The Millennium Falcon has landed at Ion Orchard for the Star Wars festival

The 10-day Star Wars festival features installations, Padawan Training sessions, virtual reality booths and replicas of film props

You do not have to go to a galaxy far, far away to experience the Force – just head down to Orchard Road.

Starting today, the shopping belt will be hit with Star Wars mania as the 10-day Star Wars: Experience The Force festival kicks off there in celebration of all things related to the fantasy epic movie franchise.

Whip out your smartphones and get shutter-happy with the Star Wars installations along Orchard Road, or get your kids to unleash their inner Jedi at one of the Padawan Training sessions in Ion Orchard shopping mall.

Organised by events management company ReedPop and The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia, with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the festival is the latest Star Wars-themed event held in Singapore this year.

Walt Disney bought over the franchise from Lucasfilm, the film company of Star Wars creator George Lucas, in 2012.

Earlier in May, fans had jogged around the Marina Bay area for the Star Wars Run, while the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay transformed into lightsabers as they shot colourful rays up to the night sky.

 
 

Ms Lin Koh, assistant project director of ReedPop, says: “It’s no secret that Singaporeans are crazy about Star Wars – just look at the number of film-inspired fan activities that have popped up in recent years.

“From the Star Wars Run to lightsaber duelling schools, there seems to be no end to its popularity here.”

The festival is organised as part of a three-year collaboration between STB and Disney, with Singapore hosting different activities across different Disney brands. This year’s theme is Star Wars, while the next two years will feature activities themed around Disney’s other properties such as Marvel and Pixar.

The Star Wars Festival culminates at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention on Sept 9 and 10, an annual ticketed event dedicated to pop culture and entertainment.

There will be a Star Wars booth featuring a virtual reality experience and detailed replicas of props from the movies built by a group of dedicated fans from Belgium.

Highlights of Star Wars festival

STAR WARS AT ORCHARD ROAD

Installations

At Ion Orchard’s outdoor event space, fans can get up close to the Millennium Falcon spaceship, the first time an installation of the iconic ship is being set up in South-east Asia. The Falcon has been famously steered by Star Wars heroes such as Han Solo and Chewbacca.

As you walk along the outside of Ion towards Shaw House, keep those eyes peeled for installations of the towering AT-ST Walker and the AT-ACT Walker.

Padawan Training

Aspiring young Padawans, or trainee Jedi, can learn to swing lightsabers at training sessions held outside Ion, all under the guidance of enthusiasts.

The half-hour sessions held between 3 and 9pm each day are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For those aged between four and 12.

STAR WARS AT SINGAPORE TOY, GAME & COMIC CONVENTION

Fan-built installations

Step inside the Millennium Falcon spaceship itself or take pictures with the Speeder, the vehicle of choice of heroine Rey, as seen in The Force Awakens. Try to spot the movie’s director J. J. Abrams’ signature on the Speeder.

These detailed and polished replicas are built by the Belgian Costume Division, a group of Belgian Star Wars fans whose hobby is putting together large-scale replicas of items from the films.

BB-8 Virtual Reality

Fans will also get to interact with the adorable BB-8 droid at a virtual- reality booth, the first time this is available in South-east Asia.

The orange-and-white droid with a domed head first appeared in The Force Awakens (2015) and has helped both pilot Poe Dameron and scavenger Rey in their fight against the Imperial troops

• Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline 'The Force is with us '. Print Edition | Subscribe