Celebration – pt. 3

Thurday & Friday
By Thursday we had the convention center figured out and were discovering short cuts between the West and South Halls. It was Fan Club day – opening day.

Sarah and I slipped into the Exhibit Hall and scoped out the artists’ work before we had to report for our next training shift. (Actually, this was at least the 3rd time we’d been through the art area so we knew exactly what we wanted to purchase.) As the doors opened downstairs, we were in line ready to spend some $$.

After getting our prints, we wandered around and were amazed at how quickly lines had formed. It looked like Hasbro, Sideshow Collectibles, and the StarWarsShop had the longest lines. I almost bought the limited edition playing cards set but they were only taking cash. Sorry. Didn’t have that much on me!

We headed to the Vader helmet exhibit next. Amazing & weird. Toured the Archives, peaked in on the fan films, ate lunch, visited other CJ folks in the Fan Club Lounge, and then it was back to training. We spent a couple of hours moving furniture, discussing the types of furniture set up for the different programs, marked the stage so we knew where to set up, and helped with light checks. We were there when they started testing the digital audio & video and got to see the sneak preview for the new animated tv series. Whoa! Nothing like Clone Wars. So much cooler. And on the huge digital screen it looked absolutely beautiful. Amira Sa’id stopped in to get a look at the stage and to talk with the crew about how she expected her Slave Leia Bellydancing Lessons hour to proceed.

We caught the shuttle back to the hotel and met up with folks for the CJ pizza party. We were outside on a patio and it was freezing (well, freezing for L.A.). We were both exhausted so we retired back to the room fairly early.

Friday
Found a cheap breakfast on the 4th floor food court of the Westin. By 9:30 we were on the shuttle to the convention center. Amira and her Gamorrean guard arrived at the stage early to run through a little of her routine. I felt so bad for the guard. He had to stand up in heavy, hot costume for well over 2 hours. He said he couldn’t sit because the costume might start to come apart. I was so worried that he might pass out! Amira had a great turnout for the 12pm show. Girls of all ages, a Boba Fett, and a number of other guys joined her on stage for the bellydancing lessons. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

LucasArts folks from The Force Unleashed arrived in the green room (i.e., the black tent at the front of the room) while Amira’s show went on. I could not get over how nice everyone was. Haden Blackman (project lead/writer), Matt Omernick (art director), Brett Rector (asst. producer), our room host/emcee David Collins (audio lead/voice director), and actors Nathalie Cox (Kingdom of Heaven) & Sam Witwer (Battlestar Gallactica) took the stage at 1:30. Nathalie is Juno Eclipse & Sam plays Darth Vader’s secret apprentice in Force Unleashed. They talked about how the story was developed, how all the tech stuff is done, and how the actors were chosen & what they go through to make the game – amazing. I don’t play video games (bad hand/eye coordination) but I sure wish I did. This game looks like so much fun and seems to have a great storyline! I think they said there will be some print tie-ins. Hooray!

My shift ended at 2:30 so I headed to the Fan Club Lounge for a short time to rest and ran back into the Force Unleashed folks there where they were doing a meet & greet at 3pm. I asked Nathalie if she had fun getting to fly an Imperial ship and being a female Imperial pilot, since there were none in the 6 movies!

3:30 – headed to the Behind the Scenes stage for the Legacy of the Force (LoTF) panel. (LoTF is the current 9 book series from Del Rey.) CJ friend & writer Aaron Allston joined the other 2 other writers of the series – Troy Denning and Karen Traviss – on the stage and talked about the series concept process, the writing, and they told us the title of book 9. Karen’s book Sacrifice (no. 5 in the series) had debuted on Thursday at the con, and there is a major character’s death in the book – the writers asked that no one spoil the book for those who hadn’t purchased & read it yet (which included me).

4:30 – back to the Celebration Stage to catch what I thought was the end of Fanboys (a sneak preview of an upcoming movie) when actually I walked in on another sneak preview of 5/25/77. Afterward I heard that Fanboys was great, so I’ll have to watch for it to come out. Director/writer Patrick Johnson was on stage to discuss 5/25/77 with producer Gary Kurtz, who was producer for the original Star Wars & Empire.

6:00 – I have to head to Hall K for Team Cake, which I wrote about in earlier post.

See Darth helmet pictures & LoTF folks pictures on my FLICKR.

Yes, there’s still more to come… but not tonight!

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