Recently Jedi News, in association with Disney, ran a competition for 25 of our readers to meet Anthony Daniels and Joonas Suotamo at a secret location in central London. The event was held to launch the new Star Wars Disney coin sets. It also coincided with the UK opening date for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and located at Disney’s UK flagship store on Oxford Street in the D350 department.
Kat Rees-Jauke and I were in attendance from Jedi News and arrived an hour before the event was scheduled to find the D350 area of the store already closed and some of our competition winners queueing to meet Anthony and Joonas. The team from Disney were busy behind the scenes setting up the event and ensuring everything was to run smoothly.
With the scene set, Anthony arrived first and promptly assisted with the setup for the meet and greet. Joonas arrived and spoke to the gathered staff from the store and Disney PR on his way to join Anthony.
When they were all settled it was time to begin. The barrier tapes were lifted by security and the patient queue of winners filed their way up the stairs and into D350.
Daniel Morris from Cheltenham was the first of our winners in the queue. He had seen The Rise of Skywalker at midnight in his hometown and then travelled by coach across to the capital to attend. “I absolutely loved the film especially C-3PO, I thought his lines were brilliant. I was amazed that I was first in the queue which has happened totally by accident!”
Anthony and Joonas were in full flow, signing varying personal items brought along by the winners or The Rise of Skywalker mini posters, as well as having pictures taken with them.
Andy and Lianne from South London brought along the cover of The Making of Solo and Anthony’s new book for signing. “We really enjoyed the new film, which we saw as part of a triple bill at the Odeon. We decided to get prepared for it by watching the entire saga and realised just how long it’s been since they have seen Episode II.”
Also, from London, Tim Portis arrived fresh from viewing the film at 7am that morning, proudly wearing his Chewbacca bag. “Threepio is my favourite character, I have been thinking of what to get signed and chose some of my trading cards. They are from the original Disney Store cards from 2012”.
Chris Roe had travelled from Derby by train after watching the film in the early hours of the morning. “I was impressed with how they’ve tied everything together and it links the prequels, sequels and original trilogy. I’ve brought along a backpack full of goodies including my Black Series Threepio and Babu Frick, a 3.75” Chewbacca, Anthony’s new book and a bunch of other stuff!”
Chloe Leggatt was another long-distance winner travelling from Lincolnshire and she is a self confessed fan of Rey. She attended dressed as Rey using her cardigan from EMP to complete her costumer. “I’m here to hopefully get something singed for little brother Robbie who’s in school so couldn’t attend and having my Empire magazine and Rey poster signed”.
One winner even turned up with gifts for both Anthony and Joonas. John Hancock from London presented them with their very own Christmas tree toppers of ‘The Child’ from The Mandalorian series on Disney+. While Joonas’s was in his usual colour scheme, Anthony’s was protocol droid gold! “I’d like to say thank you to Jedi News for this opportunity. I haven’t been feeling well recently, so to be able to get out for this event is very exciting for me. I did manage to see the film this morning and I can only use one word to sum it up ‘Amazing!”.
Some of the winners took to Twitter after the event to post about their experiences of the event.
What a fantastic way to spend the opening day of #RiseofSkywalker – meeting @ADaniels3PO and @JoonasSuotamo at the D350 at Disney Oxford Street. Loved getting a chance to have a brief chat with them both after seeing the film last night. Huge thanks to the team at @JediNewsUK pic.twitter.com/JvO8K7kn8E
— Steve Adams (@Lt_Starbuck) December 19, 2019
Awesome day Rise of Skywalker @IMAX then got to meet @ADaniels3PO & @JoonasSuotamo Thanks Anthony C-3PO’s my fav, thanks Joonas for correcting me on my Bandolier positioning 😊and thanks to @shopDisney and @JediNewsUK for organising the meet-up pic.twitter.com/y03umhfp9X
— Disney CharacterHunt (@DisCharHunt) December 19, 2019
Once the event had finished, we managed to have a chat with Anthony and Joonas and they started asking us about the film and our thoughts. Unfortunately, this isn’t a conversation we can share with you all as many spoilers were discussed, so we may divulge this information at another time in the future. One thing we can say though is that they both said how much they had enjoyed the event and meeting so many dedicated fans.
On a personal note, it was so nice for Kat and me to meet so many of our regular readers and give them the opportunity to attend. So many kind words from you all when we were chatting about Jedi News was very humbling and I hope this has gone some way to repaying your loyalty to us. Anthony and Joonas were so relaxed and easy to work with and ensured everyone left with a great memory of their visit. This was also my first visit to D350 since it opened earlier this year and I was so impressed with the shop and the stock it carries. This is now a definite addition to my list of places to visit whenever I’m in the capital city.
The team here at Jedi News would like to extend our thanks to Anthony Daniels and Joonas Suotamo for making this such a memorable event for those who attended. We would also like to thank the PR team at Disney UK and the staff at the Disney Store on Oxford Street for their hospitality and organising the event with us.