Don’t get caught in an Admiral Ackbar-like trap this holiday season; ensure you’re one step ahead of the droid army with this handy gift guide.
Star Wars Celebration Europe was over before it began and Sunday at 5:00 p.m. came far too quickly. We said our goodbyes to all the friends we only see at Celebrations around the world, knowing that the next fan gathering would take place in Anaheim in April 2015. We loaded Slave-2 and squeezed the vehicle out from the stand, made arrangements to pick up Maureen and Jeremy at 09:30 the following morning, and headed back to our hotel to rest our weary heads before the next day’s long drive back to the UK.
Day 6: Wednesday, 24th July
After a restful night’s sleep in Utrecht, Holland, we awoke a little later than normal before we started our final day of travel to Star Wars Celebration Europe onboard the Caravan of the Force, in association with Toys”R”Us. We all enjoyed a good breakfast and the hotel management ensured we had provisions for our journey in the form of mini muffins.
We loaded Boba Fett, a.k.a. Jeremy Bulloch, into the cargo hold and once the rest of us were ready and the satellite navigation systems were programmed with the address of Messe Essen, we started the drive. Along the route we found a great Italian restaurant where we all enjoyed rather large pizzas and big bowls of pasta.
Day 5: Tuesday, 23rd July
Day five of Caravan of the Force, in association with Toys”R”Us, began with a delicious breakfast in our Antwerp hotel, a wobble down two flights of stairs with our luggage to the car park (which the night before was the scene of a 30-minute hunt for a space) and off towards the Dutch border and our first appointment at 11.38 a.m. with the Dutch Garrison. We were timing our visit to also meet Martino and Daan who were cycling to Celebration to raise money for Opkikker, a charity that helps seriously ill children. As every garrison has been on the tour, the Dutch were excellent hosts, posing for photographs, donating to our Make-A-Wish collection and making a huge fuss of Jeremy as he was interviewed by the local media and greeted by fans.
Day 4 – Monday, 22nd July 2013
The Caravan of the Force in association with Toys”R”Us started day four with an alarm call, a shower and breakfast before loading up Slave-1 and Slave-2 and heading on out from the hotel. Soon we left France behind and entered Belgium, travelling the two hours from Lille to Han-Sur-Lesse and the Caves of Han. It had been suggested we visit here, not only because of the obvious Han Solo connection but because the caves are a place of outstanding beauty, and boy were they right. Operating Manager Albert Joris welcomed us to the village and led the Caravan down to the entrance to the caves where we were greeted by the national Belgian press, photographers and locals before drinks and an interview with the papers. At noon we boarded the train, which took us through the forest to the cave entrance and a magical two-hour, two-kilometre walk began.
Day 2: Saturday, 20th July 2013
After the excitement and hustle of Friday’s day one, day two of the Caravan of the Force tour was a far more sedate affair. Starting the day with a much-welcomed breakfast at the Holiday Inn Bexley Heath we left London on Saturday morning and headed the 60 miles southeast towards Rochester and the Holiday Inn, our home for the day. We had time aplenty to enjoy the hotel and make the most of the time to rest, relax and finalize the plan for the following days, which we knew would be packed.
Friday, July 19 will be a day long remembered as Caravan of the Force, in association with Toys”R”Us, got off to a flying start as our two Hyundai Santa Fes (nicknamed Slave I with Mark Newbold at the wheel and Slave II with Dave Tree driving) took to the streets of London for the very first time.
As we left North London a touch later than planned due to Dave being caught in traffic while en route to meet us, we arrived to pick up Maureen and Jeremy Bulloch just before 10.00 a.m.
After 11 months of scheming and planning the Caravan of the Force in association with Toys”R”Us, our trek swings into full force tomorrow morning as we leave north London at 7.00 a.m. Our first stop (of many) is to pick up Maureen and Jeremy Bulloch — Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back — and then head to a press conference at ExCeL London, home of the first Star Wars Celebration Europe back in July 2007. It’s all part of our journey to the second Celebration Europe, July 26-28 in Essen, Germany.
“If there’s a bright center to the universe you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.”
Any Star Wars fan worth his or her salt knows that Luke Skywalker was talking about his adopted home world of Tatooine, but last month, Farthest From — a retro Star Wars toy show — was right here on planet earth in the UK, in the middle of the New Forest and a small village called Fordingbridge.
For the past three years, event organizer Dave Tree (you may know him as the brains behind Celebration Europe’s massively popular 2007 Palitoy Archive exhibit, a display so incredible it reduced Dengar himself, Simon Pegg, to nostalgic tears of joy) has held events in the town. First he hosted two Fordingbridge Film and TV Festivals, the first of which saw original trilogy and Indiana Jones producer Robert Watts present the UK’s only showing that year of Raiders of the Lost Ark and then bringing Farthest From to the Town Hall in September and now December of 2012.