Posted by Jeremy on July 20, 2007 at 02:47 PM CST
Knocking spots off a much earlier show's attempt to do the same thing, Weird and Wonderful comes up trumps. The promise of "a once in a lifetime opportunity to see how the magic was made" is fulfilled by Director John Sands and Producer Simon Cox. Set right at the back of the South Hall is what appears to be a small film set. On second glance that impression doesn't change. Same again on third, fourth, ad infinitum because that is exactly what it is. because instead of having a walkthrough corridor mocked up to look like the stark white Tantive IV, Lucasfilm, the event organisers and Weird and Wonderful have colluded to bring the magic of the movies right to you. In this behind-the-scenes extravaganza four lucky volunteers are plucked from the audience and dressed as Rebel Fleet Troopers and armed with toy blasters. After a quick briefing from the director, the audience is then given an overview of what will be occuring before them - and then it is all "Action!".

In the first scene that is recreated a small squad of troopers are ushered onto the single corridor set that is seen side on. As the director bellows instructions to the squad, two regulars dressed in the same costume are on hand to make sure that the performance maintains momentum. Once the action has been filmed on an actual camera the cast is then brought round to the next set.

Knowing that the vital cargo that the Princess's ship carries must not be captured the defenders rush forward and take up position under the orders of the director who sits in his chair and bellows out "look up, what's tha noise above you" the players scan the roof for the supposed clang of the Star Destroyer coupling with the crippled blockade runner. "Doors open" he shouts and all the troopers face forward, take aim and let off a barrage of laser bolts (you have to imagine this bit because in a real studio it would be added in post-production) at the invading Stormtroopers. Despite their valiant effort the director shouts "number one dead, number two dead" and so on as the Rebels drop like flies. With a flourish trooper number six hits the deck and "Cut!" reaches our ears.

Next is the arrival of Darth Vader and his bodyguards. Though the scene lacks smoke effects the arrival of this most ominous of villains is received with boos and hisses from the crowd. Ignoring this reaction Vader, the consumate baddie, carries on forwards while his entourage scans the dead for any flicker of life.

With the scene in the bag the Tantive IV Experience moves over to the editing suite and the crowd is given a description of how the footage is download to a laptop and compiled through editing software. The scenes that have just been shot are then slipped into sequence with clips from A New Hope and the audience get to view the capture of the Tantive IV in its entirety.

There is more coverage of this feature in our Tantive IV Experience gallery.