The enormous and incredible STAR WARS CELEBRATION is happening in Chicago this week, but for a lot of people who love Star Wars, it’s a tough trip to make. If you won’t be rubbing elbows with the stars, how can you keep a Galaxy far, far away close to your life?
Conventions can be a great way to celebrate your fandom with other fans, and when it comes to Star Wars, there’s no show quite like Star Wars Celebration. Official Celebrations have been held 13 times across 5 US states and three countries. In the modern Disney age of Star Wars, they have become events where huge reveals about the future of the franchise have been made, including the first real information about The Force Awakens and Rogue One in 2015, and teasers for The Last Jedi in 2017.
This year looks to be no exception, with the Episode IX panel on Friday April 12th, and a look ahead at The Mandalorian on Sunday April 14th. Add to that the number of creators, stars, and fans who will be there, and it is truly a Star Wars event like no other.
And I can’t make it.
So, if you’re like me and can’t be there this weekend, here are some suggestions to help you keep up with what’s going on, and keep your absence from the Celebration from making you as blue as Max Rebo.
Something Celebration does exceptionally well is get the live streams of panels and events in place where you can watch them. These streams can sometimes give you an up close view even that you might not have if you were in the back row. (You are less likely in your home to catch a t-shirt from the Boba Fett t-shirt gun, however.)
Keep an eye on the official Star Wars Celebration website for live streams of the Episode IX and Mandalorian panels. You can also find those on the official Star Wars You Tube channel, as well as various content all weekend long, including The Star Wars Show live.
Cartoon fans, don’t lament! There will also be a stream for the panel discussing the return of The Clone Wars. Panels will also be held for Resistance season 2 and of course be the ‘Rebels Remembered‘ panel; at this time the official site is not advertising streams for those.
If something at Celebration is not being officially streamed, a great way to keep an eye on it is the social media accounts of celebrities and fans who are there. Make sure you’re watching Twitter and Instagram for the hashtag #starwarscelebration, #starwarscelebration2019 (as of this writing, already at 4500 IG posts), and #starwarscelebrationchicago (1630 IG posts already) or #SWCC.
Since you’re on Instagram anyway, check out a couple of my favorite tags, #starwarstoyphotography and #toyphotography. Recently we featured Jared Middleton’s fantastic toy photography here at Dork Side of the Force, but that is just the tip of the ice planet.
“Star Wars” and “toys” have a long kinship, and there are literally thousands of people out there right now playing with their toys and capturing it on camera in surprising ways. Take a look, but don’t be surprised if it makes you want to head down to your local store and get a couple of Stormtroopers for your shelf…unless you’re in my town, because I may have already bought them all. You can’t have too many Stormtroopers.
(Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
If toys are already on your agenda, there are some great panels coming up at Celebration as well. They may not be streaming, but keep an eye on some of those toy accounts on both Twitter and Instagram regarding Friday’s Hasbro panel. On Sunday there’s a retrospective on Kenner and Hasbro’s toy photographers who filled those little booklets we found in our X-Wing boxes growing up, leaving the most wanted circled parents could find them.
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Celebration will also have a great focus on Star Wars literature, with author signings and panels about existing and upcoming books. You can bring some of those books home right now with the recently released Queen’s Shadow by E.K Johnston (who will be at Celebration) and this month’s Star Wars Icons: Han Solo by Gina McIntyre. And though not quite in time for Celebration, we’re going back to young Obi-Wan (let’s hope THAT is a portent of some kind!) with Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey, who will be appearing Sunday in Chicago.
So, even if you’re not actually in Chicago celebrating Star Wars, there are lots of ways to celebrate wherever you are, and still have access to all the news and announcements coming from Celebration. Keep an eye out right here on Dork Side of the Force as our contributors provide panel coverage all weekend long, and find the method that best fits YOU as you celebrate what you love about Star Wars.
I’m going to go looking for more Stormtrooper action figures.