Please note: for our guide to the next 2019 event, read our spoiler free tips for Secret Cinema: James Bond’s Casino Royale.
Unlike the novelisation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this will be utterly spoiler-free I promise. Nothing I say in these 35 tips will do anything to hinder your enjoyment of this summer’s Secret Cinema Star Wars spectacular, but they will offer you some practical advice to help you make the most out of your time there.
35 spoiler-free tips for Secret Cinema: Empire Strikes Back
- It’s stupidly brilliant. You should definitely go.
- Like really, stupidly, amazingly brilliant.
- Seriously, even if you only like Star Wars a tiny bit, you will still have the best time ever.
- It’s also totally worth the money. Honestly. The Secret Cinema people have spent every penny of the ticket price on smacking you in the face with cool shit. I initially balked at the £75 price, but if you compare it to a West End show, this is way better value for money.
- If you want a ticket for a sold-out day, just look on the Facebook page during the week before you want to go. There are plenty of people selling spares for face value.
- It’s indoors, you won’t need a jacket. It does get a little warm.
- Just leave your smartphone at home. Don’t be the jackass who gets told off by an Imperial Officer for taking your phone out.
- Arrange your rendezvous the old-fashioned way and write down any directions you need before you leave the house. If someone is late meeting you, just wait longer.
- If you’re late for your 5:30 check-in, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to leave with the 6:30 wave.
- Wear a watch.
- No one is going to hassle you if you don’t go in costume, however the one person I saw during the event who was wearing blue jeans and a red cardigan looked pretty flipping sheepish the entire time.
- One guy was dressed as a full-on Clone Trooper. He looked like a bell-end. Perhaps because he stood out bizarrely among the rest of us ‘rebels’ but mainly because it was a deeply anachronistic choice of costume.
- At the bare minimum, where whites, browns and beiges. You probably have them in your wardrobe. I wore my wife’s skimpy brown dressing gown. She won’t be getting it back.
- The only costume ‘requirement’ is a coloured scarf that denotes your ‘faction’. It’s only a fiver. You should get one.
- If you order costume from the Rebel X online store less than five days in advance, it may not arrive in time.
- Luckily there is a pop-up shop just off Brick Lane where you can buy everything you need. The address for Rebel Stores is 16 Cheshire Street, E2 6EH, and it’s open Tuesday – Saturday 11am-8pm and Sunday 11am-6pm. It isn’t marked in Earth language, but you’ll spot it.
- Although the emails say “contactless payment only” the bar still accepts non-contactless debit and credit cards.
- Don’t bother with cash.
- Don’t forget your ticket, your ID print-out that says your Star Wars name, your house-keys, Oyster Card and instructions for where you’re going.
- Learn your new Star Wars name.
- You won’t be able to go for a piss for the first hour and a half, so make sure you go before you arrive. Yes I am your new mum.
- If you lose the people you’re with at any point, don’t worry, although it covers a lot of ground, you’ll easily find them again as it’s not too over-crowded.
- You’re told to take character specific items (jewels, blueprints, seeds) depending on what faction you’re with. Definitely do this. You can buy information from the planet’s locals, who will tell you where to find secret special characters.
- When the opportunity arises to get food, go and do it straight away. You don’t want to get herded along to the next area while still eating a tray of very tasty satay chicken and jasmine rice (£7).
- There is a bar. I won’t spoil what it’s a recreation of. Just suffice to say that I wept with joy when I got there.
- The cocktails are surprisingly strong, tasty and, for London, reasonably priced.
- The bar stays open for an hour after the film. Go have a little space-boogie.
- There are characters selling beer outside the bar from hessian sack covered fridges. Ask for ‘engine oil’.
- You will get to sit down and watch the entire of Empire Strikes Back all the way through.
- It is the special edition. I’m sorry. At least Lucas didn’t mess with this one too much.
- Sit on the left-hand side of the row, it’s easier to get to the people selling booze.
- It’s very easy to get shit-faced during the film. I highly recommend it. A bottle of wine is £20 and the little cans of craft beer are really nice. I forget how much they were. I was shit-faced.
- Empire Strikes Back is just as brilliant and easy to riff along to as you remember it. Yoda’s the best bit. The AT-ATs (also called “Darth Vader’s car” by a fellow writer/moron elsewhere on this site) are the second best bit. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher shouting unconvincingly at each other is the worst bit. It’s the second best sequel ever made! Behind Grease 2 obvs.
- Just go. You owe it to yourself. The genius behind this particular Secret Cinema is that it manages to make you feel even more excited than you did when you watched Star Wars for the first time as a kid, because this time you can drink alcohol and watch an actual lightsab… Wait, I’ve said too much.
- Secret Cinema is on till the end of September. You still have plenty of time to go.
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