Star Wars: A Geek’s Tale: Episode XX

Celebration III
Day 4
April 24, 2005

ciiihughesThe crying child tried to ruin my night one last time. I finally had enough of it and shouted out something to the effect of “Would you be so kind as to shut that doubtlessly adorable child’s piehole, please?” It might not have been in so many words but you get the idea.

Sunday began much like Saturday did as I chose to sleep in until 7:30. I quickly showered and dressed, packed my suitcase and other bags and headed down to check out. I then took my load of stuff to my truck before heading off to the convention center one last time.

I arrived at the Marriott around 8:40 and saw the woman I spoke to there on Saturday morning. She introduced me to her husband, who had been one of the poor people who waited in the rain and cold the day before. I found out they were from New Jersey. We were joined by a couple of other people who were also waiting for the line to die down. One of them was from St. Louis and the other from Pennsylvania.

Kenny Baker, the dwarf who inhabited the R2-D2 body in all six of the movies, walked by with his wife. A few dorks came running out of the hotel to get his attention. They behaved like morons, proclaiming that their lives were now complete.

The line to get inside was so short that I was inside by 9:30. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was going to do with the time I had left. I grabbed a program guide and learned that visual effects wizards John Knoll and Richard Guyett were going to have a presentation in the Behind the Scenes room in less than an hour. The line for the presentation was rather short so I parked my butt right there.

I was waiting next to a fan from Bakersfield, California. We spoke of our favorite aspects of the Star Wars experience. We both liked to listen to the soundtrack CD’s but differed on which movie’s soundtrack was the best. We preferred the original trilogy to the prequels but differed on which was best, the original versions or the special editions.

The crowd in the convention center was the smallest it had been all weekend. I thought it might be small enough that I would spend the rest of the day there rather than head home early.

The visual effects presentation was great. The two gurus showed off a bunch of their work during the different stages of production. What they showed us was incredible, making me want to see the movie that much more.

The crowd in the convention center had grown considerably during the presentation. Once again, it was difficult to make your way through the throng of fans. I decided it was time to go home.

I spotted a room with a sign that “Star Wars Art Exhibit”. There was no line to get in and it sounded like something I would be interested in, so I went in. I expected to see some of the conceptual artwork from pre-production. What I found instead was the artwork that had been commissioned for Celebration III, the artwork I thought would be found in the Exhibit Hall.

I wandered around the room admiring the different prints. There was one print in particular that I really liked. It was a print of Han Solo and Chewbacca racing back to the Millennium Falcon during a firefight.  Drawn by top-notch comic book Adam Hughes, it is a beautiful piece. I planned on purchasing that print until I saw Jan Duursema was also there selling her print. I studied her print of Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos to determine which print I would buy. In the end, I chose to buy the print of Han and Chewie but wanted to at least tell Ms. Duursema how much I admired her work. Just like on Friday though, she was surrounded by a small group of fans, a few of which were dressed up like the Jedi Vos. I patiently waited to speak to her but gave up after about ten minutes. I bought the Han and Chewie print and finally headed out towards the parking garage and my truck.

It was now about 12:30. The show ended at 3:30 that day so I didn’t feel too badly about missing anything vitally important.

The drive home was naturally spent thinking about my experience over the last four days. The experience was incredible.

The lines were atrocious but getting Rick McCallum’s autograph and seeing George Lucas made it all worth it.

Seeing the children’s reactions to the costumed fans was priceless and made me change my opinion of the freaks.

What surprises me the most is that my favorite thing over the whole weekend was meeting and speaking to so many different people. Not exactly a “people person”, I generally try to avoid speaking to people if at all possible, especially strangers. Three years ago during Celebration II I managed to get through the weekend without speaking to anybody. This year started in a similar fashion until I met Charlie from Toledo on Friday. Talking to him showed me that there were some people there who were a lot like me and convinced me that it wouldn’t hurt one bit to open up to some of these people.

Maybe I’ll be able to carry that lesson forward into my everyday life.

Nah, I doubt it.

Coming up:
I’ll try to answer the question “Why?”

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