Star Wars: A Geek’s Tale: Episode XVII- Pt. 2

ciiiyodaI stayed in my room for an hour just resting. My lower back and legs were still incredibly sore from standing in line so much. I watched a little TV, wrote down some notes for these e-mails and drank a couple bottles of water before going for lunch at the Circle Centre Mall. From the mall I headed back to the convention center, armed only with my digital camera.

I spent a few minutes taking pictures of the fans in costume before I got in line for the Spectacular. My timing was perfect because I was seated in the front right corner of the 500 Ballroom in less than twenty minutes. The show started just a few minutes later.

The Spectacular is a Celebration tradition that began with CI in Denver back in 1999. Rick McCallum, the producer of the prequels and George Lucas’ second banana at Lucasfilm, puts together about five to ten minutes of never-before-seen footage from the upcoming movie. He showed us his footage from Revenge of the Sith, some behind the scenes stuff, then did a Q&A session with the audience. Before the program ended he showed us the movie footage one more time. The crowd loved it. The stuff he showed us looked awesome and actually made me want to see the movie even more than beforehand.

With the show over, the crowd started to exit through the doors at the other end of the ballroom. McCallum left the stage and was headed towards doors on my end of the room. A small group approached him and he started signing autographs, shaking hands and posing for pictures. He did this for a few minutes while I gradually worked my way towards him. I was just two people away from getting his autograph when a security guard informed him that he had a special guest to see him. He left us but said he would be right back.

A few rude buttholes moved up to the barrier between us and McCallum before he returned. They got to him before he could get back to where he had previously left off. Security was telling him that he only had time for a few more pictures and autographs. He walked right past me. How typical of my luck, I thought as he stopped for another autograph. The security guard in front of me told us that that was it. I looked at him and then McCallum and said “Oh, come on” as I held out my badge. The guard tried to push my badge aside and said, “No! That’s it!” McCallum looked at me and then at the guard. He grabbed my badge, signed it and gave the guard a look like “what are you gonna do?” I couldn’t believe it! For once in my life I won!

McCallum seemed like a really cool guy. Unlike the Hollywood stereotype, he seemed to appreciate the fans. When someone took a picture with him, he would ask if the camera was digital. If it was and the picture wasn’t very good, he’d pose with the person again until they got a good one. He would have stood there all day signing for everybody if he had the time. Witnessing this and getting his autograph more than made up for all of the lines and promised to make the entire weekend worth it.

One of my other goals for the day was to locate a booth with one of my favorite comic book artists. Jan Duursema is the artist for the “Star Wars: Republic” comic book set during the time of the prequels. Her work is just fabulous. She and about twenty other artists from various fields of work were commissioned to create prints based on the saga. They could sell up to 250 copies of the prints at a price that they would set. Duursema’s piece was of two Jedi characters she helped create for the comic book, one of which appeared in Episode II and plays a prominent role in Episode III.

I finally found Duursema at the Dark Horse Comics booth. She was scheduled to sign her prints on Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00. She was standing at the booth talking to a few fans dressed as the characters she designed. I waited several minutes for the opportunity to let her know how much I enjoy her work. That opportunity never presented itself so I left.

I did find another artist nearby who was signing his prints. His name is Russell Weeks and he created one of the coolest Star Wars posters I’ve ever seen. A signed poster was only $20, so I bought one. He signed it any way you wanted it, so I asked him to sign it with my favorite line from the movies, “The Force will be with you — Always.”

I walked around the Exhibit Hall some more. I stopped at the Scholastic booth to inquire about a series of books they are doing based on Obi-Wan’s adventures between Episodes III and IV. I also stopped at the Official Pix booth and purchased a pair of 8X10’s from Episode III – one of Obi-Wan and a very cool one of Darth Vader.

My back and legs had had enough so I decided to leave. When I reached the exit I saw that it was storming to beat hell. I wasn’t about to walk through that mess. I walked around the center some more.

Somehow, above the din of the crowd, I could hear my cell phone beeping to tell me I had a voice mail. It was Suzie asking about dinner at their house the next night. I tried calling her several times but kept getting a busy signal.

I gave one more look at the program guide and saw that the Behind the Scenes room was going to have John Knoll, a computer effects guru at Lucasfilm, giving a presentation. I was very interested in seeing that until I saw the line for that show. I said “to heck with that” and headed for the exits once more.

The rain had stopped by now, so I headed back to the hotel. On the way there, I was able to get through to Suzie. We arranged a time for me to come out and she gave me directions to their house.

When I got back to my room I decided that was it for the night. Most of the things I was interested in at the convention center were nearly over or were overcrowded. I showered, ordered room service and watched some more TV. I looked at the program guide to make plans for Saturday.

The big event was the George Lucas sessions. He was making his first appearance at a fan convention since 1987. It was easily the most anticipated event of the weekend and would have the longest lines. Seating was limited to 3300 fans for each of the three sessions. Realizing the line would start by midnight and that the weather forecast was for near-freezing temperatures and rain, I decided I would skip on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see my lord and master.

Nearly exhausted, I went to bed by 8:30. My crying little friend from Wednesday night was back. The little shit was crying more like a spoiled brat than as an injured or tired child. I desperately wanted to give him something to cry about. There was also a party of Star Wars geeks either in the hallway or, most likely, in the elevator lobby. They were extremely loud and made it very difficult to sleep. I considered joining them but was just too tired to do so.

Coming up:
CIII Day 3

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