One of my biggest regrets of Celebration Anaheim is being unable to attend the Gareth Edwards panel on Sunday morning. As everyone who’s ever attended a large convention knows, the schedule is a fickle goddess, and I suffered her wrath when she decided to place the “standalone” panel opposite Tosche Station’s live podcast recording. Thankfully, Twitter is a thing that exists, so I was able to learn about the panel as it was happening as well as from recaps on other sites. We didn’t learn a whole lot about Rogue One, but it was more than I was expecting at this point in time.
Conventions are the best places to see amazing cosplay, and Celebration Anaheim was no exception! You could see cosplay everywhere you went, from outside the convention center to the exhibit halls to walking down the street. And since (most of) the cosplay was Star Wars oriented, I actually knew most of the costumes! It was great seeing obscure EU characters right alongside dozens of stormtroopers.
Shoshana spotted Barriss and Luminara.
There were mash-ups galore, including muppet stormtroopers.
Steampunk Lady Boba Fett.
Evil Queen Sith.
And World War II era Luke Skywalker.
We saw people dressed as planets, like this duo as a landspeeder flying alongside the twin suns of Tatooine.
Kay from Fangirl Blog put together a secret Rey costume.
The Tosche Station crew got in on the fun, too. Bria dressed as Revan.
And friend of the show/House Organa co-founder Nic joined our Punk Legends photo shoot.
Rebels characters were everywhere, and the children were especially adorable.
And finally, this older Han and Leia shows that cosplay is for everyone!
You can see more of my cosplay photos below!
Brian and I weren’t able to attend the Rebels panels at Celebration, but Bria was there covering for White Hot Room and a bunch of other Twitter/blogger/podcaster friends were also in attendance.
Not only did Celebration give us a taste of what’s to come in Season 2 in the form of a fabulous trailer, but some lucky folks also got to see the season premiere. No spoilers for the episode here, but we’ll do our best to recap the trailer and speculate about what we might see in Season 2.
It’s no secret that Brian and I love going to Disney World. We live about 10 minutes from the resort, have annual passes, and usually visit at least once per month — usually more. When Celebration Anaheim was announced, I knew we’d have to stay in town an extra day so I could visit Disneyland for the first time in forever. Yes, you heard that right. My Disney-loving self had never set foot in Disneyland; in fact, prior to Celebration I had never even set foot in California!
I was eager to see all the differences between the Land and the World, and did a lot of research so I could make the most out of my one-day visit. I learned which rides were different, which rides were the same, and what food to eat. I went in with the intention to compare and contrast the parks, but deep down I knew Land wouldn’t truly be able to compare to my beloved Disney World. I’m very, very biased, and I know it. Plus, Land’s castle is way too tiny.
That said, I truly enjoyed my time at Land and am so glad I had the chance to visit after Celebration Anaheim. It was a blast running into fellow con goers, and I have to give a big shout out to Amy Ratcliffe for returning the favor from when she visited Food and Wine Festival and being our tour guide and helping make the most of my trip. It’s always fun to do Disney with people who understand the magic.
During the first day of Celebration Anaheim, Brian and I were fortunate enough to run into author Jason Fry and he graciously allowed us to shove a microphone in his face. Unfortunately the recording quality was too poor to upload as its own podcast, but you can read a transcription of the interview under the cut. We chatted about Servants of the Empire and writing in the Star Wars universe, his original Jupiter Pirates series, and, of course, the new The Force Awakens teaser.
Note: This interview contains spoilers for the Servants of the Empire series.
This post contains officially released information about The Force Awakens. If you want no spoilers whatsover, click away now.
This past weekend at Celebration Anaheim, J.J. Abrams opened his mystery box ever so slightly and gave us a literal teaser of what we have to look forward to in The Force Awakens. Other than a few Force for Change videos, an 88-second teaser released in November, and eight trading cards, there’s been little officially announced information about the probable most anticipated movie of all time. Leading up to Celebration, everyone was speculating about what — if anything — Abrams would reveal and whether or not it would live up to the hype.
He didn’t reveal a lot.
But it was enough.
And it completely exceeded my expectations.
The publishing news from Celebration Anaheim was light this year, but considering most of the news we got at the last Celebration never came to pass (I’m looking at you, Sword of the Jedi), maybe that’s a good thing? We did get some important bits of information, though, and one item in particular I think most of the blogosphere is very excited about.
The Marvel and Del Rey panels ran back to back on Saturday, although all the Marvel news was released a few days earlier. The Marvel panel featured C.B. Cebulski, Jordan White, Jen Heddle, and Leland Chee. It was announced that Charles Soule and Alex Maleev will be writing Lando, a limited release series that will take the place of the current miniseries, Princess Leia. The first issue will be out in July. While Lando doesn’t have the Millennium Falcon during this pre-A New Hope time period (Han already won it), it will feature Lobot! The panel also announced the Shattered Empire team, which includes Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. While the audience praised Marvel’s Original Trilogy adaptations, the panelists confirmed we won’t be seeing The Force Awakens adaptation any time soon as there’s just too much security surrounding the film’s release.
