The Void : Star Wars, Secrets of The Empire at Westfield, Stratford City

I hadn’t thought this one through very well had I! What was meant to be a belated 21st birthday treat for my son Ed (once a Star Wars fan, always a Star Wars fan), could have turned into a very expensive day out. However, I’d managed to book this unbelievable experience on one of only two days in the year when the shops were all shut…Easter Sunday! Genius!

Seriously, what an incredible way to spend a Sunday morning. The VOID is a full sensory, immersive experience which you and three friends or family can enjoy by walking into real-time hyper-reality that combines interactive sets, real-time effects and amazing technology.

Ed has always had a fascination with the Star Wars stormtroopers, ever since he was 6 and I think all of us have a soft spot for the white suited troops of the Galactic Empire. So once you’ve signed up to visit the molten planet of Mustafar to recover Imperial intelligence, one of the many friendly VOID staff on hand get you strapped in to your battle gear, complete with the all important helmet which makes all the magic happen.

You then step into the chamber ready to head to the frontline, put your helmet visor down and your family are all stormtroopers! It’s incredible….especially as everyone is to scale! Ed was huge and Abi was, well, not so huge. It was brilliant and great fun and Ed was in his element. They’d all been in before me with Ed’s girlfriend Beth, and I knew how much they had enjoyed it from the screams of joy that rose from the VOID structure and filled half of Westfield. But to experience it yourself is something else.

We were soon walking a plank and being transported to face the real stormtroopers – we were simply going to fight disguised as stormtroopers. Before we could engage we had to grab our guns – real, as in we were actually carrying them, not part of the virtual reality – and then it was a case of opening fire! It was so realistic…you even feel a buzz when you’re hit!

But don’t worry…there’s no real pain or skill required. Just bags of fun for everyone.

The VOID and ILMxLAB certainly deliver on their promise to bring the Star Wars universe to life.

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