What is Star Wars Celebration
If you’ve been to any comic convention, consider Star Wars Celebration to be THE convention for all things Star Wars. It’s that simple!
If you haven’t been to either, Star Wars Celebration is a gathering of people that love the franchise. This group includes celebrities, the people that helped make the movies and shows that we love, authors, artists, venders, cosplayers, and fans young and old. When you attend, you can shop the massive exhibit hall for shirts, art, collectibles, and all things Star Wars. You can go to panels to be part of discussions about the universe. You can listen to celebrities speak, or meet them for autographs and pictures. And there are often other activities throughout the con, like VR experiences, games, crafting and art spaces, and more.
For some, it’s a five day experience. For others, a single day of con is sufficient. And for the die-hard Star Wars fan, this is an event that might be planned for years.
Why You Should Consider Going
(1) Get close as close to the Star Wars universe as you can (without being at Disneyland or Disneyworld).
The universe of Star Wars is full of alien worlds that many of us can only dream of ever visiting. However, many aspects of the franchise come to life at Celebration. The best cosplayers will make you feel like you are meeting the characters in real life. Some cosplaying groups also build sets and replica vehicles to explore and photograph. In 2019, Disney was also on the scene with an entire area devoted to its new, immersive Galaxy’s Edge land. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to visit one of the Disney parks, this is the best place to lose yourself in the world of Star Wars.
(2) Meet new Star Wars friends.
There are all kinds of Star Wars fans at Celebration, so no matter how hard-core you are, or what era of the films you love, you will be able to find your people at this convention. For the most outgoing among us, there are plenty of spaces to chat with new people in the halls and meet all kinds of cosplayers as they pose for pictures. There are also plenty of activities to bring people together; for shy people, these are great places to connect with new friends over a craft, game, or movie. Finally, there are even dating events, which can be a way to meet partners with similar interests. (Cosplay groups are also good for this. I met my husband at one.)
(3) Watch new Star Wars trailers and catch new project announcements before anyone else.
In 2019, several new trailers dropped at Celebration, and they were not available anywhere else for several days. This included Star Wars IX: Rise of Skywalker, the Mandalorian, season seven of the Clone Wars, and Star Wars: The Fallen Order. If you love keeping abreast of all things Star Wars, this is the place to learn about all the new projects before anyone else.
(4) Insider stories about the making of older Star Wars projects.
The 2019 Celebration happened to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Episode I, and so there was a lot of love to go around for this movie. There were talk shows streaming from the con, which brought together the people that brought George Lucas’s vision for his growing universe to life. They pushed the boundaries of what technology could do at the time, and they set the foundations for the expansive universe of the Star Wars Clone Wars era (my favorite). Although I have collected art books from these movies, I learned more about the making of Episode I during Celebration than I ever would have otherwise. I also loved getting the chance to learn more about the personalities of the artists and technical professionals that developed the universe that I fell in love with as a child. These “backstage” insights are something that you will get every day at Celebration in one form or another, and there is an ever-growing material base to learn about right now.
(5) Meet Star Wars celebrities and authors.
Star Wars Celebration is, of course, the place to go if you want to meet your favorite Star Wars celebrities, artists, and authors. Throughout the long weekend, there are different people available every day to meet, learn more about, and get autographs and pictures.
(6) Learn more about ongoing projects.
I was surprised to learn about several Star Wars projects that I wasn’t aware of when I went to Celebration. For instance, I had no idea that there was a pre-Episode VII animated show called Star Wars: Resistance that’s going into its second season until I went. I have also fallen out of touch with the Star Wars books since Disney acquired the franchise and turned most of the stories that I loved most into “legends.” So, it turned out that Celebration was the perfect place to learn about everything that’s currently available in the world of Star Wars that you might not have known to look for and learn about otherwise.
(7) Buy merch that you can’t get anywhere else.
It is no surprise that there are things to buy at Star Wars Celebration that you can get no where else. One of the most popular shops that I saw in the exhibit hall was a Funko Pop shop with Celebration exclusives. People were waiting for hours for their chance at collectibles that they could find no where else. Celebration also had its own store with merch to commemorate the event. They had shirts, plushies, mugs, hats, and more. Many of the smaller venders had also made merch for the event.
