How Apple designer Jony Ive influenced the design of the new Star Wars lightsaber

The new lightsaber that made its debut in last year’s teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens ignited no small amount of controversy with its fiery cross guards and sparking, low-tech visual style. While the viability of such a weapon has been debated endlessly since the footage premiered, the origins of the design have remained something of a mystery — until now, that is.

Apparently, the new lightsaber’s design sprang (in part) from the mind of Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, Jonathan Ive.

A recent issue of The New Yorker revealed the connection between a suggestion from the man who designed nearly every product to come out of Apple and the much-discussed lightsaber from JJ Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens.

“Ive once sat next to JJ Abrams at a boozy dinner party in New York, and made what Abrams recalled as ‘very specific’ suggestions about the design of lightsabres,” recalls the author of the article. “Abrams told me that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would reflect those thoughts, but he wouldn’t say how.”

Related: Watch Stephen Colbert slice through the Star Wars lightsaber controversy

While one might think the design of the cross guards is where Ive’s suggestions were enacted, it was actually the fiery, sparking bursts of energy emitted by the blades that Ive had once recommended as a potential tweak to the iconic sci-fi sword.

“It was just a conversation,” said Ive of his lightsaber-related chat with Abrams, only to add that while he didn’t offer any advice related to the cross guards, he had indeed made a case for bringing some unevenness to the sword.

“I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty,” he explained, adding that such a chance would make the lightsaber seem “more analog and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous.”

And given the public reaction to the trailer, it certainly seems as if he was right.