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Countdown to Star Wars Celebration VI

Conventions, Cosplay, Events, Movies, Opinion 53 Comments 2

Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in a still from 1977’s “Star Wars.” Credit: LucasFilm Ltd.

Back in May of 1977 I was just finishing high school and not yet eighteen. Punk music was all the rage, a gallon of gas cost 65 cents, and virtually no one had heard of Apple Computer because it hadn’t even been incorporated yet.

[Featured image: 501st Midwest Garrison]

On that hot, muggy Memorial Day weekend, I talked my sister into seeing the new flick opening at our local movie house around the corner. Some quirky little space opera that I’d heard a few interesting rumors about was playing there. For about two dollars each (plus popcorn) we settled into our non-reclining, non-cupholder-enhanced wooden movie seats and waited for the lights to dim.

I used to have one of these original 1977 movie posters. Imagine what it would be worth today!

When “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” appeared in blue on the black screen and a rousing brass fanfare heralded the title, followed by a text crawl in the style of some old-fashioned Flash Gordon serial, my sister and I realized we were in for something completely different from the previous month’s showing of Annie Hall. How right we were.

Seven Oscars, two sequels, and three prequels (as well as countless toys, books, apparel, video games, lunchboxes, linens, stickers and even PEZ dispensers, et al) later, the little movie that launched the Star Wars franchise remains an astounding pop culture icon. Part science fiction, part western, part romance, part adventure, part drama, Star Wars was, simply put, the ground-breaking film of its day.

And with the franchise having accumulated an estimated amazing $33 billion in total worldwide revenue to date, this planet’s love for everything Star Wars shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

My very own 1977 Ken Films licensed clip reel still plays pretty well today.

Even I have contributed to the Star Wars collecting mania in my own small way. My very first purchase was way back in late 1977: a copy of the Ken Films licensed 8mm 8-min Star Wars film clip reel to be played on our home movie projector.

You must remember that this was several years before VHS machines were common household items and 28 years before YouTube was invented! Being able to watch film clips of a current movie at home was a unique and very special experience for the average moviegoer. And even 35 years later, albeit faded and a bit snowy, that little film still plays — and elicits much the same wide-eyed wonder from its owner.

Now if only I could find my original Kenner action figures! This set as shown sold for $600 in December of 2008.

I know I have a boxful of original Star Wars Kenner action figures residing in a shoebox in the back of a closet somewhere. Not realizing the value of the packaging at the time, they are all unfortunately un-carded, but still priceless as far as I’m concerned.

So I was surprised when I realized that in all my treks to various sci-fi conventions over the years I’d never yet been to a con that celebrates the very birth of my passion for that galaxy far, far away.

However, that changes later this week when I step foot into the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for my first ever Star Wars con.

Star Wars Celebration VI bills itself as “the biggest party this side of the galaxy,” and promises to “deliver a landmark experience where memories are made, families brought together, old friends reunited, and new friendships formed — all in the setting of the ever-evolving Star Wars universe.”

Star Wars Celebration VI is being held August 23-26, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The convention offers an array of exhibits, an interactive show floor, screenings, exclusive merchandise, celebrity guests, panels, autograph sessions, and fan-inspired activities such as costume contest and even a speed dating session (!), plus the opportunity to simply mix and mingle with 40,000 other like-minded Star Wars fans.

Special guests at this year’s event include actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), to name just a few, as well as a slew of sound designers and editors, visual effects supervisors, makeup artists, ILM model makers, FX artists, voice actors, authors and directors all instrumental in bringing pieces of the franchise to life. This is quite a lineup and certainly this longtime fan’s dream come true.

I’ll be snapping countless photos and reporting from Star Wars Celebration VI starting Friday, August 24. Check back here for more adventures in nostalgia and for updates on breaking Star Wars franchise news as it becomes available.

You can also follow my convention tweets on Twitter: @SeshatTravels

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53 Comments

  1. uglyasdeath August 24, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Just a great post for the best saga ever. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars in all the aspects and can’t wait to read and see more in your next posts

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      The original remains my favorite today still! Even though i have been to many other sci-fi cons, coming to this one has been very special. We may all be a lot older now, but the feeling is still there. ;)

  2. rami ungar the writer August 24, 2012 at 6:11 am

    I hope you have fun at the convention. I just recently rewatched all the films, and they certainly are amazing. I just hope that any plans to remake them don’t get put into action for at least another 35 years!

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      I’ve read George Lucas’ comments on the web and he claims there will be no more SW films (as in sequels), but I don’t know how he feels about remakes. ;)

      • rami ungar the writer August 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        if he does do a remake, let’s hope it’s with new actors; i’d hate to see justin bieber or robert pattinson cast as Luke Skywalker.

  3. paperportraiture August 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

    that’s a party you wana be invited to haha. it must have been so cool to see star wars the day it came out. I saw episode one when it came out and i went aorund for years trying to be a jedi haha, star wars is….it just IS. It’s one of my favorite movies ever….

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      So many people feel the way you do — whichever of the SW movies was their first is their favorite! I totally understand the feeling. :)

      • paperportraiture August 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        Yeah, right? They have that effect haha. It was nice to read your post, congrats on being featured on Freshly Pressed!