Jordan White recapped the current Marvel releases, and revealed that “Star Wars #7”, a one-shot about Obi-Wan on Tatooine, will be drawn by Simone Bianchi. Stuart Immonen will take over full-time artist duties for John Cassaday starting in issue #8. We also learned that “Princess Leia #1” was Mark Waid’s first ever number one selling comic, and that Greg Weisman will be writing the second arc of “Kanan”. One final piece of news out of Marvel is that Jen Heddle will be moving off Marvel and Frank Parisi will be taking over her duties. Despite the lack of news, the panel was interesting and revealed some neat insights, and it was great to hear so much enthusiasm from the audience. Most questioners were especially pleased by Princess Leia, which was heartening to see.
The Del Rey panel featured Shelly Shapiro, Jen Heddle, John Jackson Miller, James Luceno, and Christie Golden. We already knew a Battlefront novel was coming, thanks to its placement in the novel timeline and Friday’s battlefront panel. Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed will focus on what it’s like to be a soldier in the front lines during the Rebel Alliance. It’s good for gamers and non-gamers, and will not be a novelization. Look for that in November. The second not-really announcement was that A New Dawn and Tarkin will be repackaged into a single edition titled Rise of the Empire and feature three new short stories, one of which will link to Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi novel in the new canon (which was announced prior to Celebration).
As for Lords of the Sith, which comes out next week (look for a review from Brian!), Heddle stated that the book will give us some insight into Hera’s view of the Empire. The novel features her father, Cham Syndulla, in a major role leading the resistance on Ryloth. Christie Golden discussed the production of Dark Disciple, coming in July, and how she worked with Dave Filoni and the story group to adapt the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts.
Finally, in the best troll of the convention, the panel opened for Q&A. An older gentleman stood up and asked if he could write The Force Awakens novelization. After some back and forth with the panelists, they said “why not” and invited him onto to stage. Surprise–it was Alan Dean Foster! He’s currently at work on the novelization, which will be released in ebook format on December 18. Yes, you heard that right: we won’t be getting the novelization prior to the film. Hallelujah! A hardcover version will come a few weeks later. And the spoiler-phobes like me rejoiced.
Before Celebration Anaheim, it was cool to be a fangirl. Last Thursday morning, Kathleen Kennedy made it respectable.
I was already super excited for The Force Awakens panel, which opened Celebration Anaheim in the most explosive manner possible. But I didn’t realize how excited I was about the future of the franchise until I saw Kennedy walk onstage in a Star Wars t-shirt. And not just any shirt, but the new Her Universe lightsaber shirt that debuted at Celebration, which she purchased with her own money because she wanted something to wear for the panel. She rocked it with a white blazer, and you’re stupid if you don’t think millions of women are going to copy that look.
This is a huge deal. Kennedy has been a fixture in Hollywood for decades, and George Lucas entrusted her ahead of lots and lots of qualified individuals to take over the reigns of Star Wars. One of her first actions as head of Lucasfilm was to decide that the franchise would move forward as one story while respecting its vast history. She’s a hugely respected producer and brings a ton of credibility as Lucas’s successor. I’m more confident than ever in her ability to help tell great stories and be a steward for this varied, diverse, wonderful fandom.
The most important thing isn’t that Kennedy herself is a woman, but rather the fact that she accepts this fandom is so diverse. She understands it, and embraces it. She insisted on purchasing a Her Universe shirt with her own money just so she could support the business. During The Force Awakens panel she specifically mentioned the lack of female representation in the franchise’s history, and assured everyone there would be lots more women characters going forward. I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have the panel host, director J.J. Abrams, and Kennedy discuss the negative reaction to the first cast photo and say they’ve heard those arguments and agree with them. And Kennedy isn’t someone merely looking to take advantage of an untapped demographic, or bow down to “the feminists”. She’s part of that demographic, and wants to rectify the lazy, incorrect assumption that women and girls don’t like Star Wars. (If you believe that, you obviously weren’t in attendance at Celebration Anaheim, because women and girls were everywhere.) As far as Kennedy is concerned, everyone likes Star Wars, and she wants to make sure they feel welcomed and represented in fandom and the franchise.
I’ve never felt more comfortable with the future of Star Wars than after that panel. You could feel the excitement in the air just watching from the overflow room, not to mention the unadulterated happiness at seeing BB-8, the new cast, the old cast, the new stormtroopers, and finally, the teaser trailer. The crowd was so enthusiastic they had to show the teaser twice. I laughed, I cried, I got goosebumps, I clutched hands with my neighbors, I kissed my husband. And in the back of my mind I was thinking thank you, Kathleen Kennedy. Thank you for understanding that Star Wars is for everyone. Thank you for making us so happy with the greatest teaser trailer I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Thank you for agreeing to be a part of the Star Wars family. Thank you for making it accepted and respected to be a fangirl. Thank you for being someone I can look up to.
Thank you for helping make Celebration Anaheim the best one yet.
The “Nine Feet of Awesome” (trademark Mary Franklin/aka the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim schedule) is now live!
It’s still incomplete and not yet on the Celebration app, but you can skim it over and start fretting over panel conflicts now!
Edit: The schedule is now live in the app!
The latest issue of Star Wars Insider reveals that there will be 3D screenings of the entire Prequel Trilogy, as well as standard screenings of the Original Trilogy, at Celebration Anaheim. These screenings will include the long-delayed 3D premiere of Revenge of the Sith, so if you’ve been waiting to see it you will now have a chance.