On Wednesday, I made the journey far, far away to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. The convention is exactly what it sounds like: it celebrates the movies, shows, books, comics, apparel, toys, actors, and fans of Star Wars, and has done so now 10 times since Phantom Menace in 1999, in countries all over the world. Interestingly, I didn’t truly appreciate Star Wars until I was an adult, and after waiting 18 hours in line for the Thursday panels, one line-mate commented I was now “making up for lost time.”
Waiting in line was tedious but not terrible. Here are some highlights:
A wife and small child dropped a father off at the line. The child cried and the man tried to comfort her but looked annoyed. I commented, “Well, he’s still a better Dad than Anakin.”
Oliver Thompson, writer/director/producer of “Star Wars into the Dune Sea” came all the way from Hong Kong and just happened to randomly talk to us. Literally the day before I had watched his movie and filmed a FFF review. Such a coincidence! Check out our FFF video review today!
James Arnold Taylor, who voices Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars and half a dozen D.C. animated characters, went through the line shaking hands, taking pictures, and talking to folks. Me (ever-so-nonchalantly): “So, is Obi-Wan going to be in Rebels Season 2?” Him (jokingly IN HIS OBI-WAN VOICE) “If I told you, I’d have to use a Jedi mind trick to make you forget!”
Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams treated everyone in line to pizza. I can technically say I had dinner with the President of Lucasfilm and a Director of Star Wars. Does this count as a date? It’s totally a date. I will love them always. Even if they didn’t call me back the next morning.
On Thursday, the event kicked off with “The Force Awakens” panel, which was live streamed and aired online, bringing Star Wars Celebration to fans everywhere. I won’t do a full recap, because it’s available for your viewing pleasure, but here are a few of my favorite moments:
- Strong female characters. Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilm), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and Daisy Ridley (Rey) all discussed the greatness of there being more and more diverse and powerful women in the franchise. GeekGirl World approves.
- BB8 and Artoo. A real, moving robot version of BB8 rolled onto the stage. About half the size of R2-D2, he’s actually bigger than he looked in the Force Awakens teaser trailer that came out last year. He beeps adorably, much like R2-D2. Rumor has it, the two may have a playful rivalry.
- The new trio. Daisy Ridley’s Rey, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and John Boyega’s Finn will be the film’s new protagonists, and I think it will be a trifecta of greatness. Boyega told a funny story about getting Harrisom Ford’s autograph, and now I think he’s the most adorable guy on the planet.
- The old gang. Carrie Fisher was saucy. Peter Mayhew did the Chewbacca wave. Anthony Daniels was eloquent. Mark Hamill was sincere, saying, “You’re more than fans— you’re family.”
- The new trailer, not once but twice. Meme posted a GGW article about the masterpiece. Critics everywhere have already analyzed every millisecond of it. The only thing I will add is that I barely heard it over the cheers and sobs the first time, and was blown away the second time. Also, there is now a Kleenex shortage in Anaheim.
I also caught Pablo Hidalgo and Dave Filoni’s “Untold Clone Wars” panel, which showcased an inside look at the creative process of Star Wars: the Clone Wars, including Filoni’s sketches and work-in-progress animation. Hidalgo and Filoni had lively banter that had the audience rolling:
“Did we get approval to show this?”
“We… didn’t… get disapproval.”
We learned that some art work that was made for but not used in the Clone Wars, will now appear in the show Rebels (including a bike that was intended for Ahsoka that Kanan will now sport). The panel left with us all campaigning for publishers to sell a book of Filoni’s artwork, and hints that Pablo-Jill will reappear in Rebels soon. The most lovely thing was that Filoni was not devastated by the end of Clone Wars. Rather, he appreciated the opportunity given his team to work in the gloriousness that is Rebels. If you haven’t already, watch the show, GeekGirl World! Season 1 finished recently, and it’s a perfect afternoon binge watch. Do it!
The last panel I watched was “The Hero’s Journey & the Power of Myth,” hosted by two StarWars.com writers. Alas, I didn’t catch their full names, but if anyone knows, please forward it on to me. I’d love to read more of their work. Actually, I’d love to buy them coffee and pick their brain for hours. They were brilliant! The panel was mostly one giant Q&A, and focused on how mythology and John Campbell’s work about heroes influenced the story arc in Star Wars. One panelist, Nick, made us all realize Jar Jar Binks was crucial in the grand scheme of things, from a mythological/story telling point of view. Yes, Jar Jar. He argued Jar Jar was supposed to teach us how to value those seemingly less worthy. Jar Jar taught this to Yoda in the prequels, who taught it to Luke on Dagobah in the Empire Strikes back. It was Luke who stopped Han from killing the Ewoks later in Return of the Jedi. Without the Ewoks, the rebels may not have won against the evil Empire and successfully help to return balance to the force. Basically, we have
Jar Jar to thank for teaching the lesson years ago. Seriously! There’s a trope in mythology that’s similar, and I plan on geekily and gleefully studying it, post-Celebration. What do you think, GeekGirl World?
That wrapped up the first day of Star Wars Celebration. Today is another exciting day of Star Wars. I’m so excited and thrilled to be here, and can’t wait to see what happens next! Stay tuned on the GGW Facebook page, as we bring you photos from Friday’s Carrie Fisher panel, cosplay pictures, and more!