Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #1: Imperial Cosplay


“Welcome to Star Wars Celebration Chicago! Yes, we DO need to see your identification.”

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. We only stayed for three days partly to save money and partly because we’ve learned from past experience that three days is our limit at any given convention before we slam into a mental wall and need respite from geek immersion before we get sick of it all.

Based on past posting experience, the most popular part of every convention experience is cosplay, so those photos get to go first. We’re fans of costumes and try to keep an eye out for heroes, villains, antiheroes, supporting casts, and various oddities that look impressive and/or we haven’t seen at other cons. That was a bit challenging with a con about Star Wars for Star Wars by Star Wars starring Star Wars. It’s not as though the other cons we attend lack for Star Wars costumes. But we had fun capturing whoever we could.

First up: Stormtroopers! And other soldiers for the Empire, including a few folks from the Imperial successors that are the First Order, several of whom are surely card-carrying members of the 501st Legion. Caveats for first-time visitors to Midlife Crisis Crossover:

1. My wife and I are not professional photographers, nor do we believe ourselves worthy of press passes. These were taken as best as possible with the intent to share with fellow fans out of a sincere appreciation for the works inspired by the heroes, hobbies, artistic expressions, and/or intellectual properties that brought us geeks together under one vaulted roof for the weekend. We did what we could with the tools and circumstances at hand. We don’t use selfie sticks, tripods, or cameras that cost more than a month’s worth of groceries.

2. It’s impossible for any human or organization to capture every costume on hand. What’s presented in this series will be a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the sum total costume experience. Other corners of the internet will represent those other fractions that we missed, which is the cool part of having so many people doing this sort of thing.

3. We didn’t attend Sunday or Monday. As previously explained at excessive length in a previous entry, we also nearly never watch costume contests anymore. Sincere apologies to anyone we missed as a result.

4. Corrections and comments are always welcome, especially when we get to Part 3, which will include at least three characters we young geezers didn’t recognize. We kept up on Star Wars for decades and still remember many of the old-school characters, but we have knowledge gaps vis a vis recent video games, animated series, and lesser extras from the recent films. But I do like learning new names and worlds even if you’re more immersed in them than I am.

5. Enjoy!

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MCC Live-Tweet: Our First Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Line

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019!

Yep, this thing again.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: this weekend Anne and I are attending this year’s Star Wars Celebration in scenic, freezing Chicago. Once again we returned to McCormick Place, a mere three weeks after C2E2, so the layout and the stress levels of Chicago traffic were still fresh in our minds.

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Our Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Pre-Show: Who We’ve Already Met

Billy Dee Williams!

The debonair Mr. Billy Dee Williams at Cincinnati Comic Expo 2016, raising the bar for convention fashion.

This weekend my wife Anne and I will be attending the latest edition of Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm’s 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 will be in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. Previously on MCC, we shared our personal experiences with Celebrations 2002 and 2005, which were each held at our very own Indiana Convention Center. We’re happy they’ve turned our direction once more, but a bit flummoxed by a few aspects of the show, which we hope goes well despite our nervousness about a few early warning signs.

Bugging us more than anything else is the lack of big, big-name participants from either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. We had accepted that there would be a Wampa’s chance on Mustafar of The Mark Hamill coming within a thousand miles of Chicago that weekend after his not-so-great 2017 experience in Orlando. (Ditto Harrison Ford, which we absolutely understand.) But being snubbed by the main casts of the last two non-digressive SW films stings a tad. We also despaired when special guest Temuera Morrison (Aquaman, Attack of the Clones) canceled last week. He was at the top of our must-meet list and has now freed up some of our funds for other activities, such as slightly better Chicago food.

We hope to have fun nonetheless, but of those folks scheduled to attend, we’ve already met many of them. While we’re counting down to opening day this coming Thursday, please enjoy this look back at this year’s Celebration guests that we’ve already met at previous conventions. Please feel free to pretend this is an exclusive sneak preview of the weekend to come. For other folks besides us, I mean.

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“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”: Ride or Die

Train Your Dragon 3!

We gather today for a Toothless farewell.

Time was, I used to see a lot more animated films per year — partly because my son was once a youngster with lower standards, and partly because good animated films used to come out more frequently. Or maybe that’s the middle-aged fogey in me talking.

To this day the original How to Train Your Dragon — an imaginative, action-packed flight of fantasy with a gut-punch of a climax — remains my favorite Dreamworks Animation project to date. The first sequel wasn’t bad, but never addressed the deadbeat-mom issue at its center to my satisfaction. Five years after How to Train Your Dragon 2 the trilogy concludes with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — a definitive ending to the saga of Jay Baruchel’s awkward young Viking Hiccup and his fierce, loyal dragon partner Toothless. I nearly typed “pet”, but that descriptor is a bit reductive and and refuted by this very movie itself.

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Yes, There Are Scenes During AND After the “Shazam!” End Credits


At long last, everyone will know what Gomer Pyle was always exclaiming about.

The never-ending battle to distance us all from Dawn of Justice continues as DC Comics proudly presents the mostly lighthearted Shazam!, based on a 1940s alleged Superman copycat that DC acquired in 1953 after they sued original publisher Fawcett Comics into oblivion. His original name was Captain Marvel, which DC kept using in multiple series and projects for the next few decades but made sure never to print on any covers lest their competition sue them, even though Fawcett’s Captain Marvel predated Marvel’s Captain Marvel by almost 28 years. Prior to this nomenclatural conflict, Fawcett’s Captain Marvel was conceived with the name Captain Thunder, but this was also the name of a non-superhero character in a series called Jungle Comics published by Fiction House, neither of which survived past the mid-’50s. Technically DC could call him Captain Thunder without repercussions today except no one wants that.

Comic Books: Overcomplicating What Should Be the Simplest Things Since 1939.

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“Us”: Revenge of the Duality of Man

Lupita Nyong'o!

Now I’m imagining a do-over of 12 Years a Slave in which this version of Lupita Nyong’o turns Michael Fassbender into so much whittling scrap.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: once upon a time in 2002 I once spent most of a museum walk expounding at length on how virtually every piece of art in front of me, no matter how abstract or realistic or kitschy or modern, could in some way be deconstructed into a metaphor for the Duality of Man. It’s not hard. Take a thing, figure out a way to chop it into two warring halves like you’re Karnak of the Inhumans teaching a philosophy class, and presto. You’ve just written some tenth-grader’s literature report. It was fun till I began annoying myself and possibly our friends.

Leave it to Jordan Peele to follow up his Best Picture nominee Get Out with an unofficial adaptation of my blathering seventeen years later as the raging box office smash Us. It’s about time someone better than me did this.

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