Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this post up! Last week/weekend was such a hectic whirlwind of Star Wars awesomeness, to be hit full in the face with the realities of work and real life is equivalent to a proton torpedo in the exhaust port! I hope you were all following me on Twitter; I was able to get some great pictures and juicy news out to the Twitter-verse, right from my phone. But, for those of you waiting for the full breakdown, here it is:
Saturday, we got up EARLY – like 3:30am early! The shuttles weren’t running to the convention center yet, so we cabbed it. Not surprisingly, we were NOT the first ones in line for the George Lucas/John Stewart Main Event. There were already about 2,000 people in line! I heard later that the first person in line had been there since 5pm on Friday! Hats off to you, uber-dedicated fan.
For being so early (and so freakin’ muggy) everyone was in surprisingly high spirits. At 6am, they let the line inside the convention center, blessing us with A/C and coffee. There were only a limited number of seats available in the “Celebration Stage,” the theatre where George would be live, in person, in the flesh. They had several other theatres set aside to stream the video coverage. As we drew nearer the door, the yellow wristbands for the Celebration Stage were dwindling…dwindling…almost there…GOT ONE! We made it (by only about 75 people!) into the live stage! I was super psyched.
Once inside, people slept, read, talked, watched Star Wars on iPads and laptops. There was a guy making Star Wars-themed balloon art which was pretty impressive. Finally, at around 10:30 (yes, we were in line for six hours) they let us into the theatre. The place was buzzing and once John Stewart stepped out on stage (with a complete stormtrooper escort) the crowd was going crazy. Without much ado, John introduced the man of the hour (literally, it was only an hour), George Lucas! The place went nuts, myself included.
To be honest, I was on such a high (lack of sleep and crazed fanboy overstimulation will do that to you) that I don’t remember every single word that was said. John was asking questions from a list of fan-submitted queries. He was funny and everyone was soaking it all up. George talked about the original movies, how no one knew what they were or how they’d do at the box office. He talked about the generational spread Star Wars has (the Original Trilogy for one generation, the Prequels for another, The Clone Wars for yet another). At some point during the show, George presented John with his very own action figure! John returned the favor by showing an old Japanese commercial, featuring Ewoks, Chewbacca and George himself, sufficiently embarrassing The Maker.
Then the juicy stuff. George revealed quite a bit about The Clone Wars Season 3. His cameo in Episode III, Baron Papanoida, will make an appearance, along with his family. The voices will be provided by George himself and his children. A clip was shown, where the Baron enters a cantina brawl with duel pistols blazing. Then, a clip was shown of the Nightsister witch Talsain, introducing Count Dooku to a new apprentice: a Zabrak named Savage Oppress. George revealed that Savage is actually…Darth Maul’s brother! A collective gasp rose from the ranks of nerds, followed quickly by roaring cheers.
But that’s not all folks! George announced that all six Star Wars movies will be released on Blu-ray sometime in 2011…and…that there would be some never-before-seen deleted scenes from the Original Trilogy! They showed one of the scenes from Return of the Jedi, showing Darth Vader tempting Luke to the dark side, while Luke is building his new green lightsaber in Obi-Wan’s hovel, right before sending R2-D2 and C-3PO to Jabba’s Palace. Once Luke activated his new green lightsaber, the crowd exploded, whooping and hollering (with maybe a few sobs of joy thrown in there).
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher made surprise guest appearances, talking briefly. Carrie had the whole house rolling, saying she was glad her sex scene with Jabba the Hutt would finally see the light of day on the Blu-ray release; although she blamed this particular scene for her eventual descent into drug addiction.
And that was it. Mark, Carrie, George and John waved their good-byes and the biggest event of the week came to a close.
But it was only noon! The day was still young. Walking the exhibit hall, we saw Ashley Eckstein host a Star Wars fashion show, got to see some more killer costumes (including a young woman as a Rebel pilot…inside an X-Wing!). We saw a screening of the first ever 3D Star Wars fan film, The Solo Adventures – it was pretty awesome! (If you have the red/blue 3D glasses, you can actually watch it here or watch it in 2D here).
Went to the Fate of the Jedi panel later that day. Authors Troy Denning, Christie Golden and Aaron Allston were there, along with editor Shelly Shapiro and moderator Pablo Hidalgo. Not a lot of groundbreaking news, other than the title for the last book in the series, Apocalypse. After this series, it looks like they will focus more on standalone novels and trilogies/duologies instead of the longer series. Should be some good stuff coming out of Del Rey and Co. in the coming years!