  4. Notes From The Backseat August 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

    This would have been so cool to go to. My husband and I met “in a galaxy far, far away” while we were playing Star Wars Galaxies. We even went so far as to use music from the movies at both our wedding and our reception. Our kids LOVE the movies and our daughter is about all things R2D2! Enjoy your time and can’t wait to read more about it!

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Will be writing more as soon as I can get back to my laptop. :D Right now I am in line to see Mark Hamill’s panel and you couldn’t move me even if the building caught fire! LOL

  5. D August 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I am too a big Starwars fan. my first sci-fi movie that I fell in love with. I don’t have the toys though yet I remember having the same hair-do as Princess Leah one way or another. HAHAHA!!! Now, my son loves them too. . I remember last year he went as Master Yoda for their Halloween party in school. What a great post this is fun to read?! Hope I can read about the Starwars VI Celebration too.

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      I have had many nice chats in lines today with fans who were happy to relate their favorite SW memories — all so varied, but all incredible! I even witnessed a Star Wars PROPOSAL today! <3 (She said yes!) :)

  6. TF700 Price August 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Seriously I love Star Wars, wish I could be there
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on the FP! :)

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      It’s only been one day so far and I have enjoyed every minute of it. More info to come in the next few days… It’s hard to write full reports while here, most may come later next week. Thanks for reading!

  7. Michael Sacasas August 24, 2012 at 9:11 am

    So I think it is pretty well established that Alec Guiness hated the fact that his legacy was reduced to being the guy who played Obi-Wan. And that is all I could think of looking at that image. What must he have been thinking just then, a distinguished Tony and Academy award winning actor, surrounded by these jokers? I like to imagine that his look says it all.

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I’m sure he thought that when he was filming in the desert! :) But I do believe he came to terms with his fame as Obi-Wan. He did say that he thought it would be fun to “play a wizard in a children’s movie” which is what I think he thought it was when he initially read the SW script.

      I am also a huge classic film fan, so having AG appear in Star Wars as well as some of my favorite classic films was just a delight. :)

  8. Annaleigh Josephs, CSS August 24, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Growing up in a Star Wars family, let me just say I get it. I’m super jealous of you, Debbie, have a ton of extra fun for me! Great article as well. :)

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      I will do my very best to have extra fun for you! :D

  9. braintomahawk August 24, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I have my figures and vehicles well stored (not in carbonite!) I should check on them, make sure they still work properly.
    Enjoy the convention!

  10. susanportelance August 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I’m a huge Star Wars geek. Have fun at the event and thanks for posting!

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      I really wish I could find mine! I know I don’t have a complete set, but I do have some of the very first ones… somewhere! :D

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting! You guys just made my day! :)

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      George Lucas has been quoted as saying “no more,” but he has been known to change his mind occasionally… :D

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks, it was my first FP selection, so I was a bit excited. :)

      • Richard McCargar August 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        Too fun. I recently moved from Florida after living there for thirty years, so… Go Team Florida!

        ….I clicked the About Us link…master sleuth. No?

  11. melichar August 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I think, that SW is the best movie ever for many people :)

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      A lot of people here at Star Wars Celebration VI would agree with you! :)

  12. ibloggedyourmom August 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, there have only been three Star Wars movies: IV, V, and Vi.

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Don’t tell anyone, but I feel exactly the same way you do. ;)

  13. Maureen August 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I am so sad that we can’t make it to Celebration VI. We went to Celebration IV and that was a blast (my first con of any kind). Looking forward to your pictures. “Star Wars” is indeed a very special movie.

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      If it was anything like this one, then you indeed chose very well for your very first convention. :)

  14. oliver2punkt0 August 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    This post is so cool… Remembers me about me sitting in the theatre just like you on wooden chairs. May the force be with you!

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Going to the movies these days with barco lounger seats and multiple cup holders seems like such luxury to me. :D

      • oliver2punkt0 August 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm

        Indeed, it is luxury. I wish my legs would have had that much room in the past, as my popcorn nowadays. :)

  15. wildninja August 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Love the bit about the 8 mm film. Despite the sometimes awful picture and sound quality, there was something thrilling about hearing a movie projector whirring away in your own home.

    Now… how do we get a Star Wars Con in Seattle? It could ease the stigma of the media images from the recent, slovely Hempfest…

    • Deborah J. Bell August 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      One of my dad’s part time jobs (he had three kids in college at the same time!) way back when was as a movie projectionist, so the sound of an old film projector is music to my ears. :)

      I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle someday, I have friends who live not far from there. They say it’s beautiful!

      • wildninja August 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

        Exactly! There’s something so pleasant about the sound of a projector. It reminds me of watching Ray Bradbury movies in Social Studies and cartoons with family. Seattle has some interesting subcultures but is unique and beautiful. We just tell out of staters it rains all the time so they don’t move here. :)

    • wildninja August 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Wow, the dark side got ahold of my keyboard for a moment. Obviously I meant slovenly… Seattle’s own version of Chalmun’s Cantina, which is not what I want our fair city to be known for. We’re so stereotyped already.

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