So Love Has Blinded You?

Over the past week I have come to the realization that if I connect with a character in a deep and meaningful way in a Star Wars movie, I become blind to almost all the other flaws within the movie.

I came to this realization primarily with two movies of the Saga:

  1. The Phantom Menace
  2. The Force Awakens

 

The Phantom Menace

 

With the Phantom Menace, my obsession is with Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon opened up a world to me that didn’t exist prior to the Prequels, and more specifically, the world of the Jedi as a functioning unit/organization.

I loved it. But it was peculiar because I loved Qui-Gon and didn’t care about any of the other Jedi on the Council or within the movie. Obi-Wan generated a shrug and “whatever” attitude from me, but I was obsessed with Qui-Gon.

I think the reason is two-fold: 1) Qui-Gon is a Jedi so therefore he follows some kind of moral compass , but 2) he is not on the council because he does not completely follow the Code and that is deliberate because he marches to the beat of his own drum.

I adored everything Qui-Gon said and did in The Phantom Menace…and I still do. I don’t understand why people dislike TPM because I’m blinded by the fact that Qui-Gon is in the movie and takes the movie to the next level.

There are flaws in TPM though, just like any other movie but there are glaring issues. I never realized this until this weekend when I saw that I have the same predicament with The Force Awakens.

Here are what I believe are the main issues with TPM. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m only just coming to these realizations this weekend when I tried to take an objective look at the movie.

  1. The characters. If you’re a fan who grew up with the OT, the characters of TPM seem stale, lacking in warmth and connection, and they are not relatable. Whereas with the OT, we can kind of see ourselves in each of the three heroes shoes, with the PT, unless perhaps you followed a political career path, the characters seem less at ease and more distant. And don’t get people started on Jar Jar Binks (though I don’t really mind him but can understand why some people do).
  2. The politics. I have noticed this one before and have written about it. The movie is bogged down in politics to the point that it may become suffocating for some people. There is no simple (or even really linear) plot as everything is shrouded under Trade Federations, senate issues, etc.
  3. Droids. The droids were not as menacing as they should have been. The Destroyers did the job well but the Battle Droids came off comical. Where’s the fear that people had of the Empire? It’s not there in TPM, in fact, other than Darth Maul, there’s no real fear of the Trade Federation.
  4. No greater cause. With the OT, it felt like they Rebels were fighting for something real and a greater cause for the galaxy. In TPM, that essence is missing. There’s no overarching big bad guy to fight.

 

I’m only trying to play devil’s advocate here as many of you know how much I love TPM. It was the first Star Wars movie I saw in theaters and I thought it was amazing. I love that the main character is a child and there are numerous GOOD things about the movie.

But, I also came to realize that when digging deep on why I like TPM it all comes back to Qui-Gon. I blabber on about the Old Republic and the Jedi, but at my core, it’s all about Qui-Gon. He has blinded me to faults within TPM.

 

The Force Awakens

 

I had a very interesting Twitter discussion this weekend with other Star Wars fans. I learned that most hardcore fans are NOT looking forward to the Han Solo movie (this was also slightly confirmed in blog comments from last Friday). On top of that, what I thought was a minority of fans dissatisfied with Disney and the new movies, it’s actually a lot larger and the frustration runs a lot deeper than I had originally assumed.

I know there are people who did not enjoy The Force Awakens and as I was (am) a lot older when I saw TFA vs. TPM, I’m more aware of the issues in present time, instead of finding out years later.

However, I have a similar issue with TFA that I did with TPM: I love Rey. I love her more than I love Qui-Gon. She’s a female character who is relatable, but she can also fight and use the Force. She is strong without falling into a stereotype of a bland, physically strong female protagonist who has no emotion. I loved the character so much that I named my daughter with Rey as her middle name.

People bring to my attention all kinds of flaws with TFA and I have been able to argue or rationalize all the problems. I try to convince people that the movie is actually quite good and they are being bullheaded. But is the movie good? Or is my love for Rey blinding my love for the movie?

Tweeting this weekend with other fans made me take a step back and realize that TFA has some pretty major flaws.

