Super-scaled lightsabers are coming to Singapore

STB's Lionel Yeo  and Disney Southeast Asia's Alex Baillie join forces for multi-year collaboration in Singapore.
Credits: Singapore Tourism Board and Disney Southeast Asia
STB's Lionel Yeo and Disney Southeast Asia's Alex Baillie join forces for multi-year collaboration in Singapore.

Singapore's iconic SuperTrees at the city-state's futuristic gardens will be converted into massive Jedi and Sith weapons come May 4, also known among fans as Star Wars Day.

Temporarily renamed "SaberTrees," the vertical gardens will light up the city sky-line for a three-day "May the 4th Be With You" festival celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie.

The free-admission event at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, an award-winning landscaping project on reclaimed land, will also include a Star Wars-themed silent disco and an outdoor movie screening. There will also be a Star Wars Run with "dark side" and "light side" routes.

The use of the multi-billion dollar sci-fi franchise is part of a three-year partnership between Disney and the Singapore Tourism Board, announced on Thursday. Following the Star Wars theme this year, Marvel and Disney Animation/Disney Pixar are set to follow for the next two years.

"What we knew about working with Singapore previously was that the infrastructure here is world-class, all the facilities are exactly what we needed to deliver events of a certain quality," said Alex Baillie, head of marketing and partnerships at the Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia.

"The fandom has been growing quite organically for a long time…and the themes of Star Wars are as relevant today as it was 40 years ago," Baillie said.

The fandom around the world has spawned groups that engage in anything from costume play to fan fiction to lightsaber fight performances. FightSaber, which is Singapore's first lightsaber troupe, is also set to perform at the Star Wars festival.

"We haven't had a Star Wars event of this scale in Singapore since 2005," said Azmi Danuri, founder of the non-profit FightSaber. He added that local fan groups had just been organizing their own Star Wars Day celebrations for the past few years.

"There's something in Star Wars for all of us, whether it be about good versus evil, space battles, feisty princesses or interstellar politics…the appeal transcends borders, age and gender," Danuri told CNBC.