Popular podcaster and affable funny guy Chris Hardwick and his company, Nerdist Industries, are taking another run at Jedi fun this summer with the second annual Course of the Force, the fundraising relay where fans and celebrities take turns running with a lightsaber that they will eventually deliver to Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Modeled on the Olympic torch tradition, Course of the Force was a big hit last year and we caught up with Hardwick for a quick email interview about the miles covered last year and Episode II’s expanded route. (Instead of repeating the 2012 Santa Monica to San Diego route, the 2013 edition will start up in Marin County, more than 500 miles north of San Diego.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s a defining memory you have from Year One?
CHRIS HARDWICK: It’s sort of a mash-up of images. We had hoped that some people would run in costume. We had no idea how many people actually would. My memory is a flash of all the amazing cosplay — some Boba Fetts, father and son Stormtroopers, an unreal General Grievous, and even a Marty McFly (we had stressed that all cosplay was welcome) among many others, running down the I-5 Freeway while being led by Jabba’s Sail Barge, which we had built to be our pace vehicle. True story!
People run with torches, people run with batons. You guys run with lightsabers. That’s pretty fun. Is there any movie weapon cooler than lightsaber?
It’s hard to top the lightsaber. I love proton packs from Ghostbusters, the Highlander blade, Deckard’s gun, and those flip-action repulsor rifles from Minority Report. Still, the lightsaber was a sci-fi weapon that ushered in a new era. (My girlfriend’s dad, John Dykstra, brought it to life in the original Star Wars.) It’s perfect — a sword made of light. You can use it for offense, defense, as a deflector or just to look really cool for no reason. And I DEFY you to swing one without going “vvvvvv vvvvvvv VVVVVVVT.” It’s impossible.