There’s something special about a four day long convention that focuses on just one fandom and there’s something special about Star Wars. Put the two together and you get the fantastic spectacle that was Celebration 2015.
The weekend began with the worldwide broadcast of The Force Awakens trailer. Which you should all watch again right now.
It’s difficult to describe the energy and enthusiasm that comes from experiencing something like this not just with thousands of fans in the room but also with those across the world as thousands upon thousands more watch the trailer simultaneously. How many of us wanted nothing more than to sit down and watch it a hundred times more right then and there and then grabbed the nearest friend and cried a little at Han’s line? (All of us. The answer is all of us.)
This was truly a convention about shared experiences. From The Force Awakens trailer to the Battlefront III trailer to Season 2 of Rebels to our first hints about Rogue One, everyone was there to learn more about this galaxy that we all love and to happily discuss it for hours on end with their fellow fans. One merely had to walk by the convention center in the wee hours of the morning and see the queues already formed for day’s big panel or wander through the nearby hotel bars to see Star Wars fans coming together.
Celebration was more then just the news though. It was getting the first chance to see costumes from The Force Awakens in person. It was squeeing loudly when BB-8 rolled on to the stage. It was sitting in on discussion panels about Princess Leia or how the story group now works or diverse opinions across the fandom. It was making friends with whoever happened to be next to you in line. It was chatting with the Del Rey folks about all the awesome books they have out now and those that are forthcoming. It was watching all the trailers that premiered together yet again.
The exhibition hall certainly wasn’t slacking either. Fans were more then excited to get their hands on things like the new Her Universe pieces or show exclusives. The line to get into the Celebration store was unbelievably long at times due to excitement. (I heard the Hera Syndulla shirt sold out which should, y’know, tell merchandisers something.) It’s pretty cool when you can wander between booths that alternate between being shops where you can hunt for that missing action figure for your collection to one of the larger officially licensed groups like Hasbro or Lego or ANOVOS and see what they currently have to offer and maybe even some prototypes of their future products. You could even get your picture taken on some of the replica sets such as that of the bacta tank on Hoth or by Rey’s speeder or with the famous Roxy the Rancor. It’s tough to beat that sort of experience.
Of course, there were a few things that could’ve been handled better. Lines were a bit messy and confusing at times and I would’ve liked to see a wider range of panels available. Overall though? This was probably the best convention I’ve ever attended. Mary Franklin and all of the staff and volunteers deserve a round of applause for all of the hard work they put in. The Star Wars.com folks who manned the Cantina and ran the livestream during the entire con also deserve a ton of kudos. We the fanbase are a lucky group to have them.
It’d be impossible to mention everything that was so great about the convention and to be honest, I know this is sounding like I’m just exaggerating. If you ever have a chance to attend Celebration, I highly recommend it. There’s no experience quite like it. Just… just go watch the Closing Ceremonies to get a taste of the experience.
Or just watch The Force Awakens trailer again. Don’t worry: the fandom will be here to scream and cry right along with you.