In our months of getting ready for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, I work on a schedule that includes spectacular headline and celebrity events. At Celebrations we want to present the very best, and the very latest news to fans. But at the same time I find myself working with creators on other great events and activities that strike me as true “Celebration Treasures.” Some might be quirky, and not all will make the headlines, but they are every bit a part of what makes this a sincere fan festival — truly “by the fans; for the fans.”
If I could break away from the work I’m doing during the show, here are some gems I would not miss:
MSE Mouse Droid Super Madness! (Saturday, April 18; 11 a.m.; Booth 124, Hall C) For years I have been dreaming of a droid demolition derby at Celebration. As they always do, the ingenious R2-D2 Builders find a way to make my dreams come true. Mouse droids will be battling it out to the finish, and I want to be there to see which one is still in one piece — if any — at the end!
The Running of the ‘Hoods. It’s no secret I love the Willrow Hoods, the costumed character gang who run through Celebration unannounced, wearing mustaches, carrying ice cream makers and photo-bombing as they go. It is a secret, however, when they do their runs. Surprise is essential, and they are not keen to reveal where they will be and when. I do have it on the best intelligence that they have runs planned for Celebration Anaheim, but only they know for sure when and where they will happen. I hope I am lucky enough to see them! Appropriately, they are having an ice cream social, too. Luckily for me, I do know where that is.
The Untold Clone Wars With Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo. (Thursday, April 16; 3:30-4:30 p.m.; Digital Stage – 300). I love to learn more about Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but when it comes right down to it, I simply could listen to Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo talk about Star Wars all day. I will drop in, and stay and listen as long as I can!
Saturday midday at Celebration I am going to be torn. So torn, I expect I will be thankful that I don’t have time to stop in one place, because that might allow me to stop in three places.
Kyle Newman and his talented friends are bringing the Smuggler back to Celebration in Kyle’s new, original “radio drama,” Smuggler’s Bounty. After Smuggler’s Gambit brought down the house at Celebration VI in Orlando, I know Bounty will be a hit. It starts at 1:00pm on the Celebration Stage. On the Digital Stage, after John Knoll talks about 40 years of innovation at Industrial Light & Magic (11 a.m.), four masters of creative production take the stage at 12:30 p.m., to talk about assembling the creative dream team for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In talking with production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford, executive creative director Doug Chiang and senior art director Christian Alzmann, I know I don’t want to miss this if I can possibly help it. Right after that at 2:00 p.m., also on the Digital Stage, Star Wars Rebels composer Kevin Kiner has prepared a fantastic presentation on composing Star Wars music. If only I could stay and learn more about how John Williams’ compositions have influenced Kevin’s music!
How am I recommending you choose between these fantastic midday Saturday offerings? I am not. You’ll just have to flip a credit.
The Star Wars University (207) is a mother-lode of hidden gems, some of my favorites being Okitsugu Kado (Japanese Star Wars Vegetable Carving; 1 p.m., Sunday) and Joel Aron (Photography Master Class: The Look of Rebels: 3:30 p.m., Friday) who return to the SWU with new classes. On Thursday real scientists from NASA will talk about real droids that venture into space (These ARE the Droids You’re Looking For – An Insider’s Look at NASA’s Dawn and Mars Exploration Rover Missions – 4:30 p.m.)!
The Fantasy Flight Games crew are among my favorite folks with Star Wars goods, and they will be doing a well-prepared Star Wars tabletop gaming presentation on the Fan Stage (303) at 1:30 on Friday, that I know will be a lot of fun. Hopefully I can stop by.
There’s no way I’m missing the Star Wars Fan Mixer out on the Grand Plaza Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. I love hanging out with my fellow fans, I love D.J. Elliott’s mix, and I am also excited about the food trucks and “beverage stations” that will be out there. No matter what is going on that night on the work front, I should be able to stop by for at least a bit. I hope I see you there!
I am a huge fan of Doug Chiang’s creative work, and he has been a huge influence on the look of the Star Wars movies. On Sunday on the Digital Stage (2:00 p.m.) he’ll be doing a demonstration that might be one of the best master classes ever, and talking about his art and influences.
Doug’s show is a certain stop on my wish list, and then it’s on to the Celebration Closing Ceremony on the Celebration Stage at 3:30 p.m., Sunday. OK…that show is maybe not a “hidden” treasure, but it’s a treasure because we all get to relive so many great moments from the weekend, and hear about more we might have missed. Word on the street is that, in some say, a lightsaber will be passed.
Right now I am on the plane, flying cross-country from my new home at ReedPOP on the East Coast, to my Star Wars home at Celebration on the West Coast. The most priceless treasure of all just might be that I will be seeing so many of you in just a couple of days, and celebrating Star Wars together.