As fun as the cosplay side of things was at this event, that wasn’t the main reason Tokyo Fox was in attendance. My priority was to meet the two sith who organiser (and Apple co-founder) Steve Wozniak brought along to make the announcement of next year’s inaugural ComicCon event at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.
As I said in my previous Tokyo ComicCon post, this years event was a kind of taster for what is to come in December 2016 and the two special guests were from the UK. They were doing a dual photo session in the morning but I was down for individual photo’s with both as it was the same price and I wanted two pictures rather than one!
I arrived mid-morning armed with my X-wing pilot costume but I didn’t change into that until I had met both sith. First up was the veteran Scottish Shakespearean actor Ian McDiarmid who has recently embraced such fan events in the last few years. Naturally, he’s performed in many films and theatre productions over the years but is perhaps most famous for playing Emperor Palpatine in ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi‘ (1983). He reprised that role for the prequels between 1999 and 2005 and was a more charismatic Senator from Naboo who deceived and manipulated people in order to become Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.
Not long after I arrived at the InterCity Hall in Shinagawa mid-morning, McDiarmid was introduced to the crowd and gave a short speech thanking the audience and performing in character for a bit too. He mentioned that the voice for the Emperor was inspired by Japanese voice artists ability to speak and bellow in deep bursts from within the body or something like that.
At midday I finally got the chance to meet and indeed touch him as I got my official photograph taken with him. Of course it all happened very quickly but I squeezed in as many seconds as I could get with him. I asked him where he wanted me to stand and place my hands to which he replied “you can put your hands where you like”!
As much as I was excited to meet Palpatine, that was nothing compared to how I felt at seeing and meeting the guy who played Darth Maul. He is one of my favourite Star Wars characters and I really wish he had been given a bit more screen time in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace‘ (1999). The icon of that movie doesn’t actually appear on screen (with McDiarmid too) until 40 minutes have passed (below).
My parents bought me a Darth Maul birthday cake back in August 1999 (above) so I have something of a Maul history, and for Halloween 2012 I made my foray into Star Wars cosplay when I dressed up as the Sith apprentice. I have also managed to attain a modest collection of goods relating to the primary antagonist in that first prequel movie.
I couldn’t meet the man behind the mask; Ray Park at ‘Star Wars Celebration Japan‘ back in 2008 but wouldn’t be denied this time. Just after 12:30 pm I met the guy and thoroughly nice he was too. Prior to my attendance at the event I had actually exchanged some tweets with him which he very kindly responded to so we briefly talked about that and I asked if he would be giving a lightsaber performance later on which he hinted he would be.
Sure enough as the Tokyo Lightsaber Guild finished their performance piece on stage he was at the back quietly watching and applauding before he took to the stage for a brief battle with each member of the club followed by a speech too.
Late afternoon, he wandered the main hall surrounded by a crowd of people. He inevitably appeared on the stage and thanked the stalls and fans for all the freebies which he was very grateful for. No other country seems to give presents like the Japanese do.
At one point Darth Maul crouched behind the stage with an offering of his double-bladed lightsaber but he didn’t see it so I shouted at him to take the hint, grab the lightsaber and give us a show despite him saying moments before (in jest) that he wasn’t a performing monkey. Seeing this demonstration of skilled lightsaber choreography with lots of spinning and twirling was awesome to watch and one of my highlights of the day.
Click here to read ‘Cosplaying At Tokyo ComicCon 2015’