Over the next couple of weeks we'll be bringing you updates from our epic 4 days at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. To say that the 4 days was an epic celebration of all things Star Wars would be an extreme understatement. For a Star Wars nerd it was just simply amazing.
In addition to this update about the Panels, we'll have additional updates from the show floor, Cosplay, a specific update about the new Battlefront game and something we are pretty excited about.
Our final update will be a multi-generational look at Star Wars and Star Wars Celebration. Since we had Generation X (me) and Generation Y (my children) there we're going to be working on bringing you something we hope is pretty unique. But that ones still a few weeks out, so we'll get to that. In the meantime, let's get to the amazing panels.
Written by Gregg Condon (Click on any pictures below to see a larger version)
Thursday Morning - The Force Awakens with JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and guests ...
And by guests, some people you may have heard of like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and the ghost of Harrison Ford. Plus the new cast of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.
But before we get to the panel, just in case you haven't seen it (and if you haven't, what's wrong with you) ... If you have the ability to watch this on TV with a great sound-system, please, do so. =)
So our Star Wars Celebration began in the early morning hours of Thursday. After leaving our house around 3:30am we arrived in Anaheim just before 5:00am and walked from our hotel to the Convention Center.
Unfortunately Will Call wasn't due to open until 8:00am so our hopes of possibly getting into the live panel was somewhat in question. Thankfully due to some great on-site staff we were able to get in the line around 6:30am and into the arena presentation. If you've been to the OC Convention Center you'll remember the arena isn't too big, so even though we were on the upper level, we had a great view.
Prior to the start of every panel they had a great DJ and hype man, who would give away stuff and have some fun with the audience.
The panel finally begins. Many people had been waiting more than 24 hours for this in line.
JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy come to the stage.
And introduce the new cast, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.
And of course, welcome some old friends.
The droids, the amazing BB8 and R2D2.
The panel itself was amazing. There was a lot of talk about how people came into the project, the energy in the room was insane and they gladly played the trailer twice for all of us. Lots of cheering, tears and emotion as I'm sure you all had. It's so awesome to have the franchise in the hands of "one of us", the fans of Star Wars.
I know that people are skeptical, and with good reason. The last good Star Wars movie is 32 years ago at this point. Sure, the prequels have their place, and some people like them, and yes, Episode III isn't "terrible", but the feeling of these movies reminds so many of us of the original trilogy. The fact remains, if you combined the 3 prequels, you'd probably have one good movie. This one is really going to blow them all away.
But of course, that was only the beginning of an epic 4 days of Star Wars.
Thursday Evening - The Feud of the Force
Thursday Night had an interesting sounding panel on the schedule, but really, nobody was quite sure what it was going to be. It sounded like a game show, but nobody really knew. This was the first time they'd done this at Celebration and it was SO much fun, I have a feeling it will be at all future celebrations and it will be MUCH more popular, not that it wasn't on Thursday.
This was also my first panel with the main stage host James Arnold Taylor. If you don't know who he is, be sure to google him. You may not recognize the name, but you'll surely recognize the voice. He was a perfect host for all of the panels and made them so fun. He's definitely got a fan in us.
Before every panel James Arnold Taylor had a great intro video, hoping that he'll eventually upload them to YouTube or something because they were fantastic.
The Two teams that were playing.
Anthony Forrest on the Dark Side ... you may not recognize him, but you recognize some very famous lines he said:
Obi Wan Kenobi: You don't need to see his identification
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification
Obi Wan Kenobi: These aren't the droids your looking for
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for
Obi Wan Kenobi: He can go about his business
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business
Obi Wan Kenobi: Move Along
Stormtrooper: Move Along ... Move Along
And yes, he said the lines. =)
The Light Side Team. Mostly voice actors from The Clone Wars, Rebels and Beru from Episodes II and III.
Some of the fun categories and all of the answers. Click to see a larger view.
The Dark Side totally kicked butt, but it was fun event all around and everybody really seemed to enjoy it.
That's going to wrap it up for Day One Panels. We'll be back in a couple of days with Day Two, including some video to go along with them of the Anthony Daniels Panel that you won't want to miss.
