Darth Vader commandeers SARA for Forest visit
Darth Vader and an escort of Stormtroopers paid a flying visit to the Forest this week and were pictured sailing at high speed up the River Severn in a SARA rescue boat.
Scenes from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens were filmed at Puzzlewood and it is understood that the delegation from the Galactic Empire arrived for secret talks about a new TV and Movie Trail, which celebrates small and big screen productions filmed in the region.
The arrival was witnessed by Mark Terry-Lush, director of Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism. He said: “From Timelords to Sith Lords, comic book heroes to dragon slayers and wizards, the Forest of Dean has provided a natural stage for small and big screen productions. The region’s reputation for hospitality has clearly travelled throughout the galaxy and we are delighted to welcome all visitors from the Galactic Empire. He may be portrayed as a ruthless villain, but I think Darth Vader’s dark side has been softened by the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley’s natural beauty. To celebrate all the productions filmed here, we will launch a Film and TV Trail later this month so that fans can follow in the footsteps of their on-screen heroes.”
Darth Vader, recognised by the American Film Institute as the third greatest movie villain in history, travelled up the Severn Estuary and under the Severn Bridge before setting a jack-boot ashore at the SARA Lifeboat Station in Beachley, before heading off into the Forest, undetected by Jedi fighters.
J J Abrams, director of Star Wars Episode VII, paid testament to the Forest of Dean in his personal letter to the cast and crew at the end of the mammoth production. In it he said: “From the deserts of Abu Dhabi, to the Forest of Dean, to the stages of Pinewood, you have risen to every challenge.”
SARA Coxswain – Kevin Caster said “SARA have taken many VIP’s to sea but a near-seven-foot-tall Darth Vader commandeering our latest lifeboat, SARA-1 shows there is little we will not undertake on the Severn Estuary: even with a healthy Force-5 and a heavy sea pending. We train for every eventuality, even getting the “Dark Side” to safe shores. I am sure Darth has taken a shine to our two rivers and will be holding-up in the Wyedean area. Perhaps SARA’s mountain rescue search team will find him next?…”
Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers’ arrival was captured on video and can be viewed on the Dean Forest Wye Valley Facebook page.
The Film and TV Trail launches on 16th December. For more information visit www.wyedeantourism.co.uk.