On the way to Lucasfilm, Jordan says he knows what Yoda looks like: "I've seen Star Wars. I mean, I haven't seen the movie, but..." Yeah, we know. It's impossible not to gather a lot just from cultural osmosis, as I'm about to demonstrate. They get dropped off outside, and at the head of the column waiting for them is Darth Vader himself, flanked by a Stormtrooper, a Scout Trooper, and a TIE fighter pilot. "Enter the world of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic," Jordan reads from the clue. A barely disguised version of the Imperial March plays on the soundtrack over shots of museum-type displays of character masks and costumes throughout the building, as Phil explains that one team member will put on a "motion capture" suit. You've seen these in every "the making of" featurette of the digital age, but humor me as I explain that it's basically a dark-colored jumpsuit with white ping-pong balls placed at intervals. Cameras and computers track the motion of the balls and translate the movements of the wearer to a digital version of him or her, so we can see an avatar moving through what looks like a complete virtual environment, even if the actor was just wandering around an empty soundstage. Which, as with all three Star Wars prequels, will be the case here. Meanwhile, their partner (and here the "director" role in the demonstration is filled not by a production assistant but one of the Stormtroopers) will direct them through that virtual environment to get to their next clue. Dan volunteers to be the director. A Clone Trooper whose red-accented white armor designates him as a Shock Trooper (although the real shock is how big that dude is; clones are only supposed to come in one size because, you know, clones) leads the brothers across campus, with two original Stormtroopers bringing up the rear behind them. This is a total anachronism, because Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers didn't exist at the same time. Watching them walk by is like seeing twenty years pass in a matter of seconds. Again, this is all cultural osmosis.
Back at the Coit Tower, Cord reaches the top and retrieves the clue. Brent and Caite can at least see the Coit Tower from where their cab is, although I don't think they can see Cord. "I hope we're not too far behind everybody," Brent says. Cord's on his way down. "Ridin' bulls is a lot easier than that," he says. Off to the Yoda Fountain they are (last time I'm doing that, I promise).
Dan's Stormtrooper guide leads him to a cubicle with a computer and a big monitor, which is where he'll direct Jordan from. I could probably identify all the Star Wars character masks and busts that seem to be everywhere in this building, but I feel a little self-conscious namedropping the likes of Admiral Ackbar and Salacious Crumb when last week I couldn't identify a single Arhat. Meanwhile, Jordan gets into what he calls "This skinny-suit with balls all around me." He also straps on a helmet with the winged-star logo of the Jedi Order on it (you know, the one that evolved into the insignia of the Rebel Alliance years later), and now he and Jordan can hear each other through headsets. "I just put on a little suit with balls on it," Jordan tells his brother over the radio. And I'm sure he's hoping it's not the last time he does that. Dan tells us he's not a video game guy, but "More of a Boston sports guy." He explains that he can see Jordan's movements; "I need to guide him through a computerized path." Then there's a splitscreen of Jordan in the soundstage, and a digital version of Jordan in Clone Trooper armor sans helmet (specifically, the yellow-striped armor of a member of the Star Corps). Jordan's computerized face looks awesome, with a blue bandanna around its forehead and a determined set to its oversized jaw. Jordan would totally hit that, I bet. "Go to center of the blue start ring," Dan tells Jordan. Of course Jordan has no idea what he's talking about, being in an empty room. But when Jordan looks around, Dan's monitor display shifts accordingly, showing Dan what Jordan's helmet-cam would be seeing if Jordan were really out in space. Apparently the third-person view of Virtu-Jordan isn't seen by either of the players, which makes me appreciate how ILM and the producers generated that view just for those of us who are watching at home. Dan spots the starting point on his monitor, and directs Jordan to walk "toward" it. Jordan steps through the target that's invisible to him, and as he does so, digital walls and corridors zap into existence around his avatar. Dan has him turn around, and he gets a panorama of the bowels of the Tantive IV, specifically the narrow corridor leading to the escape pods. Dan sends him in that direction, telling him to slow down. When Virtu-Jordan crashes into the virtual wall, the scene abruptly disappears and Jordan has to return to the starting point. Dan tells Jordan to go slow and they'll do this right the first time. "Okay, so give me good directions," Jordan says. This is a major teamwork challenge; it's impossible for one player to do it alone, because neither of them has the whole picture. They can't even see each other. Probably the best possible strategy would be to get snippy with each other.
Jet and Cord arrive at ILM in second place and run up to the Imperial forces waiting there for them. "Is one of these Dan and Jordan?" Cord wonders. The Shock Trooper clone wordlessly declines to open the clue for them. As they are led inside, Cord wonders if their escorts can talk. "No, they're Stormtroopers," Jet says. And they probably don't want to get into why Clone Troopers have New Zealand accents when Stormtroopers have American ones. They probably get that question all the time, and a visit from Phil probably only confused the issue further.
Dan is trying to walk Jordan though the level, and telling him to relax when Jordan asks for clarification on something. "You don't need to get all excited," Dan snaps excitedly.
Cord is wearing both cowboy hats as he's led to his director's cubicle, which is immediately adjacent to Dan's. As soon as Cord sits down, he hears Dan giving directions, and starts shouting out some of his own before he even has a headset on. Since there's practically no divider, Jordan can hear Cord in his headset as well as he can hear Dan, and it's quite confusing. Dan looks around in a mute appeal for help from someone in production, but it looks like whoever was in charge of preventing people from cutting in line is also enforcing the no-talking rule. Dan gets so frustrated he clams up, leaving Jordan stranded out there to hear nothing but Cord hollering out crap like, "I want to see four ninety degree turns!" Hee, that's funny. Dan can see that Virtu-Jordan is only steps away from the goal circle. Finally Jet is in his suit and on the soundstage, and, hearing Cord yammering away in his headset, wonders apprehensively if he's going to have to do everything Cord is calling out. Which means Cord's fucking with people indiscriminately at this point. Finally, Virtu-Jordan steps into the "GOAL" circle, which disappears, so they're done with level one. This is the easiest video game ever.
Jet starts, and amusingly, his avatar is wearing a cowboy hat instead of a Star Corps helmet with his Clone armor, even though the real Jet is wearing a plain white helmet. Cord finds the start point on the screen and starts directing Jet toward it before he realizes Jet can't see it. They really didn't explain this very well before they got them started, did they?
Brent and Caite finally reach Coit Tower. Brent will be doing the climbing, obvs.
At ILM, Dan directs Virtu-Jordan down a long, circular corridor that I'm embarrassed to not be able to identify on sight. Bespin underlevels, maybe? Like I said, I only have the vaguest idea about this Star Wars crap. I'm more of a Space: 1999 guy myself. Dan can see the goal on his screen, and sends Jordan walking