“Star Wars Celebration – The Ultimate Fan Experience” is a giant convention specifically for Star Wars starting in 1999 just before the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I realized the huge traction it was gaining with Celebration III in 2005 with the release of their exclusive Darth Vader figure. I still remember paying slightly more than I should have back in 2005 for one. If only I had waited 12 more years…
Years went by and with their 12th convention, the stars finally aligned for me to attend my very first Celebration! And the timing couldn’t have been better – not only was it the 40th Anniversary of Episode IV: A New Hope, but they’re taking another break to return in 2019… PLUS George Lucas, Harrison Ford, and John Williams appeared! We weren’t there for that (we were in Disney on Thursday) but still!
Today, the convention is run by ReedPOP who also manages C2E2, Emerald City Comic Con, and NYCC. There were many similarities to how Celebration was run that reminded me a lot of NYCC. Never been to one? Let’s walk through together! (And TL;DR there’s a video at the end.)
The massive queue hall was very familiar. But quickly it’s filled with thousands of Star Wars fans in cosplay, Star Wars apparel, and props as far as the eye can see. If you heard about the horror stories of getting in on time at NYCC 2016, you’ll be glad to hear it was consistent at Celebration 2017… But it’s all part of the experience, right? I mean, once you finally get into the main hall, you’ll see amazing photo opportunities like this:
Or a “life-size” AT-AT Walker:
The number of things you could photograph were infinite!! Seriously. Who’s the more foolish? The fool who brought only one battery or the one who brought only one memory card?
We had our list of to-do’s for the weekend. We only attended Celebration on Friday & Saturday so we had to make the most of our time. So we came and we conquered. Honestly, I don’t know how we managed to check off everything on our list. We had so much to accomplish! Autographs, photo sessions, vendor exclusives, limited edition prints, and just soaking in the amazing experience that is Celebration itself!
One thing we didn’t get to do is attend a panel… any of them. I joked about how half my day was spent standing on lines and a passerby exclaimed, “Oh hey! You’re here at Line Con too??” It was funny… and then it was sad. But the good news is that there were some large screens for the major panels and we got to watch some of The Last Jedi panel!!! If you haven’t seen the teaser trailer yet, what are you waiting for??
And because of these screens, we also got to catch a little bit of the Star Wars Show with Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni (that’s not him below). Love that show!
All throughout the hall are vendors selling everything from figures to Legos, film cells, costumes, you name it! There were artists, fan clubs, and fun giveaways that we got to partake in. It was a blast meeting all sorts of people, especially the moderators from my favorite Star Wars collecting site Jedi Temple Archives: Chuck & Paul!
And if collectibles are your thing, then Celebration was the place for you too. I had to pick and choose what I brought home because as I shared on Instagram, luggage space was VERY limited!
But some of my favorite vendors were present: EFX Collectibles, Kotobukiya, Hasbro (couldn’t obtain the exclusive 6″ Luke but ordered it online before it sold out!), Topps, Disney Parks, Lego (we got the exclusive Detention Block set!), Funko, and of course ANOVOS. Check out EFX’s TIE Advanced (you can see the Star Destroyer behind it and a bit of the Y-Wing to the right of it) and the Kotobukiya First Order Stormtrooper displays:
With only so many hours in a day, and with us rushing to make it to Disney’s Galactic Nights at Hollywood Studios on time, you can imagine how much walking/running was involved (24,607 steps on the first day, according to my Apple Watch)! But at least I didn’t have to run in cosplay like this guy did for charity!
Props to this guy!
But back to why I packed so many figures with me… autographs, of course! This year was the first time Topps was in charge of the autographing & photos. It gave off the vibe of being more “official” but it was still overly hectic and complicated. Unlike every other con I’ve ever been to, you can’t simply walk up to a guest’s table and pay cash for an autograph. You guessed it: another line! Thankfully, we caught the line at a good time and it only took us 1 hour to get to a register… But success! Here are some of the tickets I was able to score:
With our autograph & photo sessions we got to meet: Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Paul Blake, Denis Lawson, Temuera Morrison, Tim Rose, Matthew Wood, Vanessa Marshall, Sam Witwer, and Taylor Gray. Whew! I don’t know how we did it in the short time we were there, but the Force is strong with us!
I’ll be posting pics of the autographs & photographs on my Instagram so be sure to head over there to see them over time. There’s just SO much to share that I can’t do it in a single post. So I hope you’ll join me there!
Long story short, Celebration was quite the experience. I’m glad I met all those Star Wars guests last year because it saved me so much money and time to not have to meet them again. I’d imagine if we go again in the future, I’ll have even less guests to focus on and more time to enjoy the rest of the con. But besides the autos & photos, we got some cool posters, prints, cards, buttons, and more! Check out this poster of the upcoming book Phasma, leading up to The Last Jedi, signed by author Delilah S. Dawson!
If you attended Celebration too, I’d love to hear about your favorite part(s)! Comment below or find me on social media platforms. For now, I leave you with my recap video: