The newest Star Wars stars discuss Celebration, their Star Wars histories, filming The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams and more behind the scenes in Anaheim. There’s also video with Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels, and Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew.
The atmosphere here in Anaheim for the reveal of yesterday’s new trailer for The Force Awakens was amazing, perhaps the top Celebration moment ever for me. The crowds are insane, the Arena was huge and we were up on the third tier, but the excitement was palpable. And the trailer itself… Well, you saw it.
I doubt I’ll be able to put together any coherent thoughts about it while still at con, but thankfully there are plenty of others who’ve taken on the task. We also saw several behind-the scenes photos (Hitfix has the gallery) for the very first time.
For a general overview, check out Christian Blauvelt’s take over at the BBC, or the shot-by-shot analysis at Vulture. Meanwhile, Devin Faraci at Badass Digest is pretty sure that BB-8 will be the film’s breakout character, and I’d find it hard to argue with him – I don’t think anyone was disappointed when the droid rolled out on stage. Magnets, what can’t they do?
Another big draw here is The Force Awakens exhibit, which mostly features items we’ve seen the trailer, but is still amazing. And it reveals at least one thing that immediately caught the interest of supergeeks – new names for what has become of Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The Imperials of TFA will go by ‘the First Order,’ while the Rebels are now ‘the Resistance.’ Curious, no?
And as for Jakku, the desert planet we saw in the teaser? Well, the battle that downed that Star Destroyer is one “not long after the Battle of Endor,” and it’ll be downloadable for the Battlefront game on December 8.
And with that, we’ll leave word from John Boyega, who returned to Twitter yesterday:
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) April 16, 2015
A couple of quick updates this morning: We’ve learned at Celebration that Alexander Freed will be writing Battlefront: Twilight Company, the November novel from Del Rey.
(The actual Battlefront game was this morning’s big draw, but more on how that’s relevant to us later. )
Marvel has been dropping their news ahead of their panel as well. First we learned that a Lando Calrissian limited series will follow Princess Leia. It’ll be from Charles Soule and Alex Maleev and issue #1 comes out in July.
And this morning, some Shattered Empire details. The limited series will be written by (as we knew) Greg Rucka, with art and cover from Marco Chechetto. (Is the Phil Noto piece just a variant?)
The Del Rey and Marvel panels are tomorrow, so no doubt we’ll learn more then.
J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy’s “special guests” included the new trio – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac – who confirmed some of what we’d already heard and/or guessed about their characters. We also got to see the (real!) BB-8 and Artoo, plus their makers, and of course Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew also showed up. I’ll be back later with more, but for now just keep an eye on @clubjade, where I’ve been far more active than on the blog. (Sorry!)
In the meantime, you can backwatch the panel yourself!
And another video that StarWars.com dropped on us today:
Here’s just the BB-8 portion of the livestream:
Fans started picking up their badges in Anaheim today, and a sign pointing towards The Force Awakens Exhibit was soon spotted. Here’s the description:
The latest – maybe last? – batch of item reveals for the Celebration Anaheim store are here, and now they include the first bit of The Force Awakens swag. (A portion of the proceeds will go to UNICEF as a part of Force for Change.) There’s also a nifty Rebels crew jacket, some messenger bags, and a few other curiosities.
There’s almost always been only one formal track at Celebration, the one for collectors, but the truth is there are usually several informal tracks, and I’ve collected a few on different subjects here. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list by any means, but if you’re still confused the schedule, consider these suggestions for Anaheim.
This post has been completely updated for Celebration Anaheim.
There will be lines for panels. There is no avoiding the lines: There’ll even be a line to get in in the morning. There will be lines to get into the exhibit hall when it first opens. Lines are a Star Wars tradition; Realize that they will happen, and that you will have to stand in them. (There are Medical Badges available to those who need them.)
The good news is that rooms are cleared between panels, so don’t plan to spend the entire day in one place ala San Diego Comic-Con.Some of the lines will be long; It entirely depends on the popularity of the panel. There is no doubt that the longest line at Celebration Anaheim will be the one for J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy on Thursday morning, and we already have all the details on that. Expect something similar, if lower key, for things like Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank on Sunday.
The next longest lines will likely be for celebrity panels and screenings; Plan to queue up at least an hour ahead of time for those, and be aware they will close off the queue if it gets full. Be sure to pick backups for the big events, just in case.
Most smaller panels for things like books will have much smaller queues; Give yourself time, but historically you can show up as early as 10 minutes beforehand and still get in the room.
However, Anaheim is looking like it could be the biggest Celebration yet, so it’s hard to say exactly how things will shape up. Many of the rooms, particularly the theater, are bigger than what we’ve seen in the past, though. Whatever the case, keep your eyes open, plan to be early, and have something on hand to amuse yourself and your friends if you need to wait.
(Autograph lines are a whole different ball game. Luckily, we have a post on them, too.)
It’s the final Friday before Celebration, and the news is flowing.
First up, we have a look at what will be in the official Celebration store. Today we got the second batch, and I guess it’s just as well I forgot to blog the first part the other day, right? (Though at least I remembered the apparel.) My personal highlights are above, but there’s lots for everyone. And yes, the Death Star soccer ball from last Celebration Europe IS BACK!
We also have the details of how queuing up for Thursday’s big J.J. Abrams/Kathleen Kennedy panel will work. The indoor queue will open up at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, with wristbands being handed out at 6:00 am Thursday… Wristbands for all the rooms, not just the Celebration Stage. So even if you don’t mind a simulcast, plan to get up early.
And finally, the floor plan, in PDF form or see the gallery below.
4-Day passes for Celebration Anaheim are almost sold out. Previous Celebrations (both IV and VI, I believe) have topped out at 35K attendees, and to my knowledge none of them sold out.