Star Wars dream comes true for former Beccles pupil

Former Beccles pupil Tom Elgie who plays a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens! PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Former Beccles pupil Tom Elgie who plays a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens! PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

One of the biggest mysteries of Star Wars has always been just whose faces are hidden behind the menacing stormtrooper masks.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Picture by Lucasfilm 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Picture by Lucasfilm 2015 - Credit: Lucasfilm 2015

Well in one case at least, we now have the answer – a former Beccles pupil.

Tom Elgie appears as an extra in The Force Awakens, the latest instalment of the science fiction series, which was released at midnight on Wednesday.

Alongside thousands of others, he applied for the part online. He was not asked for any specific qualifications, but had to provide his height – a significant factor for a stormtrooper.

He was accepted and notified via email, and ordered to attend Pinewood studios on the outskirts of London.

Mr Elgie, 21, who works at McDonald’s at intu Chapelfield in Norwich, took part in a day’s filming and appeared in two scenes alongside around 300 other lucky extras chosen to portray the imperial soldiers.

He said: “From the moment I walked on the set it felt unbelievable, like I had actually left Earth and gone to the Star Wars galaxy.

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“It was the ultimate fan experience. The day went so quickly, but it’s amazing how intricate everything is. In one of the scenes, it was simply a shot of all the stormtroopers turning around at once, which we had to do about 30 times, to make sure all of us were in complete unison.”

He added: “As soon as you put the uniform on, you feel a part of it.”

Mr Elgie has been a Star Wars fanatic since the age of eight, when he saw Attack of the Clones, and his favourite film is The Empire Strikes Back.

Originally from Beccles, he studied performing arts at the Sir John Leman High School in the town, which drew him towards singing and theatre.

However, this experience has inspired him to turn his attentions to the big screen and he now harbours ambitions of a full time career in film. He is in the process of applying for university to study film, with just one part of his application remaining - his reference.

“I thought about asking JJ Abrams (the director) for a reference, but I’m not sure he’d remember me,” he joked.

The film release is one of the most anticipated film events of recent years, with fans across the world speculating on what it could entail.

However, Mr Elgie was sworn to absolute secrecy about plot details and which characters he was on set with.

“Even on set things were very hush-hush,” he said. “I’m having to wait to find the complete picture, just like everyone else.”

Mr Elgie has four cinema trips planned for opening week, including two which he attended in the first 24 hours.

He said: “I had the most amazing, unforgettable experience. The biggest thing for me is looking back on myself as that eight-year-old boy watching Attack of the Clones, knowing that now, he has his own special part in Star Wars history.”

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