  1. Too similar to A New Hope. This is obvious and even I couldn’t deny this one. The movie practically copies ANH in every way possible, to the point that even my beloved main character comes from a desert planet. Really? Starkiller Base is a bigger, badder Death Star…that gets blown up by the Resistance. Resistance sounds too similar to Rebellion. At least the Empire got a makeover in their name.
  2. Our 3 main heroes never get screen time. If you are going to go to such lengths to copy ANH and pay homage to the movie, why didn’t you give our 3 heroes some screen time together? If everyone survived, we could have maybe hoped for a reunion further down but that has been revoked with Solo’s death and the real death of Carrie Fisher.
  3. Politics…or lack thereof. Whereas TPM delved into politics TOO much, TFA goes in the extreme opposite direction where we have no understanding of the current political climate. At least within ANH we had some mumbles about the Imperial Senate and we understood Empire vs. Rebellion. In TFA there was Republic, a Resistance, and a First Order…but the First Order sounds kind of small? Or is it large? And is the First Order now the opposition group, like the Rebellion was?
  4. Too much convenience. Rey learns to use the Force very quickly. Artoo wakes up at the most convenient time. Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber magically appears at the right moment with no explanation of where it came from. There’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief that you can accept when you see a movie, especially one in the sci-fi category, but TFA leaped and jumped over that line. Perhaps we will get all the explanations later, but if not, this is a glaring problem.

 

I have stood up to people’s complaints about TFA just as I did with TPM, but this weekend, I had to admit and accept that both movies have a lot of flaws. Would I love TPM or TFA as much if Qui-Gon and Rey were not in them? That’s where I bite my lip and think…no, probably not.

Qui-Gon was not in Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith and I do not enjoy the movies as much as I enjoy TPM. I actually reallllly don’t like AOTC and I enjoy ROTS but it’s not something I usually pull out to watch at odd times like I do with TPM.

With the future Sequel Movies, I get nervous that they won’t capture Rey’s essence as well as they did in TFA. I worry that there will be no character development or that she will become the Hollywood stereotype of a “strong female character” instead of, well, just, Rey. At least there is hope for The Last Jedi and Episode IX, whereas the Prequels are over and done with.

 

Tell me – have you ever loved a character (any movie, doesn’t have to be Star Wars) so much that it’s blinded you to shortcomings in the movie?

Fan Art Friday! Homage to the great Princess

After being a total bum and missing last month’s Fan Art Friday, I’m back this month with Mei-Mei.  She picked a great one – a simple picture of Princess Leia so that we could nod our head to the lately departed.

Though this picture is simple, it brought up so many memories for me of who Princess Leia was and how she impacted my life.

I think most importantly – and also most interestingly – was my initial reactions to Leia being a princess.  When I was younger, I grew up like most children my age with the definition of a princess being a Disney Princess: flowing gowns, a prince charming, magic, etc.

Knowing Leia was a princess did not register with me for a few years, only because I had never encountered a princess other than a Disney princess.  What ended up happening is that my brain rejected it because I could not understand it.  I’m not sure how to explain this properly but she did not fit a mold of how I understood princesses to be and therefore I did not think she was a princess.  This was all strangely subconscious.  Obviously I called her “Princess Leia” but I think the title “Princess” became synonymous with her name, and not a title.

It took a few years and some growing up for me to understand that she was still a princess, albeit different from what I was used to.  I ended up loving her for it.

princess-leia-trash-compactorThis woman was a princess, but snarky, witty, and able to stand her ground with other men.  In fact – she was the one who got them out of the trapped Death Star hallway…even though it was a trash compactor.  I loved her line of, “Well, somebody has to save our skins.”

One of the things I loved most about her is the fact that she never really thanked Han and Luke for rescuing her.  The adult part of me thinks that’s horribly rude, but then some of me loves it because I realize that maybe she always knew there would be a way out.  Maybe she knew that she didn’t need men to rescue her so it was just a helpful coincidence that they showed up at the right time.  Of course, Han did it for money so it’s not like she should thank him anyway.

