We had stood waiting for nearly two hours when the Chewbacca left with the Ewok. The family standing two places ahead had finished taking their pictures – Chewy headlocking the unkempt guy with the Family Guy T-shirt while Sis and Mom giggled at the cameraman – when a Disney attendant shouted across the warehouse that their time had ended. Tiff fumed.
“Nooooo,” she whined.“No, soo close.We almost had him.”
Pat simply sighed with fatigue and crumpled against the wall like a discarded straw wrapper.“Two and a half hours in line.”
Ryan and I sighed.The Sith Lords further down the line seemed ready to leave too.
“We almost had him . . .” Tiff repeated in her despair, so close to tears that she momentarily forgot her surroundings.“Son of a bitch!”
None of the surrounding families seemed to mind the sudden shift from G to PG-13 programming.They were all thinking the same word and worse anyway.
We had spent most of our first day in Disney World scouring Disney’s Hollywood Studios, mid-way through their month-long Star Wars Weekend celebration, for an Ewok to satisfy Tiff’s need for giant bear-like muppets.
Long ago, Tiffany explained to me, she saw this movie with Ewoks.
“Return of the Jedi?” I asked.
“No, no none of the Star Wars movies.Something separate. They were so cute too. The Ewoks helped this girl and her brother to find their grandfather or parents or some family member in these woods.”
“Who got captured by this giant!” I exclaimed.“Yeah, I remember that flick.“The Ewok Adventure” or something.I know exactly what you’re talking about.”
“Oh my God,” Patrick muttered, shaking his head.
Apparently unbeknownst to him, my brother had married a fan girl.A more attractive, stuffed-animal-loving, and entirely female version of me.Upon realization I simultaneously laughed with glee and – upon greater reflection – quietly dry-heaved a bit.Still it was nice not being the only obsessive geeky member of the group for a change.
At first the prospect of photographs with five different Star Wars characters seemed promising.One of the attendants, a pretty Chinese girl with a broken accent, promised that Wicket (apparently that was the name of the Ewok in question) would appear at one o’clock in one of the large gift shops along with four other Star Wars characters. Armed with this knowledge, we resigned ourselves to the wait.However, the characters apparently did not resign themselves to any time or place.Storm Troppers marched in and out of the gift shop; aliens of various forms traded places with one another; Sith Lords chatted backstage before fastening their scowls for pictures.We saw no Ewoks at first, but Chewbacca seemed to be a regular.
“Awww . . .” Tiff moaned.“Oh well, at least, he’s furry.”
As we neared the front of the line, we spied Wicket the Ewok, hiding beneath Chewy’s hairy sasquatchian arms and signing autographs.Tiff by this time was literally jumping up and down with excitement.Every now and then she would grab Pat, who after hours of standing in line had paled to the hue of the defrocked Darth Vader, and laugh at his impatience.
Silently like a good Irishman, I readied myself for disappointment, expecting a change of guard.“They are going to move the Ewok and Chewy as soon as we get to the front,” I would think in order to brace myself for disappointment.I typically find this softens the blow a bit — particularly when it comes to Star Wars.
Unfortunately the pleasure of proving my pessimism did little ease the pain of standing in line. As they sauntered off stage, the entire mob of parents and kids seemed to deflate a bit. Yet hope flickered still. Perhaps Darth Vader would replace the growling hairballs. Or Han Solo. Maybe even ALF.
No such luck. Wicket’s replacement, a pig-faced alien with an ax of some kind whom I recognized as one of Jaba’s cohorts in Episode VI (unfortunately I cannot recall its name, showing that though a geek, I am indeed a very poor one) did little to please Tiff.
“I didn’t even know who that waaasss,” she whined afterwards between sobs.I wondered if she actually felt intrigued by the character and told her that I remember him from the third movie.
“Murphey, shut-up!” she replied, shooting me with enough ocular venom to incapacitate a grown rancor. “I hate Lucas and his dumb movies.”
Nonetheless our “Star Wars Encounter” was not without some laughs.Our second character was a young girl dressed as Queen Amidala from Episode I.Ryan, Tiff and I stumbled over to her after the photo-shoot with the pig-alien. The rest of the queued characters did not impress us. Darth Maul had just recently left his corner only to be replaced by an unknown bounty hunter. Ryan and I frowned.Still the StormTroppers seemed intent to remain for a few more pictures and Amidala seemed to exude that Natalie Portman cuteness a bit.We sighed and found the wisdom to laugh a bit at our disappointment.
“Ah, fair princess, how are you today?” Amidala asked Tiff as the photographer herded us over.
“Fine,” Tiff muttered amiably enough.
“And are these two gentlemen your Jedi Masters?”
“No,” Tiff smiled, this time more genuinely.“No, they are not mine at any rate.”
“Are you Jedi Masters?” Amidala asked Ryan.
“Uh . . . no,” he laughed.
Ryan and I giggled to ourselves, a defense mechanism in my case to ward off childhood fears of clowns and individuals in costume – both of which the heavily made up Amidala seemed to incite.After taking a few shots with his camera, Patrick sidles up to Tiff to allow the photographer to snap a few shots.
“Ah, here is your Jedi Master” Amidala croons, which causes Ryan and I to giggle even louder. Pat smiles, anxious to escape and find a soft bed back at the hotel, where no lines or costumed crazies can disturb him.
As we leave, Amidala wishes Patrick and Tiffany well and then shouts out to Ryan and I:
“I hope one day that you will be masters of something.”
I laughed of course, but after some time as we waited for the StormTroppers, I realized that we were just zinged.How pathetic must I be to be insulted by a girl garbed in Star Wars finery? A princess no less, who married that whiny nutter Anakin? An all time low, young padawan.An all time low yes indeed.