Sunday 29 May 2022

Celebrating Star Wars Celebration

Star Wars Celebration is the fan event we've all been looking for as we emerge from the pandemic.

Like many fans unable to attend the Anaheim Convention Center in person, I've watched the official YouTube livestream every day, reminisced about Star Wars Celebration Europe and seen the first two episodes of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Balance has been brought to the prequels. Yes, I want Hasbro's L0-LA59 (Lola) animatronic edition, too.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based Force user, has been taking a look at announcements that would fill the cargo hold of the Millennium Falcon.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Since its release 45 years ago, Star Wars has revolved around celebration. From the pomp and joy of the award ceremony concluding Star Wars: A New Hope to the later, interplanetary knees-up of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance sure knows how to throw a party.

This year’s Star Wars Celebration, which commenced 26th May, is pleasing a sea of fans with sets and props, big wig guests, teasers and concept art, not just for the ‘Wars but for other Lucasfilm projects as well.

The first day devoted a fair bit of time to a Willow sequel series coming to Disney+, with multiple runs of the trailer and a conversation with the stars. Highlights so far have included a laid-back chat with Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni; a tease of the Star Wars: Andor series with a confirmed premiere date of 31st August; a walk down an evil memory lane with Ian McDiarmid AKA the Emperor of the Universe; and updates on Star Wars: Ahsoka, another spin-off series currently in production starring Rosario Dawson as the titular character. A photo of Jude Law and a logo for Star Wars: Skeleton Crew was the bare-bones tease we got for another new streaming show, due 2023.

For animation fans, the second day heralded Young Jedi Adventures aimed at tykes. A panel focused on a Summer of LEGO Star Wars ‘after what feels like three years frozen in carbonite’ and next year’s game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a sequel to fan-favourite Fallen Order.

Lucasfilm alumni Ron Howard appeared, apparently very happy to have been a part of the Star Wars saga with Solo: A Star Wars Story and proud of his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, who has directed episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett to critical acclaim.

This weekend will have more previews - -Star Wars: Visions looks incredible, judging by the scene flashed up on Day One – as well as a Star Wars: Bad Batch Season 2 panel and another devoted to a Tales of the Jedi cartoon.

Thanks to the popularity of Disney+, there’s more content than ever. Gone are the days when all we had to look forward to was a game or a spin-off novel [Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was a thing when we were undergraduates - Ed]. It’s also refreshing to see hosts who are die-hard, lifelong fans who have been waiting decades for their favourite characters to have their time to shine.

While it’s great to see this venerable franchise celebrated in person again, it’s even better to hear praise for the fans who support it. That kind of loyalty will lead to support for more series and games, bringing that galaxy far, far away just a little bit closer.

What are your highlights from Star Wars Celebration? Let me know in the comments below.

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