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Click herespacer Star Wars Celebration III
with Lando da Pimp

You can also go to the image gallery.

If you hate waiting in lines then do not ever attend a Star Wars Celebration convention. People started lining up to enter the convention the night before by sleeping on the sidewalk. I talked with some fans who got in line at 8:00 in the morning and that still put them far back.

I have a theory that Star Wars fans love to stand in line for things extremely early. Lines would form hours before an event. These same people would complain but I think they secretly enjoy it. Throughout the convention as I would stand in line people would inquire why we were standing in line. Then get in line and wait. It's insane. Think about the fans that are waiting in line for Episode III at a theater that may not even show the movie.

click to seeCelebration Store
I began my first day by visiting the Celebration store. I was warned that the wait for the store is long. I managed to get in and out in about two hours with a shirt and an exclusive Celebration III Vader. Once the convention opened people instantly ran to wait in line for the store. I talked with a few people who spent seven hours in line. The major problem is the amount of merchandise that people buy. The few people that were in front of me bought an average of $600 of shirts, figures, and other C3 items. I think they need to separate the action figures from the store. This would help alleviate the large line. If you weren't aware, the exclusive Vader has a voice chip you can activate (and change its batteries!) with out opening the package. It has James Earl Jones saying various Star Wars lines as well as Welcome to Celebration III, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villiany. Sweet!

Exhibition Hall
The exhibition hall was my next visit. The hall contains a number of Star Wars toy merchants as well as toy companies like LEGO, Hasbro, Sideshow, and Master Replicas.

click to seeLEGO
LEGO had a great display. In the back of the booth is a lage LEGO ROTS Star Destroyer. This ship is massive with amazing details. I managed to get a shot of the ship from underneath where the docking port is located. All the new Star Wars sets were available for purchase including the new Star Destroyer set which LEGO also used as a contest. Groups of fans competed against each other in constructing the set in a timely fashion. The fastest builders won a LEGO Darth Vader trophy. Runners up received a Darth Vader LEGO medal.

The big news was the LEGO Star Wars cartoon that is debuting on Cartoon Network on May 8th. I was hoping we would get a look at it but was denied!

click to seeSideshow
Sideshow displayed the no-longer-available Han and Luke sculpts along with the almost sold out Darth Vader. The General Grievous was debuted for the first time at Celebration 3. It is amazing. If it is anything like the other Star Wars merchandise than this will sell out fast.

Hasbro showed nothing that hasn't been displayed before. We saw a lot at Toy Fair. It was nice to see all of the figures for Episode III including the figures that are in short supply. Hasbro was handing out Attacktix along with the poster of the episode III figures.

Master Replicas
Master Replicas had an exclusive Celebration 3 mini-lightsaber that people were willing to wait in a long line again. I finally broke down and purchased the Darth Vader Episode V lightsaber.

click to seeAutograph Hall
If there is one area that you can go broke in it's the autograph hall. To get autographs you had to purchase coupon tickets that were $10 each. Each actor charged a number of tickets to sign a photo, action figure, or whatever you had ready to sign.

click to seeI was really disappointed in who was available. The biggest star was Billy Dee Williams (Pimp daddy of the galaxy) who was only available on Saturday and Sunday. He charged 3 coupons ($30) an autograph. The remaining actors charged 1 to 2 coupons. I decided that I would spring some cash for an autograph and decided to choose Ralph Brown who played Ric Olie in Episode I.

click to seeLucasfilm Archives
I was really disappointed that this exhibit was not larger. Most of the costumes and props were from Episode III with the highlight being the Yoda puppet from The Original Trilogy. The Art of Star Wars exhibit that was at the Air & Space Museum in DC a few years ago spoiled me.

The most fascinating aspect of conventions is the fan-made costumes. The biggest presence is the 501st with the collection of Stormtroopers, Sandpeople, Bounty Hunters, and Darth Vader. The costuming talent is amazing.

oooh la laThe highlight of the costumes for me and many other men were the women dressed in Princess Leia's Slave Girl Gold Bikini. However this was also the lowest moment at times depending on who was wearing the suit.

A number of fans also choose to create their own Jedi, bounty hunters, and Sith Lords. The strangest was the Gangster Fett. Hell even the Ghostbusters showed up!

click to seeRick McCallum
The highlight of the weekend was my meeting Rick McCallum. As I was getting ready to enjoy Thursday's Opening Ceremonies I wanted to drop my stuff in the hotel only to discover that I was riding in the elevator with Rick McCallum. I should have asked for a picture but was considerate and just said hello. He in turned asked how I was enjoying the convention. I then dropped my stuff off only to discover that he was leaving the hotel after me. I managed to snap a picture of him on the way in to the convention.

I didn't attend the opening ceremonies for the lack of interest in standing in line. I did however wait an hour for his Star Wars Spectacular Q and A. We first witnessed 10 minutes of Episode III footage that just blew the audience away. No photography was allowed but I am sure somebody was able to get video of it. Most of what we saw was extended cuts from the trailers with new footage thrown in. This was well worth the line waiting, long ass drive, and annoying crowds. I can't wait for May 19.

Rick answered a few questions. He did confirm that the Young Indy DVD's would be released soon with the confirmation that a script was finished for Indiana Jones 4 and that after Spielberg is finished with the two movies he is working on all of his attention will be on Indiana Jones.

Rick also confirmed that in the next few years we'll see Star Wars in 3D. Ten minutes of footage has already been transferred to 3-D and blew people's socks off.

The big announcement was that Episode III was finished on April 19th, one month before release in which he promised that this is the film fans have been waiting for. Judging from what I saw I would agree with him.

you know you want to see the restOverall Over all this was a great convention. I did witness some really rude people in the opening ceremonies line and the greediness for collectables is really disappointing. A few of the guys from the Pittsburgh Fan Force put me up for the night and I wanted to give them props for giving me a place to sleep.

The Q & A's were sometimes obviously rehearsed making it painful to watch but others like Rick McCallum's was so much fun.

Here are a few tips if you plan on going (If there are more Celebrations). Become a fan club member and become a volunteer. Volunteers have to work but this gives you a number of free autographs and gets you into areas without waiting in line. Visit the store ASAP. If you wait too long you could miss out. Lastly learn to enjoy waiting in line. You will do it a lot.

Now it's time to check out my photo gallery. Feel free to leave comments under each picture.

Check out the rest of our Star Wars coverage as we get ready for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Article ©2005

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