the time had a square shoulder

- - - Updated - - -

This was taken from post #292 of that thread.

"ANH Vader motorized (bladed) saber - the one with the square hood and thick emitter seen in several production photos *is* the "Barbican" saber. The front of the square hood was later turned down and possibly other mods made. In BTS stills you can see a piece of T-track near the short side of the Emitter. Looks at the ROJ "severed hand" resin Vader saber. It was molded from the Barbican. It has that same T-track in place. (note: that resin saber would not have been made by Freeborn, but by the prop department.) I don't think this was ever used again as a dueling saber prop, though it was likely prepared for that purpose."

- - - Updated - - -

This was taken from post #292 of that thread.

"ANH Vader motorized (bladed) saber - the one with the square hood and thick emitter seen in several production photos *is* the "Barbican" saber. The front of the square hood was later turned down and possibly other mods made. In BTS stills you can see a piece of T-track near the short side of the Emitter. Looks at the ROJ "severed hand" resin Vader saber. It was molded from the Barbican. It has that same T-track in place. (note: that resin saber would not have been made by Freeborn, but by the prop department.) I don't think this was ever used again as a dueling saber prop, though it was likely prepared for that purpose."

I thought that was Luke’s ANH blade spinner.. thanks for clarifying that tom!
 

BAlinger15

Community Founder
Hi guys,

The Barbican is the Vader ANH dueling saber with the square shroud at the top, as notably seen on the Kenner cardback. Yes, there is an image of Vader dueling with a saber without the square shroud - this is the Luke dueling saber with the emitter painted black, as also seen in a Hamill publicity photo. But the one with the square shroud was clearly meant for Vader / based on the MPP belt hanger.

Photos of the Vader dueling with square shroud in ANH:

Saber1.jpg Saber2.jpg

Note the piece of T-track at the top, just under the hood, on the "short emitter side." That is not on the prop today, but was post filming and is seen in the "Vader severed hand" prop, which is a cast of the Barbican, obviously made for ROJ. Some of the other greeblies may have been in place during ANH, or may have been added later (when it was reconditioned for ESB or ROJ), hard to say.

Other things worth pointing out:

1. Note the T-track grips are proper OT grips matching other sabers, not slightly different/resin cast grips seen on promo sabers built in the 90s.

2. Note prominent hole visible in grip area where on/off button would have been, just like Luke's saber.

3. Note how the rounded radius of the shroud meets the square part in a rough/uneven manner - it was clearly ground down later to better match the other sabers.

4. The Barbican doesn't show up in any other photos from ESB or ROJ that I'm aware of, but is present in a post-ROJ filming inventory photo along with the Vader Graflex, the hero MPP belt hanger (now in the collection of Stephen Lane), and the Vader MPP dueling saber with allen bolts (MIA today.)

5. It has a real MPP clamp as you say while the other promo sabers don't. They didn't have MPPs around when building promo sabers later on.

6. Again, the Vader severed hand saber, which was obviously made in 82 for ROJ filming, is an exact cast of the Barbican. How did they have an exact cast on hand for ROJ if the prop wasn't made until the later promo sabers?

In vader45's post above you see the Luke painted as Vader saber, which must have been used when they had some trouble with the square-shroud one. Here's a publicity photo showing that same saber in close up.

HamillSab.jpg

The reason the 90s promo sabers are similar to the Barbican is because they were copies of the Barbican. But the Barbican is absolutely an OT-era saber.

Are there photos of promo Vader sabers being used circa early-mid 80s? I do not believe any "promo" Vader sabers were made until the 90s, and again they were made as copies of the Barbican.

Best,
Brandon
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Holy cow, thank you Brandon.

I have been working on a Luke ANH stunt here at home and the other week I put the graflex clamp on upside down and drilled holes for the push button and the wire hole.

looking back at the Barbican with fresh eyes I thought that’s what those holes must be for! A year or two ago all I could come up with were screw holes to keep the grips on but they were huge and out of place... crazy

I’m also intrigued as this is another saber rigged with countersunk bolts and an insert for a blade. The prequels didn’t do this so I’ve been fascinated with any prop set up this way. Regretfully another member joined that conversation and I’ve been worried they soured the mood on stunt sabers :D
 

SethS

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If the Barbican was one of the only ones around post ROTJ it makes since that's what all the other 90s promo sabers would have used it as a basis... well, it makes sense in the respect that that Don Bies looked at it as a model...

...what doesn't make sense is all the archival images he could have looked at instead. ;)
 

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