The STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Press Event Experience

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, CA for the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event on Sunday, December 3.  Of course the highlight was sitting in the same room with the director and stars from the upcoming film, but I’ll have more on that next week.  Star Wars doesn’t do anything small, and that includes the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event.  This was held in a super top secret location in order to keep throngs of fans from descending on the stars, and there was so much going on it was like a mini-Star Wars Celebration.  Continue reading for my highlights from the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event experience.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Atmosphere of the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Atmosphere of the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

DISCLOSURE:  I was hosted by Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and ABC Television on an all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California including airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation, and meals to attend the global media days and learn more about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.  All opinions expressed are those of the author.

There was a strong Imperial First Order presence on hand including menacing Praetorian Guards on loan from Supreme Leader Snoke, and BB-9E who attempted to pull me to the dark side due to my matching shirt.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Praetorian Guards on patrol at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

BB-9E attempted to recruit me to the Dark Side at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

Fortunately, BB-8 was also on hand to make sure BB-9E didn’t get out of line.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

BB-8 attends the press conference for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi, photo by Charley Gallay for Disney

There were vignettes set up with the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI costumes for Luke Skywalker,

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Luke Skywalker costume on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

General Leia Organa,

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Leia Organa costume on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

Kylo Ren and Rey.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Kylo Ren costume on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Rey costume on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

In addition to the costumes, the walls were lined with images from Director Rian Johnson’s on-set photography.  These black & white photos gave a rare personal glimpse at the making of this chapter of the Star Wars saga.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Director Rian Johnson at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Gallery of Director Rian Johnson’s behind-the-scenes photography during STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, photo by Dave Parfitt

And then there was Star Wars merchandise… lots and lots of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI licensed toys… and clothes… and home goods… and video games… and even, razors. Star Wars razors? I think someone better give one to Poe.  The Star Wars action figures looked so lifelike and realistic, and imagine my surprise when Academy Award nominated actress Laura Dern popped in asking to see her Vice Admiral Holdo doll (it wasn’t available as it’s currently under embargo).

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Disney Consumer Products display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Disney Consumer Products display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Star Wars Halloween Costumes display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Porgs of all shapes and sizes at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

Speaking of Porgs… get ready for the Porg onslaught descending upon us like a murder of crows.  There were Porgs everywhere from custom t-shirts to plushes to coffee mugs. [BTW: if you would like this Porg coffee mug for your own collection, check out this offer from Amazon.com]

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Porg custom silk screen t-shirt at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Porg coffee mug from the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

One of my favorite products on display was the littleBits Droid Inventor Kit. What a cleverly, ingenious product to encourage science, engineering, and experimentation in kids.  The kit allows kids to build their own custom Droid, and program it using an app.  Kids can also fully customize the Droid into whatever they wany, and reconfigure it with different powers.  Brilliant!  I want one!  I mean… for my kids.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

littleBits Droid Inventor Kit on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

But, for me, I had the most fun playing the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges augmented reality video game from Lenovo.  I took on and defeated Darth Maul in a lightsaber duel, and had a blast doing it.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event

Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges on display at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event, photo by Dave Parfitt

And because you can’t have a party without dessert, Ample Hills Creamery gave out samples of their Resistance and First Order ice cream flavors as well as The Force that attempts to balance sweet light cream with deep dark fudge.

Ample Hills Creamery Star Wars Ice Cream

Seeing all the Star Wars costumes, characters, photos, products, and toys made us even more excited about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, and that’s not even talking about what we heard from the cast.  Stay tuned for more details about the main attraction for the day STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press conference, and afterwards where I had a 1:1 interview with Mark Hamill…

 

‘s dog.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI  opens in theaters on December 15th.  Do you have your tickets yet?

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.