It’s a bad year for the event industry, but D23 – The Official Disney Fan Club found a fantastic way to make the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back a memorable one. Last Friday, at the pop-up drive-in theater in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium parking lot (where we saw The New Mutants a couple weeks ago), D23 hosted The Empire Strikes Back as a special “D23 Drive-In.”
When we arrived at the Rose Bowl on Friday evening, we were handed an informational flyer that listed the rules and regulations for this drive-in experience, plus provided instructions on how to tune in our car radio to the film’s soundtrack.
Beyond getting to see one of our absolute favorite movies on the big drive-in screen, one of the best things to come out of this event was driving away with the amazing The Empire Strikes Back 40th anniversary poster pictured below.
Prior to the movie’s start, the screen displayed ads for some of D23’s other offerings and events, like the Fantastic Worlds Adventure Kit that comes with this year’s Gold Member subscription and this past Monday’s The Golden Girls 35th Anniversary presentation.
Attendees could also order food and drinks for pick-up with their mobile devices by following the instructions on one of the slides– as long as they continued to maintain proper physical distancing, of course.
As host of Laughing Place’s “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast, it was particularly cool to see the character of Bossk on-screen during the film, and I couldn’t help snapping a quick photo.
And as a big Star Wars fan who is still reeling from the cancellation of other events like Star Wars Celebration this year, I think it was a terrific idea for D23 to put together this unique screening. In many ways, The Empire Strikes Back makes for an ideal drive-in movie– it’s something we’ve all seen many times before, so it doesn’t require theater-quality presentation or sound for each and every viewing, and Star Wars tends to generate a communal energy among the people enjoying it together, even if all the individual groups are seated in their respective cars, separated from the others. Despite that distancing, you could still feel the undying love for George Lucas’s space-opera epic emanating through the Rose Bowl parking lot that night.
For more information on D23 – The Official Disney Fan Club and updates on future events, be sure to visit D23’s official website.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.