This post is written by Justin Teo from our sister site, Asia361.com.
Not so long time ago, in a galaxy not too far away, I felt the midi-chlorians within me tingle with the Force. That was earlier today, as I made my way to the launch of Star Wars displays at Changi Airport today. Changi Airport has installed two of the most iconic starfighters of the Star Wars galaxy – the X-Wing and TIE starfighers, ahead of the opening of the movie on 18 Dec 2015, and I was invited to preview the launch.
Battle Between Awesomes
Global Star Wars fever went up several notches after the November release of the trailer Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise and the first by new owner Disney. So I was not particularly surprised by the huge crowd already gathered around the centre stage in Teminal 3 when I made my way over late.
As the Star Wars opening theme came on, a column of X-wing pilots strolled in and waved to applause from the crowd. After posing for photos for the media, the pilots from the Old Republic started performing pre-flight checks around the detailed X-Wing starfighter. The mood suddenly changed with the music, as a platoon of Imperial Stormtroopers marched in and a blaster fight broke out between the opposing forces. Pretty cool stuff which got my midi-chlorians all tingly again.
After the first part of the show ended at the X-Wing centre stage, the cosplayers kindly mingled with the crowd for a brief moment before being herded with the media circus over to Terminal 2. We tried to make our way there without stepping on any one. Fortunately, “Darth Mini” led the way, which helped to open a path as people move out of the way for fear of being Force-choked.
I have seen quite a few X-Wing and TIE mock-ups before, but the ones at Changi Airport are probably the best. Not only are they full-sized, the details and paintwork on them are simply brilliant. It is just awesome that the X-Wing has a big enough cockpit to sit in and take photos with. I love the details on the TIE starfighter at Terminal 2 Departure Hall too, especially with Stormtroopers pilots posing for photos. My only regret is that there is no cockpit for the TIE starfighter – too small for most people to cramp inside perhaps?
From 12 November 2015 to 5 January, visitors at Teminal 3 can enter the cockpit of the X-Wing donning costumes of a Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca or an X-Wing pilot for a photo-op of a life-time. There are 80 tickets given on a first-come-first-served basis at specific time slots. In addition, Changi airport visitors can also meet-and-greet Star Wars characters like Stormtroopers and X-Wing pilots over the next few Saturdays at 4 pm at Terminal 3 Departure Hall. Please check the official webpage here for details.
Inside All Nippon Airways R2D2 Dreamliner
Finally, we were led to the airport gate to board the R2-D2 Dreamliner by ANA. Along the way, we ran into the R2-D2 astromech itself as it beeped and chirped excitedly to greet us. I wondered if someone like Kenny Baker was inside, as I could not see any one controlling the droid.
We were greeted by the ever courteous ANA flight attendants as we boarded the R2-D2 ANA Jet. I was not sure if one of the smiling attendants was implying anything though, as she was by waving a lightsaber with one hand, and the head of Darth Vader head in the other. The 787-9 Dreamliner is the latest and most modern model from Boeing, with the R2-D2 ANA jet being the first of three Star Wars themed jets from ANA. For more details on Star Wars ANA jets, go to the ANA webpage here.
Putting the special lightings on the 787-9 Dreamliner to good use, ANA managed to create an onboard ambiance that fits the Star Wars theme brilliantly, with soft indigo and magenta palettes coming on with the Star Wars soundtrack over the PA system.
Looking at the R2-D2 themed headrest cover and paper napkins, it also occurred to me that the blue-and-white theme is a perfect match with the corporate colours of ANA too. In addition, the larger cabin windows with the advance electronic shade dimming on the 787-9 Dreamliner almost got me feeling that I was inside a spacecraft.
Movie Screening and exclusive premiums
In addition to Star Wars: The Force Awakens luggage tags, tote bags, and stickers, fans will be delighted to know that they can collect a full set of eight limited-edition Star Wars plush toys exclusively available at Changi Airport. Featuring popular characters like Yoda, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the latest BB-8, each of these plush toys cab be purchased for S$6 (subjected to design availability) with a minimum spending of S$70 at public areas (S$140 at supermarkets), or S$150 in the transit areas in a same-day single receipt. iShopChangi.com shoppers and Changi Rewards members will also be entitled to exclusive redemption privileges.
From 23 November to 11 December 2015, fans also stand a chance to win a movie screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. See details here.