Star Wars-themed fundraiser Course of the Force will pass through Santa Monica July 12
BY MICHAEL AUSHENKER
Move over, Olympic torch, and make way for the passing of the lightsaber.
A “Star Wars”-themed relay race based on George Lucas’ classic sci-fi franchise, dating back to his original 1977 film, returns for its second year to raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish Foundation. And Santa Monica is right in those X-Wing fighters’ sights.
Launching July 9 from Marin County, home of Lucas’ special-effects compound Skywalker Ranch, the Second Annual Course of the Force will pass through the Westside on Friday, July 12, on its way to San Diego in time for Comic-Con International. From noon to 6 p.m., a “Con-ival,” with games and promotional freebies and a 4:30 p.m. concert, will take place at the Santa Monica Pier.
As one might expect from any event merging “Star Wars” with Comic-Con, expect to see participants dressed as droids, Sand People, “Slave Leias,” Boba Fetts and assorted cast members from Lucas’ box office-busting pair of trilogies, which include 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith.”
Last October, Disney announced it would be taking over the Lucasfilm franchise to continue adding more feature-film installments to Lucas’ first six movies.
Started by local Peter Levin in 2012, the Course of the Force race began in Santa Monica last year. In a gesture to officiate its sponsorship of the charity race, Lucasfilm invited organizers to kick off this year’s event at its Marin headquarters, thus weaving the relay across the Golden Gate Bridge and down California to San Diego, where the fundraiser culminates on July 16, the day before Comic-Con International blasts off with Preview Night.
Last year’s inaugural Course of the Force raised $100,000, and organizers expect to surpass that amount this year. According to the course website, all race proceeds from runner registration will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters of the Greater Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire and San Diego.