As if nerds needed a reason to get more excited about Comic-Con?!  Reacting to the Hollywood-ization of Comic-Con over the past few years (Really, ‘Glee’?), ‘The Talking Dead’ host Chris Hardwick, a.k.a. The Nerdist, has entered into a joint venture between his The Nerdist Industries, Lucasfilm Ltd., Octagon and Machinima to create the perfect opening act for the biggest annual event in the world of comics, sci fi and  fantasy, San Diego Comic-Con International– an Olympic Torch-style relay race, kicking off at the landmark Santa Monica pier on July 7th, featuring runners, who are encouraged to dress in Star Wars or other pop culture costumes, handing off a lightsaber!  The last runner will arrive at Comic-Con’s famous home in San Diego on Wednesday July 11th, the show’s Preview Night.  (The show itself runs from the 12th-15th.)  Approximately 500 runners are needed and will each run a quarter of a mile.  Interested fans will have the opportunity to participate over the next few months via various online promotions.  All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so it’s not only a nerdy fun time, but it’s for charity!

Hardwick commented on The Official YouTube Blog:

While I always look forward to that extended weekend of Nerdvana, I sometimes feel a bit like the commercial shininess of it slightly eclipses its intended spirit. To me, going to Cons as a kid was all about having a safe haven—a place where like-minded folks could come together to celebrate nerdly passions and accept each other for the oddball (by the larger and more boring sector of society’s standards) stuff we were all into.

Indeed, in recent years, Hollywood has invaded attempting to promote many non-comic/scifi/fantasy properties and shipping in decidedly non-nerdy celebrities.  Nevertheless, it remains the biggest fan-based event of the year, garnering publicity across the mainstream press and drawing thousands each year, with tickets selling out months in advanced.

As for the Course of the Force itself, it will be a full, five-day tailgating experience.  At the close of each day, Star Wars themed parties will be held with participants receiving a limited edition Hasbro Star Wars Ultimate FX lightsaber, awards given out for best costumes, contests and Nerdist live broadcasts on The Nerdist’s Channel on Youtube, which will launch on April 4th and will feature interviews with, as Hardwick stated “Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Zombie, Awkward Family Videos, The Dudesons and The Kids in the Hall, just to name a few.”  As fans of ‘The Talking Dead’ and G4’s ‘Attack of the Show’ are aware, Hardwick is the consummate geek talk show host, so this should be a lot of fun.

It’s pretty hard to imagine anything creating more excitement about Comic-Con than there already is, but this certainly sounds like it might!  Be sure to check out their homepage and YouTube channel for updates!

Last night Chris appeared on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”. Here’s a clip of him making the announcement on the show. Enjoy!