Star Wars Celebration VI Report! Closing Time for the Galaxy’s Greatest Party

by Jay Malone on August 28, 2012

in Star Wars

It could have been a fluke.


In fact, I was pretty sure it was going to be a fluke, and logic dictated that it should have been a fluke – something that I’d built up in my head to the point of being legend, and that it couldn’t possibly live up to my rose colored expectations.

I’d attended Star Wars Celebration V when it was here in Orlando two years ago, but I only went for one day – and I walked away from that convention experience on a euphoric cloud of excitement in all things Star Wars. So, for me to go to a show for three days – the first time I’ve ever done that – as well as attending in a media capacity, rather than just as a fan, I fully expected that shine I’d instilled upon the convention to tarnish a bit, and to become something much more mundane.

I’m ecstatic to report, I was wrong.

Star Wars Celebration VI closing ceremony

When I wrote about my Star Wars Celebration experience two years ago, I stated that the event truly was a Celebration – and while it certainly was, being able to attend the show and actually go to panels and events, as well as having enough time to absorb everything around me with my eyes rather than just through the lens of my camera, well, that made this years event all the more special. See, when I attended two years ago, I literally only spent 6 ½ hours on the show floor, and didn’t go to a single panel. I aimed to correct that mistake this go around.

Image via Toy Ark

The show itself is a cacophony of sound, a blaze of color, and a collection of texture and style that I’ve infrequently experienced at other shows. Sure, you get people dressed in the classic Stormtrooper armor (my personal favorite), Mandalorians, and a seemingly endless parade of Slave Leias – but at the same time, you also see people dressed as a Gonk droid, Republic Commandos, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The scope and range of interests on display at the show were amazing to see, and a joy to experience.

Image via G4

A lot of the reason that the show is so much fun to experience are the staff and volunteers working there. When waiting in line for the Vocal Stars of the Clone Wars panel, I chatted with one of the volunteers about the Star Wars: 1313 panel I’d attended the day before. Staff members were always approachable, friendly, and it truly felt as if they were there purely for us – and they worked their tails off the entire weekend. A huge thank you and congratulations to all involved from ReedPop, their volunteers, and the Orange County Convention Center employees – a truly amazing job.

Without having filmed the floor – which I should have done, in retrospect – it’s hard to explain exactly how massive the entire show is. While it’s certainly no San Diego Comic Con, the show features massive dealer and exhibitor sections, a huge autograph hall, a show store, and other goodies such as a laser tag arena – and that’s only on one floor. To get the full scope, you need to include the theaters on the third and fourth floors as well. Walking into the show on the first floor mezzanine, you’re greeted by a Death Star floating over your head – and then looking up to the second floor landing, you see Storm Troopers, R2 Units, and Sith Lords all laughing and having a good time. Inside, Jabba’s Palace, the Carbon Freezing Chambers, and a life-sized Rancor all wait to greet the attendees. In short, its everything you’d want a Star Wars show to be. And there’s several metric tons of it.

More Slave Leias, one lucky Darth Maul

With all of that sensory overload, it’s really hard to quantify exactly why Star Wars Celebration works so well as a show – in many ways, its entirely identical to a convention you’ve attended. There are dealers, there are exclusive items, there are autograph booths, there are panels to attend. But, unlike a convention like MegaCon which caters to such a wide variety of interests that the guests, exhibitors, and attendees, Star Wars Celebration doesn’t fail to find the synchronization that truly drives it – everyone that attends that show, in one way or another, is a Star Wars fan. And really, that’s what it boils down to: everyone there is for the same reason, and they’re all ecstatic to share it with each other.

Being someone who crosses all aspects of the Star Wars fandom – movies, Clone Wars, Toys, and expanded universe novels – I found it very easy to blend into conversations and take part in talks people were having when we stood in line for panels, and never once did I feel like I was overstepping a line by participating in the conversation. A question as simple as “Would you mind if I shared your outlet to charge my phone?” while waiting in line to see James Arnold Taylors “Talking To Myself” and Carrie Fisher’s “A Date With A Princess” interview led to a discussion ranging from our love of Star Wars to how excited we are for shows like Arrow and the newest issue of Wolverine and the X-Men – what could have been a very boring 2 ½ hour wait for a panel ended up being a spirited, fun, and celebratory discussion with someone I have plans with meeting up with in two years. In short, I naturally felt accepted wherever I went, and never once was it a case of social anxiety or potential panic over not knowing a subject well enough to participate – it was a shared joy.

Through the years, I’ve taken verbal punches for my love of Star Wars, a universe I treasure dearly, and I’m fine with it – much like my love of comics and video games, Star Wars was one of those constants in my life, aside from family. My Star Wars experience begins with playing with my friend Liam in Portsmouth, RI with his Hoth Echo Base and Wampa in his backyard. When I was a little older, I had a Boba Fett who often worked closely with my Cobra Troops, under the command of the unholy alliance of Darth Vader and Cobra Commander. I remember vividly my mom renting the original trilogy for me when I was about 8 years old, and watching it together with her – the first time I’d seen the films, and remembering feeling as if I’d stepped into a much bigger world…and then she and I watched them probably five more times before we returned them to the little video store in Westport. My friends Chris and Keith getting me to sneak out of the house in 1997 to watch the Special Edition rerelease of A New Hope at the midnight showing during my senior year. And finally my best friend Corey wearing his Boba Fett helmet as we drove around sleepy Fort Myers in his old Isuzu Trooper. I look back…and I smile, and I realize that the reasons I love Star Wars are partly the reasons I’ve grown into who I am as a man.

So, as I said two years ago around this time of the year – thank you, ReedPop, for putting on an absolutely impeccably run show. Thank you, my fellow Star Wars fans, for sharing your joy with me and making me feel like a welcome member of the community, as you always do. Thank you, UnderScoopFire for allowing me to get press credentials for the website and cover it for you and our readers. And thank you, George Lucas, for taking a vision you had of a space epic, and putting it on film, giving so many people from so many different generations something they truly treasure.

Being able to celebrate that every two years with people who feel the same…that’s a feeling that I never want to forget. Which is why, in two years, no matter it’s location, I’ll be back at Star Wars Celebration VII. I’m already starting the countdown.


Jay Malone is contributing to UnderScoopFire after attending Star Wars Celebration VI. Follow him on Twitter @JCorduroy.


Dex (@Dex1138) August 29, 2012 at 11:47 am

Sadly, this was the first Celebration I had to miss since C2. It really is a Star Wars fan’s idea of heaven. Being in the same place with thousands of other people that love the same thing you do makes you feel great about your fandom and makes it super easy to strike up a conversation with total strangers.

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