As Princess Leia evolves, she changes from the sarcastic princess, to someone a bit warmer.  I believe the sarcasm and wit were a wall that she used in ANH to hide her true self.  As ANH continues, we see more of the woman she really is towards the end, when she counsels Luke about Han having to choose his own path.  In ESB, she still has the wall, especially with Han, but Leia’s metaphorical wall finally gets destroyed as Han gets physically enveloped by a real wall.  In ROTJ, the Leia we saw in ANH is barely present.

Funnily though, I never found Leia to be a very relatable character.  I loved her, but she was never the one I yearned to be like as I always wanted to be Luke.  But what Leia taught me is perhaps a more valuable lesson – how to hold my own around men.  When I look back at my teenage years, I’m thoroughly embarrassed by the way I would act to get men’s attention.  I would act like a ditz and an airhead because it made men (boys) laugh.  I was degrading my intelligence for their benefit and attention.

With the help of my best friend at the time and watching Star Wars, I realized that Leia would never act like I did.  She was able to show that you can be valued for your honesty, intelligence, humor, and not be held back because you are a woman.  And you can be royalty to boot as well.

So while coloring this picture, I wanted to pay homage to the Princess Leia that I love and knew.  I tried to keep it simple so that it mostly spotlighted her.  I chose colors that came to mind when I thought of Alderaan: rolling green grass and forests with streams of water.   Instead of giving her the title of Princess Leia which took me so long to accept, I gave the title of “Her Worshipfulness”, which Han called her once in ANH.  I surrounded the picture with some of my favorite quotes of hers that meant something to me over the years (sorry, the nerf herder quote had to be cut out due to it being too long).  I attempted to put the Rebel insignia into there as well.

This has to be my favorite coloring piece I have done so far only because of the gravity at which I took it and the memories and feelings it evoked for me.

princess-leia-coloring-book

Carrie Fisher, you will forever be missed as the woman who brought Princess Leia to life.  The Star Wars community mourns your loss and hope the Force is with you wherever you are now.

 

 

The Highs and the Lows: 2016

Another year has come and gone.  I always feel like 12 months is so long in the beginning of the year and then at the end, I feel like it was a blink of an eye.  “The days are long, but the years are short,” is what someone told me when ARM was a newborn and I totally get it now.

This blog didn’t have so well of a year as it did in 2015, primarily for two reasons:

  1. I posted a lot less, and
  2. TFA really helped out my blog last year.

That said, it didn’t do as badly as I feared either!  Only ~7000 views less than last year.  My most viewed post was Costuming & Characters on Princess Leia, followed by the Han Solo, and lastly Luke’s costume analysis.  I remember how long those took to write last year so I’m happy to see they are still getting traction.  My most viewed post that I wrote in 2016 was In Which I Defend General Hux and Speculate on Supreme Leader Snoke.

When searching the Internet, most people came to my site by way of “pregnant Padmé”, “Boushh Scene” and “Princess Leia Endor Ewok costume”.

 

2016, overall, was a great year for me personally.  In fact, there were more highs than lows which is always a GREAT thing, but I feel like the lows had longer effects.

 

The Highs of 2016

  • Obviously my daughter’s birth. With a middle name of Rey, I’m hoping this child grows up strong in the Force, independent; open to change, and a kind hearted person.  After having two failed pregnancies, it was nice to see this come to fruition and meet our own
    One of my favorite photos taken in Ireland

    One of my favorite photos taken in Ireland

    child at last.  I really was hoping she would come to this world on a Star Wars date, but alas, that didn’t happen.  I love her anyway though.  😉

  • We still traveled quite a bit this year: Florida in the earlier part of the year, Ireland and London in October, and Nashville in November.  I went by myself to NYC last month as well.  I’ve wanted to go to Ireland for years so it was nice to finally have that dream of mine come true.  I loved the Western Coast the best and we stayed in a beautiful, relaxing Airbnb right on the coast.  The backyard was a cliff to the ocean! London was way more fun than I thought it would be and I sincerely hope that I get to go back one day. We visited family and stayed for two days and I really wish I had stayed longer!
  • My business continued to thrive, despite having to figure out an unpaid maternity leave. I lost some clients, but also gained some!  I have also learned how to be picky on who I bring on as a client as my new schedule with a young baby does not give me as much availability as before.  But on the other end, I now am working very early in the morning and until late at night, so there is a darker side.

