Aug 18, 2010

Celebration V - Star Wars Convention

Celebration V - The Ultimate Star Wars Convention

This is the ultimate convention of all things Star Wars, held once a year at a different city, and this year it was held in Orlando, at the Orlando Convention Center. Celebrities such as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and even George Lucas (who rarely makes public appearances) were in attendance, plus a huge presence by the 501st Legion, with members coming from all over the world to attend this event. There were dioramas, recreations of Star Wars sets, even full-size Star Wars vehicles on display! At the end of this post is video of the convention, to help give you and idea of how grand it all was. If you want to see the entire set of pictures, click HERE

Click on all pictures for a larger view

Part of the huge exhibition hall filled with vendors, exhibits, life-size dioramas, artists and autograph signing stations. Sensory overload!

The 501st Legion had a huge room to itself for member-created costumes, props, and displays. One member built a Mos Eisely background set for pictures, as well as the Emperor throne

There were some incredibly detailed models and dioramas, complete with flashing lights. 

The Stormtrooper helmet art auction consisted of helmets modified in a different theme, to be auctioned off for charity. The auction generated over $50,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation! Some incredible work here. I would have bid on the helmet on the right, if I could have.

George Lucas, the man himself, toured the convention, and appeared with John Stewart at a panel in which he answered questions and shared some Star Wars insight. Lucas rarely makes public appearances, and some people camped out all night to get into the panel to see him.

More helmet art on display

Below: the Droid Builders' Room was all about the fans who make their own fully functioning robots, and they had an incredible room, with atmospheric lighting, recreations of the Hoth ice planet sets, and scads of awesome droids. George Lucas, in the panel, mentioned rather wistfully that he wished he could have had such well-made droids when he made the first Star Wars. It took weeks to get the R2-D2 to work properly, and they had to resort to building several versions and pulling the robots on string, because they couldn't get them to move the right way.

Right: a recreation of the rebel base on Hoth

Dioramas made from Lego. Pretty cool what you can do with Legos these days!

Below: myself at a recreated control panel in the Rebel Legion area

Below: These enormous miniature dioramas are breathtaking in the level of detail and quality. This is incredible stuff! Remember, click on each picture for a larger view.

Below: the 501st Legion group picture was on Saturday, and included the largest number of 501st members I've ever seen in one place. Some members traveled halfway around the world to be there, and the group picture drew hundreds of spectators in the upper balcony hallways. An incredible scene!

Below: a full sized, one-to-one scale replica of an Imperial TIE interceptor, built by a foreign garrison of the 501st Legion and shipped over specifically for this event. If TIE fighters really did exist, this is exactly how big they would be.

Below is a great series of pictures courtesy of David Gent who was on the team who helped assemble a lot of the awesome exhibits at Celebration. Thanks for the pictures, David!

Below: These incredible picures show the construction of the TIE fighter interceptor over in Europe, where a couple of devoted fans built it. Truly remarkable stuff! The photos were taken by Melanie Sanders, who helped build it.

A life-size mock-up of a Rebel snow speeder

The jawa obstacles I designed for the droid obstacle course. They were put on movable platforms which rotated

Below: On Saturday a friend of mine who was dressed as Princess Leia put on handcuffs and with six Stormtroopers and Darth Vader we marched through the convention center with Princess Leia  "under arrest". We attracted a lot of attention and at one point had almost thirty people following us with cameras! Some girls we passed called out, "Free the princess!"

Enjoy this video of Celebration:

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