PHOTO: Orlando's Star Wars Celebration sounds like a blaster blast. (photo via Flickr/Gordon Tarpley)
You don’t have to travel to a galaxy far away. Just get to Orlando to enjoy all the Star Wars universe has to offer.
The Star Wars Celebration: The Ultimate Fan Experience kicks off April 13-16 at the Orange County Convention Center and it sounds like more fun than you can shake a lightsaber at.
There will be appearances from actors spanning the entirety of the franchise, including Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels and Hayden Christensen (sigh). Hopefully, there aren’t any instructionals on intergalactic trading disputes planned.
There are still tickets available for the Thursday, Friday and Sunday slots, but you will have to pay the “onsite” price starting Wednesday, April 12. That will run you $75 per day for adults or $43 for children.
Here's what you can look forward to.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Surprise
MovieWeb.com hints at what might be the greatest thing to come out of the weekend: That's the possibility of a trailer for the upcoming “The Last Jedi.” And, if it’s anything like the previous trailer for “The Force Awakens,” expect heavy replays at home.
This could take place at Thursday’s panel, but MovieWeb predicts: “It's possible that LucasFilm may debut a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel for The Last Jedi during the Friday panel, or perhaps confirm the identities of some of the new characters, played by Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran and Justin Theroux.”
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If there is one thing to take away from any convention, it’s the trove of goodies. They will sit atop your ledge for years and remind you of all the fun you had. The bad news? It’s often times a crowded affair to get your hands on rare merchandise.
However, officials have promised something called Lightspeed Lane as your way to get into Celebration Store a bit more efficiently. The website explains: “Each Lightspeed Lane ticket has a pre-determined return time printed on it that will grant you access to the store only during that window of time.”
Be quick about it, because you will only have 30 minutes.
Take out your fake lightsabers and old-school baseball cards with characters on them, because this is where you get those prized signatures.
There will be 34 personalities in attendance, including the obvious big ones previously listed. However, if you’re a Star Wars zealot who needs Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum) and Nien Nunb’s (Mike Quinn) autograph, this is your place to shine.
Some advice, don’t tell Tim Rose: “It’s a trap.” Chances are fairly solid that the great Admiral Ackbar has heard it before.
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Star Wars University
Not as ballyhooed as some of the panels, these smaller groups will give you a tutorial on some amazing things.
For example, come on Thursday and hear STEM experts talk Star Wars or hear from franchise author Chuck Wendig. There is also an idea session with Star Wars Universe author Timothy Zahn, a universe food tutorial and musical trivia event.
This event is filled with great panels. Outside the big hitters, however, we like Droid Racing, which may answer one of life’s more important questions: Who is the fastest droid?
Lastly, don’t want miss the massive outpouring of creativity present in the cosplay. The halls, undoubtedly, will be festooned with Greedos, Ackbars, Stormtroopers and nefarious villains ready to make bantha fodder out of you.
The place will resemble a cantina scene in the best way imaginable.