 

The Lows of 2016

  • The election. I actually had a whole post devoted to this, but then scrapped it because I don’t want my blog to be about politics.  But I can write about it briefly here!  In a nutshell – I am a registered Republican, but was/am appalled by Donald Trump.  I am trying to keep an open mind now that he’s been elected, but I do worry about the direction our country is headed.  That said, I did not think padme-gifHillary Clinton was a good choice either…but I thought she was the lesser of two evils.  Trump reminded me of the Empire, in fact, many times uncannily so.  I am hoping I will never need to say Padmé’s famous line of “So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause,” during the next four years.
  • My health. My health has taken quite a beating this year and I am still having issues.  I got the flu back in March and let me tell you – when you have any kind of sickness and your pregnant and/or breastfeeding – life gets a whole lot harder!  Being pregnant with the flu was horrible.  You can only take Tylenol, and not a lot of it, but it doesn’t help much.  If I got a coughing fit, I would pee my pants due to the baby sitting on my bladder/extra pressure.  It took a good month and a half for me to feel well again.  Fast forward to mid-October, I get another cold…that hasn’t gone away.  I found out I had strep throat for a few weeks without knowing it.  I took the antibiotics and broke out in a horrible rash.  I stuck with them and though I am slightly better, I am not 100% and it’s been 3 months now.  I went to a naturopath Monday and am hoping I start to get better.  We are experimenting with cutting out lactose for a few weeks (ugh) and she has me on a few different supplements as well.
  • The death of my grandmother and godmother. I was not especially close with my grandmother and she lived in Australia, but it’s still a family member.  I have funny memories of her and she was quite a quirky woman (the complete opposite of my dad).  However, she was older, in a nursing home, and it was an unspoken thought that it was only a matter of time.  But I was close to my godmother, despite the distance.  She died unexpectedly and that is always hard to deal with.  I still have all her texts on my phone and even now, a few months later, I can’t believe she’s gone.
  • This blog and learning a new life with a baby. I’ve definitely been posting a lot less since having ARM.  I knew it would happen but it’s funny how fast the weeks go by.  I’ll have a draft started and it may take me 2 weeks to finish it!  Or, I work on a post and by the time I’m almost done, I change my mind and decide it’s now irrelevant (a lot of Rogue One posts had that happen).  I also haven’t been able to keep with other people’s blogs on WP as much as I would have liked either.  Having a baby is a total adjustment.  Not only with blogging, but with life.  If people joke around that marriage is a ball and chain, life with a baby is that x10!  My life revolves around her nap time.  If something wakes her up too early during her nap time…ugh, I’ve almost had break downs.  Nap time is my time and it’s interesting at how much I cherish those few hours now.  I love her, but it’s hard to take time for yourself.  (Please note that this is barely a “low” of my life – it’s more of a big change)
  • Carrie Fisher’s death. I guess 2016 was not content with the death of Kenny Baker, our beloved Artoo, it also had to take our beautiful princess from us.  I think anyone my age knew that we would be alive to see the main 3 OT characters die, but no one wants a shocker death.  I’m curious as to what this means for the other saga films (she was done filming VIII, but was slated to also appear in IX) and what they are going to do with it.  I don’t want more CGI Leia, but it may be the only option at this point.  Killing her off-screen would be cheap and CGI would suck.  So we’re left in a no win situation.

 

MTFBWY Carrie Fisher on your next adventure

MTFBWY Carrie Fisher on your next adventure

2016 was overall a much better year for me than the past two.  I had very little lows that actually connected to my life, other than the death of my grandmother and godmother.  The birth of my daughter, though an adjustment to my life, has been so amazing.  Now that she is past the newborn stage, I’m loving her more and more every day.  She’s the joy of my life and I look forward to hanging out with her (isn’t that weird?  She can’t even talk).

