Very few Mandalorian fans ever start out without being an aficionado of the first Mandalorian: Boba Fett. That’s where this story begins, with the “WOOSH” of a 7-year-old boy who’s lifting his Boba Fett figure out of a haphazardly made Sarlacc pit in 1985. Long before novels would bring him back in the Expanded Universe, Boba was very much alive for me.
Archive for ‘Fans and Community’
Hello! It is my pleasure to write a piece for the official Star Wars blog about myself, Hans Jenssen, and my good friend and very talented colleague Richard Chasemore. I’m proud to say we illustrated almost the entire series of DK’s Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections and Locations books.
Not long ago on Twitter I asked for your favorite Star Wars Celebration Europe memories and photographs for Bantha Tracks, the Star Wars fan newsletter. You sent some beauties, and we thank you for that!
This “photo book” is a great teaser for what will appear in the December edition of Bantha Tracks in Star Wars Insider. If you have read Bantha Tracks for more than five minutes you know that Star Wars Celebrations are my very favorite event to work on in my job at Lucasfilm. I started working on the Celebrations for Attack of the Clones (CII in 2002). Each has been exciting and memorable in different ways, but honestly, after we shut off the lights on Celebration III for Revenge of the Sith in 2005, I believed I would never produce another Celebration for a new Star Wars movie.
I love being wrong.
It was Labor Day weekend in 1998 and I was off to my very first convention as a Stormtrooper. The Detention Block 2551 site had been up for a year. Over a hundred other Stormtroopers had joined the newly-anointed 501st Squad. We had an insignia and a backstory. All that was left now was to form up as a club in person. I e-mailed everyone from the website and boldly announced the Fighting 501st was going to take the con by storm!
That was all tough talk. I was terrified. I’d never been to Dragon Con in my life and from what I heard it was huge. I was barely able to get around an air conditioned movie theater in my armor, so how would I get around downtown Atlanta in armor that barely fit me? (We didn’t cut our armor down back then; we didn’t know we could!) On top of that, I was still getting used to being an amputee. And who were these people coming to meet up with me? I barely knew them. Would they rally to a banner I’d raised on the Internet? Or would they just bail on everything and go party?
A long time ago in a little kids room far far away, a 10-year-old boy tried to muster the Force with all of his will and power. Just like Yoda teaching Luke to raise the X-wing from the swamp, all the little boy wanted was to turn that little red light on in the nose of his toy X-wing fighter — all the way across the room from his bed. It wasn’t working, but he believed it would happen, so for what seemed like hours he tried and tried with amazing concentration, until he fell asleep, exhausted. The next morning when he woke, everything had changed. The light was on. It had worked, and it had to be because he believed in the power of the Force.
A new school year has started and many young Padawans are taking Star Wars to school with them. Star Wars backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, binders, and folders. Most of these items feature the male characters of Star Wars, leaving us fangirls to get crafty if we want something featuring female Star Wars heroines and/or villains. I got this idea from fellow fangirl Kristen, who posted this photo of her first grader’s school binder on my Her Universe Facebook page.
Fans are the foundation of any convention. Without excited ticket-purchasing attendees who want to see their favorite celebrities or comic creators or authors, conventions wouldn’t exist. But Dragon Con takes fandom to the next level: it’s run by the fans for the fans. So, while companies like Lucasfilm or Dark Horse or the typical convention staples didn’t have official presences in Atlanta, you could still attend fun and interesting panels focusing on Star Wars all weekend long. And since panelists were mostly fellow fans, it was often like one big roundtable. It’s unlike any convention I’ve ever attended.
Ask anyone who went to Dragon Con this year, and they will tell you: The crowds were insane. Last year, Atlanta police estimated that 80,000 people turned up to watch the parade (show attendance was around 52,000), and this year, it certainly felt like an even bigger spectator turnout. While that makes for a tighter situation on the sidewalks (and makes jostling for a good view more complicated), it also adds to the excitement and energy — something everyone can use after a late night of socializing.
I never quite get over the dedication of the fans who walk in the parade. Getting up early during a con to put on a costume — often heavy with multiple layers — and walk through Atlanta’s humid streets just to share your love of your fandom? That’s commitment.
As always, the Star Wars group wrapped up the parade in style. We’re at an interesting time in Star Wars fandom. The announcement of more movies on the horizon has rekindled enthusiasm for the franchise, but since we don’t know much about the upcoming films yet, costuming fans who want to do something new are turning to really creative interpretations of existing characters. So as faction after faction came through the course, we were treated to quite a few surprises.
Each Star Wars Celebration is different for a variety of reasons. This rings true in everything from the guests and panels to the exclusives and special events. These differences are why fans keep coming back again and again, to experience a new and exciting time every few years all while celebrating something we all hold so dear to our hearts…Star Wars.
At Official Pix, we have the unique and challenging task of bringing cast and crew from the live-action films and The Clone Wars animated series to each Celebration. It’s a job, yes, but one that has some very rewarding moments mixed throughout the weekend. For example: Escorting Ian McDiarmid across the Exhibit Hall floor to browse the vendors, Artists’ Alley, and the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience, or spending 45 minutes to an hour with each autograph guest to do massive signings for our customers on a variety of items. Though in Germany, there was one instance that stood out above the rest and it has everything to do with a princess from Alderaan.