Each Star Wars Celebration is different for a variety of reasons. This rings true in everything from the guests and panels to the exclusives and special events. These differences are why fans keep coming back again and again, to experience a new and exciting time every few years all while celebrating something we all hold so dear to our hearts…Star Wars.
At Official Pix, we have the unique and challenging task of bringing cast and crew from the live-action films and The Clone Wars animated series to each Celebration. It’s a job, yes, but one that has some very rewarding moments mixed throughout the weekend. For example: Escorting Ian McDiarmid across the Exhibit Hall floor to browse the vendors, Artists’ Alley, and the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience, or spending 45 minutes to an hour with each autograph guest to do massive signings for our customers on a variety of items. Though in Germany, there was one instance that stood out above the rest and it has everything to do with a princess from Alderaan.
On the last day of Celebration Europe, Carrie Fisher’s now famous dog, Gary, was at the veterinarian being vaccinated for a trip to London as is required when traveling with a pet. Since he wasn’t around, she decided that instead of going through the motions of the usual situation where a fan asks if they can have a photo with her, Carrie wanted to do the exact opposite! She asked Brian Wachhaus, Mark Barbian, and I to escort her away from the confines of her table in the autograph area and out onto the Exhibit Hall floor amongst thousands of Star Wars fans to ask them if she could take a picture with them. This both confused and shocked many who fumbled and struggled to try and get their own camera out quick enough to take a photo of themselves with Carrie, who was having us use her own camera to snap photos. A fan would ask, “Carrie, Carrie! Could I get a photo with you?” She would reply, “No…But can I take a photo with you?”
This went on for a good half hour until we made our way up some steps into a cafeteria where Carrie stopped, looked around and said, “Can I buy you guys lunch?” Who were we to decline this rare offer? Five minutes later, the four of us sat in a quiet, dark, and practically empty section away from the still confused crowds of people for another half hour. So, it was three men and a princess that dined together discussing everything except Star Wars…naturally. About every two minutes a different employee would stick their head through the kitchen door and smile as they realized who was sitting at the table and finally, one of them, a woman, gathered up the courage to ask for a photo. The answer was the same: “No…But can I take a photo with you?” This lady didn’t speak a word of English and looked as confused as Captain Needa when he lost track of the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back! Luckily, she understood the universal language of a smile and finally realized what was going on. Lunch was followed by a delicious cherry flavored desert as you can see below. After we finished our meal, it was a quick dash down the side of the Exhibit area and back to the Autograph Hall.
Just before we arrived at her table, Carrie literally grabbed Anthony Daniels for a quick photo. Then, I witnessed a fascinating reunion between her and Ben Burtt. It had obviously been a very long time since they had seen each other. He reminisced of how he used to take her to get her hair done during filming. They spoke for a few moments and then parted ways. Carrie sat back down, began to sign again and fell in love with a pink paint pen that one fan had her use on their item. She kept the pen and then proceeded to use it on just about every fan’s item in her line, which you just had to smile at. The best part about Carrie’s table was the free cookie that was offered to each fan as they had their item signed.
What was it that I was saying about new and exciting experiences again? Right, it’s not every day that you can say Carrie Fisher ran up asking if she could have a photo with you! Movies are a dime a dozen, but Star Wars is the most popular franchise in the history of film. How lucky we are as fans to be so passionate about something with such accessibility by way of these conventions.
Chris Wyman, an Official Pix employee, is a staff member at Rebelscum.com, TheForce.net, ForceCast.net and director of the Star Wars Grand Florida Alliance. In addition to these websites, you can find him on Facebook.
Official Pix – Officially licensed Star Wars autographs and photographs.