After meeting with Star Wars fans in London, Germany, and Belgium over the past two weeks, I’m once again awed and inspired by the creativity (and organization!) of the fan community.
In prepping for Celebration Europe II, I was also able to spend quality time in the Essen convention center (Messe Essen) with some colleagues from Lucasfilm and our counterparts at ReedPOP. We considered possible floor plans, went over the audio/visual and other technical details, and eyed up some spaces for possible evening events.
This solid planning, plus the fact that tickets will go on sale very soon at www.starwarscelebration.eu, makes me feel like we are well underway to an exciting event next July.
I met the London fan leaders first in a coffee shop near the Olympia Convention Center, where I was working during the day. The combined group had so many great ideas that we closed down the coffee shop, and made our way down the street to find a pub where we could finish the evening and the conversation. The London crew has some really exciting plans, and they came prepared with lists of constructive questions.
Sadly, I don’t have a picture of my meeting with the German fan leaders! Maybe because we met for breakfast, and it just doesn’t occur to me to take pictures at breakfast… However, the representatives from the 501st Legion and R2-D2 Builders’ group came well-prepared with questions and ideas and plans. The German Rebel Legion and French 501st Garrison had also sent lists of questions and ideas for us to work on, as well.
The German fan leadership will be wonderful hosts for Celebration Europe II.
Lucasfilm and ReedPOP reps met at Messe Essen for two days with different groups of professional colleagues to talk Celebration Europe II. The trip was also a chance for me to take another good look at the Convention Center. Cool outdoor area? Check. Large theater? Check. Walked the exhibit halls and got ideas for the floor layout. Now I just need to sketch it and send it to my friends at Reed to refine.
Other Star Wars fans in Europe — and the Belgian fans themselves — refer to the Belgian prop builders as “those crazy Belgians” in the most affectionate way. I got to spend the afternoon and evening with them, and it was a perfect way to top off my trip. The group builds sets and props that look like they came right out of the Star Wars galaxy.
Stefan Cembolista and his crew talked with me about the real-sized props that would be available for Celebration Europe II, and the new props they are hoping to finish. We also talked about a central database for the real-sized props of the world, because Star Wars prop building is a surprisingly popular pastime, especially in Europe.
I finally got to see where the magic happens, too! The crew took me to see their warehouse where they get together and build. I was extremely impressed, especially at the high volume of tools and materials that were stored neatly from floor to ceiling.
What’s next for Celebration Europe II? Expect more exciting news soon!