All good things must come to an end, including an epic Star Wars lightsaber charity relay race like Course of the Force. Yesterday marked our final leg of the Death Star-sized, statewide race and fans showed up in droves to cheer on our runners, show off their killer cosplay and party with R2-D2 and the Spazmatics under the San Diego moonlight. If they’d only been shorter and hairier, it would have made for a dead ringer of the Endor celebration scenes in Return of the Jedi. With everything from a punk rock Darth Vader to dancing Stormtroopers to a homemade Course of the Force opening crawl outfit, the creativity was off the charts. It made us at Course of the Force feel like one in a million.
The event packed in plenty of star power as Wilmer Valderrama joined hosts Chris Hardwick, Ashley Eckstein, Alison Haislip, Carrie Keagan and Alex Albrecht to wrap up the day’s events on the rooftop of San Diego’s Hard Rock Hotel. People get awfully excited when they see the Sail Barge roll into town, but San Diego is already in Comic-Con mode, so its arrival seemed a little extra special as gathered crowds cheered on the procession and our brave Padawan runners. Although this was the last official day of the race, you can stop by the Chuck Jones Gallery (232 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101) during Comic-Con to get the Course of the Force experience and watch even more exclusive video content on the Nerdist Channel.
- Jackson from Make-a-Wish shows off some serious lightsaber skills before running his leg.
- Alison Haislip was exactly the droid we were looking for as the Course of the Force host donned her R2-D2 finery to run the lightsaber.
- That’s the best Wilmer Valderrama cosplay we’ve ever seen! Wait a minute – that’s actually him. Our celebrity runner carried the lightsaber past the San Diego Convention Center before handing it off to Jose, one of our Make-a-Wish runners.
- There ain’t no party like a Course of the Force party cause a Course of the Force party don’t stop!
- Our fabulous hosts, celebrity guests and all the incredible young Jedi Knights of Make-a-Wish gathered together to celebrate another Course of the Force well done and listen to some killer tunes under the setting sun.
- Wilmer helped cap off the evening’s events with a lightsaber battle against a young Jedi. As you can see, our Padawan handily defeated the bathrobe-clad bounty hunter.
For more highlights, check out this awesome Course of the Force write-up on Wired. You can still get tons of awesome Course of the Force content on the official Qualcomm-powered app (iOS/Android) or by following us on Twitter (#CourseoftheForce), Instagram and Facebook. Thank you to all who came out for a truly wonderful year. Your enthusiasm and commitment to a great cause like Make-a-Wish is infectious, admirable and made the event an experience to remember. May the Force be with you always and we’ll see you next year.