Star Wars Celebration VI marked my second journey down to Orlando for the great gathering of Star Wars fans. I had a fantastic time at Celebration V, and eventually worked out a way to go again this year. Though they were held once every 3 years, I hear they're moving it to every two years, as it was this time around. Hopefully, it won't always be the week after GenCon. That said, it will probably be the week OF GenCon at some point.
Anyway, having nearly not fully rested up from GenCon the week before, not to mention the day job in between, I hopped an early Thursday flight, to arrive just before noon. I'm not going to post a day by day entry of every event. I was tweeting throughout the convention, though, so you can check those out if you're so inclined, and don't already follow me.
I attended many panels and screenings, as well as touring the dealers hall for the wild variety of Star Wars stuff on display and for sale. Plus the costumes. As Essential Guide author Jason Fry once tweeted (more or less): "Star Wars Celebration: Where I know what your costume is." Well, that's mostly true. Some of the mash up costumes and really extreme EU references could be open to interpreation. Still, the costumes were really fantastic this year. Stand outs (meaning I remember seeing them and/or actually stopped snap a photo): Actual size wookiees (wearing Hawaiian shirts), Darth Maul with mechanical legs (just the 2), General Krell (who berated Clone Wars director Dave Filoni in the continuity panel, for reasons that were unclear, but some how related to Dave crashing another panel....) and...this could go on awhile. There were a lot.
Fantasy Flight had a booth in a prime location in the hall, and it was fun to have a current product on sale at the show. I also caught up with a number of friends and associates and met several in person for the first time, such as Leeland Chee, continuity expert.
Thursday evening was the Force.net party. This was a great event last time I went, and it didn't disappoint this year. It did get off to a slower start, thanks to late events like the Kevin Smith event. The raffle was popular, and copies of X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games were among the prizes. I hung out with fans, friends and various Star Wars professionals I've met over the years. Star Wars celebrities were also in attendance. Pictures are posted at the force.net party flikr account.
Friday turned into a fantastic day, and the second such Friday in a row (see last week's Star Wars Wednesday and the GenCon 2012 post). Years after being introduced via the Order 66 podcast, and continuing to discuss gaming since then, Sam Witwer and I finally met in person. Sam is a huge RPG fan, so it was fun to introduce him to the staff at the Fantasy Flight booth. He invited me to the Clone Wars Season 5 premiere. I wasn't sure what to expect, and what I thought would be a great, third row seat for the premiere turned out to be a seat in essentially the friends and family reserved section for the actors and VIPs. My row ended up being (in order of seating) a blogger, myself, Dee Bradley Baker (voice of the Clones and more), Sam Witwer, Seth Green and others with Seth. The premiere was fantastic, and the new season trailer was jam packed with a ton of action and even more drama.
Afterwards, I was directed backstage, which turned into an invite to go to dinner with Sam, other actors, producers and staff on the Clone Wars series. It was a very interesting time. Finally, it was off to the 501st Party. After photo ops in the hall, we were ushered into the VIP section inside. When the music was really cranked up, most of the group departed, though I stuck around and hung out with several Star Wars writers, illustrators and others.
After an evening like that, it was hard to see what could come close to equaling it...until the next morning, when I got a text from a friend that George Lucas was spotted in the dealers hall. He wasn't announced as a guest this year. Well, almost predictably, he showed up on stage during the Clone Wars panel I attended that morning. The crowd went crazy. I think most had been in line when the first rumors surfaced, so they were taken completely by surprise. It was fun. He crashed other panels later in the day.
There was more, but I think that's quite enough for the moment. I expect I'll be able to use some of it for future blog entries...you know, when I'm short on time. Also, I'll post a few more pictures to my facebook fan page, when I get a chance over the next few days.