Star Wars Celebration London 2016: Episode 2
Welcome back for some more chit chat about Star Wars Celebration! Check out Part 1 of my report here where I talk about the Rogue One exhibition and my initial impressions.
After soaking in the general atmosphere and convention facilities it was time to get a little bit more involved in the actual convention floors. Star Wars was the first movie franchise that had a successful merchandise machinery attached to it and it more than showed: 90% of the convention space was crammed full of sellers trying to get their wares to the Star Wars obsessives.
Now I really have conflicted feelings about this side of Star Wars: On the one hand do I love the product design of the Star Wars films, and collecting the toys during my childhood brings back fond memories. So I am all for being able to buy some awesome convention exclusives!
On the other hand do I feel that the tidal wave of Star Wars related stuff can be overwhelming and abuses the dedication of Star Wars fans to rinse their pockets with yet another variant, special colourway or even a weird product that has nothing to do with the films apart from having a picture of Chewbacca on the packaging.
Sometimes I feel like this: Whipped into submission by the Lucasfilm marketing machine...
Disclaimer: I am a collector myself and the fact that Star Wars rinses the franchise for what it's worth is hardly a new thing. Yet seeing the sheer amount of Star Wars stuff in one place at the same time really had my head spinning. I had the same reaction when I visited Tokyo in 2007: Too much of a good thing all at the same time.
Still, there was a lot of awesome toys out there and I would be lying if I say I didn't check it all out! I am a big fan of the Tamashii Nations Movie Realization figures that give the toys a Japanese spin and I do have a weak spot for Star Wars Christmas decorations also...
This backpack scared me a little bit though:
One bit that felt a bit cash grabby to me was the badge swapping scheme that happened all around me: The badges were sold in packs of 4 and ( from how I understood it ) did you have to swap them with fellow fans to get your hands on all the different designs. Nothing wrong with that, that's quite fun! Just the initial price tag of £22 per pack of 4 really felt steep to me as you needed to buy more and more badges to be able to swap!
So do I assume correctly that each 4 badges, bought or swapped, have a value of £22?! If yes then this man has a lot of money hanging around his neck...
So preparing a costume, buying a day convention ticket, food, drinks and merchandise purchases made a day out at Celebration quite expensive! Although I didn't consume much and kept purchases down I spend around £250 all in. Ouch!
Another downer was that the big panels were extremely quickly sold out. I didn't even try to get into any as I was aware that I would have had to queue from 6am in the morning to get a wristband to be able to see Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher live on stage.
It wasn't so much of a biggie to me but I was talking with some disappointed fans who travelled from far to get to the Celebration and who missed out on the big panels. For the high price tag on the Celebration tickets it would have been cool to make the experiences of the main hall panels more accessible. And I don't mean just on YouTube!
Talking about seeing your heroes: Having Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and many other original Star Wars actors attending to take pictures and sign autographs was pretty awesome. Still, another bit of money that needed to be budgeted for as these opportunities didn't come cheap!
Ah LEIA! I was very tempted to get close to my favorite enslaved Space princess, yet I felt it would be weird to have an elderly lady signing pictures of her skimply clad beach bod in a gold bikini with me drooling all over it! Sometimes you should not meet your heroes, so I decided not to give into the dark side of the force and save myself £80...
The most expensive player in the autograph / signature game was of cause Luke Skywalker himself: Charging £145 for a picture and £135 for an Autograph, Luke's gotta eat!
Still I must admit that Mark Hamill looks like he is giving it his all and really connects with the fans so that's cool. Plus I am digging the 80ties school picture set up with that marbled background!
Another thing to indulge in at Star Wars Celebration was the massive tattoo section. Seeing a row after row of fans getting their favorite character inked by a tattoo artists dressed in full imperial uniform was a sight to behold!
Whoever got that Jar Jar motiv inked gets my maximum respect. Loving the tattoo of Kylo Ren from the Undercover Boss SNL skit as well!
Here are the two most impressive tattoos I spotted wondering around: First, this lady who got her son inked in full Han Solo uniform...
...and @jeanett_diaz with her Leia Organa dedicated back! Nuff respect to Norway...
As it was the last day of Celebration thing closed down pretty quick around 5PM, so rebels and stormtroopers alike had to shuffle towards the train station to return back to our solar system. What a day!
Would I go again? Yes I would, but maybe a bit better prepared, as this time I stumbled into all of this quite spontaneously.
My take away from all this is that being really really into something can be a great thing and it can be a weird thing if you fall too deep into the rabbit hole. It's an inner battle for sanity I have to fight everyday myself so no judgement from me here as where that line of sanity is drawn! One love to everybody I met!
See you at a Rogue One screening when that film finally comes out and... May the Force be with you... always!