Sunday, April 23, 2006

Star Wars Celebration III... one year later

It was this weekend last year, April 21-24 of 2005, when Star Wars Celebration III was underway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lisa and I packed up my car and left Greensboro, NC around 6:30 the night before the festivities began. We drove through some crazy countryside (Ohio seemed to go on forever) but about noon local time the next day, we made it. We were there for all four days of the events and had a rollickin' good time. Can't believe it's been a year already.

Well, I meant to post some of the pictures we took while we were there not long after we got back. Lots of things happened between then and now and the best I was able to do was post some photos that proved we were really there. But now with the anniversary, and having a little time today to do it, I thought it might be a good time to post a lot more. Be warned: this is going to be pretty graphic-intensive...

The main hallway of the Indianapolis Convention Center. This picture is really just one small part of everything that was going on.

That's Deborah, a really good friend (and master costumer/jewelry-maker) from Texas, with Lisa and me.

Lisa with the Darth Vader costume used in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

This being a Star Wars convention, naturally there were many people who came in costume...

I swear, there must have been a dozen or so ladies walking around wearing the "Leia metal bikini"...
Wherever a Slave Leia was at, she stopped traffic and all the guys wrestled into a good spot to take pictures of her.

These next two were undoubtedly some of my favorite costumes of the thing. Here's a guy who dressed up as the original 1977 Luke Skywalker Action Figure released by Kenner (even the backside of it was printed like the original, and check out his "lightsaber")...

And then there was this guy, the "Janitor-trooper"...

This next guy may be at a convention devoted to a whole 'nother genre, but his costume is aces...
I liked what was in the exhibition hall, even though it didn't seem as good as the one from 2002. The LEGO area was definitely one of the best places of the entire convention. Check these out...

Get a load of this all-LEGO Chewbacca!
This next one is kinda ironic: there's a line in Forcery where it's mentioned that Jar Jar Binks got frozen in carbonite. Well, someone went and actually DID that!

Now, this next picture requires some explanation. On the morning of April 22nd, there was a near-riot that broke out at Celebration III regarding the collectibles store. Star Wars Fan Club guests were supposed to be allowed in an hour or so earlier than the general public. Although I was a member, Lisa and I didn't get in until an hour and a half after general admission started. Well, about the time I got to the doors of the store the guy in the center of the photo came out and said that they were closing the store down for the day, after only being open for an hour and a half! Supposedly it was the fire marshal that made them do it. No one knows for sure exactly what the deal was...
This, more than anything else, is why I believed then - and still believe - that Celebration III wasn't as well organized as Celebration II had been in 2002. The '02 convention was just about as perfect an event as you could probably have. I think the reason for that is because in 2002 it was Lucasfilm themselves that was managing everything. For '05, they farmed-out the running of the thing to Gen Con LLC. Gen Con runs role-playing game conventions, not serious sci-fi/fantasy conventions. So much disaster happened at C3 because of their foul-ups. From what I've heard, it was so bad that the last day and a half or so of C3 the Lucasfilm guys saw what was happening and started taking more direct control of everything. I do believe that things were better from Saturday morning on. But next time they have a Celebration I hope that they learn from the mistakes of this one. Having more than one convention store is one idea, with a lot more stock.

By the way, I was finally able to get into the store on Sunday morning, and got to buy four of the last of the limited-edition Celebration III Darth Vader figures. In addition to a few other souvenirs. But I ain't kidding: when the Gen Con guys came out Friday morning and announced they were closing for the day, you could feel the rank anger focused on them from the fans. It honestly surprised me that it didn't come to physical violence. Lucasfilm, if you ever read this, PLEASE run the next Celebration by yourselves. Gen Con plainly wasn't up to the challenge.

Here's Yoda, on display in the Lucasfilm Archive room:

One of the biggest highlights of the event was the live appearance of the creator of Star Wars himself, Mr. George Lucas. We got into the second session (of three) that he did with an audience. We got fairly close to him, though you can't really tell that from how dark it was in the auditorium:

That's Rick McCallum on Lucas's right, and master of ceremonies Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho from the Star Wars prequels).

Whew!! So may pictures, and so little space to put them in. It was a year ago to day that we got to see George Lucas in person... can't believe it's been that long already. Maybe I'll post these with Flickr or something eventually. Hopefully before the rumored Celebration IV next year.

And, that was our trip! Which we both enjoyed and I think it helped Lisa: my wife is now at peace in the knowledge that however "far out" her husband is with Star Wars, that there are many, many others who are way more worse than he :-P


Anonymous said...

You are incorrect in your statement about Celebrations 2, do some more research and you will see that the same people ran that one as did 3, just the owners changed hands. Wizards of the coast owned them at the time. AND the store lines were just as bad at 2 as they were at 3. My hubby and I have the pictures and scars from the blistered feet to prove it.

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