Pages: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. Published on April 3, 2005, by Matt. Return to X-Entertainment!

I had a press pass (because I'm cool), and anyone with one of those was allowed to browse the premises prior to midnight, strategizing how they wanted to cover the impending stampede of 36 billion Mon Calamari sympathizers with toys on the brain. The work inside had reached a feverish pitch. It seemed as if the staff hadn't predicted such a large crowd, desperately trying to prepare by doubling the amount of toys out on display. Trucks on the side of the building housed even more toys, just in case. A lot of people spoke ominously into walkie talkies, others caught a glimpse of the life-sized Chewbacca made entirely of Legos, finding themselves entranced and wasting valuable minutes drooling in place.

All of this insanity for bins of what you see above.

The two Biker Scouts at the end were barely audible, but their body language told us of grand plans to do something big tonight that'd finally make them more known than the Stormtroopers. These Biker Scouts had something up their sleeve.

Best Costume Award™ goes to this Boba Fett. The costume wasn't perfectly genuine, though don't ask me to pinpoint the things that support that complaint with anything more than "Uh I dunno" and "I think it's something about one of the colors." According to this costume, Boba Fett is no stranger to getting shot in the crotch. Plus, of all the people in zany costumes, the guy inside Boba really had the mannerisms down. It was the only character on the scene that genuinely made you feel a bit uneasy. Of course, I'd later see Boba Fett going up the escalator with a "Darth Vader Voice Changer" in a big nylon shopping bag. I've decided to pretend that part was a dream.

Brian and I pondered what would happen to a person if they accidentally knocked the Lego-Chewie over. Would they be kicked out of the store? Banned for life? Shot on sight? I've been to this TRU store a lot during daytime hours. Lego-Chewie was placed right in the entrance area. If they didn't move it by morning, there's no way some kid didn't push the thing over in spiteful protest of not being bought a new video game. I think I'm just looking for a reason to use the phrase "Poor Chewy."

With mere minutes left before the grand late night opening, most of the costumed characters (including two identical Vaders) congregated in the entrance area. It was their job to make the customers feel welcomed and completely freaked out. This was absolutely one of the most surreal things I've ever seen. Clone Troopers joking around with Snowspeeder Pilots. An AT-AT Driver hitting on Padme. Boba Fett scratching his ass. I'm reminded of the time an awestruck Dan Conner lacked the strength to exit a surprise performance by Wayne Newton so he could tell his wife about it. There I stood, immobile, unable to process thoughts, unable to remember my name, age or stance on hunting deer. You know, like Dan was.

During these final moments on the outside, times were desperate. The remaining Stormtroopers realized that their stretch of importance was winding down, forging last ditch efforts to use their costumes for scoring before everyone moved onto different things. Crude comparisons to gun sizes were drawn. Numbers were exchanged.

By now, the line has grown to a simply enormous size. In fact, it had gotten so long that new arrivals weren't even bothering to go on the end, instead leaving to hit bars, restaurants and KB stores to kill time. When I crossed the corner to check out the "second half" of the line, I couldn't even see the end of it. As you'd suspect, the line became quite a spectacle for everyone else who walked by. Some were intrigued, others disgusted. Those foolish enough to walk by with a young kid in hand soon found themselves pulled into the crowd, their child drawn to the many giant M&M's handing out sample packs of their candy. I giggle at how many people only told their loved ones that they were "going to the toy store" this evening.

Hey, Biker Scout! I see your neck. It ruins everything.

The Thing About M&M's:
The Star Wars/M&M team-up has been...well, it's been pretty strange. Nobody can really fault Lucas for licensing his babies out like this -- it's not like it was any different when the first movie came out almost thirty years ago. Still, if a fine line exists between the right amount and waaay too much, purists would have to believe the Star Wars/M&M connection crossed it, burnt it, went five miles further and then ran back just to shit on it for effect. This was like the seventieth press event celebrating their combined efforts in a week's time. Hell, there's even an "official" version of a Star Wars movie trailer -- starring M&M's! You either let it fuck up your insides or decide to make the most of it. I'm going with the latter, so bring on those Force-fueled chocolate morsels of everything mighty.

The folks shown above (I don't know their names) were hired by the Lords of the M-Pire to run around the line throwing trivia questions at hopeful Star Wars enthusiasts. Anyone who supplied a right answer received a tiny little bottle filled with Star Wars M&M's, which taste just the same as regular M&M's but don't have freaky Vader Candy Monsters doing their hard sells. You'd walk past 'em talking to people in the crowd, hearing one side shout "THE NAME OF ACKBAR'S STARSHIP'S MEDICAL DROID WAS AMD-26!" followed by the other side shouting "THAT'S IT! YOU WIN THE M&M'S!!!" I...I...I don't know what to say.

Here's the deal. There are two kinds of Star Wars M&M's -- milk chocolate versions fronted by the Jedi, and dark chocolate versions fronted by the M-Pire. That's what they call it. M-Pire. The dark chocolate versions are getting the harder push, supplemented by press releases from the Mars Corporation claiming how trends indicate that the public is crying out for more dark chocolate candy. Seriously. I picked up a few bags, so I'll stop short of describing them now and save it for the big grand finale on page 566.

The drowsy good guy M&M picks up the pace now that the hour is at hand, waving a lightsaber around with all the skill of a guy in a giant M&M costume. He is ready to breakdance.

My boy Vader M&M is also present, lurking in the shadows with his evil red lightsaber ready to pounce any customer stupid enough to buy milk chocolate M&M's. I'd later see him killing an old lady for saying that this whole dark chocolate thing was only a fad.

I admit it -- I asked Vader to pose for this photo. He'd just seem so regal and official outside...I figured the sight of this straight-out-of-the-movie villain holding a bag of M&M's would tickle fancies all over the world. Maybe it does, but I still wish I hadn't taken it. When I approached the Dark Lord of the Sith with my pathetic yellow bag of Peanut M&M's, he snatched them with appropriate force, inspecting the goods before delivering a retort -- that he "did the M&M's thing last Tuesday." Even by prequel standards, it's tough to imagine the real Darth Vader saying anything like that. I completely lost the moment. The guy in the suit, finding my lack of faith disturbing, simply Force-choked me until I cried "No more, real more!"

On the next page, midnight strikes.