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City film buffs enjoy a brush with the dark side

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: December 07, 2009

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FILM fans met some of their heroes, including a real-life Star Wars actor, at Plymouth's Sci-Fi Day.

Richard LeParmentier, who played Admiral Motti, one of Darth Vader's senior imperial commanders, joined the event as part of the Independent Quarter's Christmas celebrations.

Vader himself and a squad of Stormtroopers stomped through Frankfort Gate, together with other screen baddies including Freddy Krueger and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Fans young and old flocked to the square, where they were entertained by Hospital Radio.

Mr LeParmentier, who appeared in the original film more than 30 years ago, was kept busy signing autographs and having his picture taken with young fans.

He literally felt the Force in the original Star Wars movie when Vader choked him from a distance to demonstrate the power of the Dark Side.

Mr LeParmentier, an American now living in Bath, said: "It never ceases to amaze me how many people come up to you. It is just incredible. I have been lucky to travel to many places and wherever I go there are fans.

"We knew it was good when we were making it. We knew it was a good story and we were confident of the special effects.

"But we just did not know just how good it was until we saw it. I was watching in a London cinema with about 1,200 people and there were gasps at the opening sequence when the imperial cruiser flies over. It is the best opening sequence ever."

Organiser Julian Shelford, of the Toy Tardis in Frankfort Gate, said that not as many people attended as in previous years, blaming the weather and several other events going on around the city centre.

He said: "Luckily the Stormtroopers and Darth Vader are waterproof. The guys all said that they had fun and would be coming back."

Julian is now planning a Comic Book Day in May to celebrate comic art, which is a big event in the United States.

Connor Schaab, aged four, from Torpoint, was one of those who attended the event. He said: "It is really great to meet the Stormtroopers. I am a big Star Wars fan and I have only just bought a light sabre torch."

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