Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Star Wars’ fanatic changes name to Obi-Wan Kenobi

May 17, 2002

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— Scott Saunders spent Wednesday night counting down the hours for the debut of the new "Star Wars" movie.

And counting down the hours until he would change his name. As of Thursday, he said he was legally changing his name to that of a well-respected Jedi Knight.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, to be exact.

"I am a huge 'Star Wars' fan," he said, in a bit of understatement. In fact, he was maybe the most dedicated fan out of the many who were out in, er, Force on Wednesday evening at the Mann Champlin Cinema 14.

As early as 7 p.m., hundreds of "Star"-gazers gathered there and at other theaters for the showing of "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones."

The fifth installment of George Lucas' space saga had some groups nationwide camping out in shifts for weeks in anticipation of many theaters throwing open their doors for the earliest possible screening. The biggest rush was expected later Thursday, however, as the film plays on about 6,000 screens in 3,161 theaters domestically.

Some came dressed as movie characters, others were there for "Star Wars" games and activities, and some were there to ensure a seat at the first screening of "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones," shown at midnight.

Saunders or Obi-Wan Kenobi is a 31-year-old Columbia Heights graphic designer at the University of Minnesota.

He recently won a contest thrown by radio station KS95, in which all contestants were to submit an essay on why they like "Star Wars" and why they would change their name to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Not only did he win the $1,000 first prize, he won the name.

"And $1,000 can go a long way in my hobby," said Saunders, who has been building and collecting "Star Wars" props for 12 years. But Wednesday night wasn't all about the name, he said. "Seeing the movie, that's what it's all about."

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