Star Wars Celebration Anaheim is now behind us and there are plenty of fanboys and fangirls out there who feel pretty spent after 4 days of absolute bliss. The greatest convention in the galaxy brought with it plenty of surprises and even a few tears (of joy, of course) and if you were among the tens of thousands in attendance, making the decision to either go to work or stay in bed on Monday morning was probably a tougher decision than whether or not you should have paid that $15 for the food truck Wookie Fries while at the convention. Nerd Bastards was on hand for some of the more glorious moments of the convention, so we wanted to share a few of those moments with you!
First, what is a convention without cosplay? If Star Wars is your bag (really, how could it NOT be?), you are going to love these costumes, which the owners no doubt spent countless hours perfecting before they were ready to reveal the finished product this past weekend. This is (obviously) a very small sampling but they deserve to be recognized for their originality!
The Force Awakens
Yeah, yeah, cosplays are great but we know why you are really here. You want some of that sweet, sweet Episode VII action, don’t you? Who can blame you??
The entire convention kicked off with a panel featuring Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and LucasFilms head, and Episode VII EP, Kathleen Kennedy. As you can imagine, there were plenty of very wonderful moments throughout the panel, which was live streamed by millions all over the world, but here are some of the highlights:
Abrams remembers watching the original film and being transported beyond the screen. He chose to use as many practical effects as possible with Episode VII in an attempt to recreate that experience for a new generation, as well as long-time fans.
Kathleen Kennedy mentioned that when she was a young fan, she didn’t have much of a choice as to which character she could relate to or wanted to be – back then, her only option was Princess Leia. She assured fans that this is about to change.
After seeing just how talented droid builders across fandom are, Abrams and Kennedy wound up snagging a couple of fans to work on the production of the droids in the new Star Wars movies. That’s right, kids. Don’t listen to your parents when they try to tell you that building droids in their basement is a waste of time.
Speaking of droids, you remember BB-8, right? The adorable new droid that looks a bit like a soccer ball with a head? Well, as unbelievable as it may be, that little droid is an actual robot that is controlled by remote control. The designers used new tech to bring the vision to life and yes, as it rolls along, the head can act independently. It is an amazing thing to behold.
After talking a bit and totally gaining the trust of the Celebration audience, Abrams and Kennedy felt it was time to bring the newest members of the Star Wars family on the stage. Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) were brought on stage to provide a few teasers about their characters:
Finn – “On a mission from a certain princess…”
Rey – “A scavenger”
Poe Dameron – “Best damn pilot in the galaxy”
Bringing out the new blood wasn’t enough for the crowd, however, so Abrams brought out the big guns, in the form of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organo/Solo), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)! This moment was enough to induce a few tears in many an eye and the roar of the crowd as the cast stood on stage was the kind of roar that politicians and rock stars only dream of experiencing.
You already know the big news and just how the panel ended but, hey, you know you want to watch it again!
In case you weren’t tuned in for the livestream, here are some of the other highlights from the panel!
Still need more TFA action? Well, Celebration hosted an Episode VII gallery, where visitors could take a look at some of the props used in the actual movie. Walking through the gallery was almost like walking into a church – visitors were silent in their reverence and those who did speak, spoke in the hushed tones of those who know they are in a sacred place. Take a look at some of what they had to offer (click on the image for a bigger view):
Star Wars Celebration wasn’t just about the new movies in the series! EA was on hand to present attendees with a chance to play the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront! In case you missed that trailer, take a look below!
By the way, the new game takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, so that quick shot of a certain Mandalorian bounty hunter is important…
Star Wars Rebels
After the Celebration crew treated some younglings to a rousing game of live action Star Wars Angry Birds, voice actor extraordinaire James Arnold Taylor made his way to the stage to moderate the Star Wars Rebels panel. Taylor started off by introducing himself and gave the audience a quick sample of the many, many voices that the man has mastered over the years. Once it was clear why Taylor is a voice actor, it was time to bring out the real stars of the panel. Rebels creators and EPs Dave Filoni and Simon Kinsberg strolled on stage to a cheers and by the time the cast, which included Vanessa Marshall (Hera), Steve Blum (Zeb), Tiya Sircar (Sabine), Freddie Prinze Jr. (Kanan), and Taylor Gray (Ezra), was on stage, the audience was on their feet. The panel didn’t waste much time before screening a trailer for the upcoming season of the animated series. It was the first time that the cast had seen it, which truly made it an amazing experience for the audience. In case you missed it, here is the trailer:
Pretty freakin’ epic, AMIRITE?? As you can imagine, the crowd was on their feet, screaming and cheering their approval. The reception was so overwhelming that Vanessa Marshall was overcome with tears and even Steve Blum may have had a bit of dust in his eye. Given that the cast needed a moment to recover from the crowd’s response, the trailer was immediately played again, and not a single soul complained.
The audience Q&A started off a bit awkwardly, as the first attendee simply asked for Freddie Prinze Jr.’s autograph, followed by another attendee who was pimping his company by offering a branded gift to Filoni. However, the session was suddenly amped up when the next question was posed to Filoni. After watching the trailer, a fan (a kid around 12 years old) wanted to know just how Rex could have survived. Filoni took his time to answer but when he finally got around to it, he didn’t offer much information. Though, he did mention that once the nature of the clones’ programming, i.e. the chip in their head, became clear, not every clone would have been too happy to go along to get along. This was followed by what appeared to be a little girl of about 6 years old asking what seemed like an innocent question: Who provides the voice of the astromech droid in the series, Chopper? Filoni looked like he wanted to crawl in a hole. How could he resist such an innocent request from such an adorable young lady? He couldn’t. However, rather than share the secret with everyone in attendance, Filoni walked over to the fan and whispered the answer in her ear, then proclaimed, “I told her the truth!”.
On the final day of Celebration, a panel focusing on the Star Wars spinoffs, which will be part of the Star Wars Anthology series, blew the roof off the convention center Arena by finally confirming that the first spinoff, which will be helmed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards, will focus on the scheme to steal the Death Star plans we saw in A New Hope. A teaser was shown but not released to the public. However, there are plenty of bootlegs out there, and the Celebration staff never said that no one could record, so…If you are into that kind of thing, here it is!
There was so much awesome on display throughout the convention and so many random celebrities on the floor (Marilyn Manson’s Twiggy Ramirez, for example) that it is pretty impossible for us to cover it all here. The convention was one of the best that this Bastard has ever attended, and that is saying quite a bit. The attendees, the staff, and the content were all top-notch, though there were those occasional Trekkers that tried to start a revolution. Meh, what are you going to do, right?
The next Star Wars Celebration will be held in London’s Excel London Exhibition Centre on July 15-17, 2016, and tickets are on sale here. If you have the dough, the experience is totally worth it and should be shared with a friend. Luckily, when you are at Celebration, you are surrounded by thousands of new friends, just waiting for you.
If you were at the convention and have some stories you would like to share, we would love to read them in the comments below! How do you feel about the new trailers? Of all the announcements, which one has you the most excited?