Looking back, my 2017 finished on a high note when Nissan contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in participating in an exciting opportunity.
I jumped on the invitation and made my way over to Hollywood, California, where I joined other bloggers, journalists, and professionals in the industry on the road to the opening night of Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the El Capitan Theatre.
I should preface this by saying that I’m not a driver. I’ve lived in New York City for the majority of my life, and getting my license was one of those things I was never motivated to acquire. That said, I wish I could have gone back in time and told my younger self to get a license because the cars we were allowed to use during this group experience were, as Darth Vader would say, most impressive.
Upon arriving, I was taken to a secret location, where we were introduced to the Nissan team. There, we got an overview of the vehicles we would be using throughout our scavenger hunts, specifically the 2018 Nissan Rogue and the 2018 Nissan LEAF.
From there, we were placed in our teams, and my team included Sarah Woloski of Skywalking Through Neverland and Fangirls Going Rogue as well as Boba Fett himself, Daniel Logan. The three of us were assigned the 2018 Nissan LEAF, which was designated as the light side car, and we cruised around Hollywood with the help of the Nissan ProPILOT Assist technology.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
I had the pleasure of staying at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. For those not familiar, here’s a little background: The hotel was built in 1926 and was named after Theodore Roosevelt. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held there on May 16, 1929, inside the Blossom Ballroom. Lastly, the hotel also has a 3,200 square-foot duplex with an outdoor deck called the Gable-Lombard penthouse, which was named after Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.
We were fortunate enough to celebrate the pre-party and after-party at the Gable-Lombard penthouse, an area that is not open to the public and was used in celebration of the movie’s release.
On our second day of scavenger hunting, our team went dark side and had the opportunity to drive the 2018 Nissan Rogue. Out of the two cars we drove, the Nissan Rogue was my favorite model. I loved the exterior design as well as the comfortable and spacious interior.
The Scavenger Hunt
The activities arranged by Nissan allowed us to tour Los Angeles in style and see some of the popular sites that I had been meaning to visit in past trips. We kicked things off with a private lightsaber training session using Hasbro’s Force FX lightsabers. Just recently, I received a lightsaber as a gift from Nissan and Hasbro, and I couldn’t be more grateful. We were also given the task of finding BB-8 and BB-9E Funko Pop! figures, one of which Daniel Logan found at the Griffith Observatory. Another favorite stop of mine was at A Shop Called Quest, where we were drawn as Star Wars themed caricatures.
An Evening with Nissan
During our first night there, we were treated to a Star Wars themed dinner with Nissan at Raleigh Studios. There were several Star Wars themed cars and props, like an X-Wing that weighed at least 3,000 pounds. One of my favorite activities was the Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay VR experience developed by ILMxLAB. During the Virtual Reality experience, you are given the task of repairing BB-8 and other astromech droids, and although it lasted only a few minutes, it gave me a taste of how ILMxLAB has been contributing to the future of immersive entertainment.
The moment we had all been waiting for finally arrived, and we had the amazing opportunity to walk the red carpet to the El Capitan Theatre. Along the way, there were various Star Wars themed cars, including the Captain Phasma inspired Nissan Maxima. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it took at least 100 hours to transform the design from 2D to 3D as well as over 200 hours for the metal fabrication on the car itself.
El Capitan Theatre
While many fans watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi across the street at the TCL Chinese Theatre, we had our screening at the El Capitan Theatre. Here’s a brief background of the famous location: The El Captain Theatre opened as a theatre on May 3, 1926, and later in the 1990s, it became a venue for the majority of the Walt Disney Studios’ film premieres. The theater features a giant Wurlitzer theatre organ, which was originally installed in San Francisco’s Fox Theatre in 1929. Before the movie started, we were treated to an entertaining performance that included music from a wide range of popular films, including Star Wars. There’s also a small exhibit space below the theater, where film props and costumes from The Last Jedi were displayed.
And if that wasn’t amazing enough, Rian Johnson stopped by for a few minutes and spoke a few words before the film began.
Needless to say, I spent an amazing time with Nissan. Not only did we get to drive around the Los Angeles area in new and stylish cars, but we were treated to unforgettable activities and experiences. I couldn’t have asked for a better time, and I’m so thankful to Nissan for reaching out and providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Thank you for visiting TWG, where we provide news, reviews, and opinion pieces pertaining to the Star Wars animated shows! You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. Send us news, tips, and inquiries here or visit our Contact page. Lastly, if you’re looking to add a few Star Wars podcasts to your playlist, check out our Podcasts page.