Local fans go wild at Changi Airport's Star Wars displays
Star Wars fever grips Changi Airport
Visitors to Changi Airport may have sensed a disturbance in the Force yesterday morning.
Star Wars fever has officially broken out at the airport, where the public can view replicas of a life-sized X-Wing fighter and a 0.8 scale model TIE fighter, iconic starfighters in the Star Wars universe.
The displays will be there from now till Jan 5, as part of the airport's Star Wars-themed year-end festive celebrations.
These activities capitalise on the growing excitement for the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens here on Dec 17.
The official launch kicked off yesterday at the X-Wing replica at the Terminal 3 Departure Hall, with a simulated showdown between costumed X-Wing pilots and Stormtroopers, played by 30 Star Wars fan community members.
As the familiar strains of The Force Theme boomed across the arena, the 400-strong crowd, including passengers of the All Nippon Airways R2-D2 jet and members of the public, cheered the characters on.
TNP PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK
Many also jostled to take pictures with the characters, who gamely posed for photos.
Among the fans present were web graphic designer Hairul Ariffin and his five-year-old son Ilhan. Mr Ariffin, 32, took a day off work to attend the launch, and also stayed up the night before to make a cardboard Stormtrooper helmet for his boy.
"I didn't sleep at all last night, but it was worth it," he told The New Paper. "My son helped with the helmet a little, too.
"We didn't expect the event to be so big today. It was just awesome. We had a lot of fun as it's our first Star Wars event together."
The 50-minute parade continued with a squad of Stormtroopers marching from Terminal 3 to the TIE fighter replica in Terminal 2, via the airport MRT station.
At one point, the accompanying crowd grew so large that the link bridge between the terminals began to shake under their weight. Airport security had to step in to control the flow of traffic.
Production technician Muhd Muhaimin and his four sons recalled the incident with some nervousness.
"It was a bit scary earlier, when we were walking and the bridge starting moving left and right," said one of the boys, nine-year-old Aiman.
Their Star Wars enthusiasm, however, was not dampened.
"We were very excited by the parade, and took lots of pictures," said Aiman, whose favourite character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Sith Lord Kylo Ren. "I was so happy that I got to touch a Stormtrooper!"
Mr Muhaimin, 34, said he was glad to pass his love of Star Wars to his children. His three older boys wore Clone Trooper, Boba Fett and Captain Rex helmets.
"My generation grew up with the original trilogy, and now my sons have seen all the movies and animated series like Star Wars Rebels," he said. "We're definitely looking forward to seeing the new movie next month."
University students Mark Lim, 23, and Ravin Ramakrishnan, 26, felt that Singapore has become a hotspot for Star Wars activities because of the huge local community. Both are part of lightsaber duelling group The Force Academy, which is officially recognised by Star Wars production company, Lucasfilm.
"Most people think Star Wars is just for geeks or Americans, but it is so much bigger than that," said Mr Ravin. "We have some really hardcore, kickass fans in Singapore, and the fans are of all ages. Both my uncles and nephews enjoy the films."
Visitors to Changi Airport can look forward to daily photo sessions with the X-Wing fighter (where participants can borrow and pose in Star Wars costumes in the cockpit), a bouncy playground inspired by the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, one of the filming locations of Star Wars, and more character meet-and-greet sessions on Saturday afternoons.
Mr Jayson Goh, senior vice-president of airport operations management at Changi Airport, said they aim to surprise and excite visitors with this year's Star Wars theme. Previous year-end themes have included animated characters like Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants and Angry Birds.
He said: "We were fortunate that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open this festive season, as it has a huge global following. We're confident our Star Wars events will create publicity for us, and bring lots of fun and excitement to both locals and tourists."
"I didn't sleep at all last night, but it was worth it. We didn't expect the event to be so big today. It was just awesome." - Web graphic designer Hairul Ariffi (above), who made a cardboard Stormtrooper helmet with five-year-old son Ilhan for the occasion.
Say hello to the R2-D2 Dreamliner
STAR WARS ALL OVER: The ANA R2-D2 jet is the world’s first commercial aircraft to be decorated with Star Wars livery. TNP PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK Our reporter poses with a plush toy of Jedi Master Yoda on board the ANA R2-D2 jet. TNP PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK
With his knack for repairing starships, it was only a matter of time before beloved Star Wars astromech droid R2-D2 got his own plane.
Enter All Nippon Airways (ANA), which has unveiled its R2-D2 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jet, the world's first commercial aircraft in the world to be decorated with Star Wars livery.
It is the first in a series of three Star Wars themed planes by ANA and The Walt Disney Company in Japan.
Chartered by travel agency JTB, the plane made a special flight to Singapore from Tokyo yesterday. It will make a two-night stop in Singapore before returning to Tokyo.
Apart from domestic routes, the R2-D2 ANA jet will fly between Tokyo and international cities like Seattle, Paris, Beijing and Jakarta.
The plane's exterior has R2-D2's signature blue and white markings as well as the Star Wars logo.
During the 15-minute media preview of the plane, we were greeted on board by ANA stewardesses bearing lightsabers.
A special announcement with a fun Star Wars reference was made: "Welcome to the ANA R2-D2 Dreamliner 787 jet. For your safety, hyperdrive will not be engaged for this flight."
Seats had headrests printed with R2-D2 designs and in-flight meals came with R2-D2 paper cups. A large plush toy of Jedi Master Yoda was spotted on one seat, as well as a Stormtrooper candy bowl.
Tomorrow, 40 winners of an online contest held by ANA and Changi Airport will get to board the plane and enjoy an on-ground tour.
They will watch one of the Star Wars films (it will be the first time any have been available on a commercial flight), enjoy an in-flight meal and take home a goodie bag with limited-edition items such as an R2-D2 ANA jet model plane and a Star Wars plush toy.
Mr Mitsuo Tomita, ANA's vice-president of marketing and sales for Asia & Oceania, said the company was excited to bring the Star Wars plane to customers.
He told The New Paper: "We chose Singapore as the first location in Asia to bring the plane outside of Japan, as there are many Star Wars fans here.''
CATCH THE FEVER
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 30-Day Countdown Event
What: Fans can start queuing for tickets to the first midnight IMAX 3D screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Each package, priced at $180, includes two IMAX 3D movie tickets for Dec 17, two Star Wars: The Force Awakens IMAX movie vouchers, four regular popcorn vouchers, and a set each of exclusive Light Side and Dark Side collectibles.
Where: Shaw House Urban Plaza (Level 1)
When: Nov 16, 9pm
Star Wars: The Force Awakens event at VivoCity
What: Come see Singapore's largest wall mural made of Lego bricks and a large Stormtroopers installation. A range of exclusive Star Wars merchandise and collectibles will also be available.
Where: VivoCity atrium
When: Dec 1-20