Star Wars Celebration finally returned to the Southern California area this year as the convention dedicated to the highly successful movie franchise took over the Anaheim Convention Center this past weekend. It’s been a long 8 years since the event last graced the sunny backdrop of California when Celebration IV took place at the LA Convention Center in May of 2007. The con itself boasted a packed exhibition floor of vendors, tattoo artists, celebrities, movie replicas, and artwork all inspired by a galaxy far far away.
Since it’s incarnation in 1999 to coincide with the release of The Phantom Menace in theaters, the convention has traveled across 3 continents and has grown with each event. Having missed the Celebration in LA and being too young to travel for previous installments I had never attended the event before so I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. As I checked in on Thursday morning I unfortunately missed the welcoming ceremony where the new trailer was debuted. However, I was able to catch said trailer on my phone about 4 times while I was stuck in traffic. That alone got me sufficiently pumped. Then I hit the exhibit floor and I may have wet myself a bit.
Now I’m no noob when it comes to exhibit floors but there was something overwhelmingly exciting about seeing so much Star Wars related stuff all in one place. I honestly couldn’t handle all the rad stuff that over the course of the weekend I had to take breaks to sit down and take it all in. Statues, toys, movie props, accessories, if you can think of it they had it. Heck, there was a god dam tauntaun rocking chair. I’ve always said I would never have kids but after seeing that chair I am half tempted to change my mind. Granted I could probably buy it for the sake of having it but even I think that’s a bit weird. Not to mention the temptation of riding it, and subsequently breaking it, would be too much for me.
The panel selection was top notch as well as they covered a diverse spectrum of topics. While I was only able to attend one panel there were several that caught my eye. Of course there were many spotlight panels on several of the actors from the 6 films which drew huge crowds. However the organizers made sure to go beyond just the big panels with celebrities and had topics ranging from meeting the infamous Mandalorian Mercs to learning about all the editing of non-diegetic sounds into the original versions of the trilogies. The latter of the two was the one panel I made my way into and had way more fun than you would expect but I’m weird like that.
They especially went above and beyond for the selection of panels for children with such aspects as the children’s room and jedi academy. For those Star Wars fans that have kids they can show up to the con and know there are activities they can participate with their kids while both parties have fun. So rather than hire a babysitter they can bring the kids and know that everyone is going to have a good time. Something I greatly appreciated as I am always ok with raising your kids nerdy as young as you can.
Sadly for the folks of Southern California the con won’t be here again next year. The next incarnation of the con will the event go back to Europe and take place in London, England in July of 2016. So if you couldn’t make it out this year you’ll be waiting awhile until the event returns to the states. Hopefully the wait for the con to return stateside won’t drive you too mad.