Do you feel a disturbance in the Force? You should because Star Wars fans around the world are gearing up for Celebration Anaheim. The convention takes place next week (April 16-19) at the Anaheim Convention Center, and it’s four days of all Star Wars all the time. Panels, cosplay, activities, and the booths in the exhibit hall are all focused on the galaxy far, far away. If you’ve never been to the convention, you may be wondering whether you’ll be able to keep busy for so many days. Wonder no longer. You’ll have plenty to do. Trust your instincts.
Not sure where to start? I’ve scoured the programming schedule, gathered intel about after hours events (don’t worry, no Bothans were harmed!), and perused show exclusives for you. I have a few recommendations that should go to the top of your list.
Writer/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy – Thursday, April 16, 10:00am, Celebration Stage
The convention kicks off with a panel featuring some rather big names. If you don’t feel like waiting in what will likely be a very long line for the Celebration Stage, join the line later because the panel will be simulcast in several rooms. Word on the street is that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster will be revealed and that a new trailer will be released. Plus, unnamed special guests are supposed to appear. Be there or… you know the rest.
The Untold Clone Wars with Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo – Thursday, April 16, 3:30pm, Digital Stage
Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars won’t want to miss what Filoni and Hidalgo have in store. It could be peeks at unfinished stories, maybe animatics–who knows? I’ll be in the front row.
Date With The Princess: Carrie Fisher – Friday, April 17, 1:30pm, Celebration Stage
Panels with Carrie Fisher should never be missed. She’s hilarious and candid and delightful.
Premiere! Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith in 3D Introduced by Ian McDiarmid & Dennis Muren – Friday, April 17, 6:30pm, Digital Stage
This is the premiere of Revenge of the Sith in 3D. The conversions of the other films have looked really nice so if 3D is your cup of tea, you won’t want to miss this.
40 Years of ILM Innovation with John Knoll – Saturday, April 18, 11:00am, Digital Stage
John Knoll is the man who came up with the concept for Rogue One and has 40 years of experience at Industrial Light & Magic. This is the kind of person you want to hear anecdotes from.
Smuggler’s Bounty – Original Star Wars Audio Drama by Kyle Newman – Saturday, April 18, 1:00pm, Celebration Stage
Celebration does indeed have everything, even an audio drama. Newman presented the first installment of this series–Smuggler’s Gambit–at Celebration VI. If it’s anything like the previous story about Han Solo, it will be well written, produced, and performed.
Conversations with Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank – Sunday, April 19, 11:00am, Celebration Stage
Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, and Pablo Hidalgo will talk with spinoff film directors Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank. It’s hard to say whether we’ll get any new information about the upcoming spinoffs but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few tidbits are dropped.
Bonus: Fans will be recording podcasts live throughout the event on the Podcast Stage in room 208A.
A quick note about Celebration exclusives before we dive in: if you want them, make shopping a priority. Get it out of the way early, take your treasures to your hotel room, and go about the rest of your convention with your mind at ease.
Space Slug jack-in-a-box from the Celebration store
Bossk hoodie from the Celebration store
Hera Syndulla t-shirt from the Celebration store
General McQuarrie Mini Bust from Gentle Giant Ltd
Get the scoop on many other show exclusives at StarWars.com.
Bonus: Visit the Art Show to buy officially licensed, limited edition prints from a variety of artists. The Art Show only has a couple of check-out lines so leave plenty of time because the line to make purchases can get hairy.
Been wanting to visit the biggest collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the entire world? If you can’t get to Petaluma, California to see the actual museum, you can get a taste of the massive museum at Celebration. They’ll have a variety of fan-made items on display as well as the world’s largest Star Wars painting.
Help build a corner of Cloud City! The Diorama Builder’s area is a staple of Celebration, and while it’s fun to look at, it’s even more fun to contribute. Kids and adults can visit the Diorama Builders and construct part of Bespin. They’ll provide the materials, instructions, and guidance.
Bonus: At past Celebrations, the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion have brought tons of photo ops to the convention—both in the exhibit hall and around the convention center. You might be able to jump into a snowspeeder, feed a rancor, or face near death in the Death Star trash compactor. Leave time to find these opportunities and stand in line for them.
501st Legion – Admirals Lounge Celebration Bash – Friday, April 17, 8:00pm
If you hurry, you might be able to snag tickets for the hottest party on this side of Alderaan. The 501st Legion’s party is usually the biggest party of the weekend.
Your mileage will vary. Make the Celebration experience whatever you want it to be. Browse the programming schedule or download the mobile app and make tentative plans. Remember that you likely won’t be able to fit in everything you want to see so prioritize! May the Force be with you, and I hope to see you in Anaheim.