In a sea of clashing blues, reds, greens and pinks, the force awakened Friday night at the World Record Lightsaber Battle.
Braving the chilly night air, more than 400 "Star Wars" fans young and old, male and female, came out in droves — but not to stand in line for the newest "Star Wars" movie. Instead, this time the fans were part of their own adventure. Waving their colorful lightsabers in the air, they lived the dream of being their favorite Jedi or Sith character in an epic battle of good versus evil. It all played out in front of the backdrop of Mount Rushmore at Lehi’s Seven Peaks Fun Center.
Though many fans simply bundled themselves up to fend off the chill, others were dressed in full "Star Wars" costume. One very authentic looking Darth Vader sliced a path through the battlers, while lots of little Vaders battled their own way through the fight. Even Chewbacca made a showing, and might have been one of the only warm participants there.
Luke Allen was a participant who came dressed like his namesake from the “Return of the Jedi” movie, complete with a $300 lightsaber. Allen grew up watching the "Star Wars" movies, and spent Thursday night binge-watching all six of the movies in the series. After Friday’s battle, he headed off to a late showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Andre Jones came from a galaxy far, far away in Pleasant Grove, to play the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the fourth Star Wars movie. Jones and his friends have already seen the latest "Star Wars" movie and “thought it would be cool to be in a huge battle.”
Provo resident, Skyler Ostler, was part of the Jedi Academy — a handful of volunteers who taught the youngest children how to defend themselves in the battle. Ostler proudly wielded his Sith lightsaber complete with a homemade, but very realistic, handle he fashioned out of PVC pipe and moldable plastic.
The lightsaber event was the brainchild of friends Jake Privette and Chase Lewis, who both have been "Star Wars" fans since they were little. Lewis is a public relations student at Brigham Young University from California. When he heard about a huge lightsaber battle also taking place Friday in his home town of San Francisco, he wanted to be a part of something similar here in Utah County.
So with only three weeks to pull it all together, Lewis and Privette jumped on social media to spread the word.
“Utah has such a big community of Star Wars fans, we knew we needed to hold one here,” Lewis said.
Privette said the idea caught on, and there were multiple battles taking place around the nation, most of them Friday night as well. What also drew him to the event was the chance to film and photograph it. Privette is a singer and cinematographer when he’s not battling good against evil, and the opportunity to film such a large gathering really appealed to him.
Privette and Lewis and their crew filmed the entire evening, and will spend the next month editing the raw footage into a Youtube film.
Additionally, they will be digitally animating every lightsaber in the battle, mirroring the movie series special effects.
“It will be a very difficult endeavor, but it will look amazing,” Privette said.
The fans who came out Friday will have a bit of a wait to see if they end up in the final video, but being "Star Wars" fans, they are pretty good at waiting already.