Not long ago on Twitter I asked for your favorite Star Wars Celebration Europe memories and photographs for Bantha Tracks, the Star Wars fan newsletter. You sent some beauties, and we thank you for that!
This “photo book” is a great teaser for what will appear in the December edition of Bantha Tracks in Star Wars Insider. If you have read Bantha Tracks for more than five minutes you know that Star Wars Celebrations are my very favorite event to work on in my job at Lucasfilm. I started working on the Celebrations for Attack of the Clones (CII in 2002). Each has been exciting and memorable in different ways, but honestly, after we shut off the lights on Celebration III for Revenge of the Sith in 2005, I believed I would never produce another Celebration for a new Star Wars movie.
I love being wrong.
Star Wars Celebration Europe, in Essen, Germany this past July, not only commemorated decades of the incredible galaxy far, far away and 30 years of Return of the Jedi, it transmitted crackles of excitement for both the new television series (Star Wars Rebels) and a brand new theatrical Star Wars movie planned for 2015. It was thrilling to be a part of that excitement at a Celebration again, and I loved it.
You loved the show too, by the looks of your pictures, emails, and tweets.
“I’ve been a Star Wars fan all my life, since watching Return of the Jedi on the big screen as a child in 1983,” writes Paul McQue. “Then I started watching Lost in 2004 and became a fan of Bad Robot. When news broke that J.J. Abrams would be directing the next Star Wars movie, and that Bad Robot and Lucasfilm would be working together, two of my fandoms collided in a way that I never thought would happen.”
McQue was headed to Celebration Europe, and was planning to pack his Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper armor.
“But then I thought of something else to wear. Why not celebrate the future of Star Wars instead of the past?! I wanted to show my love and support to Bad Robot! Fast forward about six months and there I was standing in the hotel lobby on the Saturday looking like the QMX Bad Robot maquette that sits on my desk.”
“The thing I love most about Celebrations is the people you meet,” writes Greig “Darth Elvis” Robertson. He and John and Paul, pictured, had never met before the show. “In the space of a few days we became very close and now are in constant touch. Celebration brought us together and we are meeting up again shortly.”
Magnus Müller, the founder of Mission Orange, champions his charity efforts at Celebration Europe, here with Carrie Fisher, while wearing his own Orange Charity Gunner costume.
The Willrow Hoods ran Friday and Sunday at Celebration Europe, photobombing and delighting unsuspecting attendees. Creativity and humor like this are among my favorite aspects of Star Wars fandom. Photo submitted by Willrow Hood membership officer Florian Wiedemann.
“Celebration Europe II was a blast!” writes Tim “TeeKay-421” Veekhoven. “The TeeKay crew truly had a wonderful time in Essen. We hope we did our best to be good ambassadors for Star Wars fandom and Lucasfilm.” (Editor’s note: You were great ambassadors, Tim, thank you.)
“Celebration Europe finally allowed me to meet people I’ve known for years, but who I was never able to meet, like Mark Newbold from JediNews, Mary Franklin, Stephen Sansweet, Joe Corroney, Chris Trevas, Jonathan Wilkins, etcetera,” writes Veekhoven. “We encountered Iain McCaig and Doug Chiang in the hall near our booth and they kindly joined us to have some pictures taken.” Pictured are Mathias Van Meerhaeghe, Thomas Verschoren, Stijn Creten and Veekhoven meeting Iain McCaig and Doug Chiang at the TeeKay-421 booth.
Star Wars Celebrations can just make for a long day sometimes. A really good day, but a long day. Photo by Emily Stephenson.
Joel Welch and his brother Sean wait in line several hours before the doors opened on the first day of Celebration Europe “because…well…that’s what Star Wars fans do. I love this photograph,” writes Welch, who lives in Ontario, Canada, “because it connects me with my brother who lives in Buffalo, New York, through our shared passion for Star Wars.”
Zak Portlock-Thorogood in the Bacta tank built by the Belgian Star Wars prop builders. “Through these conventions fans are able to step into the scenes of Star Wars and recreate their favorite magical moments!” say Portlock-Thorogood. “I also chose this pic because I thought it was funny!”
“Being from Toronto, Canada, I am (naturally) I am a huge hockey fan and Filoni and I struck up a conversation about a recent move made by the Toronto Maple Leafs,” recalls Jones. “Later on in the weekend I met Ashley Eckstein and we began talking about Toronto’s Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays (for which Ashley’s husband used to play). I realized afterwards that whenever I met a Star Wars celebrity we talked about sports!”
“Here is one of my favorite photos from Celebration Europe,” writes Matthias Zucker. “This shows what a fan looks like after he’s just been told by Boba Fett himself that he looks like Justin Bieber. (Whaaaaat?) Thanks for a great Celebration!”
Leigh Hawker in the classic Han Solo pose, shooting first.