Saturday was the first day of the inaugural Course of the Force lightsaber relay, helping to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while celebrating geekery on its way from Santa Monica to San Diego and Comic-Con. Ready for your “Awww..” moment? Skip to 11:45 in the video above to see the last runner of the day – the king of fast, in his adorable Artoo costume!
The kick-off conival had its moments of fun, with Peter Mayhew and members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion helping to provide atmosphere at the Santa Monica Pier. Leading off the relay was host Chris Hardwick and a group of Make-A-Wish kids. Check out more costumed fun in the Southern California gray, thanks to Lesley Farquhar / Equinox Photography for sharing her photos.
Sunday will continue the relay from Redondo Beach to Huntington Beach, where there will be another Course of the Force conival at the HB pier (4pm to 9pm), including free performances by The Spazmatics at 6pm, and Dan Finnerty & The Dan Band at 8pm. The relay journey continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, going from Oceanside to Pacific Beach to downtown San Diego and Comic-Con!
Chris Hardwick’s ‘epic journey’ to bring the Course of the Force lightsaber from San Francisco to the Santa Monica Pier. Watch out for Ewoks.
With the Course of the Force lightsaber torch relay starting on Saturday in Santa Monica, there’s going to be a Endor-class celebration to kick it off at the Santa Monica Pier from 10 am to 2 pm. Enjoy live music by the Spazmatics, appearances and autographs by Star Wars characters including actor Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca. At 1:00 p.m. Chris Hardwick and a crew of kids from Make-A-Wish will run the first segment of the inaugural Course of the Force from the Santa Monica Pier. Get the full Course of the Force schedule for both the relays and conivals at the Course of the Force site.
Here’s the rundown on more Course of the Force news:
- Leading the way for Course of the Force will be a mobile re-creation of Jabba’s Sail Barge, where
crimelord Jabba the Hutt relay hosts Chris Hardwick, Ashley Eckstein, and Alison Haislip will be following the action. Being custom built at twenty-five feet long, it’s still being assembled, but I’m sure that it will be fully operational once the hostly trio arrives!
- Course of the Force has brought on some new sponsors, including frozen treat maker Otter Pops and SHOEBACCA.com. The online shoe store will be bringing Peter Mayhew to sign autographs at the Saturday and Sunday “conival” events in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach. They will also be having a Galactic Giveaway sweepstakes from July 7 to August 31 on www.shoebacca.com.
- Capping off the relay will be a concert by The Dan Band at the San Diego’s Balboa Theatre on Wednesday, July 11 live at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at sandiegotheatres.org. “Truthfully, our first choice to conclude Course of the Force was Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band, but they’re not currently touring in this system,” Course of the Force host Chris Hardwick admitted, “But I sincerely can’t think of a better SECOND choice than The Dan Band! Everything is automatically more awesome when you add The Dan Band. True Story.”
- For those who want to help Make-a-Wish, but aren’t in Southern California, Course of the Force will have some ebay auctions for some unique prizes and swag.
- Celebrities who will be participating in Course of the Force include: Drew Carey, Zachary Levi, Paul Scheer, Vanessa Lengies, Neil Everett, Kal Penn, Team Unicorn (Rileah, Clare, Milynn and Michele), Adrianne Curry, and more.
Look for more special Course of the Force updates next week!
This summer’s inaugural Course of the Force, the five-day lightsaber relay from Santa Monica to Comic-Con to raise money for Make-a-Wish, just announced that The Clone Wars star and Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein will be joining as co-host, joining veteran TV nerd Chris Hardwick. Not only will she be co-hosting the event, she’ll also be running one leg of the relay.
Hardwick says of Eckstein:
“Ashley is a glorious addition to the Course of the Force. She is not just an important character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she is also a true follower of the Saga. I am but a mere Padawan in comparison to her Jedi mastery,” states Nerdist Industries founder and Course of the Force host Chris Hardwick.
Now there are two of them! There is still room to register for a quarter-mile leg of the lightsaber torch relay, as it winds its way down the coast from Santa Monica to downtown San Diego, with nightly parties in cities along the route from July 7 to July 11.
The ‘Nerdist’ host will be joining us in Orlando as a “special guest host,” whatever that means. He’s known within the geek community for his podcast and being the host of G4’s Web Soup. (Hopefully he’ll be less obnoxious than the last Star Wars ‘hosting’ job G4’s Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn did at SDCC ’09.) He’s also the host of AMC’s Talking Dead.
He’ll also be hosting Course of the Force, a charity run, at San Diego Comic Con.
This is our first major news on the con since the stage hosts, though there have been announcements on standard Celebration fare like the artist lineup, a collecting track, costume pageant, autograph farm and speed dating.
UPDATE. In other shocking news, The Clone Wars’ Supervising Director Dave Filoni will be at the con.