In 2016, I learned that time passes even when you think it’s going so slowly.  There were moments of doubt, days with little sleep, fatigue due to sickness, and so much but I did learn that the “days are long, but the years are short.”  It’s so, so true.  My goal in 2017 is to appreciate more, love more, complain less.  Easier said than done, but it’s been so easy for me to fall into the complaining trap, especially when sleep deprived.  Is a positive attitude that hard?  Is smiling a struggle?  My goal is to fly a little bit more casual.  I have so much to be thankful for; I am so blessed.  I need to remind myself of that every day.

Thanks to all you guys for sticking around as I posted less in 2016 and my life has continued to evolve.  Here’s to Episode VIII.  Let’s hope Rey is as awesome as she was in TFA and has more personality than Jyn (teehee).

 

MTFBWY.

Rhode Island Comic Con Recap

I am officially detoxing from The Force Awakens.  I watched some TV spot last week and decided in the middle of it that I was done until December 17, 2015 at 7:00pm Eastern Time.

So, sadly, if you are expecting any TFA speculations, happiness, and musings, you will have to wait until the movie is released.

I think what drove me to this point was the fact that we had been given so little footage and information for 2 years and the sudden onslaught of trailers, international trailer, and TV spots just made my hyperdrive break down.  Too much excitement all at once and I realized I just want to keep everything I’m thinking the way it is and not form any new opinions.  I’m in a happy limbo area right now.

But – happy one month anniversary!  TFA opens in exactly one month!  Prepare for the Star Wars world to be forever changed…for better or worse.


I went to Rhode Island Comic Con for the first time on November 7th.  The only reason I went was because Carrie Fisher was going to be hosting a big panel on Saturday.  That’s a no brainer – Carrie Fisher??  In New England??  I’m there in a heartbeat.  Mostly I was hoping that she’d be her normal kooky self and let something slip about TFA that she wasn’t supposed to.  Though I might not like the spoiler, it would be fun to say I was there when she said it.

And then…she bailed the day before.  Yup.  (This is starting to be a recurring theme with me.) Supposedly she got pneumonia and wasn’t allowed to fly.  Really?  Maybe.  Her tweet confirms this but it doesn’t sound very contrite.

Carrie Fisher tweet

BE CONTRITE CARRIE!  YOU JUST LET DOWN AT LEAST 10,000 FANS.  (RICC has around 17,000+ over two days, so that’s a good guess right? ) Supposedly she has agreed to sign up for 2016 because of this cancellation, but that won’t be as fun since TFA will have come and gone.

Once I stopped wallowing in self-pity, I took another look at the Friday panels…and realized nothing really interested me.  HA!  But, dammit, if I spend money on something, I’m going.  They did have interesting guests like folks from Sons of Anarchy (never seen it), Jason Momoa (hot, but no thanks), and Amy Jo Johnson (that would be a trip down memory lane that is no longer relevant) – but for me specifically, nothing super intriguing.

I ended up going to:

  • Under the Helmet: The Men Who Played Boba Fett
  • Behind the Masks and Uniforms: Star Wars Characters
  • Growing up Geek: Nerd Parents Raising Geek Offspring
  • Exhibit Hall

 

Under the Helmet

I never want to go to another panel that Daniel Logan is on until he either a) takes some drugs to calm down, or b) gets off the drugs that are making him crazy.

This happened at another Super MegaFest, too.  There was a panel with him and Jeremy Bulloch and he dominated the conversation.  I thought, “Well, okay, the kid is in his early 20s, so I’ll give him a break.  Maybe he’s just excited and/or nervous.”

boba fettBut then I saw Jeremy Bulloch by himself a year later and realized how much I learned about Star Wars, Boba Fett, his work and life, George Lucas, and the industry without Logan constantly interrupting with a horrible joke or crazy statement.  It was fascinating and the kind of panel I love to go to.

So when I saw Logan two weekends ago, paired with Jeremy Bulloch and two other actors who had been under Fett’s helmet (Dicky Beer and John Morton), I realized that this craziness may just be Logan’s personality and I will have to skip panels with him in the future if I don’t want to be frustrated by his constant, annoying interruptions.  I would also like to say that this is not just me – I overheard some people in another line complaining about him.

