As Celebration Europe drew to a close, the next Celebration was announced: Yes, the next Celebration would be back in the United States and would be leaving Orlando, FL for Anaheim, CA. The dates were also announced as April 16-19th, 2015.
Aside from my general fanboy excitement, there were three main things that I saw when I heard this announcement:
1) STAR WARS CELEBRATION LIVES ON!!
When it was first announced that Disney would be taking over Star Wars, I was incredibly excited. “It can only bring great new things to the franchise!” “They are making new movies!” “Why would they change things that are already working?” Fast-forward and in less than a year, LucasArts is dead. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is dead. The forward timeline of the E.U. is on life support. Suddenly, my enthusiasm was not quite as high as it originally was.
I thought that Celebration, for sure, was going to be quietly killed as well. CEII was announced before the purchase was, and I am sure a number of die-hard fans had already purchased their tickets (in some cases, for international flights). It made sense that they would leave it in place, but what about the future beyond? Would Celebration be killed altogether? Merged into D23?
So, the first important thing to recognize about this announcement is that Celebration is still happening at all! It really is one of the first times we are seeing Disney take something established and just leaving it as-is. This is really something that we should all take a second to be happy about.
2) April 16th- 19th 2015
2015… 2015… why do I know that year. Of course! 2015 is when Star Wars Episode VII will be released! Beyond the happy coincidence that the first sequel film and the next Celebration will have the same roman numerals next to them (even though they are currently referring to the event as Celebration Anaheim), the Star Wars con is a great way to launch the newest films!
But isn’t Celebration usually in July/August? Sure, but don’t Star Wars movies usually premiere in May? It seems to me like the timing for Celebration Anaheim really reinforces the idea that Episode VII will premiere in May of 2015. This consistency provides great fanservice and it is just plain exciting to be closing in on an actual premiere date!
Anyone who has been to Celebration before will tell you that there is something absolutely magical about being in a giant room/auditorium full of fans. Imagine being in that room and being able to hear a panel of Episode VII actors/creators talking about the movie, comic-con style! Even better, imagine being in a convention center full of fans as the lights go dark and everyone sees a preview of the opening crawl- a month before it is released in theaters.
I wouldn’t say that the April dates don’t quite confirm a May premiere, but it certainly makes it that much more likely!
3) Celebration moves to Anaheim, CA.
Well, the rumors have been swirling for weeks now that Disney is thinking about making some sort of Star Wars related theme park changes. Whether it’s a whole new park, a new “land” or just some branding, we don’t know. What I do know is that Celebration and Disney Land are both in the same city!
What better crowd to help launch a new theme park endeavor than the Celebration crowd?! Sure, there will be the two or three people in the corner complaining about the canon-breaking nightmare of being able to take your picture with Mace Windu and Princess Leia at the same time (“Is this 19 BBY or 3 ABY?”), but so many more of us will be excited beyond belief to take a step into a theme park far, far away.
Celebration has always been family-friendly so I would imagine that Disney would have press releases and media clips for years to come with all of the Celebration visitors. Adults and children in costume would make for great brochure pictures. All of the 501st and Rebel Legion members would make for an incredible Disney Parade.Launching a new park in a year and a half might be a bit of a tight timeframe, but to put it in perpective, in the 1950′s, it took only 1 year and 1 day to construct all of Disneyland.
So those are my initial thoughts on the Celebration Anaheim announcement. I hope they all turn out to come true. Either way, I will see you all there!