Celebration II coverage

Discussion in 'Shows & Conventions' started by Barada, May 6, 2002.

  1. Barada

    Barada Saboteur

    Well, I'm back from Celebration II, with lots to report on. I will comment on everything I saw, on what I wish I saw, and what I wish I hadn't seen.

    Day 1 - Friday, May 3

    Let me begin with this. It may not have been worth it to drive for 9 hours in the dark, when you don't know where you're going. It left me stressed, and VERY tired for the first day. I arrived in Indianapolis at 7 am my time, which the local radio station was telling me was also Indy time. There was already a lineup of 100-150 people, so I parked, and joined in the line. It was 9:10, when I complained they hadn't let us in on time. A person behind me told me Indianapolis was an hour behind, so I still had 50 minutes to wait. That means I was in line 3 hours early, and still over 100 people back! I could not see the end of the line (which I found out later stretched back around the building and around the block). This foreshadowed the weekend to come, although I was not aware of it then.

    I headed straight for the store, as did everyone else. Two hours later, I had my 2 figs, and left to see what awaited me. I figured I would go for autographs. This was definitely the low point of the entire Celebration. An hour wait just to get the coupons needed for an autograph, and during that time, rumors were flying that many of the signees would not accept personal items. As it turned out, that rumor was not true, but people were not happy about what did await them. Pure madness! There was an hour and a half wait for Dave Prowse alone, and the lines for Kenny Baker and Billy Dee Williams were just as bad. The lines were so long, it interfered with lines for "lesser" stars. Poor Bonnie Piesse (the new Beru in Episode II) was stuck in a corner between Prowse and Michonne (Aurra Sing), and as such, no one could really see her unless you were in line for one of the other two.

    Due to the lineups, Friday ended up a waste for me. I was not able to see any of the presentations that day, including the only one by Billy Dee Williams, the female stars, and the Imperial Officers.

    Since presentations were not possible, I spent some time in the exhibit hall. Highlights included the Lego displays, Hasbro's display of everything coming this year, including the monstrous and super detailed Fan's Choice #3, Ephant Mon, and the display set up by Cloud City Collectibles that showcased virtually every Kenner/Hasbro product made for the U.S. market since 1977. This display included many unproduced prototypes, examples of loose and a carded vintage rocket-firing Boba Fett, 2 carded Vlix figures, and a carded red-caped vintage Bib Fortuna on a Mexican Lily Ledy card. I may get hung for insinuating this, but I question the authenticity of the Fortuna. In all the research I have done on this figure over the past several years, I have found no proof this figure existed in any form other than a few Kenner bagged samples for Kenner employees. A carded one means it went into a production run, and even on the foreign card, I have never seen proof it ever existed. However, the display was incredible nonetheless. The dealer booths were exactly what could be expected. A large variety of vintage and current toys, with vintage being for the most part overpriced, as with current figures such as Dooku. There were some deals to be found though. To me personally, I thought the carded telescoping Vader was the most impressive item, although at only $2200, I again question the authenticity of it, although it is entirely possible I am wrong about this.

    My thoughts at the end of the first day? What did I get myself into. I got 2 figures, 5 autographs (including an argument with Dave Prowse about not wanting to sign my MOMC vintage 12 back Vader - he questioned my knowledge on the value of this figure, which I knew about but did not care since it is mine and is never intended to be resold), and saw lots of toys for sale. No presentations, and a lot of headaches (and back aches, foot aches, etc.) I wasn't particularly looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

    Day 2 - Saturday, May 4

    I woke up tired (both from lack of sleep and partying with Vaughn, Eric, and the rest of the gang at the Pennsylvania Star Wars Collecting Society back at the hotel - these guys were the best! Cheers, guys!) and made my way back to the Indianapolis Convention Center. Huge thanks to the guys from PSWCS, as they included me as one of their own, and helped me get early admission into Celebration. I owe you guys a ton!

    I headed straight for the store, to try to get more figures for everyone at the site, and some other people I had told I would try to get them for as well. I ended up with a few extras (not much - if I haven't already contacted you, I don't have enough to give you one. Sorry, I had to go with first come - first served). The store was very poorly planned. Many items, such as the 25th Anniversary T-shirt and poster were all gone the first day, and the Lucas fig did not last past noon on any day, and sold out for good before 10 am Sunday. This was due in large part to many people going from table to table, and walking out with dozens at a time. Now, some were like me, and trying to load up to help those who couldn't be there, but there are many others who are looking for profit with their greediness. You don't need to look any further than ebay to see evidence of this.

    The next plan was to get in line to get an autograph from Carrie Fisher, who was put in a separate room from everyone else. After spending 30 minutes in the store, there was already a 4 hour wait for Fisher's autograph, and within an hour after that, the line was capped with a 9 hour waiting period. Some people actually waited the entire day for that. I thought I would wait for Sunday, and see what else I could do. I tried to get in line to go upstairs and see Hayden Christensen, but there were too many people upstairs, and the fire marshall prevented anyone else from even going upstairs. Therefore, I went back, and got most of the autographs I didn't get the day before, even though I ended up coming home without some of the ones I wanted. After meeting up finally with Ishi Tib and his wife (wonderful people), I reflected on how the weekend was going so far. Lineup after lineup for figures and autographs. There was much more to be seen, so I decided to ditch autographs for the rest of the day, and went an hour early to see Rick McCallum.