To be a bit more positive, I did learn one interesting fact from him (I didn’t learn much from the others because they were barely allowed to talk): when he filmed the scene where Obi-Wan first confronts Jango Fett, he was having trouble making the correct facial expressions.  George would tell him, “Answer the door like you just saw something uncomfortable that you’re confused by,” and whenever Logan tried, George would just say, “No, that’s not it, try again.”  So Ewan McGregor told him, “Daniel, answer the door like I’ve just let off this horrible smelling fart.”  And apparently that did it.  HA!  I found that to be a cute story.

 

Behind the Masks and Uniforms

This panel was a lot more interesting than the Boba Fett one.  There were nine people on the panel!  Nine!  And it ranged from Jerome Blake (Mas Amedda), Garrick Hogan (Biggs Darklighter), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Michael Carter (Bib Fortuna), Dermot Crowley (General Madine), Clive Revill (original Emperor Palpatine voice in ESB), Erik Bauersfeld (voice of Ackbar and Fortuna), and Dicky Beer and John Morton again.

I wish we had more than an hour because with all the people on this panel since we basically got through 3 questions for each person.

I learned that Crowley (Madine) never grows a beard, but because the biggs and lukeaction figure was made prior to the casting of Madine, he was forced to grow a beard and he hated it.  Tim Rose (Ackbar) was excited to be back for The Force Awakens but wouldn’t say anything about it.  Apparently he heard rumors of Ackbar being back but never thought they would pick him since he’s so much older.  Hogan (Darklighter) was most disappointed that no one has seen his friendship scenes between him and Luke from the beginning of ANH because he said it lends more to the emotional friendship between the two characters.

 

Growing Up Geek

If you look at the actual schedule, this panel is at the same time as a Q&A with David Prowse.  I decided to skip Prowse for this panel because I was completely misled by what I thought the Growing Up Geek panel would be about.  Thankfully, I did not have to be disappointed for long because I received a text informing me that Prowse childishly told everyone he was sick and lost his voice, so would not be doing the panel and only doing autographs.  I say “childishly” because Prowse has a reputation for being a little surly when it comes to Star Wars and likes to build up this “feud” he has with George Lucas.  All his mumblings and grumblings have gotten him banned from any official LFL convention/event.  I was interested in seeing him though, but was kind of happy that he backed out because I got to enjoy the Growing Up panel without the fear of missing out.

That said, the panel was completely unrelated to what I thought it was going to be, but I sat through it anyway since I had nothing else to do.

 

Exhibit Hall

For me, the more Star Wars stuff, the better, when it comes to exhibit halls.  It’s also the prime place to spot some fun cosplay.  RICC’s exhibit hall was definitely spacious and there was something for everyone.  Lots of Star Wars Pop toys in so many exhibitor booths, but most Star Wars stuff focused on action figures, comics, autographed photos, and paintings.  No Star Wars stuff for the home, which is my favorite.

I did end up buying some tea from Tea & Absinthe though; they are always one of my favorites to see at a convention.  They make some cool looking Dr. Who tea for all the Whovians out there!

One of the best parts of the exhibit hall, and best marketing tactics, was done by Cox Communications.  They had a life size throne of swords/Iron Throne from Game of Thrones where you could take you picture on it for free.  The catch? In order to get the digital copy of it, you had to sign up for the newsletter.  No problemo for me.   I did my best Sean Bean expression as a Jedi.  What do you think?

 

Would I go to RICC again (without Fisher)?  Probably.  I thought they did a great job with providing enough Star Wars panels to be worth the trek and convention pass.   It was a good mid-size con, but I was surprised that I did not see as much cosplay as I thought I would!  I was expecting a lot more but RICC seemed a little on the tame side for costumes.  There were definitely some cool ones, also some wonky ones, but overall – not as many as I’d thought there would be.

Here’s the agenda for those that are interested: http://www.ricomiccon.com/#!events/cfvg

Do you think there was anything I missed that I should have gone to instead?

A slideshow of the one day for you:

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SWCA Recap

I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen you.  I think you’re even happier than on our wedding day.

Yes, that was my husband’s statement to me on the second day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.  Oh guys, it was amazing.  Amazing.  It was so much fun.  There were high, high points throughout the whole thing, and only a couple of points that brought me down.  Overall, I wish I was back there and already miss it.

