I've been meaning to write up something on Celebration for a while. Hard to believe it's been several months now. I think it took me a while to recover from Celebration and then Darth Real Life kind of got in the way. But I wanted to give everyone an idea of what Celebration is like, the panels I went to, and some really cool things that happened.
There are two main components to Celebration: the expo floor and panels. The expo floor is exactly like you think it is. It's a huge room filled with vendors and various sorts of things. There were a ton of vendors there: Dark Horse comics, Del Ray/Barnes and Noble, Disney and the
There were also things outside the main room. Along the concourses they had a big model AT-AT and an inflatable Death Star. The 501st cosplay group had their own room dedicated to villains. That was cool. They had a guy as the Emperor on his throne and a lot of costume models. Even a scene where you could pretend to be trapped in the trash compactor.
And it seemed like Celebration was very family friendly. There were a lot of things for the kids to enjoy, like the laser tag. There was a huge pile of Legos kids could play with and build things. They had a family room where you could drop off your kids for a while. And they had special viewings and events just for kids and their parents. Thought that was cool.
In the back of the main room was the autograph and photo op area. This section got really busy at times and there would sometimes be overflow lines. But the staff was really nice and you could usually count on them to give you a good time to come back later. I got Mark's autograph for my daughter. And sprung for a photo with Carrie and her autograph for myself. We waited for an hour to meet Mark on Friday, but by Sunday he had no line at all. So it might be a better idea to wait for the end of the weekend to try to get an autograph. Waited a little less than that for Carrie's autograph The autograph lines were a little different. It was up to each actor how much they interacted with guests. Ian McDermid's line hardly moved and I heard he was spending time talking to people. Mark did talk to my daughter for a moment. Carrie was only there for two days and really swamped the whole time. So they were kind of blowing us through there and she really didn't say anything at all. A bit of a bummer, but still glad I did it and very cool to have met her.
Half the fun was walking around and seeing how everyone dressed up. Or even just sitting and watching everyone walk by. I did see some very funny things and odd things. Some Han and Leias running around, even a Bespin Leia and awards ceremony Leia. Was very cool and got a lot of good pics. One Han let me hold his blaster. :) I loved that. And I mean his blaster not his "blaster."
The panels were basically talks or shows on a variety of things. They had authors giving talks, previews of Episode II in 3D, Seth Green announcing his new Star Wars project, interviews with Mark and with Carrie. The one downside to panels is that sometimes, if not most of the time, you had to line up early for the panel. For the Timothy Zahn panel, I showed up 30 minutes early and it was full 10 minutes before it started. There was even a line to enter the expo in the morning. I figured in the morning I was going to wait in line or wait in the hotel room, so I might as well wait with everyone else. But not really my preference to have to wait too long for a panel. Probably unrealistic of me, but it was hard to know what to expect ahead of time. On the upside, I found that waiting in lines wasn't all that bad and met some really interesting people. And a couple of the mornings, Anthony Daniels walked around the lines to get in, taking pics with people.
Here are the panels I made it to:
Timothy Zahn talked about how to judge if the science and technology in your story works and to think about how it impacts the society within your story. I was hoping more for a discussion about how to come up with the ideas, but it was still pretty good.
Caught 15 minutes of Troy Denning's talk. He spoke about how there are different levels of climaxes in a story, how they relate to raising questions in a reader, and building them up over time. There is something called the hero’s journey that struck me as kind of similar.
Saw the preview of Episode II in 3D. It was pretty interesting to hear about the process to convert it to 3D. They use artifacts and other items from the movie to fill in missing details to make it 3D. 3D requires an image from the left and the right and sometimes the original shot will have gaps in it. It makes me wonder how easy it will be to convert the OT into 3D. How much extra footage and other items did they really keep? Episode II did look pretty cool though and the chase scene through Coruscant was pretty neat.
Star Wars in 60 Minutes was a parody where they act out each of the six movies in ten minutes each and use household items as props. It went over by a little bit, but was so hysterical. They made Luke super whiney and Padme into a bored sounding Valley girl. It was hilarious and I would recommend seeing it.
I went to see an interview with Sam Witwer. I know him from the American version of the show Being Human. But he has also voiced Starkiller in The Force Unleashed and currently voicing the resurrected Darth Maul in the Clone Wars show. He seemed pretty cool and a huge Star Wars fan. I was mostly curious to see if he was just as hot as he is on screen. Ooooohhhh, yeah. He is smoking hot. If there was a new guy to drool over, he is it. Another married lady behind me at the panel agreed. :)
The big panel I went to was Carrie’s interview. I definitely wanted to go and since it’s Carrie I will have to dedicate some space to it. :) This was definitely a case of needing to get there early. My Saturday afternoon ended up a bit of a mess. There were things I wanted to do that day – see Carrie’s show and get her autograph and it for the photo-op. But Carrie was only signing autographs for two days and that day she took a long lunch (supposedly with George) and was way behind. By mid-afternoon, her photo op time had been pushed back to just before her show started and her autograph line had a huge overflow. I could postpone the autograph and photo op for Sunday. So I ended up grabbing some food and waited in line for two hours for Carrie’s show. Not what I really felt like doing for two hours, but lucky I went when I did because it filled to capacity a half hour after I got in line.