    Rick McCallum's presentation was the turning point into what became a fantastic event to be a part of for the rest of the weekend. He was introduced by Scott Chernoff, former chief editor for the official fan club magazine, the SW Insider. After seeing some behind the scenes making of footage for Episode II, and the last trailer again (all digitally projected), McCallum spoke about the process of filmmaking, and pushed everyone very hard to convince their local theaters to add at least one digital projector. It was then turned to a Q&A, where there were certainly some interesting points brought up. One person asked for final clarification on whether Episodes 7, 8, and 9 would ever be made. Rick emphatically answered that with a definite no. George Lucas has NO intentions on a new trilogy. He also touched upon DVD releases. He says that due to the extensive work being put into Episodes II and III, and the amount of material to be put onto the classic trilogy's DVD sets (including plenty of lost footage, such as possibly the lost Biggs scenes), the original trilogy will not be made until 2005, after Episode III is completed. Finally, he addressed the rumor that the digital release of AOTC will contain different footage than the general theatrical release. While sidestepping the issue, he certainly gave the impression that this WILL be the case. He concluded this presentation by commenting on the competition from Spiderman, and told us all to watch this trailer for it. It began with the real Spiderman intro, and said that 'This May, witness the summer's newest webslinging hero' (or something to that effect. It then cut to a shot of Yoda, with an energy bolt in his hand, and throwing it. What followed was a brief few shots of Yoda having a lightsaber battle with Dooku, and anyone who had doubts about Yoda in action, let me say that this was among the most incredible things I have ever seen. It looked entirely believable, and the effects were simply outstanding.

    Next up was a presentation involving the Fetts. Jeremy Bulloch, Temeura Morrison, and Daniel Logan had a very candid interview segment, with a couple of video highlights. They answered questions on a number of topics, from their start in the business, to questions about the Fett legacy and his enduring popularity, to a question to Daniel Logan about working with the other actors in AOTC. Logan blushed, and after some ribbing from Morrison, blurted out in a very embarrassed voice "All right! She's Hot!" Logan looked every bit as big a fan as the fans, and appeared to be genuinely thrilled and awed to be there. Bulloch and Morrison got into a mock boxing match, which was a crowd favourite. The session ended with a question from none other than Warwick Davis! I can't remember what he asked, but it was a sarcastic question about Fett fans, if I remember correctly.

    To be continued below.........
  2. wookiee_cookiee

    wookiee_cookiee Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, what great in-depth coverage!! ;) Thanks Barada! :D
  3. Barada

    Barada Saboteur

    Celebration II coverage continued...

    Continued from my previous thread......

    Following immediately after the Fetts was a presentation by Warwick Davis. This was by far the most entertaining segment I saw, with Davis doing impressions of his Harry Potter character, and a rap scene from his last Leprechaun movie, Lep N the Hood. He dissed all fans of the Leprechaun movies, although in a very comedic sort of way, and showed a clip of a home movie he filmed in 1983, about how Wicket was cast in ROTJ, which also starred Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and just about everyone else in the movie. Again, there was a Q&A segment, which finished with a question from Jeremy Bulloch, asking why he doesn't "cut out the rubbish, and admit that all Ewoks should die", in response to Davis' intrusion into his previous presentation. A very good ending to the day, and certainly much more enjoyable than the previous days lineups.

    After dinner, a bunch of us returned to catch the end of a special screening of Return of the Jedi. While the print sucked, the sound was good, although not in digital surround, but the best part of this was the crowd reaction. It honestly made me feel like a kid again. Every time a major character showed up on screen, everyone cheered. Any significant event, or action sequence, was also followed by cheers. You had to be there to experience that feeling. Not even sitting at the premiere of Episode I was this emotionally uplifting, and that is saying something. I went to bed that night a much more contented person for having gone to Celebration.

    Day 3 - Sunday, May 5

    This was the last day, and as such, there was a touch of sadness to it, knowing the weekend was winding down.

    Thanks to my PSWCS connection (I can't thank these guys enough), I was able to get in early again, and was close to the front of the line for Carrie Fisher's autograph. It was a very surreal experience to hear Princess Leia's voice coming at you live and in person, and from a person dressed in very normal attire and without buns :). While friendly, and talking the whole time, Ms. Fisher was working like a machine, one autograph after another. Unfortunately, there were no pictures allowed in the room at all, so I have no evidence of her signing my vintage 12 back Leia:(.

    I immediately left her autograph session, and went straight for the room upstairs where she would be giving her one and only presentation. After missing out on Billy Dee and Hayden, there was no way I was missing this one. I was surprised to find out that conducting this interview segment was none other than C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, who came out to an audio, not live, introduction by James Earl Jones!!!!

