Anyone familiar with Disney knows about both the virtues and frustrations of having your favorite characters come to life and exist outside the screen. At times, it can be traumatizing — when you see one of the giant foam-and-faux-fur-covered characters remove its head. (And maybe you have terrible recurring nightmares as a result. Purely hypothetical, of course.) And on occasion it fails to work because you already have a set idea of what a character is supposed to be and the surroundings where they exist and parameters to which the characters must adhere.
Which is obviously why finding Star Wars characters at the Sharks-Lightning game works so well.
The Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Hockey team partnered with the Star Wars Grand Florida Alliance and the 501st Legion Florida Garrison to bring fans an epic evening filled with Star Wars goodness to help promote and celebrate the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D.
The Lightning offered fans a special VIP package which included a ticket to the game, access to an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink buffet, an exclusive licensed The Phantom Menace/Lightning hockey puck and photo opportunities with Star Wars characters. The SWGFA had a booth set up outside to greet fans as they stood in line to pick up their tickets, wristbands and ultra cool hockey pucks before the game. The 501st Legion mingled among the crowd getting everyone pumped up before they went inside as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, a Sandtrooper, a Stormtrooper, a TIE Fighter Pilot, Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, R2-D2, two Imperial Officers, an ARC Trooper and a Royal Guard were present.
Granted you do lose a bit of the magic. But seeing Darth Vader sign a waiver more than compensates for the loss.
Image via RebelScum.com