Star Wars Celebration Episode I: A Faint Hope

My experience at the Star Wars Celebration was a lot like most of my other con experiences:  an overwhelming swirl of activity followed by the feeling it all went by too fast.  As I walked back to my car, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d missed almost as much as I saw, especially having only been there for one day.

The day started with me waking up around 5:00 when my wife got up for work.  Then began the great internal debate:  should I go ahead and get down to the convention center on the off chance I could still get in to see the George Lucas/Jon Stewart main event?  They were going to start handing wrist bands at 6:00, but I knew there was already a sizable line of zealots fans parked in sleeping bags outside, and I doubted I’d be any better off getting there at 5:45 than I would getting another couple of hours of sleep.

But, of course, I was up and couldn’t get back to sleep, and so around 7:00 I decided to just get down there. Even if I had no shot of being in the Holy Presence, it still wouldn’t hurt to get there a little early to avoid what was sure to be a massive line to get in.

Boy was I right.  There was already a pretty good-sized line when I got there, but nothing that came close to filling the space set aside for it.  Let’s just say that if the queue was the live version of “Freebird,” I was in the first verse.  By the time they let us in, people were standing well into the end of the guitar solo.

It was about 8:30, and my flat feet and I had a good ninety minutes before we’d be let in, most likely to stand in another line.  I found out the rooms showing the live feed of the Lucas interview would be opened on a first-come, first-serve basis, not wrist banded as I’d thought.  So there was likely to be a Pamplona-esque stampede towards these rooms.  Looking around the girths of most of the people around me, I liked my chances of getting ahead of them.  I passed the time learning the ins and outs of the Clone Wars cartoon (which is apparently better than I think, given how many times I was told that), finding out the intricacies of Irish beer from an actual Irishman, and explaining Halloween Horror Nights to some folks who had recently moved here.  You’re welcome, Universal.  And we scouted out which rooms that were showing the interview were closest to where we were.  We’re talking about Normandy levels of planning here.  We stopped just short of breaking out rulers and figuring out the scale of the map to plot the actual distances, but that we even veered in that direction was a little scary.

We also examined our swag bags.  As usual, it was slight enough to make you consider tossing it so you wouldn’t have to be bothered carrying it around all day, but just interesting enough to make you want to hold on to it.  Inside were mostly fliers for various vendors who’d be at the con, plus a miniature Clone Wars skateboard, presumably for miniature clones into extreme sports in their spare time.

It was about an hour in that the first Slave Leia slinked by.  I knew they were coming, and I’d prepared myself for some serious disillusionment, but this one wasn’t bad.  Nor was the second one who came by about ten minutes later.  Then a third one came along that was even better-looking than the first two.  While this was a promising turn of events, it also meant that the inevitable dive in quality was likely to be all the more steep once it came.

Close to 10:00, the line surged forward, and my legs groaned after having stood still for an hour and a half.  Other attendees, obviously unaccustomed to having to trek across a theme park and back in under thirty minutes, kept in a sort of line, while we savvy few weaved in and out of the empty spaces; geeks abhor a vacuum, apparently.

And, after all the fretting, all the back and forth about camping out, all the getting there early, I rode up an escalator and walked right into a room showing a video feed of the interview and got a seat about five rows back.  I’d be gazing upon the Creator, and I hadn’t had to sleep on the floor to do it.

To be continued…


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