In 2020, fans were disappointed but not surprised when Star Wars Celebration Anaheim was postponed until 2022. The massive convention was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic deemed it unsafe for people from all over the world to gather in large groups. Even with the dark news, fans still had hope for 2022. Now, however, things aren’t looking promising for a gathering in Anaheim.
On January 6, The Verge reported that E3 would be going virtual with its expo in 2022. Not only is E3 one of the largest gaming conventions in the world, but it was also scheduled to happen later this year in June. Because Star Wars Celebration is scheduled to take place in May around Memorial Day, it’s very likely this convention won’t happen in person this year either.
This is the third year in a row E3 has canceled its in-person convention, but the expo has still managed to plan virtual events to replace the experience media and fans couldn’t get face-to-face. At first, Celebration simply decided to skip its 2020 event and carry over tickets into 2022. Even without the pandemic, the convention was already planning to adopt an every-other-year model and alternate years with D23. Now, executives have a choice to make.
It’s possible that Celebration could still hold its in-person event, but it would have to implement strict mask, vaccination, booster, and social distancing mandates both for safety reasons and to make attendees who meet these qualifications feel protected and comfortable. In light of this, and if Celebration follows E3’s example (other similar conventions are likely to do so), however, it’s looking like this convention will either have to go virtual for the first time or cancel altogether.
Many of the convention’s panels and other events have been livestreamed to YouTube in the past, so there’s no reason something similar can’t happen again. Even if panels and other events are limited to only a few days, fans and ticket holders already lost out on one year’s experience. For the safety of the masses, they’d be wise to make some kind of virtual alternative work.
It wouldn’t be the same as Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 or any years or locations before that. But perhaps, at least for now, it’s the best option for all.
Star Wars Celebration 2022 is still scheduled for May this year.