A fan dressed as Baron Fel marches in the 2013 Star Wars Weekends motorcade.
Update: It appears it’s the 501st acting on their own rather than Disney calling for this. Brian has written an open letter to the 501st in response.
One of the most popular events at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends is the Celebrity Motorcade that travels down Hollywood Boulevard to the stage hear the Sorcerer’s Hat. Fans line the streets to watch Disney characters, celebrity guests, and costumed fans from the 501st and the Rebel Legion. One of my favorite things about the motorcade is picking out all the Expanded Universe characters and yelling out their names to give them love. Popular EU appearances have been Mara Jade, Baron Fel, Starkiller (both versions), Revan, Darth Nihilus, Juno Eclipse…the list goes on.
According to a post on the Disboards, Disney is getting more strict this year when it comes to fan costumes, and is outright prohibiting certain Expanded Universe characters, including Mara Jade, from participating in the motorcade.
Darth Nihilus intimidates spectators.
This isn’t surprising, considering Disney has already retired the Hyperspace Hoopla, a popular dance-off type event with Star Wars characters, some speculate in order to “be more serious” about their characters in anticipation of new films being released. Why allow characters like Mara Jade to participate in the motorcade if they’re rendered non-canon by the Sequel Trilogy? It makes sense.
But it’s still incredibly disappointing, both to fans who made the costumes and fans like me who really enjoy seeing EU characters represented and get some love. In previous parades, I’ve heard the hosts call out Mara Jade and explain that she was the Emperor’s Hand and later Luke Skywalker’s wife. I’ve also heard them do this with characters like Revan and Starkiller. (One of my favorite moments was seeing a young boy freak out and yell, “There’s no way that was Darth Revan!”)
I’ve always been realistic when it comes to the future of the EU and the characters I love, but I didn’t expect Disney to kick ’em out of the parade. I guess I’ll have to get my fill of EU characters at conventions.
Edit: I’ve learned from 501st members that while certain EU characters like Revan and Starkiller are still allowed to march in the parade, the majority have been prohibited, including post-RotJ characters. And standards for Jawas (must be under 5 feet) and Jedi robes (must be standard colors) have been clamped down.
Even Admiral Daala was represented in the motorcade.