1:40pm PT by Matt Cabral
How to Stand the Wait Until 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
If you're a fan of the galaxy far, far away, you're no doubt counting down the days until The Last Jedi drops. In fact, you may have prepped for the First Order's next clash with The Resistance by re-watching all the sci-fi sagas' previous films, maybe investing in some new Stormtrooper toys “for the kids” or even cracking open that old Star Wars cookbook to bake a batch of Wookiee Cookies. Now that the reviews have dropped, maybe you even read one too many and got a little spoiled (or read none at all for fear of spoilers).
While these are all fantastic ways to hype yourself up ahead of the film's Friday release, they only scratch the surface of how you can celebrate the series with all the enthusiasm of a dancing Ewok. With that in mind, here's five Star Wars experiences every Force-sensitive fan should check out this holiday season.
Dance (and Drink) on the Dark Side
Those looking to spice up their fandom with a bit of scum and villainy will want to book a transport to this Star Wars-themed pop-up pub. Appropriately dubbed The Dark Side Bar, the temporary establishment features the sort of atmosphere and decor — dim lighting contrasted with red neon — that would make Darth Maul feel right at home. On top of being the perfect hideout/hangout for Sith lords, the watering hole serves Galaxy-inspired grog and grub, like Bantha Fodder (vegan sushi egg rolls), and hosts themed dance, DJ, trivia and speed-dating nights.
No word on whether or not blue milk is on the menu or droids will be served, but we do know the bar — with locations in Hollywood, New York City and Washington, D.C. — will close its doors to all would-be smugglers and scoundrels come Jan. 4. Of course, there's also Scum & Villainy, open permanently in Hollywood.
Sneak a Peek of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
You'd have better luck grooming a Wookiee with a fine tooth comb than scoring fresh intel on Disney's highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme park expansions. That said, Walt Disney World and Disneyland's classic Star Tours attraction has quietly been teasing a bit of what's to come. Recently redubbed “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” the popular motion-simulator ride has added tons of content tied to the new trilogy, particularly from The Last Jedi.
While the attraction's updated randomized story includes appearances from new fan-favorites, like Rey, Finn, and Poe — as well as the planet Crait from Episode VIII — it also offers park-goers a peek at Batuu, the setting for the 14-acre expansions. Previously described by Disney as a “remote outpost” that's “become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space,” Batuu's Star Tours' inclusion serves as a nice appetizer for anxious fans awaiting Galaxy's Edge's 2019 opening.
Fight for the Empire
Star Wars Battlefront II earned backlash over microtransactions that required players to pay for certain achievements (those have since been disabled). But while its questionable business model should be sucked into a Sarlacc, its single-player, story-driven campaign deserves a better fate. Unfolding between the events of Return of the Jedi's conclusion and The Force Awakens' start, the 13-chapter narrative puts players in the boots of Iden Versio, commander of the Empire's spec-ops Inferno Squad.
Considered official Star Wars canon, Iden's journey sports plenty of solid blaster-wielding action, fan-pleasing character interactions and production values ripped right from the films. Playing from the perspective of a protagonist who has no trouble filling a Star Destroyer's corridors with Rebel corpses is also a hoot. The campaign isn't perfect — slaughtering swarms of bugs as a lightsaber-wielding Luke is a low point — but it's more than a worthwhile romp for the franchise's faithful followers. Before feeding Battlefront II to the Rancor, fans should also consider that Iden's story continues with free content, called “Resurrection,” a couple days before The Last Jedi lands.
Feel the Augmented Force
If you've ever dreamed of deflecting Stormtrooper blasts, cutting down Kylo Ren or even clashing blades with Darth Vader, you'll want to don Star Wars: Jedi Challenges' augmented reality headset. Bundled with a tracking beacon and detail-drenched lightsaber replica, the AR goggles put you behind the elegant Jedi weapon like no interactive experience before it.
When paired with a smartphone — running the Jedi Challenges' app — the game allows fans to take on iconic Sith lords and Force-wielding foes, from the Seventh Sister to the heavy-breather himself. When not dueling the Dark Side, you can use the lightsaber peripheral to engage in real-time strategy battles, which amazingly come to augmented life on your living room floor, or play a few rounds of favorite Millennium Falcon pastime Holochess.
Build Your Own Sc-Fi Saga, Literally
Fans have long known Legos aren't just for kids, but Star Wars has taken that sentiment a step further with some adult-aimed, display-worthy sets. At a whopping 7,541 pieces, the Ultimate Collector Series Millennium Falcon isn't just an enormous piece of plastic fan-service, but also the biggest Legos set ever released. This brick-based take on the Kessel Run record-breaker earns extra points for including minifigures of both young Han Solo and his gray-haired counterpart from The Force Awakens — don't hide them in the cargo-hold together, lest you want to destroy all space and time.
Of course, if you can't dedicate an entire weekend to snapping tiny, colorful bricks together, you may want to consider a more modest challenge. The First Order Star Destroyer — and its measly 1,416 pieces — perfectly fits this bill. Not only that, but its Supreme Leader Snoke minifig is absolutely adorable.