This was my fifth Star Wars Celebration (C2-C5 + Japan), and while each event has had several stand-out moments, Celebration V was jammed with highlights. Here are a few:
- Finally met TheForce.net team members Eric, Mandy, and Mike. Along with our man Dustin, that's a righteous group of fans running the TFN show. Add Philip, Jay, Shane, Dave, Curto, Grahame, and Chris Wyman from RS, along with a live ForceCast or two (or three), and the "Celebration" part of the event becomes more about the congregation of friends than Star Wars. Heck, we even enjoyed the rare opportunity to catch up with both the Rebelscum Japan and Rebelscum Spanish teams.
- Strolled around in George Lucas's ever-expanding entourage as The Maker perused the exhibit hall one morning before the show opened to the public. Fun fact: D. Martin Myatt was unexpectedly recruited as the official photographer for that morning's "event" – which is why the guy shows up in the background of so many photos. Myatt and I would later catch George again at the big Main Event with Jon Stewart, which was entirely more entertaining than expected.
- Lending a hand in the Official Pix area is always a learning experience. They run the monstrous autograph hall, with all its many obvious and subtle challenges, like a well-oiled machine. Helping out also affords us some really interesting opportunities to interact with the actors.
And as anyone who purchased an autograph ticket can attest, you'd be hard pressed to find a more enchanting group of ladies workin' those cash registers.
- Scoped out the "TK Project" custom Stormtrooper helmets. These art installations have been cropping up sinceThe Vader Project got the ball rolling (The Empire Muggs Back, Sideshow's Stormtrooper Project, etc), and the helmets upheld a tradition of diverse creativity very nicely.
- The show displays this year were particularly impressive. The moment you stepped out of the suffocatingly humid Orlando August heat, you're doused in the ambiance of a galaxy far, far away. A 1:1 scale TIE Interceptor, a gigantic AT-AT in the main lobby, an Endor bunker, a highly detailed Millennium Falcon hallway - they provided amazing backdrops for an army of costumed fans to pose in and around.
- The cramped R2 Builders room (when will they grant these guys floor real estate that's a little more befitting of their efforts?) once again demonstrated the kind of glorious results you get when mixing mechanical ingenuity with a passion for droids. No matter how often I see them at these shows, a fully functional R2 unit never fails to completely delight my inner nine-year-old.
- Live tattooing! For cryin' out loud, how is it C5 is the first time this is happening? The constant drone of tattoo needles made it pretty clear Mr. Shane Turgeon and the Star Wars Tattoo Pavilion are onto something. Given how busy the nearly two dozen artists were throughout the show, tattooing should be a staple at these events moving forward (would love to see them jump over to the San Diego Comic Con as well).
It's a good time whenever the Rebelscum/TFN/ForceCast team is assembled, and CV was no different. Already looking forward to Celebration VI.