The eagerly anticipated Star Wars movie will premiere in Singapore only on 17 December, but a fan group has already seen a surge in recruitment of fans who want to wield lightsabers like a Jedi Knight or a Sith Lord.
FightSaber, which does lightsaber performances, has signed up more than 10 recruits this year, more than double in a typical year previously. The group is recognised by Lucasfilm, the production company behind the Star Wars movie franchise.
“Star Wars is a timeless classic, and with Episode VII 's upcoming release, we've seen a resurgence of interest in Star Wars, especially among young people,” said Jason Koh, media advisor of FightSaber.
New to the Force
The newcomers include cosplayers who have seen FightSaber’s choreographed performances at conventions, and “curious geeks” who want to learn more about lightsaber combat.
One of them was Gabriel Ong, a sales engineer who met some FightSaber members at a card game store recently.
“With the new movie coming up, I thought it would be something interesting to get into,” said Ong, who was at *SCAPE on Sunday (6 December) for one of FightSaber’s weekly training sessions.
With him was fellow newcomer Vanessa Leong, who met several FightSaber members at the Singapore’s Star Wars Day celebrations at Suntec City in May.
She had been invited to join the group at their sessions much earlier, but could only find time to do so recently.
Both recruits do not have their own lightsabers or their own Star Wars outfits, but said they would consider buying a set in future.
FightSaber in Southeast Asia
Founded in Singapore in 2010 with 12 members, FightSaber has gone regional with 80 members in five countries.
These members are often seen at Star Wars events in the region, performing lightsaber battles to the delight of kids and adults alike.
Members create unique characters based on the Star Wars universe and backstories.
Founder Azmi Danuri hopes to have the overseas and Singapore chapters perform a collection of inter-connected stories one day.
“I also hope more people, especially the younger ones, come and join us,” said Azmi. “We enjoy Star Wars, we enjoy lightsabers… We hope the audiences who watch (our performances) also enjoy it.”