The show was so worth the wait. It really was. James Arnold Taylor opened the show with a one hour, one man show. He is the voice of Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars and he is quite funny. In the second half of the show, James interviewed Carrie for an hour. She was just awesome and I thought she looked cute. She tried to bring her dog
on stage with her,
but he was too scared. They talked about all sorts of things. She made
fun of the holiday special, saying she wished it was so bad that it’s good and
sang along with a clip. They showed a clip of her on Saturday Night Live
singing about being a teenage girl from outer space. She had a great story
about filming Empire. One night she went home to the house she was renting and
the owner, one of the Monty Python guys, was home and having a party with the
Rolling Stones. Of course Carrie couldn’t tell the Stones to leave because she
had an early call in the morning. So they ended up partying all night and they
didn’t show up to the call the next morning hung over because they were still
drunk! They filmed the scene where they land on Bespin that morning and that’s
why they look so happy in that scene because they are all still drunk. It was
funny. She talked about being a writer, that she likes to have written, but not
to write and she did it because she wanted to get all the crap out of her head.
Someone asked if anyone slipped her the tongue in the movies and we knew the
person meant Mark or Harrison. Her answer was Jabba slipped her the tongue. :)
Not sure poor James knew what to do at times because he seems kind of straight
laced and Carrie most definitely is not. But at the end of the show, James
wanted to set up a fake photo op for everyone and asked her if there was
something she always wanted to do. So she said she wanted to spank him and got
him over her knee. Lol! I totally missed a picture of it though. Gary
One of things I wasn’t aware of going into Celebration is that even though the expo floor closes at 7 and there aren’t many, if any, panels after that time, they still have events going on. They had a screening of Robot Chicken most nights. Every night they were showing two of the movies on a big screen. So after Carrie’s show, there was more to do. There was a mixer that night which I did check out. It was more like music from an ok wedding reception and I only stayed for a little bit. But Empire and Jedi were playing that night and I caught the carbonite scene and the opening of Jedi on the big screen. It was very cool. Where else do people wave lightsabers during the opening scroll and clap when a major character comes on screen? It was a lot of fun.
By then though it was getting a little late and I was tired from being on the go all day and decided to head back to my hotel. In order to get to my room, I had to pass through a small lobby in the hotel with a bar to the side. As I was walking through that night I looked over at this long table of people having a drink. This guy gets up from the table to walk past me and I watch him and thought "Holy smokes; that's Seth Green!" I quickly turned around, stepped up quietly and said, “Excuse me Seth, could I get a picture?” OMG, he was so nice. He asked my name and think he asked if was having a good time at Celebration. I told him I remembered him from Buffy as Oz and that we love Robot Chicken. He thought it was kind of funny I let my 11 year old watch it. :) I got a picture and he shook my hand and said to check out Star Wars Detours. I hate to say, but it was one of the trip highlights for me. Such a nerd, but I've never just bumped into someone like that and not anyone cool like that. Needless to say it was a little hard for me to sleep that night. Was just too excited about all the cool stuff that had happened and about more to do on Sunday.
I did end up getting my photo op and autograph with Carrie. The photo op was really interesting because basically you went into a booth with her, posed, and then stepped out. There was very little interaction with her. But it's all good. I got my autograph and the pic was really, really cute.
One of the other fun things I got to do was meet up with Seams and her family. We had such a great time with them and they are all so very sweet. It was a treat to meet up with one of our fellow writers. We went to a private cupcake party together and Seams and I spent some time walking around the expo floor together.
That's basically the story. It was definitely a good trip. And
can be fun. Mostly had nice weather too. Of course I wonder now if most of the
Celebrations will be there now that Disney bought Lucasfilm. ;) I would probably
go again. It was awesome to see everyone dressed up and basically get to be a
geek about Star Wars. It might depend on where they are having it and how easy
it is for me to get there. I might do some things differently next time too.
They have special Jedi Knight and Jedi Master badges that you pay extra for,
but they give you special almost total access to the panels. I'd probably try to
score one of those next time so wouldn’t have to wait too long for panels, but
there's a limited number, they aren’t cheap, and apparently they sell out
quickly. Not sure I’d do the autograph thing again since I already have done
it. But I’d consider doing the photo-op again. I might also do some things that
are more laid back on Saturday. It was very packed that and hard to get through
some areas of the expo floor. Since there were a lot of people and costumes, t
was nice to sit down and just people watch for a while. Orlando
And by the way, was this a sign of things to come? ;)