What makes Star Wars so epic? Is it the galaxy-spanning story, the larger-than-life characters or the mythic scale? All of these elements contribute, but one of the series' most enduring inventions is also one of its smallest. When you think Star Wars, you think lightsabers. They're the weapon of choice for Jedis and fans alike. At some point, everyone's pretended to wield the colorful beam; it's a childhood staple that is pretty close to a universal cultural touchstone.
In celebration of the lightsaber, the official Star Wars YouTube page has released a 15-minute featurette detailing the history of the "laser sword," how it's used in the movies and how sound designer Ben Burtt came up with the iconic effects that define it as much as its look. There's plenty of commentary from Burtt, Mark Hamill and George Lucas himself as well as some awesome behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the saga's duels. Check it out below, and take some time to honor an elegant weapon from a more civilized age.