Film and TV

Nerd Alert: Star Wars Trilogy Returning to Downtown Phoenix

Don't put away those storm troopers costumes yet; the Star Wars trilogy is returning to Phoenixl.
Don't put away those storm troopers costumes yet; the Star Wars trilogy is returning to Phoenixl. Benjamin Leatherman

Are you going through Phoenix Fan Fusion withdrawal?

FilmBar, True North Studio, and Zia Records will help ease your symptoms this Fathers’ Day weekend. The Star Wars trilogy will be shown on the big screen in downtown Phoenix throughout the weekend. Each all-ages screening is playing at monOrchid, located at 214 East Roosevelt Street. These are the versions that came out on Blu-ray in 2011, so yes, Greedo shoots first.

Here is the schedule for the weekend:

Friday, June 14, Star Wars: Episode IV  A New Hope at 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 15, Star Wars: Episode V  The Empire Strikes Back begins at 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 16, Star Wars: Episode VI  Return of the Jedi begins at 5 p.m.

Tickets for individual showings are $25. A weekend pass is $60. Tickets include galactic-themed popcorn (flavors include Millennium FalCorn, HothCorn and Death StarCorn), a commemorative button, and a digital photo of you against a backdrop in a galaxy far, far away.

For those readers who aren't in the know, here's a quick recap of the immensely popular science-fiction film series. A group of intergalactic rebels, led by Luke Skywalker, are battling for freedom from Darth Vader and the Empire. The movies have been a phenomenon since A New Hope was released in 1977, spawning sequels, prequels, television shows, books, and other merchandising. The latest chapter in the saga, The Rise of Skywalker, comes out on December 20, 2019.

This event involves more than just showing director George Lucas’ influential blockbusters. MonOrchid will be transformed into a lively cantina inspired by the Mos Eisley spaceport featured in A New Hope. The scum and villainy that frequent the fictional establishment will be portrayed by The Dune Sea Garrison, the Arizona chapter of the Star Wars costume club The 501st Legion. The movies are being shown in the studio in the back of the gallery.

Zia Records is setting up a pop-up shop in case you left your lightsaber at the office or want to jam to some John Williams on the way home. Conceptually Social is serving a variety of libations, including galactic-themed cocktails with names like Tatooine Dreams, Plains of Hoth, and Carbonite Crusader.

“We want to make this a fun experience for everyone,” says Kelly Aubey, the owner of FilmBar.

The downtown independent movie house is unable to show the trilogy itself due to licensing issues. As the theater’s film programmer Andrea Canales explains, Lucasfilm is very particular about how the Star Wars films are shown. There was a small window of time when the films could be shown in a non-theater environment, so organizers saw a rare opportunity to play the films in a nontraditional space.

“We knew this would be an exciting opportunity to bring something cool to the fans,” she says.

Cash-strapped fans might be wondering why the ticket prices are as high as purchasing a physical copy of the trilogy on Amazon. Aubey understands the concern, but this event is more than just watching movies in a darkened auditorium. The films are being presented in a unique way. Fans are encouraged to arrive in costume and celebrate their fandom, much like they would at Fan Fusion.

Star Wars Trilogy Weekend. A New Hope starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 14, at monOrchid, 214 East Roosevelt Street. The Empire Strikes Back begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. Return of the Jedi shows at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. Single screening tickets are $25 and a weekend pass is $60.
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil