International News from World: Star Wars is heading to a traditional Japanese kabuki theater stage from a galaxy far, far away to celebrate the epic movie series for a one-off show in Tokyo.
Ahead of the release of the final film in the main Star Wars saga, Kabuki actors will swap their samurai swords to lightsabers to perform the adaptation of the wildly popular series later this month.
Among the biggest names in Japan’s heavily choreographed kabuki world, Ichikawa Ebizo will be starring as Han Solo’s son, Kylo Ren, who is drawn to the dark side.
The November 28 performance at an undisclosed Tokyo location is hidden in secrecy but will feature key moments from the series ‘ recent installments, Disney’s Japanese arm said in a statement.
Disney said it plans to invite at least 25 couples to the performance, which will also be live-streamed.
“‘Star Wars kabuki’ will depict the sagas of love and loss for the Skywalker family that stretch for more than 40 years,” Ichikawa said in the statement.
“It will be a show that both Star Wars fans and kabuki fans will enjoy.”
The new Star Wars film, which hits movie theatres from December 20, will be the final episode of the Star Wars epic that began four decades ago.
The multi-generational saga of the Skywalker clan is a global phenomenon, with Japan no exception, particularly among those who remember the original trilogy released in the 1970s and 1980s.
And Star Wars is said to have been influenced throughout the years by Japan.
Director J.J. Abrams has said Ren’s fractured facemask was inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, where cracks are repaired with silver or gold and highlighted rather than hidden.
The production comes as kabuki actively adopts new themes to appeal to a wider audience, adapting popular comic books and other works in a bid to draw in new viewers.
The artform with its set pieces and historical weight is often associated with kimono-clad elderly patrons, and adaptations of popular comic books like “One Piece” and “Naruto” are an attempt to shake off a stuffy image.
It has even embraced virtual reality, with kabuki star Nakamura Shido performing alongside giant screens featuring virtual reality character Hatsune Miku.