I skipped dinner for this.
Well, I caught wind that there was going to be a super secret Star Wars event on Sydney Harbour, by the Fleet Steps, at around 7:30pm last night. Buoyed by the excitement from viewing the first trailer (more times than I am willing to admit), I decided I would head down and see what the big secret was.
So, at about 7pm I wandered past the Opera House and through the Botanic Gardens, across to the Fleet Steps, because I was so ready for more Star Wars.
I mean, I was tearing up at the trailer. I wanted more.
I needed more.
As I approached Fleet Steps, I could see a barge out on the water. Orange lights intermittently punctured the darkness but I couldn’t focus on what was hiding on that barge.
Was it an X-Wing ready to take full flight?
Was it Oscar Isaac, ready to fly over to us on a water jetpack, for hugs and high fives?
Surely it couldn’t be John Boyega, cross-promoting Pacific Rim 2, rising out of the ocean in a giant robot?
My excitement levels were skyrocketing.
When I reached Farm Cove, Star Wars characters, from the 501st Legion, milled about on the banks for photo opportunities with passers-by. A small crowd was gathered and continuing to build. 50, maybe 60, people, some wearing Star Wars gear, others wearing faces of confusion and emptiness.
My stomach rumbled. I skipped dinner to be here.
I snapped an Ewok with an R2 unit and an out-of-era clone trooper.
Excitement continued to build. A Kylo Ren and several First Order Stormtroopers practiced walking in formation along the harbour’s edge. Back and forth. Like a military drill.
I thought “This would piss Kylo off so much” but he seemed content. Happy, even.
Then, a distant rumbling.
It wasn’t my stomach.
Over the trees from the south, a pounding cut through the middling conversation. The crowd was startled. People began to look up. You could see the excitement they’d stashed into the creases of their face come pouring out. There were hushed whispers behind me:
“That’s a helicopter…”
Indeed it was.
It hovered in the air, above the barge, for a short period of time. Who knows how long? Time became abstract, forgettable -– such was the excitement.
Then, at about 8pm. It happened.
It's weird seeing a lightsaber spark to life but hearing huge helicopter sounds pic.twitter.com/lqsBE2sZpX
— jack ryan ???? (@dctrjack) October 10, 2017
A crossguard lightsaber, the favoured lightsaber of Kylo Ren, illuminated the harbour.
The beacon was lit.
People flocked to the site like spicy meme-makers to a Porg.
This is how you market a film in 2017.