All the way at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios (or MGM) in 2009, I attended Star Wars Weekends that summer. Papa would usually take Pearce and I. Little did I know that year would be different from all the rest.
Even though I loved everything about Star Wars, I just thought of it as a fun movie. It did not know how it came about, how it changed movie history, how it gave hope to my ancestors, etc. I just liked it because it was cool, the story was amazing, Papa liked it, and it was like the best story I had ever watched. But the way I looked at it changed when one fateful day arrived.
Back then I was 9. I attended the Jedi Youngling Lightsaber Training Sessions. And was pretty much picked for every single one I came to. I helped a young boy get up there who hadn’t been picked yet. We met him and his mother at the Indiana Jones show (I mean who goes to Hollywood Studios and just enjoys the Star Wars Weekend events? Like no one.) And we, my little brother, Pearce, my Grandpa – Papa, and I heard them talking about him not getting picked since the beginning of Star Wars Weekends. Papa looked over and said, “Really?”. The mother nodded. Well, eventually Papa had the idea of me going up there to help him get picked.
Therefore after the Indiana Jones Stunt Show we went to the next Jedi Training. I stood there patiently next to the young boy who was about my age. (I kinda liked him when I first saw him…yeah…I was nine). The Jedi Master came out and pointed at each child to go up on the stage to learn how to work a lightsaber. I jumped up and down and pointed at the boy, yet, I was still picked. I pushed the boy out unto the stage. My whole family went later and my two other brothers hadn’t done the Training either. I helped them out as well. Even the Jedi Master noticed that all four of us had the same shirts on even though Adam and Alec were the only two from my family who went up on stage.
That same day, after the Training and then the Parade, when Ashley Eckstein waved to me, we went to lunch at the Backlot Tour right next to the Endor Stage where we trained. Adam and I ran right in front of Ashley. And she looked down at us nine-year old and ten-year old and said, “Hey look it’s Skyguy and Skygirl!” in her Ahsoka Tano voice. I almost fainted! I from then on pretty much always got the sauces for our fries!
Another event had to do with the Jedi Training again. Papa smoked and therefore he usually went to the smoking area and he took me with him. The show was about to begin and Papa didn’t want me to miss it. Papa left me there with my knowing and told me to go up to the front to be chosen. I squeezed through the crowd and excused myself. I was almost to the front when a mother pushed me back and said, “Go back! You weren’t here first!” or something like that. Whatever it was made me cry. And squeezed back to the back and stood there with silent tears falling down waiting for my grandfather. 5 minutes passed, but it felt like an hour. I finally broke out, thinking Papa was lost or I was lost and Papa was kidnapped. I had a very creative yet dangerous mind. The dam broke and loud waterfalls hit the ground.
I was confused and sad, really sad. I looked everywhere for him. Maybe he made his way to the front as I came out of the crowd, didn’t see me, and went looking for me. Well, I stood there crying. I ran to the Cast Members asking if they had seen as man with a tan camera jacket, white hair, and white shirt, brown shoes, and tan multi-pocket shorts. They hadn’t but they asked if I was lost. And I felt like I was. Just then Papa showed up from his smoking. (The thing is the smoking area isn’t even that far away, but it is when a sea of people are there). I ran to him, and the Cast Members gave me a surprise. I was going on stage with Ray Park (Darth Maul) with other youngsters to learn some moves from Park. It was totally worth the tears.
All of these events are quite important to me, but the major big one is this:
So it seemed like a normal Star Wars Weekend day as Papa, Pearce and I sat in the three front seats on the right side the auditorium. A few minutes after we sat down, a man came up to us. That man just happened to be David Eckstien! AH! He told us who he was, the husband of Ashley, and handed me a Duffy Bear. He gave me instructions which I remember as we waited for the time to come to do it I almost forgot.
This occurred at Star Wars the Clone Wars: Behind the Force show and the hostess was Ashley. That day her special guest was Dave Filoni, the director of the show. We fans had a chance to ask him questions. Ashley looked over at us for the last question, my hand raised in the air. I stood up, holding Duffy and asked Mr. Filoni, “Are thinking about putting bears into the Clone Wars?” Laughs filled the room, because Filoni is a big fan of wolves and bears. David who was sitting behind me grins widely and tells me, “Go give him the bear.” I walk up and hand the stuffed bear to Filoni. He goes to end of the stage and grabs it, looking at Ashley, David, then Ashley again and laughs.
At the end of the show, Papa wants to take a smoke so we go and sit down by Lights! Motors! Action! attraction which so happens to be the exit for the Star Wars crew who was just in the show. Ashley comes out sees us and we talk for a while. It was so awesome! I was talking to the voice actress of my favorite character in the Clone Wars series! Ever since then she’s waved at me and said, “Hey!” in the parade. An amazing day for me. And it didn’t stop there.
Dave Filoni’s wife rushed through the crowd to catch up with my Grandpa, Pearce, and I to give me the Duffy bear with its tag signed by Filoni himself. It was fantastic. Then like a few years later…An Onderon rebel…General Tandin came into the Clone Wars series. And he looks like my grandfather Papa. Coincidence? I think not. I never looked at Star Wars the same. I was apart of it.
May the Fourth Be with You…