'Star Wars:' Course of the Force Zooms Into Santa Monica

The Pier was taken over by Wookies, droids and Jabba the Hutt’s Sail Barge Friday as the charity event stopped in town.
Aaron Couch
R2-D2 rocks out with Spazmatics

Star Wars invaded the Santa Monica Pier on Friday.

Course of the Force, the charity relay race transporting a lightsaber from Skywalker Ranch to San Diego Comic-Con, brought Wookies, Droids and Storm Troopers  with it. The event celebrating the race's fourth day also included Jabba’s Sail Barge, though the infamous alien was nowhere to be seen.

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R2-D2 held a lightsaber onstage during a set from new wave cover band The Spazmatics, while fans posed for pictures with a Chewbacca replica. For meme-lovers, there was a photo booth dedicated to Vadering, courtesy of Qualcomm.

Sitting in front of Jabba’s Sail Barge, the Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick and his Course of the Force cohort Ashley Eckstein recorded a message for fans. Hardwick joked he ran into some confusion when escorting the lightsaber Thursday night by plane, where he flew from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles International Airport.

When checking in, Hardwick said he was asked if “Mr. Saber” would be joining him – as if the lightsaber was another passenger and not an object.

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The L.A. leg of the charity race featured a number of stars, including Ty Simpkins (Tony Stark's young helper in Iron Man 3), Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken), Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights) and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th).

The inaugural Course of the Force raised more than $100,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation last year, with the help of thousands of runners. More information on Make-a-Wish can be found at its official website.