Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #12 of 12: What We Did in the Star Wars

Buckle Up Baby!

Did YOU spot all the appearances of Donald Glover’s Young Lando in this very special maxiseries? I mean, you don’t win a prize or anything and I’m not even keeping track of them myself. I was just curious, is all.

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…

…and it all ends here, by which I mean we finally stop trying to prolong the magic of that eventful weekend. We’ve covered the cosplayers we saw; the actors we met; the big, big trailer we watched with thousands of other fans in an awkward communal setting; the one panel we were permitted to attend; the geek stuff we bought; and the other geek stuff we walked past.

Here on MCC, many such lists end with me promising all that “and more, more, MORE!” At long last, it’s time for the mores.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #11 of 12: Fashion and Shopping

Crimson Guard mannequin!

The most vivid mannequin I’ve ever seen in my life.

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…

Most attendees of any given con spend a good 90% of their weekend in the exhibit hall. Sure, it’s cool to meet famous people, see the work of impressive artists, photograph cosplayers, and attend panels, and not always in that order. But the average ticketholder does the majority of their walking up and down the aisles past the various licensed merchandisers, collectible dealers, comic shop owners, toy eBay-ers, and other small businesses and large companies dying to trade pop culture miscellanea for all that disposable income.

Times may have been tough for Celebration dealers, though. Thousands of fans were far more interested in the official Celebration Store and its coveted exclusives than in any used-Star-Wars retailers. At a show where the unifying theme was ostensibly Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS, nearly every vendor assumed we were all there to buy nothing but Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS. Some booths sold different kinds of Star Wars, but it was still Star-Wars-brand Star Wars. After a while, all those identically stamped and trademarked products began to blend together. By the time we concluded our weekend, the exhibit hall had paradoxically morphed before our very eyes into a rather mundane bazaar.

A few hardy professionals did their best to stand out anyway…

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys

Elite Praetorian Guards!

Elite Praetorian Guards from Kotobukiya. Pricier than you think.

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…

TOYS! Studies show 106% of all viewers who ever enjoyed a Star Wars film have owned at least one Star Wars toy in their lives. Anne and I don’t actively collect them anymore, but we haven’t yet parted with our respective collections. Frankly, it would take a while. Hers is ten times the size of mine, even after gifting a few extras to kiddie relatives. We nonetheless continue to admire Star Wars toys and toy-like products from afar, amazed at how far toy design technology has come since the ancient times when action figures with more than five movable joints were illegal in forty-two states because too much articulation might encourage naughty posing.

Naturally Lucasfilm invited some of their fanciest licensees to Celebration to display their wares, from the rulers of the commonest big-box toy aisles to the higher-end collectible craftspeople. Each of those vendors also had exclusive Celebration pins for sale, a value-added incentive for window shoppers to take a closer look. When the pin-bug bit Anne, we did a little of exactly that.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #9: World of Wheels and Wings

Mustafar truck!

Maybe you’ve seen muscle cars with awesome fire decals, but have you seen a truck engulfed in the very flames of Mustafar?

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…

Vehicles are one of the key components of the Star Wars Universe. Mechanically inclined fans naturally paid tribute to those motorin’ machines, whether with faithful recreations of starships from the films themselves or with Terran vehicles transformed into eye-popping, street-legal homages.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #8: Adventures in Official Merchandising

Galaxy's Edge Falcon!

Lucasfilm’s answer to “Hi, we’re in…Delaware.”

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…

The exhibit hall was littered with dozens of vendors plying wares old and new, but if you treated the Celebration website and program as your concierges, their strongest recommendations to you were two particular stops most directly tied to Lucasfilm itself, each demanding either that weekend’s disposable income or a promise of your future vacationing dollars. Both had everyone’s attention. Both had long lines. Neither was guaranteed to satisfy everyone.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #7: How to Draw Star Wars the Marvel Way

TIE Fighter covers!

TIE Fighter #1 hit comic shops this past Wednesday. Above are variant covers by Tommy Lee Edwards for the next three issues.

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…

Thursday had very nearly zero panels scheduled. The panels scheduled Friday and Saturday largely broke down into the following groups:

  1. Panels that might’ve been cool if the annoying lottery system hadn’t made them attendance-prohibitive
  2. Panels for fans by fans about fan stuff
  3. Panels about novels we haven’t read
  4. Writing advice
  5. The official Marvel Comics panel

Larger panels filled up quickly. Numerous panels, especially those devoted to Star Wars novelists, were often capped because too many people were interested. But as a comics fan, one who’s spending a fair amount per month to keep up with much of Marvel’s Star Wars output (not all of it), I felt compelled to make a greater effort to get a foot in the door. Getting in line 45 minutes before showtime did the trick.

