We had an absolutely brilliant time at Star Wars Celebration Europe although I don’t think I have ever queued that much in my entire life. But everyone in the queues was great, all the fans were brilliant, the cosplay beautiful and the panels interesting and fun. It also gave us the chance to meet some of the amazing people we have come to know in the last months, such as Thomas. He has now sent in a MSWM post about his experiences at SWCE and check out his posts about the panels etc. on his website The Midi-Chlorian Centre!
My Celebration Journey
by Thomas Storai
Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 was my first SW Celebration and also my first time being in London. Going to an event like this is a truly fantastic experience, it was three intense days. My experience at Celebration started on Thursday night at 8PM when I started queuing for the Rogue One panel. There was a lot of queuing at Celebration, every single day – to get wristbands and then to get into the Celebration Stage for the actual panel, it was hours and hours of queuing but it was also part of this Star Wars experience, it was part of the fun – waiting to get your wristband for the panel you wanna see.
It was a friendly atmosphere, you could talk to your neighbor in the queue, everyone was there for Star Wars ! It’s about bringing the fans together, bringing all the generations together and I really loved meeting new people and cosplayers, they put such a great amount of work to build their costumes, that’s a lot of dedication ! And there was all kind of cosplays – characters from The Clone Wars, the Prequels, Rebels, the Originals and the Sequels; so much love for the entire saga. I was really impressed with all the Padmé cosplayers. On the last day, I even found an old man dressed as Dooku, that was really fun ! I also really loved meeting the people I talked to on Twitter, finally being able to meet them was one of my favorite memories about Celebration, talking to these people on Twitter is great but being able to meet them, putting a face on the person you talk to is even better.
To go back to queuing for wristbands, queuing for RO wristband was probably my longest queue as I was there from 8PM to 6AM, the whole night but I didn’t feel tired at the moment, there was so much positive energy all around and Daniel Logan (Boba Fett in the Prequels) bringing the pizza was one of the highlights of the night, it was such a good surprise.
My first panel was the Untold Ahsoka Stories panel and what a great way to start the Celebration, what a great way ! I’ve been a The Clone Wars fan right from the start and it’s one of my favorite parts of Star Wars so seeing Ashley Eckstein and Dave Filoni was truly wonderful, seeing them talk about these stories we didn’t get to see. They revealed so much more than I thought they would. I saw them, I heard them talking about these stories and that, that’s an experience you only get at Star Wars Celebration – to see these people who everyday work hard to make the best Star Wars they can.
After that panel, I walked around the different booths of Celebration and I was so impressed by how many people were there, so much more than I thought there would be. Seeing Star Wars products (figures, books, t-shirts …) everywhere was a heaven for all Star Wars fans, the hardest part was to contain myself not to buy too much things (wink), I still don’t know how I managed not to buy too much Star Wars stuff ! I only bought 2 Hasbro figures, 3 t-shirts and a book, I surprise myself ! Speaking of book, it was nice from the Random House booth to offer the Leia Bloodline poster, I don’t know yet where I’ll put it but it’s cool, doing things for the fans.
My second panel was Rogue One panel, I had to queue to get into the Celebration stage. Queuing was fun with the Clone Corridor team, amazing people, I was able to see them the 3 days of Celebration ! So this panel, it was my favorite, really ! We got the best gift – the whole main cast of Rogue One was there ! I was really hoping for Forest Whitaker and Felicity Jones to show up because I’m big fan of them (if you haven’t watched ‘Like Crazy’ starring Felicity Jones, I really recommend it), and they did show up plus all the rest of the cast which was the best surprise and Gwendoline Christie hosted the panel, how awesome could it be ? Well, we got a poster, not just a poster being revealed but every fan who was attending the panel got a poster to bring home ! They showed us a sizzle reel and an exclusive trailer ! These kind of events are made for the fans and the people who were here gave their best to make the fans happy. One of the highlights of this hour was Ben Mendelsohn entrance, a killer entrance, if you find someone who does better call me ! Arriving dressed as Director Krennic followed by two Death Troopers just set the mood, it set the bar very high !
My second day at Celebration started at 3AM when I queued to get my wristband for the Rebels season 3 panel, not much sleep right ? I started my morning at Celebration after getting my wristband by going back to the Props and Costumes of Rogue One to properly take pictures with my camera. I loved seeing the costumes, seeing the details, all the work that has been put there to make them for the movie. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the Shore Troopers, I love their design, it’s just amazing, it feels like they’ve been inspired by some designs of clone troopers from the Prequels. Seeing these costumes reminded me of when I went to the Star Wars Exhibition in Paris, seeing costumes from the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. I also took tons of pictures from the Hot Toys booth and the replicas from The Force Awakens booth, these are products I can’t afford, they’re ridiculously expensive, only rich people can afford them. So I took a lot of pictures of these products because it was the opportunity to see them and see how awesome they are. It amazes me how much the Hot Toys figures are realistic, it’s like seeing a small version of the character. The replicas versions of TFA objects was even more impressive, it was like seeing real props from the movie – Poe’s helmet, Finn’s helmet, Vader’s melted helmet, Kylo’s helmet, Rey’s staff, Kylo’s lightsaber, the Skywalker’s lightsaber. People who own one of these are so lucky !
So the Rebels panel, one of the highlights of this Celebration. Seeing the first two episodes of season 3 before everyone else was a great treat and seeing the one and only Mr. Filoni was awesome, he loves to torture/troll (in a good way) fans and he knows how much we are passionate and dedicated about it. Special guests were Tiya Sircar and Sam Witwer which made quite happy to see these two great people ! It was a fun panel, we learned things, more questions arose and it was such a great time !
The final day of Celebration was also queuing at 3AM I queued for the Filmmakers panel and then at 6AM I quickly queued for a wristband for Carrie Fisher panel. Carrie Fisher, her panel was so funny, she’s as much as fun as she is in her interviews, I was so happy to attend to her panel, it’s a memory I’ll cherish very much, it’s Princess Leia !! And the Filmmakers panel, it was interesting, not the best panel but what I really loved was all these guests especially the two unexpected ones – John Boyega and Alden Ehrenreich, he’s an actor I really liked in ‘Beautiful Creatures’ and ‘Hail Caesar !’ and seeing him walking on the stage was an genuine moment. I already liked that they picked him up to play Han Solo for the anthology movie (he was on my list of actors that I thought would be good for the role) but having him on the panel and hearing him talk about it just convinced me that he really was the right one for the part and I’m really excited about this movie now, more than ever. And then the closing ceremony, it was a teary moment seeing all these recaps from the 3 days, it was the acknowledgement that the Celebration was coming to an end, the 3 days were over. I think I wouldn’t have minded a few more days of this, so much energy put in it. It really was a special event, something that I will never forget and that I will keep in my mind. It was a dream come true, I had always wanted to go to a Star Wars Celebration and this year, I finally was able to go to one and what an amazing one. My favorite moments/memories from the Celebration were the Rogue One panel, the Rebels panel, seeing all these Star Wars actors and crew in person, that was wonderful and obviously meeting the awesome people from Twitter !
May the Force be with you !