Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Star Wars Celebration, an out of this world convention, and I had a good feeling that it was going to be epic. I have attended dozens of different conventions over the past few years, but I have to say that I have never been to one quite like this. The cosplay was next level, the number of vendors was impressive, their size was absolutely outstanding, the merchandise was clever and creative, and the experience itself was unlike anything I have ever been apart of. This was the first year that Star Wars Celebration came to the Midwest, but if and when it does come back I look forward to going again.
I was unable to attend any of the panels due to timing, but I did attend one of the many meet and greets from the cast of the Star Wars universe, Anthony Daniels’ booth. Daniels is one of my favorite actors in the Star Wars universe, and it was a true honor. I was able to hear about his upcoming book I am C3PO: The Inside Story, and receive an autograph from him. He was one of the vast amount of outstanding actors and stars available to meet. He is resealing a new book later this year about his experience of becoming his character. I highly recommend checking it out later this year, and if you would like to find out more, here is a link to his website. I think that this is sure to be a hit with die hard fans, and I cannot wait to pick up a copy. I was also able to meet many fellow enthusiasts and creators throughout the convention. I even met a few people who had the same exclusive C3PO hat as I did. The range of outfits went from things like my hat to hardcore cosplayers who spent years creating their perfect ensemble. Celebrations such as this allow for people of all ages to let loose, have fun, and express their love for the franchise, and that is one of my favorite parts.
Among the incredible things that happened over the weekend was the release of the first trailer for Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker, the final chapter in the current star wars saga. It featured new voices, as well as a unexpected fan favorites. It was really cool to geek out, pick apart, and discuss the trailer with fellow geeks through the day, and pick up some new official merch surrounding the movie. Although the original trilogy will always have a place in my heart, I must say that I am really enjoying what Disney is doing with the franchise and how it is bringing in something for every audience. I love the fresh faces, the inclusion of real world ideas, and the ties into the past. I cannot wait to see it this December!
For the first time ever I was able to go the official booths of some of my favorite vendors including Funko, Hasbro, Lego, FYE, and American Tourister. I was lucky enough to pick up some exclusive convention merch like exclusive R2-D2 luggage, and I was able to meet some of the people behind the company. At Funko’s booth, I was able to briefly meet some of the most famous employees and runners of their famous YouTube channel. Even though some of the lines may have taken a while to go through, it was worth the wait to get some one of a kind stuff. At vendors such as Lego, I took advantage of some amazing photo opportunities like the huge stormtrooper display and the a recreation of one of the most famous Star Wars movie posters completely made out of Legos. Over at Funko, I was able to become a Funko Pop! Figure in the giant Pop! box, and at Her Universe, there was a lifesize mystery mini figure of Rey. On the show floor, there were cars, space vehicles, giveaways, and many other experiences for fans of both the light and dark side to enjoy.
Something great about this convention was that there was a variety of different activities and things for all ages to enjoy on each day of the con. From art shows, to building a portion of a giant diorama there was something for every type of fan. If you were looking to enter giveaways, or try to win prizes, the Amazon booth was offering exclusive prizes to winners of different Star Wars inspired carnival games. There were kids of all ages lined up to try their luck at winning an exclusive Funko Pop! Mystery box. For those looking to explore and observe who had already done all of the countless photo opportunities throughout the convention, vendors far and wide had created exclusive items, exhibits, and amazing art. There were small prints and original pieces scattered throughout, but where a lot of the larger artist gravitated towards was the Star Wars Art Show. The Art Show was not only a place for talented artists to display their work, but a place for fans to meet the faces behind incredible pieces. This convention was a great opportunity for many people to let their true passion show through. Hands on activities for the family included working on large projects/displays like the Star Wars battle scene diorama. There were options of what to make, paint, and display for the attendees to admire. For the more hardcore fans, there were numerous panels from different sections of the Star Wars universe to explore, one of which was the Episode IX Panel, including but not limited to Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Kelly Marie Tran. Fans who attended were overjoyed and extremely excited to know that they were the first to see the new trailer for Episode IX. Even after we thought that we had done it all, there were still new opportunities arising.