Being a self-proclaimed “Star Wars” super fan, local radio personality, Obi Won Kenobi, is hoping to fulfill a dream by being cast in the empire’s newest sequel.
In 1999, he changed his name to win a radio contest and now he is hoping to win a bigger contest. New “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams is holding a contest to be in a scene in the latest sequel, which is currently in production. As part of the Star Wars Force For Change Initiative, for every $10 donated to UNICEF, one entry is made in a person’s name. Kenobi jumped at the chance.
“The moment I heard J.J. Abrams was holding a contest for a fan to be in the new “Star Wars” movie I knew I had to enter as many times as possible,” Kenobi, a Red Rock resident, said. “I immediately donated $70 just to get in the contest. Working in radio, I obviously don’t have the money to donate thousands of dollars but I see stories all the time about strange and interesting crowd-funding sites going viral and I thought, why couldn’t that work for me?”
His crowd-funding campaign drew 56 donors, including some celebrities, who in turn used their social media accounts to spread the word. Among those helping are WWE wrestlers Justin Roberts and Rob Van Dam, comedian Craig Gass, of Tenacious D fame, college basketball analyst Corey Williams, and nationally-syndicated radio host R Dub.
Kenobi raised $1,820 through an online crowd-funding site and had some more donations turned in after the on-line pledging closed.
Kenobi also used his role as a local radio personality to get the word out.
In reality he is not Obi Won Kenobi, but Obi Won Kenobi Alameda.
“It was my grandmother’s wish on her deathbed and she did not want me to be Obi-Wan Kenobi forever,” he said. “My wife didn’t have a problem with the whole name, but didn’t want our kids to be Kenobi, so my last name is Alameda. That was the one compromise.”
In the end, the ultimate cap to Kenobi’s fandom would be to win the contest and appear in the movie. Owning the stuff, having the name are great, but being in a Star Wars movie is a timeless tribute.
“This is a legacy I could leave behind, not just for my kids, but grandkids and great-grandkids and they could always look at that screen, and even if it’s for a split second they could say there’s my great -randpa, or to see my name rolling in the credits would be more than I could ever imagine,” Kenobi said.
Now he can just wait. He has nearly 200 entries, but will be competing with thousands of other fans. Of course, when your name is Obi Won Kenobi, maybe the force will be with you.