The real world is scarily close to having a key piece of fantasy weaponry from the Star Wars galaxy. While lightsabers are without question the most famous weapons in the franchise, blasters are a close second. Several characters in the films use them, and many of the saga's greatest battles wouldn't be possible without them. Particularly in a movie where there are no Jedi present to help in the fight (like Rogue One), blasters are a necessary and vital piece of Star Wars lore. Han Solo's DL-44 is arguably as iconic as any one lightsaber hilt.
It's actually quite common for sci-fi/fantasy productions to influence the advancement of technology here on Earth. Star Trek's communicators were the inspiration for the old flip phone, for example. Soon, it may not just be everyday, normal life that gets impacted. According to experts in the science field, warfare might be the next to be changed by concepts that seem pulled right out of a science-fiction film.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2017 last week, there was a panel called Science of Star Wars, and those involved were inquired about how realistic Star Wars weapons really are. Everyone would like to own their own lightsaber, but fans may have to settle for blasters until technology catches up. Kieran Dickson of CometTV.com and MGM Studios explained that the concept of blasters isn't far off:
"Lasers feel like they're the ultimate sci-fi weapon, but actually they're being used right now. You might have seen a few stories breaking this week about the US Navy test-firing their laser weapons system and if you read it, it's pretty amazing what they're doing. Because lasers travel at the speed of light, they don't have to worry about tracking the target. They point and shoot. Even a stromtrooper could hit those targets. So, laser weapons are real and they definitely aren't going anywhere soon. It's kind of terrifying, because normally a missile would cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to take down one object. But these laser weapon systems cost about a dollar per shot. Which is pretty good value - terrifying value."
Dickson acknowledged that there are two schools of thought about what a blaster is in Star Wars canon, with some believing the guns shoot out a charged gas (and not a laser). Even then, the charged gas would still probably come out at the speed of light, so the military seems to be on the right track. It's worth pointing out this was just a test, so the Navy is not using a laser weapons system in combat yet (as of this writing), but they're taking the steps needed in order to make it happen. In the event a Navy ship ever does fire a laser to take down an enemy, it would certainly make many people think of a Republic cruiser in the midst of a space battle.
It was mentioned at the panel that every year Science of Star Wars comes to SDCC, they get questions about the weapons of the galaxy far, far away being translated to the real world, so maybe next time Dickson provides an update, lasers will be in soldiers' rifles or even fighter jets. One thing's for sure, time are changing, and the line between fiction and reality could be blurred even more in a few years.
Source: San Diego Comic-Con 2017
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019