Sacramento Star Wars Charity Event Forced to Change Theme

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SACRAMENTO -- Wednesday is May Fourth, which has been adopted by many fans as Star Wars Day because it's similar to the saying "May the force be with you."

But a Sacramento Star Wars event for charity is having to change its theme after receiving a cease and desist letter from San Francisco-based Lucasfilm Ltd.

Although hundreds of Star Wars fans are expected in Fremont Park for a giant lightsaber battle, officially the theme is a little different.

"So the tour is now called 'The Cats in Space Tour,' my wife came up with that after our cat Molly," said Kevin Bracken, CEO of New Mind Space, which puts on the event.

Bracken had been putting on lightsaber-themed events in different cities for eight years, with money from the sales going toward Make-a-Wish Foundation chapters. But in January, he received that cease and desist from Lucasfilm's attorneys.

"They basically threatened to sue us if we didn't stop using the word 'lightsaber,'" Bracken said.

The words "Jedi," "Sith" and even "the force" also had to go. So Bracken did what most would, quickly changed the name of the event. But in March he got another letter from Lucasfilm's attorneys.

"We changed it to 'light sword' but they still felt that was too close to their trademark. So we changed the name of the tour."

And "Cats in Space" was born.

"I think it's crazy to cease and desist a charity event of all things," said Alexander Paiz, who works at Comics and Collectibles on Fruitridge Road in south Sacramento.

Paiz believes when the rights to Star Wars were sold to parent company Disney in 2013, restrictions on the beloved franchise became more strict.

"Definitely think Disney, like, brought it out more, because Disney is such a big company," Paiz told FOX40.

"I have no ill will about Disney honestly," Bracken said.

He said he just hopes people come out and have a good time, while helping a good cause.

"(Make-a-Wish helps) kids wishes come true, terminally ill children, and that can be anything from some kids want a puppy and some kids want to go to Disney World," he said.

A destination that Paiz and his friends say is ironic, since in the end some of the money raised in this Sacramento event will be going back to the company that owns Star Wars.

"Yeah, they want to go to Disneyland, they want to meet Iron Man, they want to meet Captain America... Yeah, they're getting the money anyway," Paiz said.

FOX40 reach out to Lucasfilm for comment, but did not get a response back as of yet.

There are still tickets available for Bracken's event. So far on Facebook, around 500 people have RSVP'd.

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