Star Wars 'The Empire Strikes Back' Secret Cinema Cantina

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This is the post where I made a confession that I am a nerd/geek. I have always been a massive fan of 'Star Wars', from watching it while I was growing up in the 1980s and from the time when it was considered 'uncool'. I wanted to join the Rebel Alliance and become a Jedi, had a crush on Luke Skywalker, and continuously drew X-wings/snowspeeders and Rebel Alliance symbols on my school folders. I dressed up as a Jedi in High School for Halloween in an outfit that I made myself. I was probably slightly obsessed with the films.


It's hard to believe now, but 'Star Wars' was not popular for a time around the late 1980s to the mid 1990s; nothing much was happening in the 'Star Wars' universe, and the only merchandise available to buy were the original items made in the late 1970s, until merchandising rights were relaxed. However, I was (and still am) a big fan of 'Star Wars'. Fast forward to 1999 with the release of 'The Phantom Menace' (which was a big disappointment) to the other two films in the trilogy and spin-off series and film, not to mention the gaming industry.

'Star Wars' has been considered popular again in the past fifteen years, and it's captured the minds of a younger audience, whom I am envious of for having so much more available in the fandom methods for building on their fandom through social media. The rights of 'Star Wars' have been recently sold to Disney, and the new film (a sequel to the original trilogy) is due to hit cinemas this December. I know that although some of the fans who grew up on the original trilogy still love 'Star Wars', we may be a little skeptical, particularly after the disappointment of the 1999 abomination and aspects of the follow-up films and some of the pointless edited scenes of the original trilogy. However, I am looking forward to seeing the new film, but I am not trying to become too excited to the point where I am disappointed. I have mixed feelings about Disney, and I can only hope that Disney have fans of the original trilogy on board to make it a success.

This brings me to Secret Cinema's ( most recent installment of immersive cinema. For those who do not know, immersive cinema allows the film to be shown around a 'world' that the viewer can be immersed in and play a part in. Visitors are encouraged to dress up in order to become a part of the experience. 

Last summer, Secret Cinema hosted 'Back to the Future', complete with the construction of a set of the 1950s fictional American town of Hill Valley, which I covered here. This summer, the big film is 'The Empire Strikes Back', which is considered the most popular and most-loved film of the original trilogy. (My personal favourite is 'A New Hope', the first film.) I am going to the event in a few days, but I first wanted to check out the Secret Cinema Cantina pop-up club in London.

Similar to the Secret Cinema showing of 'The Empire Strikes Back' film, the Cantina is open until the end of September. It's only open on some week nights and Saturday night for music and drinks. It is also open on Sundays during the day and caters more for children. We went along to the Saturday evening opening of the Cantina this past weekend. For those who are not familiar with 'Star Wars', the Cantina is based on scenes from the original film's cantina in Mos Eisley at Tatooine (the desert planet). This is the scene where Luke and Obi Wan Kenobi have a drink at the bar (and see just what damage a lightsabre can do) and meet characters Han Solo and Chewbaca.

With any Secret Cinema event, it's best enjoyed dressed up in cosplay, and we did. A little more than half of the visitors to the Cantina did come in the recommended cosplay. We enjoyed meeting a Jawa (the creature with glowing eyes pictured above) and listening to music by London bands/DJs and the Cantina band (with alien band from 'Star Wars'). We also met some other 'made-up' characters, saw some Twi'lek dancers, and had to complete a couple of missions. We also enjoyed a couple of drinks, named "Jawa Juice" (a Vodka mix with lemon) and "Storm Cooler" (a gin mix with apple). This was a fun experience, and I cannot give that much away, but a group of us are going to the main event and are looking forward to it.

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