Star Wars Celebrations are by far my most favorite, and all-consuming, work that I do as head of events for Lucasfilm. During the shows I’m usually running around from point A to point B to get something done, but sometimes I just must stop and take a picture of what’s going on at the show.
Celebration Europe was a joyful event. So many fans and families and people from all over Germany and beyond were smiling and having a wonderful time. I am very lucky to be a part of making the show happen. There were thousands of memories I wish I had captured, but of the photographs I did take, these are some of my favorites.
Daniel Sczudlik and Bernd Pentrop each built a customized R4-CE2 droid to be Warwick Davis’ onstage sidekick (and backup) at Celebration Europe. I love how they incorporated “CEII” into the design on the dome! R4-CE2 was a less-than-helpful but very funny translator droid voiced by Elliott Hanson live during the shows, and operated by the Builders. Pictured is Oliver Steeples, Droid Builder from the U.K., who was co-lead of the R2-D2 area at Celebration Europe with Arnd Riedel of Germany. This was taken Thursday morning, and Oliver is delivering R4 to the Celebration Stage to start rehearsals with Warwick.
A Jedi Master from the German club Saberproject instructs younglings in the art of being a Jedi. I have often been skeptical of lightsaber fighting clubs because I fear they might look unprofessional, or not look believable as Star Wars characters. The Saberproject, however, put all my skepticism to rest by doing an exceptional job with the Jedi Training classes and putting on a superb, athletic lightsaber battle performance both before and after the Return of the Jedi screening on Friday night at Celebration Europe. Great job, Saberproject!
Extra thanks go to Joerg Aberle and the White Sharks for providing their outstanding Death Star wall as a backdrop for the Jedi Padawan classes.
Don’t ask why.
Best Celebration graffiti ever — a Stormtrooper rides an anteater on the outside of the Grugahalle, which housed the Celebration Stage.
“Luke, help me take this mask off…”
The 30th Anniversary Return of the Jedi screening on Friday night in the Grugapark, next to the convention center, was one of my favorite events of the weekend. About 5,000 people picnicked in the green grass while they watched the movie on the huge LED wall we trucked in. I loved this view, watching the faces of the friends and families as they shared a pivotal moment in the Star Wars saga together.
Fantastic Four. All of my Elite Squad of volunteers for Celebrations are fantastic. I don’t mean to single out Nadine, Sam, Trina, and James — fantastic though they are — but this is one of my favorite photographs. I snapped this Saturday night outside one of the bier houses near the Messe Essen. I do not know the significance of the red carts outside the bar, but I do know that they attracted people who kind of tumbled into them and stayed there. After a few good German biers of course.
The Star Wars Family Area in Hall 5 was always busy with kids and families working on Star Wars craft projects, taking drawing classes, or playing games with a Star Wars twist. I loved seeing all the different activities unfold every time I walked by. Headed up by Kristen Hidalgo, the Family Area was as vibrant as ever. Sincere thanks to the German Rebel Legion for their tireless and invaluable help making the area busy and fun for kids, and for coming up with many ideas, crafts, and activities!
Backstage after the Celebration Masquerade, Jabba waits for his turn for the freight elevator.
All-Terrain Armed Transport, built by the Belgian 501st and delivered to Essen to share. I snapped this photo of the crowds on Friday from the backstage greenroom of the Celebration Digital Stage.
The Lando and Lobot Reunion!
Especially for the Masquerade Saturday, DJ Elliott donned an outstanding Lobot costume for his stage performance. Found in the audience — Lando!
Way back at my very first Celebration working for Lucasfilm, Star Wars Celebration II in Indianapolis, 2002, we hosted the “Lando/Lobot Reunion” on stage. Host Scott Chernoff brought out the actor who performed as Lobot, John Hollis, to share some time with Billy Dee Williams (Lando) during Williams’ panel. It was a day long remembered, and one of those moments you only get at Celebrations. The fans loved it. Now it’s a bittersweet memory for me, as Hollis died in 2005.
Crowds were always gathered to admire the full-scale Vader’s TIE fighter built by German fan Michael Schramm and his group.
The correct title of this Sunday night picture is “We’re celebrating because Celebration was great!” From left to right are Richie (Reed Expo), Dirk (Messe Essen Grugahalle), Mike Kisken (Reed), and Dennis Hingst (Messe Essen Grugahalle). I think their original plan was to hold me up in some way for the picture, but they basically just dropped me in all the excitement. I was so happy I loved it either way.