The best:

  • Standing in line for 4 hours to get onto the main stage to see JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. We saw the
    Line at 6:00am was already so long. We barely made it for seeing the main stage

    Line at 6:00am was already so long. We barely made it for seeing the main stage

    new trailer first (twice!) and saw John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and a real BB-8!  We were exhausted but the thrill of the crowd, seeing the trailer, and being surrounded by Star Wars was the best feeling.

  • The funny inside joke we formed as a collective group. Whenever someone knocked down a barrier while standing in line, everyone would cheer and clap.  It started on Thursday morning before JJ and KK and continued with each long queue where there were metal barriers on the concrete floor.
  • All the cosplay! There were the standard stormtroopers, Jedi, Sith, but some of it was super funny or really well done.
  • The deeper panels they had for fans like me who wanted to know where the costumes came from, how myth plays into the OT and PT, and learning about the music that was taken out of the Empire Strikes Back.
  • The panels with Ian McDiarmid (such a nice gentleman AND he read from The Jedi Doth Return in the Emperor’s voice), Carrie Fisher (complete wack job and I don’t think I learned much about the experience of working on Star Wars from her other than sometimes she was really hungover. But she brought her dog on stage which had its tongue hanging out the whole time and that was funny), and Mark Hamill (so gracious, funny, and told great stories about working on set) were really fun to sit in on and watch, even if we had to sit through mega long lines.
  • Talking with other fans in lines about Star Wars. Unfortunately, some fans were not as talkative as what I remember in Celebration II and I wonder if some of that has to do with everyone being on their phones.  People were on their phones all. The. Time.  However, we did talk to some great people and I loved talking to kids.  There was one 5 year old kid that knew so much about Star Wars that I was completely shocked.
  • The Star Wars Rebels panel was great! I didn’t go see the premiere, but I loved seeing all the voice actors on stage (along with Filoni and Kimberg) and finding out that Hondo AND Captain Rex are back in Rebels!
  • Meeting Darth Amethystos. Yes, I got to meet a fellow WordPress blogger!  I was so happy because I always want to meet people that I chat with on comments but I know some people just want to stay behind their computer screens.  But we spent a bit of time together, we were both not weird or psychopaths (well, she wasn’t, I don’t know what she’d say about me), and got along just fine.  I thought that was one of the best parts of the trip though I think my husband was totally baffled on who she was (and still is) since he never reads this blog.

The worst:

  • The lines. Especially on Saturday.  I didn’t stay for Sunday, but I’m sure it was just as much of a shitshow.  Everyone locally decided to turn up at Celebration and it made the place a mess.  Carrie Fisher’s line on Friday was 1.5 hours and we got an okay seat, Mark Hamill’s line was ridiculous on Saturday and we were in line 2.5 hours early.  And there were still so many people behind us.
  • Someone crashed into me and my pizza was spilled all over my costume. This was, again, on Saturday
    And this is only half of my stain :(

    And this is only half of my stain 😦

    because everything was so cramped and congested that I turned around with a plate of pizza and BAM a young girl crashed into me and the pizza just slid down my tunic, onto my tabard, down my pant leg.  The entire left hand side of the costume that took me 2.5 years and a lot of money to make is now ruined.  I was able to get the grease out with a stain remover but my next step is the dry cleaners.  By the way, I got back in line with my husband and totally cried a little bit.  We had been standing in line for The Force Awakens exhibit (an exhibit featuring many of the costumes from TFA which was a complete surprise at the convention) for three and a half hours, plus I was hungry, so I think the crying is justifiable.  Oh, and the worst of this is that we didn’t even get to see the TFA exhibit!  We found out that the Mark Hamill line was already really long so I gave up and headed to that instead.  Soooooo 3.5 hours of my life wasted.

  • The exhibit hall. I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t organized very well.  It also didn’t have enough of those Star Wars household items I love so much (beach towels, hand towels, plates, etc.).  There were replicas you could take photos at but the lines were SO long that it wasn’t worth it.  I feel like there could have been a much better system for those so you didn’t waste your time in line for a stupid photo…like a scheduled time slot or something?  The spaces between booths were also really cramped, to the point that it was stifling.  The reason why I’m complaining about this is that I’ve gone to NYCC which has MORE attendees than Celebration and I thought the exhibit hall was so better organized and had a better variety of vendors, personally.  Maybe that’s because it’s a comic con, but still, I was a little disappointed.

