Sunday, May 4, 2014

May The 4th Be With Disney

This weekend, my roommate and I journeyed to find a local Disney store. We arrived too late to receive one of the Star Wars pins given to the first 100 visitors, but we did nab some trading cards and browse their Star Wars merchandise.

We were also just in time for a Jedi training event. Store employees guided a crowd of kids (we adults participated from the back) in the ways of the Jedi, with an emphasis on non-violent confrontation. A short video explained the story of A New Hope - and went from 'nicely edited' to 'fantastic' in my head when they followed Ben's quote about the Clone Wars and the old Jedi Order with clips from Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith. It was heartwrenching!

The video also became interactive, with nosy stormtroopers peeking on in our "Rebel cell." We learned how to wave our hands to perform mind tricks - and the key to using Jedi mind tricks, the Disney Jedi Master explained, was to act calm and natural. That's good advice for a rambunctious kid.

Then, store employees handed out small inflatable lightsabers to teach blocks and attacks, as well as a polite salute. More interactive video followed, including the remote droid in the Millennium Falcon, and an unexpected but very cool X-Wing flight sequence. Disney knows exactly how to make things interactive and immersive.

Ever since the announcement of the Sequel Trilogy, Disney has used material not from The Clone Wars but from the Original Trilogy, a trend which continued in both the interactive event and the merchandising.

There was no Rebels toys merchandise yet. After all of the participants got their Rebel 'badges of courage,' though, the Disney Jedi showed the new Rebels trailer - a nice surprise, as this was the first time I'd ever seen it.

I really enjoyed the trailer, from Kanan's dramatic appearance to the still very painterly look of some of the scenes. 

That is the only May the 4th event I'll have time for today, but it would be hard to top flying an X-Wing anyway.

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