Toronto lightsaber battle

Disney forces Toronto lightsaber event to change name

The empire struck back against a Toronto-based events company that'd been hosting lightsaber battles across the United States and Canada for the past eight years.

Newmindspace co-founder Kevin Bracken says he and his team just had the distinct pleasure of avoiding a lawsuit with Lucasfilm. The locally based group heard from Lucasfilm, which The Walt Disney Company now owns, in January.

Bracken thinks Newmindspace got on Lucasfilm's radar after it broke the world record for the largest lightsaber battle back in December. Within 24 hours, he and his team brought out 10,000 wannabe Jedis and Siths to four such battles in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle.

"We got a cease-and-desist from Lucasfilm and basically, I thought that was kind of our cue to stop using the words lightsaber, Jedi, Sith and The Force, which are I guess are the infringing words. And we changed the name of the tour to the Light Battle Tour and we called the items that we sell lightswords," notes Bracken.

That, apparently, wasn't enough so now this tour will reawaken as Cats in Space. "It's a very silly and fun series of space battles, which is what we're calling them now," says Bracken. Instead of selling lightsabers, Bracken and his team will offer up cat blades (extending glow weapons) and laser guns - to avoid any trademark infringement, these products will come embossed with the word meow.

The Cats in Space tour will drop by six cities this May; Toronto will hopefully get one some time this summer. Attendees can expect to see lots of cat-related artwork and perhaps even a giant inflatable cat head. And as always, these events will act as fundraisers for local Make-A-Wish foundation chapters.

Despite this rebrand, Bracken says he's satisfied with the terms of the settlement.

"Now we're trying to make sure it's as clear as day that we have nothing to do with Star Wars, Lucasfilm or Disney," says Bracken. "I don't think there are even any cats in any of the Star Wars films."

Photo by Jesse Milns.


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