Over the next 4 days we'll be at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim and we'll be updating and posting fun stuff on all of our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages throughout the convention.
We're also going to try and do updates here for you all to get caught up on all of the days activities. Below is our general schedule but if there is anything specific you'd like us to check out be sure to check out the Star Wars Celebration website and let us know.
If you will be at Celebration, feel free to join us at any of these events. Just send us a message or email.
Beginning Thursday Morning, there will be a live-stream of Star Wars Celebration beginning with the opening panel with J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy.
Be sure to check out the live-stream here, and we've learned that any information or trailers will NOT be blacked out for those online.
Below is our tentative schedule for the 4 days of the Convention. If you see us around, please feel free to say hi and join us for some Star Wars fun. This is obviously in addition to all of the great stuff on the show floor.
Keep in mind, this schedule is only tentative, things are obviously subject to change due to other factors.
Writer/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy
Thu. April 16| 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Don’t miss the big kickoff for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. Star Wars: The Force AwakensWriter/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy will be on the Celebration Stage, joined by special guests.
Restored Music from The Empire Strikes Back with David Collins
Thu. April 16| 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM | Digital Stage – Sponsored By RealD
Take a deeper look at the iconic music of Star Wars as David Collins reveals story connections and hidden musical secrets within John Williams' iconic film scores. And for the first time ever, watch scenes from The Empire Strikes Back with the original music restored!
Disney Parks & Star Wars Merchandise – This is Where the Magic Begins
Thu. April 16| 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM | Behind–The–Scenes Stage
Be among the first to get a sneak peek into what new exclusives will be coming from the Disney Parks in 2015 & 2016. You will also take an inside look behind the magic at how Disney Parks creates exclusive Star Wars merchandise, with insights from Disney's creative development team. With Brad Schoenberg, Cody Hampton, and Quynh Kimball.
Feud of the Force Celebrity Game Show
Thu. April 16| 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Who will win in the battle of Light Side vs. Dark Side? Live game show with some of your favorite Star Wars and pop culture personalities.
Star Wars Battlefront – An Intergalactic Debut
Fri. April 17| 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM | Digital Stage – Sponsored By RealD
Join the talented team from DICE as they give fans their first look at Star Wars Battlefront and debut the official reveal trailer for this highly anticipated game. Learn how unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm archives and the award-winning Frostbite technology is helping to create an immersive experience that is truly “most impressive”. DICE will also show fans how Star Wars Battlefront will give them the chance to live out their epic Star Wars battle fantasies.
PodCRASH with That Chris Gore Fri. April 17
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM | Star Wars Podcast Stage – 208A
Date With The Princess: Carrie Fisher
Fri. April 17| 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Fresh from the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Carrie Fisher talks about her life in the entertainment industry, her history in the Star Wars saga, and just about everything else that comes to mind.
Skywalking Through Neverland
Fri. April 17| 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | Star Wars Podcast Stage – 208A
Anthony Daniels: Inside the Heart & Chaos of C-3PO
Fri. April 17| 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Anthony Daniels, the one actor to appear in all seven movies thus far, will be on stage to present a unique hour of entertainment. Expect the unexpected when the man behind C-3PO takes the stage.
40 Years of ILM Innovation with John Knoll
Sat. April 18| 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Digital Stage – Sponsored By RealD
Lucasfilm’s visual effects division, Industrial Light & Magic, is celebrating an anniversary this year. John Knoll, Chief Creative Officer and Sr. Visual Effect Supervisor, as well as Visual Effects Supervisor for the Star Wars prequels, presents.
Smuggler's Bounty – Original Star Wars Audio Drama by Kyle Newman
Sat. April 18| 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Smuggler’s Bounty reteams the creatives behind the Celebration VI hit Star Wars: Smuggler's Gambit. Directed by Kyle Newman and co-written by Newman and F.J. DeSanto, Smuggler's Bounty stars Han Solo and is set during the events of the original trilogy. This one-time-only live performance will be presented with music and live sound effects. Smuggler's Bounty will feature hosts from all three Celebration stages, as well as a star-studded crew of performers to bring this great Celebration exclusive to life!
Double Feature! “Talking to Myself” Starring James Arnold Taylor & Mark Hamill: The Return of the Jedi
Sat. April 18| 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
James Arnold Taylor’s kicks off the evening with his critically-acclaimed one-man show, that takes the audience on a fast-paced, multimedia ride through the life of a voice actor. In the production Taylor performs more than 200 different voices live. The Main Event of this unforgettable evening, spend an hour with Mark Hamill. An actor with a rich acting and voice acting career, Hamill is known best to Star Wars fans for bringing the iconic character of Luke Skywalker to life in the Star Wars saga. There will be one seating for the two shows, and a 15-minute intermission in between. If additional seating is available for Mark Hamill, those seats will be filled in during intermission.
Conversations with Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank
Sun. April 19| 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart and Pablo Hidalgo will be joined by directors Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank, who will share their experiences as the newest members of the Lucasfilm creative family. Learn how the teams came together and are collaborating to conceive and create the upcoming stand-alone films in the galaxy far, far away.
Billy Dee Williams: Baron of Smooth
Sun. April 19| 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Celebration Stage – Sponsored By Toys "R" Us
Our favorite Star Wars baron administrator takes to the stage for an hour of talk about his life in and out of Cloud City.
As we get ready for our big Star Wars Celebration week, we'll be sharing some cool things we are being sent from vendors and others in advance of the convention.
The first is something kind of scientific, and really cool. We've already tried to stump this a few times, it hasn't worked so far. If you can stump this, let us know.
STAR WARS FANS BEING ASKED TO TEST JEDI KNOWLEDGE AGAINST THE FORMIDABLE 20Q ARTIFICIAL INTELLINGENCE! GO TO http://starwars.20q.net/play AND PLAY!!!
Uncle Milton, creator of the innovative Star Wars™ Science brand of toys, is getting ready to challenge aspiring Jedi in a different way. This time, Uncle Milton will be bringing the popular artificial intelligence game of knowledge, 20Q®, into the world of Star Wars with the Jedi Holocron. Holocrons are artifacts that hold an indeterminable amount of knowledge, so what better way to bring the Holocron into our world, than with 20Q®. Even better, Star Wars™ fans can be part of the creation of this new Star Wars™ Science Jedi Holocron! Star Wars fans are encouraged to visit http://starwars.20q.net/play and start playing the game! Think of any being, location, or technology based on all 6 Star Wars movies and TV series and 20Q® will try and guess what you're thinking. See if you can outsmart the Jedi Holocron! The more times you play, the smarter the artificial intelligence of the Jedi Holocron will become. Look for the Star Wars Science Jedi Holocron on store shelves beginning in Fall, 2015.
Below is more information on the Force Trainer II which we will be trying out at Star Wars Celebration ...
The Force Trainer II: Hologram Experience: In 2009, Uncle Milton launched one of the most innovative Star Wars toys of all-time – The Force Trainer. This incredible toy enabled fans of all ages to move and control an object with the power of their mind using real brainwave technology and quickly became a hit with Star Wars fans and the media worldwide.
In 2015, Uncle Milton introduces The Force Trainer II: Hologram Experience, where once again you are the Jedi, but this time aspiring Jedi can use their concentration to move holograms! Imagine that you could raise an X-wing Fighter from the Dagobah swamp just like Luke Skywalker, battle Darth Vader, or build your own lightsaber with just the power of your mind! These magical scenes are re-created through hologram images and a wireless headset with real brainwave sensors that read and interpret your levels of concentration. The more you focus, the more successful you are in moving and controlling the hologram image and successfully completing the Jedi challenge. The hologram images and Jedi challenges come through a companion app included with the purchase of the product and powered by the user’s tablet device which projects these holograms into the unique Jedi themed training base.
There are 10 different Jedi training levels through which fans can advance from Padawan to Jedi Knight to Jedi Master, with instruction and guidance from Jedi Master Yoda. Additional Jedi challenges will also be available for download on updated versions of the app as new Star Wars movies are released. Ages 8+. SRP $119.99. Available Fall 2015.