Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #6: The Droids We Weren’t Looking For

purple light-up astromech!

Purple light-up astromech guts.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

It was a Star Wars Celebration. Of course there was a veritable droid army on the premises. Far more than we’d expected, once we stumbled upon their barely advertised hiding place. Granted, there were a couple patrolling the exhibit hall…

Purple Astromech!

We’re used to remote-control life-size R2-D2s roaming around other entertainment and comic cons, but purple Artoo was a pretty variant.

BB-8 circle!

I thought this R.C. BB-8 was in the middle of a dance circle, but most of the people in this pic were actually the perpetually long line for the Funko Pop booth.

…but not until Saturday afternoon did we stumble across one of Celebration’s coolest secrets. On an odd, disjointed corner of the West Building’s first floor was a hallway traveled only by those seeking the Twin Suns Stage, the obligatory animation-marathon room, and the Anthony Daniels cash-only meet-and-greet room. Anne and I happened to walk that way for a quick meet-up with an old friend — more about that in a future chapter — when I noticed two odd things.

Droid Tracks!

ONE: droid tracks! Leading to…


TWO: C-3PO standing in a darkened doorway. Not the Anthony Daniels room.

We wandered toward Threepio and discovered the Droid Builders Experience, a room packed with droids and other replica characters built, sewn, and/or kludged by talented Star Wars fans. I later found a mention of them in the Celebration program, but I’d seen no mentions of it on the app or their website. Inside was a wide, wild world of Lucasfilm homages and recreations, many bearing flourishes from alternate realities.

We were fascinated and I was upset that we only found it by sheer dumb luck. Or possibly destiny, whichever.

Droid basic 3!

Your standard droid lineup, plus banners from contributing fan clubs and chapters.

Gatling astromech!

Among the best astromech variants was this Gatling droid, made in Allentown, PA. I’m a sucker for Gatling guns in my pop culture.

Mustafarian panning droid!

Mustafarian panning droid from Revenge of the Sith. Molten lava sold separately.

sequined Mouse Droid!

Fabulous sequined Mouse Droid!


Special centerpiece dedicated to droid slavers.


Jawa mannequin peers into your very SOUL.

Porg nest!

Porg nest imples they breed and we can expect millions more in our future Star Wars movies and toy aisles.

Gonk custom droids!

A surprising number of Gonk droids, many with custom paint jobs.


GONK-E seems a reasonable enough mash-up.

Tudyk Gonk droid!

Harder to explain: an Alan Tudyk-themed Gonk droid with voice chip reciting a few different Tudyk lines, including but not limited to “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Ashcan Andy!

Some mad genius gave life to Ashcan Andy, an actual Garbage Pail Kid from back in the day.

B'omarr Monk!

Star Wars was a minority participant in my childhood toy collection, but B’omarr Monk was among my favorites. No idea whatever happened to mine.

Me and BB-8!

Me and BB-8, just hanging out in space, one of us more grounded than the other.

To be continued! Other chapters in this very special maxiseries:

Prologue: Our Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Pre-Show: Who We’ve Already Met
Part Zero: MCC Live-Tweet: Our First Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Line
Part 1: Imperial Cosplay
Part 2: The Right Side of the Force Cosplay
Part 3: Scum and Villainy Cosplay
Part 4: Rising with Skywalkers
Part 5: The Stars in Our Galaxy
Part 7: How to Draw Star Wars the Marvel Way
Part 8: Adventures in Official Merchandising
Part 9: World of Wheels and Wings
Part 10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys
Part 11: Fashion and Shopping
Part 12: What We Did in the Star Wars

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