A different kind of Star Wars story today….

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This post is slightly different to the usual entries.

It is still Star Wars related but it’s about someone, a person I met way back in 1983!

 This is how the story goes…..well according to my memory….

Back in the 1980’s, before social media, the internet etc., there was BBC’s Blue Peter and the ITV equivalent Magpie & Freetime. In the run up to the release of Return of the Jedi, anything to do with the film was the hot topic of choice. On this occasion I happened to be watching Freetime and see a young boy (I was only 11 years old at the time) only a few years older than me, talking about collecting and meeting the ACTUAL actors of the previous two films; Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back. I couldn’t believe you could actually meet these people!!! Also this boy had more than just your run of the mill Palitoy / Kenner figures and vehicles, he had magazines in foreign languages and playbills from theatre shows etc. I was in awe. He talked about meeting the actors and excited at the upcoming release plus ways of seeing the film multiple times in a row.

His name was/is Shaun and I had to get to know him!

Somehow I found out we lived in the same town on the very South East coast of England; what luck.

My mum found his family address – good old BT phone book. We got in contact and arranged to meet-up and I couldn’t wait.

Now, as I say, time has taken its toll on my memory as I cannot remember if I met Shaun more than once at his home. I do remember him being very nice and he said that we were going to meet someone!? Who? I had no idea.

We only walked 20 minutes from Shaun’s house and he knocked at the door of a nice detached house. A man came to the door; Shaun, another lad and myself said hello, Shaun asked about an interview but the man was too busy and that we would have to come back another time.

Turns out that man was none other than Maurice Bush who played; the bounty hunter Dengar in The Empire Strikes Back. Sadly I never went back….

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I remember Shaun having items in his collection that I had never seen or knew existed, playsets / vehicles / books that I only saw years later in the Tomart’s collecting books.

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In early May 1983 Shaun sent me a hand typed letter that contained my very first autograph of none other than the recently departed Jeremy Bulloch, Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back.

P1060909Sadly, I am not sure what happened but after a short friendship, I lost contact with Shaun. Many years past, GCSE’s taken and the interest in Star Wars going on the back burner…but I never forgot about that brief friendship …

Skip forward some 35 years and undertaking a little Facebook stalking and a book about local cinema, I wanted to know what had happened, was he still around? Was he still into Star Wars? Did he still have his collection, had it grown? And had he seen the new films in the sage?

I looked into and followed a few dead ends until I finally used the same method my mum had used years earlier; the BT phone book! And it paid off.

I wrote a letter, included my contact details and posted it off, waiting and hoping for a reply.

A week or so past and I got an email saying hi and how are you. Yes I am Shaun from all those years ago. Yes, I am still into Star Wars but life has been life in the intervening years.

We arranged to meet locally for a beer in the coming week.

I was nervous, what did he remember of me? What had he been up to? Were we going to have anything in common to talk about? I had lots of questions and was a little giddy to say the least. I needn’t have been worried, Shaun and I got on great. Our mutual interest kept the conversation flowing and before we knew it last orders was called and we would have to meet again.

That was nearly two years ago, Shaun and I have met up a number of times since, travelled to London for conventions, met Star Wars crew members and acquired more autographs for our collections.

I didn’t know that Shaun was mentioned many times in Craig Steven’s book “The Phenomenon of Star Wars in Britain”!

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We also had the pleasure and privilege to chauffeur Mr Ken Colley to a show. Upon return we were both invited into Mr Colley’s home, sharing a bottle of red wine and talking about the filming of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi….Surreal!

When the final film in the Skywalker trilogy was released, The Rise of Skywalker, we went to a local cinema to watch. Although not a perfect film (obviously it can never be) it was a fitting end to a journey that started back in 1977.

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2020 has meant no face to face meetings but many messages of how are you, have you seen The Mandalorian!!

Let’s hope we can get out to conventions and meet people in 2021.

The Rise of Skywalker

Only 15 days to go until the last episode in the Skywalker sage is released – Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker here in the UK.

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The anticipation is building, Disney are releasing more and more TV spots and the cast press tour is underway.

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I for one am nervous at seeing the final instalment of a franchise I have followed for over 40 years, apart from family it has been the most constant thing in my life from when I was just 5 years old, seeing the film in London just after Christmas 1977; I have bought and been bought every manner of toy, vehicle, book and film; met with cast & crew at conventions and not least this built this website, where I have managed to visit many of the film location sites.

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Star Wars has been in so many peoples lives and we have travelled along it’s ups & downs, as it has moved with generations so have we passed it on to generations of our own, to our sons or daughters or grandchildren. Star Wars was not for everyone, there are still some out there that have never seen one of the films but you cannot get away from the impact on popular culture throughout its time and there is not a corner of the globe that doesn’t know something about The Force or a Jedi.

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Will this make everyone happy, I doubt it, you can only please some of the people some of the time, we all have our own opinions on how it should end, I do have (some) faith in JJ Abrams and HOPE that he can bring balance to this force and make The Rise of Skywalker a fitting ending to a beloved saga that happened a long time ago….

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens

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Well, it’s been almost a week since the star studded opening of Disneyland, California’s biggest expansion and takeover – Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is now open!

Dedicated on the 30th May 2019 by Disney Chairman & CEO Bob Iger with creator George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford in attendance.

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Encompassing almost 14 acres the new environment is set on the planet of Baatu, a “remote frontier outpost” on the outer rim of the unknown territories; it features the Smuggler’s Run ride where guest can enter the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit and take on the role of either Pilot, Gunner or Engineer, working together to complete the challenges set. The other ride, not yet opened is Rise of the Resistance which pits the troops of the First Order against the small numbers of the Resistance (or old rebels).

Disney guests visiting Star Wars: GalaxyÕs Edge will be able to stop by the Droid Depot to build their own R-series or BB-series droids that will act as a friend throughout the village of Black Spire Outpost. Star Wars: GalaxyÕs Edge opens in summer 2019 at Disneyland Resort in California and fall 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. (David Roark/Disney Parks)

There is also Oga’s Cantina, a place where you can buy food and drink. There is a droid depot building, where you get to custom build R2 or BB units and add accessories like appendages or mood chips. Also you will be able to build (in secret) a lightsabre in Savi’s workshop from old scavenged items. Last but by no means least, there is merchandise, lots and lots of merchandise! Everything from pin badges to puppet Kowakian monkey-lizard (you know, right).

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All in all the feedback, You tube videos mostly, have been very positive, just type Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge into the search bar and find all those lucky visitors.

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Currently you have to book and only get a 4hrs slot to experience everything and YES the lines will grow longer once fully opened but hey it is the closest you will get to a galaxy far, far away.

(Disney…..I’m waiting for your call)

Star Wars: Galaxys Edge

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In 2019 there is a lot for the Star Wars fan to get enthused by. Not only are we getting the third film in the latest Star Wars trilogy, still only Episode IX (no title announcement), but there are not one but two themed lands arriving in Disneyland, California and Disney World, Florida.

Currently nearing completion and due to open Summer & Fall this year construction has been gong full speed ahead to meet its opening day deadline.

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Click here to find out a little more about Star Wars Galaxys Edge and where they are located.

 

** If anyone would like to buy me a flight to the USA, accommodation for a week or two and an entry ticket I would be most grateful **