My To-Do List -- Last Updated January 31, 2013FAQ -- last updated February 4, 2010Commission InfoI'm not dumb, I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.
-- Calvin, The Days Are Just Packed
So guess what I got to do yesterday?
Go on, guess...
That's right, I got to meet, shake hands with, and get autographs from three of the actors involved in the Star Wars movies!
The "saga" began last week when my mom showed me a link she'd stumbled onto -- a news story announcing that three of the Star Wars actors were going to be in our area to talk about the movies. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked. I've met plenty of Transformers voice actors, but never any actors from the Star Wars movies, and even if the saga is no longer my primary obsession I still love it to pieces. So I took the day off work and decided to go.
The event would be taking place an hour's drive from where I live, and in a city I'd never driven in before, but thankfully I found my way there without mishap. I got there about an hour before the event began to find a rather large line forming, with more people showing up every minute. Thankfully getting there early meant I got a good seat, just one row back from the front row.
While people were getting settled, we had a little "pre-show entertainment" from some of the people in charge of the event. Several members of the Fighting 501st (a fan club that dresses as stormtroopers, Imperial officers, Sith Lords, and other villains from the films and visits conventions and other Star Wars events like this) were present, including a rather short but still impressive-looking Darth Vader. The two guys running the event had dressed for the occasion as well, but while one was dressed as Han Solo, the other wore a Starfleet uniform from Star Trek.
Sadly they overplayed the "you're dressed for the wrong sci-fi universe" joke way too long, and it got old after awhile.
To kill time until the actors showed up, they also ran a trivia contest, asking audience members questions about the film and handing out prizes. I answered a question correctly ("Who gave the order to fire the second Death Star's primary weapon?" Answer: Emperor Palpatine) and received a set of Lord of the Rings
PEZ dispensers. Because everyone knows Star Wars and Lord of the Rings
share a universe, I guess.
Once the trivia questions were over, it was time to meet the actors -- Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca; Daniel Logan, who played young Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones
and continues to voice him in the Clone Wars
cartoons; and Bonnie Piesse, who played young Aunt Beru in Attack of the Clones
and Revenge of the Sith.
Bonnie served as a moderator for the discussion while Daniel and Peter talked about their experiences on the sets of the Star Wars films, how Star Wars impacted pop culture, and how the Disney/Lucasfilm merger would affect the future of the franchise.
Peter Mayhew is getting on in years -- he seemed tired onstage, and he gets around in a wheelchair now. But he was a friendly, soft-spoken individual with a great sense of humor. When asked how he liked doing the Star Wars movies, he said "Oh, you just enjoy doing something, then you do it again, and again, and again, and then you get bought out by Disney." He also described the Chewbacca costume as "hot -- like sticking your hand in a microwave oven," and talked about how he and his agent thought he was signing onto a cheesy B movie when he agreed to be in Star Wars, and how dumbfounded but pleased he was to see it continue on this long.
Daniel Logan is no longer the little kid of Attack of the Clones
-- he's in his twenties now, and he was hilarious.
He came onstage doing a cartwheel, and he warned the audience ahead of time that he was a bit of a motormouth so they'd need to tell him to shut up and let Peter have a turn every so often. He talked about how he, too, had no idea what he was signing up for when he auditioned for the role (his family didn't watch many movies) and how after the film came out everyone at school would come up to him and start quoting his lines from the movie. Mostly "Shoot 'im, Dad!"
Both actors also shared amusing stories from their time on the set. Peter Mayhew fondly recalled how during a particularly hot day on the set of the first Star Wars movie, someone gave the three lead actors ("Hamill, Fisher, and Ford" he called them) squirt guns, and a rather epic water fight took place around and under the Millennium Falcon until George Lucas confiscated the weapons until after the shooting was done. He also talked about how Christopher Lee walked into his dressing room during the filming of Revenge of the Sith,
and how flabbergasted he was to meet him.
Daniel Logan had his own fond memories of working on the prequel movies. He talked about how he and Ewan McGregor rode around the studio in golf carts (and got in trouble for hacking the governor in the engine to try to go faster), and how he managed to embarrass himself while introducing his grandmother to her idol Christopher Lee ("My boy, I've been in over 400 movies." "Wow, you're OLD!"
) My favorite story had to be when Hayden Christensen invited him into his dressing room to play video games. Hayden, not realizing that one needed a power adapter to plug an American electronic into an Australian power outlet due to voltage differences, plugged in and turned on his Dreamcast... only to have it explode, start smoking like crazy, and set off the sprinkler system. Both actors lost half a day of filming, and in turn gained the hatred of the film's wardrobe department.
Both actors also said they'd love to do more Star Wars films, and Daniel announced that if Disney was listening, "tell JJ Abrams I'll work for free!"
While autographs weren't in the event description, they had an area set up for them, and once the actual discussion and Q&A session were over we lined up outside to get autographs. I'd brought along a book, a gorgeous little volume called The Star Wars Vault,
hoping to be able to snag some signatures, and I was able to meet each actor up close and get them to sign it. Peter shook my hand (he has HUGE hands) and Daniel was quite chatty with everyone he signed for, including me. Small wonder his line was moving so slowly.
All in all, I had a blast, and I think the experience was worth driving an hour each way and standing in line a bit. Hey, I'm a con-goer, standing in line is just par for the course.
Now I have an urge to watch the movies again... Art Feature -- Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic