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'Star Wars' Partners With Code.Org for Hour of Code Tutorial

“We want to make coding more fun, cool and hip.”

At this year’s Hour of Code, the international education tutorial where children spend time learning about computer programming, characters from the upcoming movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will animate one of the online games. By dragging and dropping parts of code, the kids will be able to move cartoon versions of Rey (a key new female character from the movie) and BB-8 (the new droid) as well as R2-D2, C-3PO and Princess Leia., the nonprofit that runs the Hour of Code, teamed up with Disney to make this happen. has raised roughly $10 million from tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates to educate children about computer programming and careers in the field, as well as to lobby for political changes to make coding classes mandatory in schools. They’ve had 100 million students participate, and major figures such as President Barack Obama have taken the coding challenge to help raise awareness. The organization has also paid for summer computer science training and created online tutorials to teach instructors how to teach coding. Fifteen thousand teachers have taken advantage of those resources.The organization has worked with Disney in the past for the Hour of Code, last year creating a tutorial animated by the “Frozen” characters. But with “Star Wars,” the secrecy and intensity of the project was ratcheted up a notch.

Hadi Partovi, the co-founder of, could only speak with me by FaceTime from a locked storage closet with no windows — Disney’s rules for those working on the project. Schools teach the Hour of Code some time during the week of Dec. 7, one week before the theatrical release of the new “Star Wars” movie. He played me some of the video clips from the tutorial, with the thunderous, unmistakable “Star Wars” theme song booming in the background.

“People’s preconceptions around code is that it’s this boring, geeky thing that has nothing to do with anything you care about,” Partovi said. “We want to make it more fun, cool and hip.”

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