Events // NOVEMBER 5, 2014
Star Wars at the First-Ever Comic Con Russia
Lucasfilm's event lead shares her photos from Russia's new pop-culture extravaganza.
The first Comic Con Russia opened to capacity crowds of pop culture fans October third in Moscow. Our colleagues at The Walt Disney Company in Russia presented a spectacular Star Wars experience on the show floor. The Russian Star Wars fan costuming clubs were present to help make the attendees feel like they really did step into the Star Wars galaxy, and each day we showed screenings of the Star Wars Rebels movie of the week. I was thrilled to play a part of that production, and to travel to Moscow to help out. Here’s my photo journal.
Joel Aron (genius photographer and VFX Supervisor for Rebels) told me I’d get the best pictures in Red Square if I got there at dawn. I walked from my hotel at 6:30 in the morning to be there as directed. It was an eerie, mysterious, and indeed wonderful time to be in Red Square. I snapped a number of shots but unfortunately for my photographs I’m definitely not Joel Aron. From left to right in Red Square: St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s tomb, and the walls of the Kremlin.
I’m thinking the coyote needs to give up on the salmon idea…quickly. From a fountain near the Kremlin walls.
All set for doors, the first morning of the show. In addition to an Endor bunker set and speeder bike, we had toy “museum” displays, a LEGO building area, Star Wars game play, and a Darth Vader exhibit area, to name just some of the pavilion features.
Our larger-than-life Rebels graphic on the back of the Endor bunker faced the very popular Comic Con stage, where the cosplay and celebrity appearances took place over the weekend.
Crowds of fans queue before opening doors on Friday morning.
Once open each day, our pavilion was a magnet for pop culture and Star Wars fans. Many thanks to the costumers who worked with us on our presence at Comic Con Russia. They were great collaborators, plus they made our pavilion seem like the galaxy far, far away for the crowds that gathered to see them.
Soren Holse of the Nordic Garrison of the 501st Legion came from Denmark to be our Darth Vader in the pavilion. He posed for pictures tirelessly for hours each day, and was by far the most popular feature in our booth. His brother Thomas was kept just as busy managing the queues for Vader photographs as well. Behind Soren are panels telling of the evolution of Darth Vader in Russian.
Princess Leia costumer draws a crowd for photographs by our Millennium Falcon background.
We could have had three times as many LEGO building tables had we the space. They were always busy with builders, and the competitions hosted by the staff were a hit.
Mando Selfie. I was fortunate to get to meet the members of the Red Fist Clan, the Mandalorian Merc chapter that is in Russia. I believe all their members were at Comic Con. They gave me the striking Mandalorian sculpture I’m holding in the picture.
Like something from a nightmare, this costume kept me mesmerized whenever it was near. I think the creature could be at home in an alternate Endor universe.
On Saturday night after the show, I was honored to be the guest of the 501st and Rebel Legion Outposts for their Comic Con gathering. Held at the home of one of the members, the gathering was imaginative and fun as one would expect. Pictured also are members of the UK Garrison and the Nordic Garrison of the 501st Legion, who came to the show to troop with their compatriots. In addition to the good food and conversation, there were group competitions to act out scenes from the movies and come up with new characters.
Sunday afternoon the Comic Con Russia management invited the Star Wars costumed fan groups to present their costumes on the main stage. The cheering crowd loved it all, and gave thunderous applause as Vader strode to the center. Both the 501st and Rebel Legion had a recruiting video that was played behind them on the big screen, showing their charity work, samples of their great costumes, and how to join.
One afternoon, a father brought in his blind son to “see” Darth Vader with his fingertips. The young man carefully moved his hands across the helmet, chest and shoulder pieces and the lightsaber as his father connected what he was touching to what he knew about Darth Vader from the Star Wars story. The bustling crowd waiting for photographs grew respectfully hushed while this happened. As the father and son walked away, the onlookers burst into applause.
On Saturday I tried to go upstairs to take a picture of the crowds in our booth from the vistas on the second level. After standing in a crush of people at the bottom of the one escalator for 20 minutes and not moving any closer to the escalator, I gave up and went up Sunday to take this picture instead.