Yesterday Walt Disney World concluded another year of Star Wars Weekends featuring celebrity appearances, character meet-and-greets, and a few special appearances during the final Hyperspace Hoopla of 2013.
Now that the event has ended, we take a closer look at highlights from its final day, ending up with some surprises during the ever-popular Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars.
Beginning with the end, “The Clone Wars” voice actors and Star Wars Weekends hosts James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein appeared before a excited fans to finish off the event with one final appearance, introducing the Hyperspace Hoopla to a massive Disney’s Hollywood Studios crowd. Then the show ended with space bad boy Lando Calrissian making a rare appearance on stage.
Video: Star Wars Weekends 2013 concludes
But it wasn’t only Lando that made a special appearance for that final moment. More on that below.
First, taking a step back to earlier in the day, it was clear that some of the furriest Star Wars characters were also the most popular at Star Wars Weekends, including Chewbacca and Wicket, the Ewok.
Even Chip and Dale decided to get in on the furry fun this year, enhancing their look with Ewok costumes for the first time, always drawing a big line.
But one of the biggest stars on the last days of Star Wars Weekends 2013 was the man behind Chewbacca’s furry outward appearance, Peter Mayhew.
Also in attendance during this final weekend was Tom Kane, voice of Yoda in “The Clone Wars” (as well as Admiral Ackbar in the Star Tours attraction and the 2012 narrator of Walt Disney World’s monorails).
There were plenty of Clone Troopers on hand to ensure everything operated smoothly at Star Wars Weekends.
Some patrolled the backlot streets ensuring everything was orderly.
But elsewhere in the park, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (also known as the Cantina Band) were having a good time hamming it up with guests.
And as the day’s end drew near, I had a rare close encounter with Emperor Palpatine himself, just minutes before he was due on stage to take over the Hyperspace Hoopla.
And so the Hoopla began, dishing out another oversized dose of hilarity as Star Wars characters danced to popular songs from the past 30 years. We first shared video of this year’s entire show from opening night, the Dance-Off portion of which is again included below for your viewing convenience.
Video: Full Dance-Off With the Star Wars Stars 2013
Wrapping up the last Star Wars Weekends performance of 2013, below are Hyperspace Hoopla photo highlights from its final night, including special appearances by Luke Skywalker, Mace Windu, X-Wing Pilot, Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, and Lando Calrissian, not normally in the show, dancing a bit of “Gangnam Style” to conclude the final medley.
While many of the extra characters added for this finale performance of the Hyperspace Hoopla were part of the daily routine of Star Wars Weekends, Lando was a special addition, a park guest who was asked to be in the show after he showed up to the park in costume on this final weekend, the same weekend the original Lando himself, Billy Dee Williams, was there to sign autographs.
Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” franchise, the future of Star Wars Weekends is unknown. This year’s even played out much in the same as recent years, with hosts from “The Clone Wars” leading the events. But “The Clone Wars” has been cancelled and a new animated TV show called “Star Wars Rebels” is on the way next year. It’s likely Star Wars Weekends 2014 won’t be exactly the same as this year’s as Disney takes advantage of what are now their own characters, as made obvious by Jedi Mickey’s first-ever appearance in the Hyperspace Hoopla this year. And with a new trilogy of films plus a series of character-based spin-offs on the way, there will almost certainly be even more to Star Wars Weekends in 2014 and beyond.
More photos from Star Wars Weekends 2013: