Star Wars Day: A feel good story

May the Fourth be with you. Well, technically that was yesterday but here in Singapore, it is a three-day affair so we still have plenty of time to revel in the celebrations. If you don’t already know, this year’s Star Wars Day is held at the mystical Gardens by the Bay.

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Thank God for Force Friday

So it’s 4am and I’m too excited to sleep.

I’d just returned from the Singapore leg of the global unveiling of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise. Even before the midnight launch at Toys R US United Square, there had been a global unboxing livestreamed around the world on YouTube. While there had been many toys touted and coveted, I had personally kept my eye on the Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens MIllennium Falcon, which has – gasp! – an old Han Solo minifig! Of course, it was available at our Force Friday launch for $299 but being on crutches meant I had to choose my purchases carefully.

The queue into United Square atrium snaked around the mall

Rebels and Empire forces worked together to keep the rabble in line

Wisely, I decided to keep to a BB8 theme for the night. I’d arrived an hour ahead of the event and was promptly labeled 165 in the queue – which had, by this time, snaked around the basement atrium at United Square. Then it’s hunkering down for the hour.

My queue number – 165. Almost a lucky number, I think

My queue number – 165, almost a lucky number. I think. This ticket also lets me collect a goodie bag at the end of the night.

Nearing midnight, there was a sudden countdown and the queue lurched forward. It didn’t move very fast nor very long though. We’d barely taken five steps before the queue stopped again. This wasn’t unexpected, here was a very determined crowd of people who are craving the latest toys for The Force Awakens – and they WILL NOT BE rushed.

The entrance to the toyshop! I feel like a kid at Christmas!

The entrance to the toy shop! I feel like a kid at Christmas all over again!

Waiting in line didn’t wane our excitement. Of course, the good folks at the 501st Legion made sure we had lots of photo opportunities and there were many kids bashfully asking for portraits with their favourite Sith, Jedis, stormtroopers, scout troopers, rebel pilots and TIE pilots.

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

When push came to shove, even TIE pilots had to help direct fans to the nearest cashiers. With about 10 cashiers on hand, the queue moved very quickly as you can tell.

TIE Pilots were roped in to manage the very well controlled crowd

TIE pilots were roped in to match fans with cashiers

A “drone” view of the crowd taken by this lonely photographer from the top.

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

Lots of merchandise were on display but these First Order stormtroopers were begging to be shot.

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

After an hour of waiting, and another hour browsing the store on crutches – trying very hard not to get my foot trampled on – these were my two precious buys. The coveted Sphero BB8 app-enabled droid ($239) and the Hasbro Black Series Rey with BB8 doll.

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 and Black Series Rey with BB8

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 ($239) and Black Series Rey with BB8 ($39.90). Considering what i was up against, I think the purchases have been tempered.

Before I head to dreamland to play with my new acquisitions, I leave you with an unboxing of the Sphero BB8 droid. I hope you enjoy it!

A Star Wars homecoming (Or why Star Wars is really Singaporean at heart)

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…” is probably the most famous line in all of movie history. It is the first of the now legendary narrative we see in Star Wars: A New Hope, a science fiction movie concocted by film auteur George Lucas, that spawned multigenerational fans, billion-dollar merchandising and changed the way we watched and made movies — particularly of the science fiction genre.

It is also the line that distanced fans not based in the US or the UK. For decades, Asia would have to wait for movies to make its way to our time zone, usually about two weeks. Thankfully, this was before social media and waiting a fortnight was bearable, if only just. But the world is getting smaller. And the gap to information is closing. These days, we have not only bridged the gap sometimes we’re even ahead. For example, Singaporeans got to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron about a fortnight before the American premiere.

LucasFilm's Singapore campus affectionately named The Sandcrawler.

LucasFilm’s Singapore campus affectionately named The Sandcrawler.

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