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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…

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #5: The Stars in Our Galaxy

Katee Sackhoff!

She played a recurring Mandalorian on Clone Wars and Rebels, but you might also know Katee Sackhoff from such series as Battlestar Galactica, The Flash, and that not-bad Bionic Woman update that lasted about three minutes.

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’s not a Celebration without a bevy of actors who’ve appeared on various planets throughout the Star Wars universe. We had our choice among a mixture of old pros from the original trilogy, a few big names from the prequels and from Rogue One, exactly one (1) actor from Episodes VII and VIII, and a wide array of all-star voice actors from various animated projects and video games. Though we’d met quite a few already, we zeroed in on a few key names and once again added to our jazz-hands photo-op collection.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #4: Rising with Skywalkers

Colbert Abrams Kennedy!

Our host Stephen Colbert., director J.J. Abrams, and producer Kathleen Kennedy, streaming to us live from a galaxy far, far away.

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…

The centerpiece of the entire weekend, its biggest event, its most anticipated breaking news story, was the long-awaited first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX, as yet un-subtitled when the convention began. The trailer’s release was scheduled as part of an hour-long presentation which would star director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, at the very least. Additional unnamed guests were promised. It was fair to assume these surprise pop-ins would be the big, big-name costars from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, almost none of whom were on the show’s main guest list.

Everyone wanted in on that event. Everyone wanted to be part of that live magic. Everyone wanted to count their first viewing of the trailer among their greatest SWCC 2019 memories. Not everyone got their wish.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #3: Scum and Villainy Cosplay

Darth Mauls!

Darth Mauls. Presumably they’ve killed their master so their total Sith count is back down to two again.

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. Based on past posting experience, the most popular part of every convention experience is cosplay, so those photos get to go first…

In our last call for cosplay photos, we bring on the bad guys and the gray-area dwellers — the Sith, the bounty hunters, the Mandalorians, and more, more more. Boo hiss!

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #2: The Right Side of the Force Cosplay

X-Wing Pilots!

Anyone can wear the X-Wing flight suit. You could wear the X-Wing flight suit.

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. Based on past posting experience, the most popular part of every convention experience is cosplay, so those photos get to go first…

Next up: the good guys! Yahoooooo!

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #1: Imperial Cosplay

Clonetrooper!

“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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Star Wars Celebration 2005 Memories, Part 3 of 3: Costumes!

Jedi M&Ms!

Jedi M&Ms: they melt on Mustafar, not in your hand.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our four-day weekend at 2005’s Star Wars Celebration III in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Part 1 was nearly three thousand words’ worth of anecdotes, bullet points, actors, friends, Star Wars creators, popes, and the worst line we’ve ever endured in our entire lives. Part 2 was a basic photo gallery of stuff ‘n’ things that were pretty exciting to us at the time. Now it’s all standard convention decor, but we were younger and easily impressed.

And now we reach the grand finale to this very special all-35mm MCC miniseries in a predictable fashion with predictable fashions. It’s vintage cosplay time! Here’s what the Star Wars fans of yesteryear were wearing before cosplayers divided sharply into two camps: those spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on painstakingly self-tailored tributes; and dudes in store-bought Halloween costumes. Enjoy!

Right this way for Star Wars cosplay, 2005 style!

Star Wars Celebration 2005 Memories, Part 2 of 3: Stuff We Saw

X-Wing Fighter!

Life-size X-Wing Fighter! Working engine and hyperspace drive sold separately.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our four-day weekend at 2005’s Star Wars Celebration III in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Part 1 was nearly three thousand words’ worth of anecdotes, bullet points, actors, friends, Star Wars creators, popes, and the worst line we’ve ever endured in our entire lives. Part 3 is the inevitable cosplayer roundup.

Tonight’s episode: more scans of 35mm ten-year-old photos, now with more Star Wars stuff than ever in them — a combination of official Lucasfilm props on display behind lock and key, loving fan-made objects, and Star Wars playthings writ large. If Part 1 is a long nonfiction book, Part 2 is the glossy photo section in the middle of the book apart from the rest of the content. More things, fewer words. Enjoy!

Right this way for a short, easy-to-scroll-through photo gallery of Star Wars things!

Star Wars Celebration 2005 Memories, Part 1 of 3: Who We Met

Ralph Brown!

He was burnout concert promoter Del Preston in Wayne’s World 2, a victim in Alien³, and the big-bad Dr. Fennhoff in Marvel’s Agent Carter, but to Star Wars fans with advanced memories, Ralph Brown is best known as panicky pilot Ric Olie from The Phantom Menace.

