Celebration Europe Momentum Builds


Everybody knows Obi-Wan Kenobi’s line in A New Hope in reference to the destruction of Alderaan: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force.”  I’d be interested in hearing from anyone with examples in the Expanded Universe where Force-sensitive beings express feelings of great joy in the Force. You know, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in celebration and were suddenly expressing joy that something marvelous has happened…or will.

In this galaxy, some of us creatures who surf or body surf know the feeling of a wave mounting behind us that enables us to fly down its face and onto the shoulder. The art is in sensing the force of the wave well before it breaks and where one is in relation to it so as to be in tune with it. You gotta feel its momentum.

And so it is with the momentum that is building for organizers, celebrity guests, and fans in the run-up to Celebration Europe in Messe Essen, Germany.

We know the trip to Germany brings with it certain hurdles. Take the Star Wars Blog. It had a January post that offered 10 essential German phrases for Star Wars. You gotta speak the language and not just the language of Star Wars — which, by the way, I am still learning.

Last week, I was surfing around StarWars.com and stumbled upon Mary Franklin’s post from back in November that gave us a peak into planning for the event. Mary’s post was particularly exciting for me, because it took me back to the excitement I always felt in the 1970s when I was working in London theater. See, I wasn’t just an actor. I did lighting and sound all over London, and not just in theater, but also in the music world. We did things we called get-ins and fit-ups where we rigged, focused, set rough levels, rehearsed lighting and sound cues, actor entrances and exits, then finally the dress rehearsal and previews.  Sometimes the process took two weeks. (I’m thinking of the first run of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed Nicholas Nickleby in 1980.) Sometimes we had to do it in less than a day, sometimes only hours. (That was for a change-over and re-rigging after a Saturday night performance of “The Rocky Horror Show” at the King’s Road Theatre. We did that in ’74 for a Sunday concert by Supertramp just prior to their “Crime of the Century” tour.) Talk about pressure. But in both cases, what a payoff! We all ran on adrenaline and anticipation. So think of Mary four months into the planning and the intensity that underlines her team’s liaison with all the folks who are excitedly planning on converging at Messe Essen for what she says will be the biggest Star Wars event ever held in Germany. Pressure — but what a kick.

I’m a fan of Club Jade. Last month, they had a post on Celebration Europe. Among the links back to StarWars.com was one to the art show line-up. Since Celebration VI, I have been particularly interested in following this corner of the galaxy. Those of you who were there in Orlando, did you check out what was exhibited? I have to say I made several purchases, one of which is hanging prominently on a wall in our family room in our quarters on the Tierfon Rebel Base. It’s a sorta 1920s-type travel poster called “Alderaan by Moonlight.” Except when one looks closely, the moon is the Death Star. Sweet.

So, as you feel the great joy in the Force in the run-up to Celebration Europe, agree with your significant other on your spend-plan (I didn’t for Celebration VI — bad idea — but it worked out okay: the artwork is on the wall), get your wardrobe ready, plan with your cohorts in your garrison, outpost or detachment, but… Get those German phrases down and learn the basics of the language, at least so you can order bantha milk at an eckkneippe. And if you come by the Dak table, be prepared to use it. Because I will. Möge die Macht mit Dir sein

John appeared as Dak, Luke Skywalker’s back-seater in the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. He also appeared in the film substituting for Jeremy Bullloch as Boba Fett on Bespin when he utters his famous line to Darth Vader, “He’s no good to me dead.” Follow him on Twitter @tapcaf.