Celebration Europe: Exploring the con floor

Before the show opening on Sunday, I took a tour of the main convention floor of Star Wars Celebration Europe in Essen, Germany. Check out all the cool ship models and other dioramas from the Belgian 501st Legion, as well as a peek inside the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience and LEGO displays from Halles 11 and 12 of Messe Essen.

And below, a video of the Fan Hall booths in Halle 5, including the R2 Builders Club, Rebel Legion and 501st Legion and other fan organization booths.

Highlights from EW’s Return of the Jedi 30th Anniversary Screening

ROTJ screening 30th anniversary may-4-2013

There was plenty to behold for the 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of Entertainment Weekly’s first CapeTown Film Festival. Held on Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, the set of four screenings of the no-longer-final installment of the Star Wars saga brought out fans and celebs alike. With Jedi being my favorite Star Wars film, I was stoked to see it again on the big screen – twice! While we’ve already covered the news of Mark Hamill’s appearance after the evening screenings, there’s plenty more to share, including a visit from The Clone Wars cast and more! (Also check out my full photo album on Flickr!)

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Celebration VI: The rancor is coming!

Special guests The 501st is bringing a rancor to Orlando. Built out of foam by Pizzazz Scenic Contractors, Roxy the Rancor will be avaliable for folks to take pictures with. (Not, alas, wrestling.)

Panels. Still waiting on the schedule, but here’s something new and different: Historian Cole Horton and illustrators Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas will present From World War to Star Wars. The panel, held in the University Room (also new!) will “give fans a rare look into the in-universe parallels and real-world connections between the Second World War and the Star Wars Universe.” This is definitely more of the type of panel I was hoping to see, so it bodes well for the rest of the schedule, I think.

Merchandise. Jedi News’ Justin LaSalata shared the CVI Store’s merchandise order form. Of note for us: The 6″ Mara Jade statue will be available on Thursday for $85.

Also, be sure to vote in our latest sidebar poll!

Course of the Force kicks off in Santa Monica

Saturday was the first day of the inaugural Course of the Force lightsaber relay, helping to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while celebrating geekery on its way from Santa Monica to San Diego and Comic-Con. Ready for your “Awww..” moment? Skip to 11:45 in the video above to see the last runner of the day – the king of fast, in his adorable Artoo costume!

The kick-off conival had its moments of fun, with Peter Mayhew and members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion helping to provide atmosphere at the Santa Monica Pier. Leading off the relay was host Chris Hardwick and a group of Make-A-Wish kids. Check out more costumed fun in the Southern California gray, thanks to Lesley Farquhar / Equinox Photography for sharing her photos.

Sunday will continue the relay from Redondo Beach to Huntington Beach, where there will be another Course of the Force conival at the HB pier (4pm to 9pm), including free performances by The Spazmatics at 6pm, and Dan Finnerty & The Dan Band at 8pm. The relay journey continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, going from Oceanside to Pacific Beach to downtown San Diego and Comic-Con!