It’s just a few days away before the full force of Star Wars fandom descends on the Messe Essen convention center in Germany. It is time for Celebration Europe II. Fans attending the event, this blogger included, are busy checking out the schedule and making painful decisions about what to see and what to skip. So, before the event actually kicks off, how does the Celebration Europe II schedule look?
The organisers have done a great job of bagging three show-stopping guests; Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Ian McDiarmid. Mark Hamill was first brought into the Star Wars official convention world with Celebration Europe, so seeing him back is nice. Carrie Fisher hasn’t attended any UK based events since the classic trilogy was released on DVD, and with the great reviews her appearances get in the USA she should be a treat to see. Ian McDiarmid officially opened the first Celebration Europe, however has only recently embraced Star Wars Celebrations to actually sign and speak on stage. In a great move, each is headlining a different day of the convention, so even guests attending one specific day have the chance to see a star from Star Wars.
Of course Kathleen Kennedy will be an exciting guest with her first convention appearance, and the Celebration Stage will be packed out in the hope that she will reveal a little about the future of Star Wars. Although it is possible, it is most likely that she will use the opportunity to reassure fans about the new structure of Lucasfilm within Disney (although making it sound much more interesting than that!). Reflecting on the first Celebration Europe, Rick McCallum did a great job of exciting the audience without giving anything away at all! He simply used the words “live action TV series” and the crowd went nuts (Warwick Davis even suggested if there was a lull in the interview he should just say “live action TV series” again!). Thinking about how much the fans love Rick McCallum, it is a reminder of the boots Kathleen Kennedy has to fill.
Although the big names have been well spread out, screenings at Celebration Europe II have been made to clash in a frustrating manner. The 30th Anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi, an opportunity to see the film in an environment of fellow fans, is taking place on the Friday evening - straight after the documentary film Star Warriors and the special cinematic edit of The Clone Wars Darth Maul arc are being screened. Although clashes and making difficult decisions is a frustrating part of these events, it seems strange not to have made more effort to spread the screenings out more across the three days – after all, with Attack of the Clones 3D also being shown the line-up of movies to see is “most impressive” indeed.
There are many more simultaneous panels, interviews and talks at this event than there were at Celebration Europe in 2007, making Celebration Europe II look like it will be more in line with the American events. There will be lots happening all weekend on the Celebration Stage, Digital Stage and Behind the Scenes stage – plus more to see at the Collecting Panels, Star Wars University and Family Room. Many will also want to see the exhibits, squeeze in some shopping, catch a drink with fellow fans and maybe get some autographs. It’s going to be one busy event – even just to see a small selection of what’s on offer - and if previous Celebration events are anything to go by, one hell of a ride.
I will be covering Celebration Europe II here at Into the Garbage Chute. Stay tuned for images, quick round-ups of each day and then more detailed coverage of the event once it’s over.