Local Star Wars group reaches out to community 

click to enlarge Members of JediOKC pose for a photo while in costume at the DA Christmas Party in 2014. - JEDIOKC, PROVIDED
  • JediOKC, Provided
  • Members of JediOKC pose for a photo while in costume at the DA Christmas Party in 2014.

Most members of JediOKC, a local Star Wars, sci-fi and fantasy fan club, are optimistic about the direction of the epic film franchise under new director J.J. Abrams.

The group will be costumed and greeting guests Thursday-Saturday at Warren Theatre, 1000 S. Temple Road, in Moore during the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.

Though she has been a Star Wars fan all her life, it will be the first time Carissa Eads, 26, has seen the movies in a theater. Carissa and her husband John met through JediOKC.

Carissa Eads said she thinks Disney, which purchased the franchise from George Lucas in 2012, will positively impact the legacy of the series.

“They’ve owned Marvel for a while, and they’ve done amazing things for the Marvel movies,” she said. “I’m sure Star Wars is going to be even better because they have a lot of expectations to meet.”

Fan club member Londall Guyse said while he is a fan of the prequel movies of the late ’90s and early 2000s, he thinks it was time for Lucas to move on.

“He took it as far as he could, and so now he’s passed it on to the new generation of movie directors,” he said. “I think that was probably one of the best things for him to do as well as [for] Star Wars and for fans.”

John Eads joined JediOKC in 2011. His first costumed event was that January for the Special Olympics. He was hooked.

Calling for their favorite Jedi Knight, children run toward John Eads with expressions he’ll never forget.

“I wasn’t even Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I was addressed by so many kids as Obi-Wan Kenobi at that point that I was just like, ‘It doesn’t even matter who I am anymore; I’m Obi-Wan Kenobi,’” he said.

Founded in 2001 by a 13-year-old boy who wanted to meet with other collectors in the area, JediOKC has grown to include more than 300 enthusiasts of all ages.

The club’s community outreach efforts are what keep many involved. JediOKC makes costumed appearances at charity events for Integris Children’s Mental Health Services, Autism Oklahoma and Down Syndrome Festival & 5K. Recently, the group visited Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s Christmas party for youth crime victims.

“If not for all the charity work, we’re just a bunch of nerds in costumes,” John Eads said.

Guyse also owns My Chic Geek in Oklahoma City, an otherwise traditional boutique with a “nerdy” twist. Ten percent of its profits go to charity.

He sometimes dresses as Episode I’s Darth Maul, and preparation can take over four hours. He said the opportunity to brighten the lives of others is the reason he joined JediOKC.

“They do a lot of good work for the community, and we need a lot of that,” he said. “That’s why we’re in it; that’s why our 10-year-old and 14-year-old are in it — to show them that they can have a love of something but also give back to the community.”

Print headline: Force awaiting, Members of JediOKC are passionate about the new Star Wars film and improving the lives of others.

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