The Hottest of Hot: What to See at Star Wars Celebration VI

Just a couple of short days now until Jedi and Sith take over Orlando for keeps. You guessed it: Celebration VI is here at last.

This, the sixth American Star Wars Celebration (Europe and Japan have hosted their own as well) will draw nearly 40,000 fans of Star Wars culture from every conceivable vantage point. Artists, art collectors, toy collectors, authors, actors, autograph collectors, droid builders, costume creators, celebrity gawkers, comic fans, fiction fans, tattoo fans, gamers… all these and too many others to mention will come together for 4 days of unadulterated Star Wars nirvana.

If you’re going, you’ve likely realized by now that you just can’t see and do it all. But where to focus your precious Midichlorians? Here’s a quick preview of the events that we wouldn’t miss to save Alderaan.


Inside the Clone Wars Tech: 11:30 Thursday (W415 A)

The Clone Wars may not be at the top of your Fall TV roster but you don’t have to be a hard core Star Wars fan or a 9 year old boy to realize that the show is superb. At this panel prepare to be blown away by a behind-the-scenes look at the tools that allow the storytellers and artists of Clone Wars to do what they do best: deliver the highest quality visual content week in and week out on heart-stopping deadlines.

Japanese Story of Star Wars LP Cover

Japanese Story of Star Wars LP Cover

Star Wars Album & Music Collectibles 2:30 Thursday (W303 ABC)

Music’s era of the album is long over, true enough, but its legacy can still transport us to a long-ago decade with just the whiff of an old dusty LP jacket. Expect to hear from collectors of the most profoundly rare Star Wars material of the 1970s and 80s. Just take a peak at this site for some possible contenders.

Star Wars Uncut: Recreating a Classic 3:00 Thursday (W312 ABC)

Three years ago Casey Pugh incited a crowd to riot. A creative and talented programmer, Pugh offered fans the opportunity to recreate Star Wars on their own terms. Anyone had a chance at re-shooting up to three 15-second clips of Star Wars, and the audience voted which would make the final cut. The results were shocking and brilliant. Even Lucasfilms joined in with praise. Hear Casey tell the tale of this now classic internet stunt.

Gus and Duncan's Guide to Star Wars Prototypes

Gus and Duncan’s Guide to Star Wars Prototypes

Gus Lopez & Duncan Jenkins book signing 4:00 Thursday (1hr, W304 CD)

It’s well known among the collecting community that there are no two people living or dead that know more about vintage Star Wars collectibles. The duo have two astounding books already co-authored, the most recent of which is an epic treatise on the prototypes used to create Kenner’s vintage Star Wars toys from 1977 to 1985. Stop by, pick up a copy of the book and get it signed. Outside of that beater vinyl cape Jawa this is your most important purchase at the convention.

An Evening with Kevin Smith 7:00 Thursday (2hr, Chapin Theater)

Kevin Smith’s contributions as a writer, director, and actor certainly speak for themselves. What you may not know is the guy excels in the role of geek pontiff as well. At San Diego Comic Con Smith’s “It Ain’t Over ’til the Fat Lady Sings” panel is a perennial (and hilarious) capacity-crowd affair. There’s no doubt he’ll angle for more of the same at CVI. Do yourself a favor and sit in. The overpriced beers can wait!


Ralph McQuarrie's Earliest Boba Fett Concept Illustration

Ralph McQuarrie’s Earliest Boba Fett Concept Illustration

Ralph McQuarrie Retrospective 1:30PM Friday (1hr, W414 ABCD)

The world at large (to say nothing of the world of Star Wars) lost an original visionary this year. Take the time to see his fine work spanning the entire Star Wars saga, the work he did for NASA in the 60s, and much more.

Rancho ObiWan 2:30PM Friday (1hr, W303 ABC)

Steven Sansweet has amassed the most celebrated private collection of Star Wars artifacts anywhere. Recently opened for private tours, his Rancho ObiWan Museum in northern California will represent on the exhibition floor with a healthy sampling of its trove. Don’t miss Sansweet lecture at this panel on what it took to put it all together.


History of LEGO Sets 11:00AM Saturday (1hr, W300)

Lego's 1981 Alien Moon Stalker

Lego’s 1981 Alien Moon Stalker

2012 is the 80th anniversay of Legos. Over that timeframe the company has outlived one toy trend after another consistently delivering on their one core promise: put the building blocks of creativity in the tiniest hands. One hour might not be enough to cover more than what they’ve done for Star Wars alone but if you’re lucky they’ll find a way.

501st Group Photo 1:00PM Saturday (1hr, Atrium below W206 ABC)

Arriving in a Star Wars costume is one of the main motivators for a significant amount of the Celebration crowd. But its the men and women of the 501st that take it to an entirely different, and shall we say high-end, level. Largely Stormtroopers (but now including Emperor’s Royal Guards, Biker Scouts, Tie Fighter & AT-AT Pilots costumes as well) the 501st focus the proceeds of their efforts entirely on charitable causes. And when they get together for a group shot it’s nothing shy of epic. Here’s a sweet time elapse video of what happened during their group shot at the last celebration.

A Slave Leia at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con

Her Royal Worshipfulness at San Diego Comic Con 2012

Ben Burtt: In the Cutting Room with Star Wars 1:30PM Saturday (1hr, W414 ABCD)

Ben Burtt is the guy responsible for creating sounds from Star Wars including Darth Vader’s breathing, R2-D2’s voice and, oh yeah, the light saber. That means he’s arguably more responsible for the success of Star Wars than George Lucas himself. Definitely don’t miss an opportunity to find out what’s been on Burtt’s mind as of late.

Slave Leia Group Photo 2:00PM Saturday (1hr, Gentle Giant Booth #521)

The Slave Leia gang get together to prove that less really is more.

Episodes V and VI on The Big Screen 7:30PM Saturday (4.5hr, W415 A)

Two of the greatest films of all time on the big screen, and probably your last chance to see them that way until their respective 3D releases in 2016 and 2017. Look for me, I’ll be wearing my ‘Lapti Nek Lives!’ shirt.

cover photo by Matt Brown Esq