(8) Gain new perspectives on Star Wars.
Panels are the perfect place to learn about other people’s perspectives on your favorite franchises. Due to this, Celebration is the best place to get in on panels to hear what other people have to say and join the conversation. The only time I don’t enjoy these kinds of conversations is when I feel like I know loads more than the panelists, or they are people who aren’t comfortable with public speaking.
(9) Take a break from the real world for a day… or more.
Sometimes I honestly just need a break from work and stress and all that baggage. Star Wars Celebration was the perfect way to get away from it all for a few hours and immerse myself in a different world. It feels a little like going to Disneyland without quite paying the same price (although it is close).
(10) Renew your love for the franchise.
I’ve been in love with Star Wars since I was a little kid, and being part of a fandom wasn’t cool. I’ve read the books, played the games, and gone on diatribes about my favorite characters. But my initial excitement about Disney buying the universe died off when they turned most of the expanded universe into “legends.” I also do not really like the world being developed by the most recent movies. I have no problems with the characters, it just doesn’t feel like Star Wars to me anymore. But going to Star Wars Celebration reignited my old love for all things Star Wars. While I might not be getting into the new stuff any time soon, I will definitely be keeping up with Star Wars long into the future.
(It’s not just for Star Wars nerds).
(11) It’s a great family activity.
There are SO many great things for kids to do at Star Wars Celebration. First, there were many activities in the exhibit hall that catered to kids and were free. These included a Lego area, places to craft miniature worlds, and play areas. One of my favorite exhibits for kids was a little go-kart track where they could pilot tiny Star Wars vehicles around. It goes without saying that any kid that loves Star Wars will also be delighted to meet all kinds of characters from their favorite movies.
(12) Solo travelers welcome.
You can easily stealth or friend-solo your way through the con. For the stealth-solo travelers, who like to keep to themselves, it is very easy to wander the exhibit hall, and pop in and out of events on your own without people questioning why you are alone. For friend-making solo travelers, many attendees to the con are very open to meeting new people. Some come alone or with cosplay groups that are typically very welcoming to anyone interested in what they do.
(13) Date night!
For people looking for a date idea, Star Wars Celebration is a great place to explore with your significant other. When you are both Star Wars fans, this goes without saying. If only one of you loves it, this can potentially be a great way to try to expose your SO to your love. When your SO is the fan, give them the gift of humoring their fandom. If neither of you are fans, Celebration is a great place to learn more, and also experience the full-extent of fandom in a really fun, and unique way.
(14) Connect with artists and makers.
Artist and crafts people love conventions, so if you have an appreciation for hand-made art+, Celebration is actually a great place to learn more about different people that you can become a patron for in the future. Even if you aren’t into Star Wars, a lot of them make more than just Star Wars stuff. They might have stuff from a franchise that you do like, or they may take commissions.
(15) Experience one of the most unique pop culture conventions in the world.
Comic conventions have become fairly common, at least around the US, and while many of them are extremely enjoyable, they are all similarly vague in their focus. Star Wars Celebration will give you an experience like no other convention, while also being similar enough to give you a taste of con life.
(16) Get great gifts for your Star Wars-fan friends.
If you have friends and/or family that love Star Wars, Celebration will give you a great opportunity to stock up on gifts that will really delight your loved ones.
(17) Learn more about the culture of fandom.
If you are a curious person, you will enjoy learning about fandom culture. Star Wars Celebration is a great place to do this because unlike comic conventions, it is focused enough that even non-fans will be able to keep up with what’s going on. This means that you can enjoy yourself and get the most out of your foray out of your comfort zone.
(18) Expand your horizons.
Learn more about what lots of people love!
Star Wars Celebration 2020
If this post has left you wishing that you had been able to make it to Star Wars Celebration 2019, not to worry! Celebration 2020 is already in the works! Start planning your trip to Anaheim next year with our other California posts so that you can make the most of your vacation.