Celebration Europe!

I spent last weekend in Germany, at Star Wars Celebration Europe. My first-ever Star Wars convention, and it was a blast. I got to hang out with some severely awesome folks and saw a ton of amazing costumes, and of course there were panels with some of the actors: Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and the inimitable Warwick Davies as host for every panel. Anthony Daniels is hilarious, Warwick Davies is hilarious, Ian McDiarmid is lovely but scary when he speaks German in his Emperor voice, Carrie Fisher is a little loopy but funny, and Mark Hamill is just plain nice. And really good at voices, surprise surprise. His Harrison Ford impression was spot-on, and it’s really funny to see Luke Skywalker talking in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice.

My favourite part of those panels was when they re-enacted scenes from the movies, with Warwick filling in various roles like Wicket, Yoda, Uncle Owen, and Vader. Most of them seem to have made it to YouTube, so you can look them up. I thought it was a great idea. And Warwick does a great Yoda voice, by the way.

We also went to see Kathleen Kennedy, who’s producing Episode 7. Hearing her talk about what they’re doing made me cautiously optimistic about the new movie – she said that they’re focusing on characters and story, which for me is a great sign. She also talked about special effects, using both the traditional “hand-made” ones that made the first trilogy so ground-breaking and the new digital effects, and that they don’t want digital effects to overpower the movie. That met with applause – I guess I’m not the only one who thought that the prequel trilogy suffers from an overemphasis on digital effects, to the detriment of story and character.

When Mark Hamill talked, he also mentioned the new movie, and for me, it sounded more like he wasn’t sure what his role would be, as opposed to being unsure whether he’d be in it. From what I heard, he seemed to take it for granted that he’d be in it, he just didn’t know in what capacity yet. That would be cool. I’m still very wary of the new movie, but if they bring back Mark, Carrie and Harrison, that alone would make it worth the trip to the cinema. Just to see. If it sucks, I’ll disregard it as a fan film. I’m ignoring a good chunk of canon anyway, at this point, because they seem to be making more and more bad decisions lately.

But getting back to Celebration – one of the highlights for me was seeing and meeting some of the artists who attended and showed off their work, especially Chris Trevas, Jerry Vanderstelt, and Joe Corroney (who, in addition to being a great artist, is also super nice). I didn’t have room in my backpack for proper prints, but I came home with a few signed cards and a ton of inspiration. I’m working on a new piece right now, and I think it’s going to be a good one. Hint: it features Han and Leia. And it’s the first time I’ve drawn Leia in that outfit.

I was also really, really impressed with people’s costumes. It’s incredible how much time and effort goes into it, and the results are amazing. We saw stormtroopers, Jedi, princesses, Sith, and all kinds of scum and villainy too. Between that and the set pieces and life-size models of Jabba’s palace and TIE fighters, there was a lot to look at. I got to shoot Greedo, stand next to Darth Vader, and sit in the Millennium Falcon. And I even found, and promptly bought, an “I ♥ Scoundrels” bag. It made this fangirl very happy, and I came home with a renewed love for all things Star Wars and bursting with inspiration and ideas.

So that’s where I am now. I’ll probably have more to say on this, and I’ll have some new art and things to show off soon as well, so stay tuned and all that!