Around four o’clock, we headed to the buses to go to Disney World for The Last Tour to Endor event! The Star Tours ride is closing, with a new version opening next year (new storyline, happening between Episodes III and IV, new locations, 3D – see a preview video here), so they were having a big shindig, just for the Star Wars fans to enjoy the ride one last time.
This event was awesome. The park was reserved just for the fans, Star Wars music was piped through the park all night long, the lines to the rides (like Rock ‘n’ Roll Coaster and Tower of Terror) were non-existent – and Star Tours is so awesome when you’re riding with a packed starspeeder of cheering Star Wars fans! We rode all the rides twice, picked up some merchandise (including the limited edition Last Tour to Endor t-shirt) and enjoyed just walking around, having the park to ourselves.
At 10pm, we waited in line for the live action theatre event, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Jedi Temple of Doom – most epic title ever! The line was long, the weather was sweltering (I think I was sweating even more than Jabba in a sauna), but we got good seats. Right before the show, George Lucas showed up, amid cheers and a bazillion camera flashes. The show started and the directors called some special guests out of the audience to act as extras – Seth Green, Jaime King and Anthony Daniels!
There really was no plot to the show, but it was every fanboy’s dream to see Indy fighting Boba Fett, swinging from rooftops with Slave Leia and dueling with Darth Maul. Pyrotechnics, humor and overall geekiness made for a thoroughly enjoyable show!
At midnight, Disney put on the best fireworks show I have ever seen. A full 15 minutes of perfectly timed fireworks, set to John Williams’ brilliant Star Wars score. It was enough to give me goosebumps, even in the disgusting humidity!
Finally, 1am rolled around (yep, almost been up for 24 hours!) and the closing ceremony of Star Tours commenced. R2-D2 and C-3PO made an appearance, along with Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Vader tasked Fett with destroying the old ride in preparation for the new one. With a well aimed thermal detonator, a blast of fire and sparks marked the close of an amazing and exhausting day.
After such a crazy Day 3, Day 4 was mercifully low-key. I was able to test out my Force abilities with the Force Trainer toy, where I confirmed my suspicions – I am, indeed, a Jedi Master! Checked out the massive Hoth dioramas that people had been working on all week, browsed the Ralph McQuarrie art exhibit, and got an exclusive interview with Star Wars author extraordinaire, Dan Wallace, where he revealed some awesome details about his upcoming book, The Jedi Path (will post the interview soon, so keep an eye out for it!).
Then off to the tattoo booths to get my long-overdue, Star Wars tattoo! With the Jedi symbol inked firmly beneath my skin, I made my way to The Clone Wars Season 3 panel.
Dave Filoni and Joel Aron didn’t reveal a whole lot (George let loose more details in his Main Event panel than they expected), but they had some juicy tid-bits. They showed a bunch of clips: Asajj Ventress and Count Dooku attacking the cloning facilities on Kamino with Trident ships and new Aqua droids; Dooku having a late-night lightsaber duel with three invisibility-cloaked Jedi assassins; Ventress heading to her homeworld (Dathomir!), where we learn she has some connections with the Nightsisters; Savage Oppress is revealed again; and finally, a “mega” trailer for Season 3, teasing at a whole lot of crazy happening this fall!
Dave was pretty cagey, not really answering many questions – he’s definitely mastered the art of the evasive answer. But he confirmed Delta Squad’s appearance and revealed that “a location from the Original Trilogy” will be featured. Lots to look forward to in Season 3 people!
Unfortunately, Carrie Fisher cancelled her panel. I was super bummed; I think she is hilarious, and was really looking forward to an hour of her being crazy funny. Maybe next time.
The day was winding down: grabbed a few more pictures then headed to the shuttles to go back to the hotel – exhausted, ecstatic and totally satisfied.
Once again, sorry it took me so long to get this last post up. Had almost 20 hours worth of plane delays getting home and was running on a measly amount of sleep – but it was all worth it!
Hope you all enjoyed the coverage and the pictures. Stay tuned for my interview with Dan Wallace; should be up beginning of next week.
Did you go to Celebration V? Share some of your favorite moments in the comments! Can’t wait for Celebration VI? Share what you hope to see in three years (I’m hoping it’s in Vegas next time – close and cooler!).
May the Force be with you!