So far my Labor Day weekend on the internet has been all about (a) toy fans reveling in the Star Wars “Force Friday” merchandise onslaught, and (b) longtime cohorts kicking around Dragon*Con in Atlanta seeing lots of SW-related costumes, actors, and at least one novelist. I’m happy for everyone enjoying themselves for those various reasons, but skimming through all this STAR WARS STAR WARS STAR WARS STAR WARS STAR WARS has put me in a nostalgic frame of mind about a relevant occasion from our own past that I meant to dredge up four months ago for May the Fourth but delayed due to distractions.

Ten years ago last April, my wife Anne and I attended all four days of Star Wars Celebration III (“CIII” to our friends), the second and final major SW convention to grace the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. As with the 2002 shindig (previously relived on MCC here, here, and here), our weekend was filled with costumes, props, things containing Star Wars logos, performers, crowds, terrible line management, and out-of-town internet friends given a great excuse to visit.

Sadly, my own write-up of the experience was atomized shortly after its initial posting due to a freak accident involving dumb stupid idiotic software that made it too easy for a trusting message-board administrator to delete dozens of threads with a single misunderstanding keystroke. Anne’s own version of events survived the purge and remains online as a minute-by-minute account more thrilling to those of us who were there, probably less so to outsiders. This, then, is the recap of her recap.

Right this way for Star Wars! Star Wars! STAR WARS!

Star Wars Celebration 2002 Memories: What We Did and Who We Met

Weekend with Mori!

Anne and I look very different now than we did in 2002. I was thicker, and her glasses were larger. The gent in the middle was someone we knew online who’s probably forgotten us by now. But I bet he remembers the Celebration.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This coming weekend is Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, where thousands upon thousands of lucky Star Wars fans will rendezvous to share their love and respect for the galaxy George Lucas built, meet other people who made it possible, and hopefully learn lots of news and spoilers about The Force Awakens. California is beyond our reach, but a few of our friends will be there and should provide us with lots of updates and photos or else.

I’ve been digging through our photos and writings from our experiences at the second and third Celebrations, which were each held here in Indianapolis in 2002 and 2005…

Our original write-up of our Celebration II experience clocked in at over 10,000 words, not including the Anthony Daniels prologue. You’ll pardon me if I don’t reprint it here, because the details are exhausting and minute and excessive and chronicled far too many minutes that weren’t worth chronicling. I think I can whittle that down to a good-parts version and add another batch of photos at the end.

Right this way for memories, actor photos, and links to the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”!

Star Wars Celebration 2002 Memories: Cosplay ‘n’ Stuff

Diptrooper!

After their humiliating loss against the teddy bears from the space moon, many Stormtroopers were drummed out of Imperial service and forced to rely on the job skills they had before they signed on.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This coming weekend is Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, where thousands upon thousands of lucky Star Wars fans will rendezvous to share their love and respect for the galaxy George Lucas built, meet other people who made it possible, and hopefully learn lots of news and spoilers about The Force Awakens. California is beyond our reach, but a few of our friends will be there and should provide us with lots of updates and photos or else.

I’ve been digging through our photos and writings from our experiences at the second and third Celebrations, which were each held here in Indianapolis in 2002 and 2005…

Some of our Celebration II pics have never been shared online before because (a) I hated my terrible old scanner; (b) posting large photo collections wasn’t fun in the days of 56K modems, when uploading took years and any webpage with more than a few pics could take forever to load if the files were large; and (c) back then I prided myself on entertaining friends with more text than pictures. That line of thought probably lost me a lot of readers — and maybe even friends, for all I know.

Tonight’s presentation: the first of two Celebration II photo galleries, this one featuring costumes and other fun objects from the experience. Enjoy!

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Star Wars Celebration 2002 Memories: A Night with C-3PO

Anthony Daniels!

This coming weekend is Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, where thousands upon thousands of lucky Star Wars fans will rendezvous to share their love and respect for the galaxy George Lucas built, meet other people who made it possible, and hopefully learn lots of news and spoilers about The Force Awakens. California is beyond our reach, but a few of our friends will be there and should provide us with lots of updates and photos or else.

I’ve been digging through our photos and writings from our experiences at the second and third Celebrations, which were each held here in Indianapolis in 2002 and 2005. As my own tiny way of marking the occasion and unearthing unshared items from our personal archives, presented above is a previously unreleased photo of me with my best friend Anne, onstage at a special tie-in event held two days before Celebration II. You may be familiar with the thespian in the middle.

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