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Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back | © Lucasfilm Ltd.
Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back | © Lucasfilm Ltd.
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10 Ways You Can Prepare For Star Wars Episode VII

Picture of Mayura Jain
Updated: 10 January 2017
So you’ve pre-ordered your tickets for The Force Awakens, but the highly anticipated next installment of the legendary Star Wars saga is still weeks away. Whether you’re a Star Wars newbie or a card-carrying mega fan, here are ten more ways for you to gear up and get hyped before the next episode hits theaters on December 18. Because we all know Star Wars is more than a film series — it’s a way of life.
Star Wars cosplay | © Doug Kline, courtesy of Pop Culture Geek/Flickr
Star Wars cosplay | © Doug Kline, courtesy of Pop Culture Geek/Flickr

Ready Your Cosplay

Dressing up doesn’t have to be limited to Halloween. For those who want to wear excitement on their sleeves, cosplay is a fun way to show off their inventiveness (as well as their sewing and makeup skills). Praise, photo ops, and even fame are allotted to people who rock their cosplays. And after opening night comes and goes, conventions and meet-ups happen year-round, so you’ll always have an opportunity show off your hard work. Californians can check out WonderCon and Silicon Valley Comic Con, both in March.

Update Your Wardrobe

If you don’t dare cosplay, there are less extreme ways to show off your pride. The Internet is replete with Star Wars merchandise, from toys to mugs to vintage tees. Australian body-con clothing brand Black Milk found out firsthand that Star Wars sells when it issued limited edition C-3PO and R2-D2 swimsuits that flew off shelves like hotcakes. (Since then they’ve branched out into other fandom fare like Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.) ThinkGeek also has a wide range of goods, in case you have need for an Imperial Officer jacket or a Death Star tea infuser.

Alternate Lightsaber Techniques | © Pere Pérez, courtesy of Imgur
Alternate Lightsaber Techniques | © Pere Pérez, courtesy of Imgur

Practice Your Saber Skills

Many swordplay enthusiasts have offered their own takes on the legendary combat form. Grab a friend (or foe) and practice your own moves, or even choreograph some fights together. After that, take your newly honed skills to the streets in flash mobs like December’s downtown LA lightsaber battle.

Find Your Favorite Fan Tributes

Half the fun of a franchise as big as Star Wars is seeing how fans pay homage, in often hilarious ways. Catchy Flash animation ‘Star Wars Gangsta Rap‘ and Weird Al’s ‘American Pie‘ parody have stood the test of time, as have a number of past winners of the official Star Wars Fan Film Contest. Fans of COPS will appreciate Troops, a sly 1997 mockumentary that parodies law enforcement drama and puts the stories of Stormtroopers on Tatooine front and center. Meanwhile, look to DeviantArt for some of the best artistic tributes to Star Wars.

Characters from the Expanded Universe | © Pop Culture Geek/Flickr
Characters from the Expanded Universe | © Pop Culture Geek/Flickr

Peruse the Expanded Universe

Even though they aren’t technically canon — part of the official Star Wars storyline — it’s fun to geek out on the alternate universe authors have created in spin-off publications. Up until production was under way for The Force Awakens, these books, films, and video games were an officially licensed and widely accepted part of the Star Wars timeline. Long before Episode I: The Phantom Menace, there was the world of the Old Republic, where the Jedi populated the galaxy preserving peace and balance. And in the books that follow Return of the Jedi, twins Jaina and Jacen Solo take up the Jedi mantle while a struggling new Republic helps ease a post-fascist galaxy into a peaceful future.

Play A Star Wars Game

Possibly the most celebrated Star Wars video game ever made is Knights of the Old Republic (lovingly dubbed ‘Kotor’ by fans), a game for Xbox and PC in which players explore the galaxy 4,000 years before Anakin Skywalker while determining their Jedi or Sith allegiances. There’s also plenty for board game enthusiasts; Star Wars Trivial Pursuit is a no-brainer in this department.

Redwood National Forest | © Michael Schweppe/Flickr
Redwood National Forest | © Michael Schweppe/Flickr

Hike The Locations

Those lucky enough to live in Southern California find themselves in close proximity to several major Star Wars filming locations. Much of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet, was filmed in Death Valley, CA (about five hours drive from LA). Check out locations like Dante’s View and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, where characters like Obi Wan Kenobi first came to life. Bring plenty of water, and watch out for Sand People. For those further north, get your Endor on in California’s breathtaking Redwood National Forest. There are also locations in countries like Tunisia, Italy, Finland, and Spain.

Existential crisis in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope | © Lucasfilm Ltd.
Existential crisis in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope | © Lucasfilm Ltd.

Make The Soundtrack Part Of Your Daily Routine

You’d be amazed at how quickly the iconic John Williams score can make even the most mundane tasks feel instantly epic. Picture this: you’re washing your dishes, scrubbing away old lasagna, when the mournful call of a lone French horn booms through your living room. You look off into the distance at the setting twin suns, which seem as far away as your dreams of becoming a star fighter pilot, like your father once was. You tire of your life as a moisture farmer, and feel you are destined for something greater…

See” I rest my case.

Drink Like You’re In Mos Eisley

There are plenty of things inspired by the film to mix up yourself, both alcoholic and not. One popular cocktail tries to recreate Bantha Milk, which Luke and his family often drink at the dinner table and which is actually produced by those big creatures that Sand People ride…ew?! The cocktail version, however, sounds far more appetizing: a foamy mix of coconut rum, amaretto, and blue curaçao. For more cocktail ideas, check out DrinkLab’s extensive list. (Note: The Culture Trip does not promote drinking while attempting the Kessel Run.)

Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back | © Lucasfilm Ltd.
Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back | © Lucasfilm Ltd.

Rewatch The Films

Grab the popcorn, gather your friends, and, for extra credit, try watching the movies in what hardcore fans call ‘machete order.’ The order is IV-V-II-III-VI (some of us like to pretend that Phantom Menace never happened), turning the prequels into flashbacks and making Luke’s final confrontation with Vader that much more meaningful and intense.