A Force Friday Surprise: In Conversation With Stephen Stanton

Hello all you Motherhutters!

It’s been a crazy 2 weeks for myself having experienced Force Friday and getting caught up in a “little” thing called Hurricane Irma while on vacation. Upon returning to the Emerald Isle, his excellency has put me straight to work and ordered me to share my experiences with you all.

Force Friday

My Force Friday appeared to greatly differ from what Jamie, Matt and Degobabe experienced in Dublin at the Disney Store and also differed to what our Resident Queen of Droids encountered on her Porg holland-casino/Droid filled adventures. As we’re all aware, the vast majority of the merchandise for The Last Jedi “leaked” quite early on and in some cases was on sale a full 2-3 weeks before the actual event itself.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this mishap took away a ton of of the excitement and really toned down the atmosphere regarding this major event. Force Friday is supposed to be a spectacle of excitement and a time when all fans come together to bask in the presence of their brothers/sisters in the force from all over the world.

What shocked me most wasn’t the lack of advertising (aside from online) but the complete and total lack of any atmosphere. I made a point of visiting numerous retail outlets throughout Central Florida to see what was going on and what information I could source. In the end I struggled to find a staff member talking about it, let alone anything else!

Check out the video below to see for yourselves:

Force Friday Haul

Although I decided against attending the midnight launch of Force Friday, I decided to put a list together of the things I really wanted. Once my list was completed, the following morning it was go time!

Not the largest of hauls but I really wanted Kylo’s Tie Silencer. As a huge pin collector it was important for me to check out the Force Friday pins which we’re both Droids this year (this will make Kate happy).

I also found some stuff I was after which wasn’t available to me on the day, but ordered and paid for it for it counts as a Force Friday purchase! Anyone who disagrees, i’ll fight ya for it! The items in questions we’re the Crait Resistance Ski Speeder and this little beauty:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poe Dameron Black Series Helmet! I managed to get this for 15% off and free shipping which was awesome.

Anyone debating purchasing this need not worry, you can re-spray it to make it look just as good as the ANOVOS Helmet coming out in fall of 2017 ($550 bucks).

I also managed to pick up two new iPhone covers which I was extremely happy with:

Over the coming days I made it a point of completing the “Find The Force” event on the Star Wars App. Those of you unaware of this will have seem numerous cardboard character cut out’s in the shops, these contained a VR code. Aiming your app at the cutouts unleaded a plethora of characters and these changed over a 3 day period. The end goal was to unlock all 15 characters and gain extra prizes. As you can see from below I unlocked all 15:

Surprise!

The night of Force Friday I received an extremely interesting tweet, it was from none other than the gentleman that is Stephen Stanton. All I knew was a DM was incoming, This was the message that greeted me:

Starlight US

“Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families”

How awesome was this!  My Force Friday was about to turn into something more than I ever could have imagined. But how did this chance opportunity present itself?

Well, Stephen is an enormous promoter and supporter of the fantastic Starlight Children’s Foundation. This incredible organisation is a charity that focuses on bringing much needed comfort and happiness to hospitalised children and their families. Since it’s formation in 1982, the heroes of the Starlight Foundation have brought over 60 million plus smiles (yes you read that right) to the faces of countless children and their families who are need of hope, love and both physical/morale support. As the saying goes. “Not all heroes wear capes”.

Through numerous programmes such as the Starlight VR, A virtual reality entertainment experience which offers education and an experience like no other. This programme is sponsored by the amazing Force For Change” which enables the placement of VR Equipment and Headsets in hundreds of hospitals right across the US.

Imagine being transformed into characters from A Galaxy Far Far Away? How amazing is that?!

Get Involved

Check out Stephen’s page and watch out for Tweets like these:

Just RT and follow Starlight US….

May The Force Be With You!

The Legend that is Stephen Stanton

Truly a man who needs no introduction! Known to us all as the voice of Admiral Raddus, AP-5, Old Ben Kenobi and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and many many more.

Stephen Stanton has been there, done it all and has the credentials to prove it. Though having an extremely successful career as a Visual Effects Artist, Stephen is most known amongst the Star Wars Fandom for being a literal chameleon.

The characters he portrays have reached legendary status and no two are ever the same. As I stated at BlabbaLive, His portrayal of Old Ben Kenobi in Star Wars Rebels was one of sheer class and nostalgia. The scenes with Darth Maul and Ezra are a favourite amongst many of Team Blabba and the fact that it received such critical acclaim right across the fandom is a testament to the talents of Stephen.

Skyping with Stephen Stanton

That night I had the honour and privilege of chatting with Stephen and his close associates and confidants, Dutch and Miss Kathy.  To say I was like a kid in a candy store would be an understatement!

It was such an honour and a privilege to talk to the guys for so long, to be able to say I chatted with Admiral Raddus, AP-5 and Ben Kenobi on the phone will stay with me forever. What sticks with me the most is no matter what the topic, whether it was Stephen’s early work, to character and voice development, his passion and love for his craft shone through as clear as day.

A shared love of Alan Rickman developed into long conversation which eventually led into a discussion about the famed Irish film Michael Collin’s, whoever thought that id be in Florida talking to Stephen Stanton about Ireland in such a way? There is of course a Qui-Gon Jinn link there as Liam Neeson portrayed our favourite “Grey Jedi”.

Prizes and Surprises

My Force Friday was decidedly average until I received that call from Stephen. The fact that id won a signed copy of Admiral Raddus really brightened by day. I do have a soft spot for the kindly Mon Calamari and to have my own personal Raddus was something I was extremely grateful for.

Little did I know that would only be the tip of the Iceberg regarding what the amazing folks would send me.

Not only did I receive more goodies than I could imagined, Stephen and the team sent gifts for Jamie, Kate and Matt.

Our Thanks

To Stephen Stanton, Dutch and Miss Kathy, from the bottom of our hearts we can never thank you enough for the kindness you have shown us.

May The Force Be With You All

 

 

 

 

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Written By

Gary O'Toole is a life long Star Wars Fan. He is the Blabba The Hutt Facebook Community Manager, Content Creator and writer for Blabbathehutt.net. He is the recognised #1 MotherHutter! Famous Catchphrase: By Plo's Koon!

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