May the wait be with you
In 1977, a science-fiction space adventure with little-known actors opened in limited theaters across the United States. Star Wars was such a huge success, even on opening day, that hundreds of people stood in huge lines to watch the movie multiple times. Nearly 40 years later, fans are still waiting in line to experience the film's universe.
At the recent Star Wars Celebration VII, which took place in Anaheim, fans lined up the day before in order to get the best seats in the house for the opening ceremonies. The first person in that line, Kari Russell, 38, represented the dedication of a diehard Star Wars fan. She started her adventure more than 24 hours before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. “I got here at 8:30 this morning,” she said. “By about 10 o'clock the line was in full swing.”
Say what you want about Star Wars fans, but we sure do know how to wait in line.
Star Wars Celebration is a four-day convention dedicated to everything relating to a galaxy far, far away. It is hosted by LucasFilm and stocked with people who worked on the previous six films (plus the upcoming seventh), including actors, set designers and behind-the-scenes specialists.
It isn't just about the films either. Authors of books and comics, musicians, voice actors for the animated television series and more gather under one roof.
That is why approximately 40,000 people attend annually, and why we are well practiced at sitting in lines. If you want to see something good, you will likely queue up no less than an hour to get a good seat.
Some of the highlights that proved to be well worth the line included a panel about an upcoming a Ralph McQuarrie art book (the late McQuarrie created concept art and many of the series' iconic images) and a presentation hosted by Steve Sansweet, owner of the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia, who confirmed that he still pays for everything he adds to his 30,000-item-plus collection.
A presentation with Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, was another highpoint. He's the only actor to have starred in all six Star Wars films (and possibly the seventh, we don't know for sure yet).
The celebrities and panels, however, are not the only thing that makes Star Wars Celebration worth enduring lines for—it's also about the fans.
Around every corner, you'll find someone dressed in costume. This year there were a number of women (and a few men) dressed as “Slave Leias.” There were thousands of Storm Troopers, Imperial Officers and Darth Vaders of all different shapes and sizes. Some costumes were identical replications of what characters wore in the films. Others were humorous nods to a variety of pop culture icons including mash-ups of Muppets with Storm Troopers, Anna from Frozen as Han Solo, and Elsa as Leia. The costume mash-up has gotten so popular that the convention has an official competition now.
The next Star Wars Celebration takes place July 15-17, 2016, in London, which makes for just enough time to get excited for the release of the next movie announced, Star Wars: Rogue One, set to release in December of the same year. The wait starts now.