Okay, so those are my high level feelings on SWCA, but honestly, it was SO much fun and I’d go back in a heartbeat despite standing in lines for hours, and my costume being ruined.

Now what did we learn at Celebration, because isn’t that the most important thing about conferences?  You sit in panels and learn things you’ve never learned before.  You get the latest news on new seasons of TV shows, new movies, etc.

What I learned about TFA:

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a scavenger in a ship graveyard, a loner until she meets a character and begins an adventure. My guess is the character is Finn since the new trailer definitely seemed to point that way.  Therefore, my conclusion is that Rey is not a descendent of any of the Skywalkers even though she looks so much like she could have come from the maternal side!
  • Finn is in a lot of danger and “the way he reacts changes his life”. We always see him looking like he’s nervous/in a hurry in both trailers, plus we’ve only seen him in a stormtroopers outfit except once in this new one, so not that much new information here.
  • Poe Dameron is sent on a mission by a “certain princess” where he meets up with Finn and they continue together. Okay, he didn’t say that, he said “their fates are forever intertwined”, which is a super interesting comment.  Forever intertwined.  And who’s this princess?  Leia?
  • The desert planet from the trailers is NOT Tatooine.   I didn’t think it was, because I thought it was too orange, but then all my Star Wars friends convinced me it was.  Sad to say, I got caught up in that and eventually agreed.  So when JJ Abrams revealed it’s actually the planet Jakku, damn, I was thrilled.  It also reveals a little more about planets and what I had discussed a few weeks ago.  So you CAN have more than one planet with the same ecosystem, which just makes sense.  But then again, perhaps only one section of Jakku is a desert.

Here are the behind the scenes photos they revealed to us (plus some better quality photos of them on stage since i was so far away):

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What I learned about Star Wars:

  • Anakin and Luke really have the same mythical storyline. They both are taken from those they love and their home (Shmi; Beru/Lars), become a hero by the end of the first movie, and train to become a Jedi.  The only difference is that Anakin falls to the dark side when confronted by the Emperor, and Luke chose to remain on the light side.  And that made all the difference (…or did it?  Guess we’ll find out in TFA).
  • Jar Jar was an important piece of the saga. Jar Jar was largely ignored and cast aside as annoying and beneath people’s notice.  In turn, Palpatine noticed that and preyed upon his insecurity by making Jar Jar feel like he was doing something important when Jar Jar gave emergency powers to Palpatine.
  • If we look at both the OT and PT, we should be able to predict some situations in the upcoming trilogy…namely, a character will undergo an arc of leaving home, having an adventure, and trying to decide right from wrong. What the panel expert believed is that someone should die in TFA, and his prediction was Han Solo.  The only reason I might agree is that I don’t think Harrison Ford is interested in doing any more Star Wars after TFA.
  • ESB had about 20 more minutes of music that was cut out by George Lucas. Examples that I’m glad were cut: Luke’s training on Dagobah and his fight with Darth Vader.  The training on Dagobah sounded like a silly, light hearted mixture that gave the impression the training was not serious.  By taking it out, we get the more realistic impression of hard work and intense learning.  The music while Luke was fighting Vader was very heroic and pro-Luke.  It didn’t make sense with the end of the fight, where Luke is defeated.
  • Both Captain Rex and Hondo are back for Season Two of Rebels, along with Ahsoka. Also, Dave Filoni has such a soft spot for when a child < 8 years asks a question that he almost always answers, even if it’s just to whisper it into the child’s ear and tell her not to tell anyone.

And of course…much, much more!  I have come back refreshed with new ideas on what to go into on my blog and topics to write about that I had never thought about before.  I think I’m still on the whole post-Celebration cloud 9 and it’s been a little over a week.

Rumor has it they will start doing them every other year and go between Orlando and Anaheim.  I hope so!  I can’t wait for the next one and do hope I’ll get to go again.

Enjoy my slideshow 🙂

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