Riley’s Top 6 Highlights of Star Wars Celebration Europe

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This was my first European Celebration, and I have to say, it far surpassed my expectations. From the incredible cosplay, fan groups, and gaming experiences to the awesome panels, SWCE was every bit as vibrant and jam-packed as any US celebration I’ve been to.

For a personal recap of the event check out the Star Wars Report VLOG from SWCE:

On to the highlights:

Rogue One Panel

May the Force be with us. This simple sentence spoken with a slight smile sent thousands of ravenous Star Wars fans into hyperspace as we realized one thing… We’re getting a war movie.

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Rogue One is putting the “wars” in Star Wars. I absolutely loved the behind the scenes reel that was shown off because it shows Gareth Edwards’ understanding of the SW saga, yet it also shows his confidence in creating a film that will be more experimental and frankly far outside what we think of when we look at the saga films.

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Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Premiere

Here’s the thing. I attended every flagship panel at SWCE and the one that frankly stole the show was Star Wars Rebels. Think about it. Just a few years ago we were introduced to an entirely brand new set of characters only loosely tied to the SW stories that had come before and now Star Wars Rebels was the most significant presence at a Star Wars Celebration.

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How far we’ve come. The anticipation of the trailer and the premiere was positively palpable. When Thrawn was shown to the crowd, we went nuts. Not because this is an homage to a beloved character from the Legends cannon, but because this was an introduction of the saga’s great characters’ period. I don’t personally care about which level of canon was referenced, and if I may project a bit, that’s not exactly what the crowd was cheering for either. We were cheering Thrawn because he’s a great character. That’s simply it. And having witnessed him in action during the premiere, all I can say is… you’re in for a treat.

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Star Wars Report/Fangirls Going Rogue Live Show

What a privilege to actually host a podcast live from the One Force stage! I, along with my sister Bethany represented SWR and the superb Tricia Barr represented FGGR.

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We nerded out about the new Rogue One awesomeness with Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly and had a great character discussion with Authors Adam Brey, Cole Horton and Artist Kemp Remillard.

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Big thanks to Mark Newbold and the Jedinews crew for doing such an amazing job organizing the programming there! I totally went on a 2-minute rant/soliloquy about how much I love Ahsoka. #SorryNotSorry Download the podcast here:

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Seeing Canary Wharf Station.

We’re such nerds. So myself, Bethany, Bruce, and Michael all hopped on the “tube” to head back to our respective accommodations and we realized that we were passing the now-famous Canary Wharf stop where scenes for Rogue One were shot.

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So of course, we made a mad dash for the train door and all hopped out onto to platform. We then promptly re-enacted the scene for ourselves. I’ve never felt so goofy and awesome at the same time. People stared… we didn’t care.

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The 501st Party

Aint no party like a 501st party. Hosted at the incredible Madame Tussauds, the 501st Party, was a cacophony of out-of-uniform troopers, Star Wars celebrities, and Lucasfilm alum. Bethany had her heart’s desire come true and got to meet Ray Park! 😉

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I had the chance to meet the always energetic DJ Elliot as well as rock out with Darth Elvis, which is always fun. Not to even mention the indescribable wax artwork on display.

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Meeting the Future Star Wars Filmmakers

I’ve more or less made it a tradition to attend the closing ceremonies at a SW celebration. I think it helps me cope with the post-con blues. The closing to SWCE kicked off with a panel hosted by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo.

We got an introduction to Rian Johnson for the first time and a brief conversation about what had me most excited about this film – the “Rian Johnson film school” which is a list of incredible classic films including 12 O’clock High and Bridge over River Kauai. I LOVE classic war films. These are films about true tests of leadership. This bodes well for a story that – as Johnson said – “zooms in’ on the characters now that we’re been introduced to them.

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And that’s was just the beginning. Shortly thereafter we got to “meet” on stage Han Solo spinoff filmmakers Phil Lorde and Chris Miller – which quickly took us to seeing on stage for his celebration introduction – the new Han Solo – Alden Ehrenreich! Gotta love that guys’ lop-sided grin 😉

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The panel concluded with bringing Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, and some more cast and crew to the stage to say a final farewell.

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All the Celebration Stage Hosts!

These may be my programming highlights, as always, the true heart of a Star Wars celebration is seeing old friends and making new ones. The Force was with us.

Another unforgettable event is done, but next stop… Orlando!!!

-Riley

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