    Mr. Daniels introduced himself, and then brought out a fan who had created his own C-3PO, as seen in Episode I. He introduced the fan to everyone there, and began marvelling at the craftmanship of the 3PO. After hearing the model say (very clearly, I may add), "I am C-3PO", Anthony held up the microphone and said, "Wait a minute, I am C-3PO" They went back and forth with this for a couple of minutes, and when the microphone was placed in front of the robot one last time, it proclaimed very clearly "This is madness", to which Daniels doubled over in laughter. Very entertaining, and it got the crowd of a reported 3000 people going big time. He brought out Lorne Peterson, a veteran at ILM, and after viewing several effects shots for AOTC, discussed some of the processes from his perspective. Next came the actual R2-D2, which served as a bit of a comedy routine, where Daniels interacted with the droid for a while, then ran out into the audience for them to ask questions to R2, which of course, he 'translated'. This was a lot of fun, and Daniels was a master at getting the crowd going. He concluded it by bringing out Don Bies, who controls the droid during filming, and they discussed some of the technicalities of working with R2 during production.

    Finally, Carrie Fisher came out, to a standing ovation. While there was no Q&A with her, they discussed memories of filming the trilogy, her dislike of various outfits and hairstyles Lucas had her wear, and the way the cast came to work drunk half the time. She gave the example of the landing platform on Cloud City, where she had a massive hangover, and gave the impression Billy Dee Williams was reciting his lines to her chest. She touched upon briefly, and not in much detail, about her drinking, sex, substance abuse, and some of comments during an awards presentation to George Lucas a couple of weeks ago. She claims the awards fiasco was a result of her being very nervous, and saying things that were taken the wrong way. The interview ended with a big hug between Fisher and Daniels, and they walked off stage together.

    The rest of the day was spent seeing some of the exhibits. Lineups for autographs were still long, and with only a couple of hours until the end, I wanted to see as much as possible. The Saga Archive Exhibit was rather small, but it was very impressive to see these props and models used in the filming of the five SW movies. I will be posting pics of these at some point, so check them out when they're up. Some of the dioramas on display were incredible, including the Tantive IV scene where Leia puts the Death Star plans in R2 and the Bespin duel scene between Luke and Vader. While I didn't see it, there was a mini-play that recreated the entire classic trilogy in 30 minutes, and word is that it was very well done. There was a young Jedi training section, where kids could re-enact lightsaber duels. I managed to stop into the Star Wars in Pop Culture room, which showed many clips from TV shows and commercials from around the world that included Star Wars characters and references. This led to a lot of nostalgia, and many memories. Unfortunately, I was not able to see the Art exhibit, the fan films, or the costume contest.

    All in all, the weekend was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad it built up to its high points, rather than starting out that way and getting worse. The many people that attended in costume should be commended, as many were good enough to be movie costumes. Special credit should be given to the young woman who showed up in a Leia slave outfit, and was brave enough to walk around with more than her fair share of skin exposed. It was rumored, and confirmed by one of the celebrities (I can't remember which one) that Hayden Christensen walked around the main exhibit hall with a Stormtrooper helmet on, and no one knew it was him.

    High points included:

    Celebrity presentations, especially Rick McCallum, Anthony Daniels, and Warwick Davis;
    Seeing an 8 minute clip of AOTC, and a clip of Yoda in battle;
    Meeting so many people I have met online (especially Vaughn and Julian), and others I have never met at all;
    Anthony Daniels coming outside on a very cold Friday morning to say hello to everyone waiting patiently to get inside;
    Jorg Sacul figures;
    William Hootkins (Porkins) and Garrick Hagon (Biggs) teasing each other about the number of people they have signed for, and the number of people in their respective lines;
    50,000 people on Saturday alone, according to Rick McCallum (isn't that amazing?!);
    The feeling of watching the movies with other fans as rabid about SW as yourself;
    Watching fan reaction to being bold enough to get vintage 12-backs autographed

    Low points included:

    Jorg Sacul figures selling out before noon each day, to end up on dealer tables and ebay;
    Certain Celebration II merchandise that sold out on Friday, and was never available again;
    Some celebrities who looked like they would rather be somewhere else;
    50,000 people on Saturday alone, creating claustophobic conditions;
    Hayden Christensen, Temeura Morrison, Daniel Logan, Anthony Daniels, and any other celebrity who wouldn't do at least one autograph session;
    Whoever scheduled the only presentation of Carrie Fisher to coincide with the only one by Dave Prowse, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker;
    TV crews doing specials on 'Star Wars geeks' and mocking the entire convention while they interviewed fans;
    Watching celebrity reactions to being bold enough to get vintage 12-backs autographed

    That's it. If I remember more, I'll edit it later, but this is pretty comprehensive. I hope anyone who made it this far enjoyed what they read.

  4. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Seems like you and Ishi had a great time...with the exception of the gargantuan lines. The pictures look great. :)

    Only 9 more shopping days until Episode II. We're in single digits now - :vader:

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