Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Aren't I a Little Short for A Jedi? #StarWarsCelebration #StarWars #RogueOne

Yeah, I've changed days this week. Sharon had a new release yesterday, and after three days in London at the Star Wars Celebration Europe, I needed Monday to sleep and Tuesday to get back up to date. So...
This is my last 'live' post at Spacefreighters Lounge for the next few weeks as I take a long social media break to spend summer with my monsters. And today I'm mostly going to share some of my photos and excitement from the three day Star Wars Celebration Europe that I was lucky enough to attend last weekend.
First, I have to say a huge, huge thank you to fellow fangirl and Brigader Patty Hammond. This wonderful, generous human being bought me my three day pass, without which I WOULD NOT HAVE GONE TO THE CELEBRATION! I'm not kidding. Even though it was pretty much a one off for the UK, I couldn't justify the cost. To have it happening so close (I live a 40 minute train journey from London) and not go would have been torture. But Patty and her husband chose to give me one of the greatest gifts I've ever received, and I don't think I can ever fully express my gratitude. Thanks to them I was also able to take my Star Wars mad 11yo, and then last minute scrape the cash together to take my eldest who suddenly decided she'd like to go.

I have to admit, it didn't get off to a great start. I'd already decided the costs for a Mark Hamill photo opp and/or autograph were way out of my budget. Then I heard from Patty that people were already queuing up overnight to get the limited wristbands for the Mark Hamill panel. I figured even if I went up really early (I mean REALLY early) I had zero chance of getting into the panel. However, with thanks to hubs for his research, I decided to get an early morning train Friday to beat the normal rush hour crowds and give me at least a shot at a wristband.

Things did not go well. First up, I had to get up at 3:45 am. Ugh. I hadn't slept well anyway - too excited, too nervous, too terrified of forgetting anything. I was driving out to an unfamiliar train station away from my home town in order to cut down the extortionate price of the rail ticket. I found the station fine, but the damn car park eluded me. After driving around several times, it turned out the car park didn't even open until 5:30. I finally parked elsewhere for slightly more and further away, by which time I'd missed two trains.
When I arrived at the ExCel centre just before 7am, I raced to collect my ticket and 11yo's, then to the queues for the wristbands. I couldn't believe it! I actually got one! Then I raced to the next line and grabbed a band for the Rogue One panel. Despite everything - missed trains, lost car parks, fans who were clearly way more dedicated than me camping out on a cold, hard floor, I got both the panels I wanted. Woot! Then I just had to wait three hours for the exhibition to open...

For anyone interested, Mark Hamill is a genuinely funny and nice guy. It was like we'd all got together for a chat over coffee: an hour of him just talking and answering some questions with no host (even if he told us his youngest refers to his jokes as dad humour). He told us how one of the most fun things he got to do in Star Wars was the scene where he swung across the Death Star with Leia, but that he was disappointed when they got it on one take. So the crew responsible for the harnessing (and who had worked on Peter Pan) asked him if he wanted to fly around a bit. He did with much grumbling from Lucas. Someone tried to trick him into revealing Rey's second name and so her parents. He told us about visiting the set for Rogue One and that he thinks it looks great, and how much he loves what he does. He also did a chilling quote from Killing Joke as the Joker (shivers). How they had to refilm the scene where he rescues the princess from the cell because they changed his name from Starkiller to Skywalker (and he said the name change sucked because he thought Skywalker sounded like Flyswatter). He said he couldn't tell us anything about episode 8 and told a story about how he'd said something along the lines of 7 wouldn't be what people expected, which the media twisted into a headline about Mark Hamill says fans will be disappointed, over which he got jumped on by the film producers so he didn't dare even hint for this one. As he said on the panel. you'll never make everyone completely happy. No one will ever say oh, that was perfect for me (something I need to remember as an author). But the whole thing was live streamed and you can see/hear it all for yourself here:
Then I got to see the Rogue One panel, and OMG! It was presented by Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), and Alan Tudyk turned up! In fact, all the central cast actors were there, and it was awesome! And while the rest of the world got to see the live stream with the new clips and the reveal of the official movie poster (as one of the 4000 in the panel, I got given a free one), we also got to see what Kathleen Kennedy referred to as a 'sizzle' that no one else in the world has seen. Are ya jealous? TBH, it's a bit of a blur now (Alan Tudyk!!) but I can tell you that what we saw, whether it is the official movie trailer or not, is pretty much summed up by the movie poster revealed at the panel...and I prefer the previous teaser trailer. Vader is shown, we were told there are Jedi in it, and the sizzle closed with Jyn saying 'May the Force be with us...'
And that's all I'm telling you...

There's a bunch of videos taken at the panel posted here:
but none of them show the whole thing.

Gareth Edwards also told us that George came on set during filming and was really critical to the point he just wanted to die (Edwards' enthusiasm for the whole Star Wars universe came across very clearly during the panel which was awesome (and reassuring) to see), but it turned out Lucas was joking. Which makes me wonder if all those newspaper reports about Lucas hating The Force Awakens was just journalists not getting his humour.
And a personal bonus: Gwendoline tweeted the selfie she took on stage with the cast, and liked my tweet when I told her she was awesome (yeah, I'm totally gonna fangirl over that! Captain Phasma liked my tweet!!) -
What I didn't managed to do on day one was meet up with Patty. We were only able to communicate via Twitter, and eventually my phone battery ran out before we could coordinate a meeting. I had to head home and hope for better luck the next day. But on arriving home, eldest announced she wanted to go. This is the 'Star Wars hating but loves Rey' child in my family. Apparently my excited chatter from day one made her curious.
The next day...
Saturday was cosplay day for me and 11yo and, I'm sorry, but I do not have a single picture of me in my Jedi outfit. Ooops! I do have a slightly blurry one of me and Patty finally meeting up. Yay!
Fangirls and Brigaders united!
And some of 11yo in his Hux cosplay.

Even First Order Generals take a lunch break
Not Starkiller Base, but close enough!
I hadn't seen a huge amount of cosplay on the Friday. Saturday we saw more, but the predominant choices were Rey, Kylo, Stormtroopers, Death Star troops and officers, and Ben Kenobi from the prequels. There were some fun mashups - a couple of Jack Sparrow/Stormtroopers, Indiana Jones, one guy in an original Star Trek uniform, a Dark Side Rey, and smexied-up female versions of Boba Fett and Kylo Ren. There were even a couple of LEGO  Star Wars cosplays, and a pink Chewbacca. I'm biased but I'm going to say 11yo's Hux costume was the best. He certainly had the best hat (which makes me even happier with my efforts).
Most of my photos of costumes and props will be posted over at my Tumblr blog sometime this week, and probably in batches. For anyone interested in the Rogue One costumes I took as many photos as I can, but on day three I forgot the batteries for my decent camera and my not so decent one flipped out, deleting half the photos (plus my phone camera died.). Technology was not with me! And after queuing twice to get into the Rogue One costume arena, I'd had enough. So I mostly only have some not so great shots of Jyn Orsa's main outfit, and some of the signs detailing the character and outfit.
Saturday I didn't plan on any panels and the queues for things like the Virtual Reality booth and drone battles put 11yo off. He started looking stressed so we headed home fairly early. It's very hard to tell if 11yo has enjoyed something. He said he did, but I think while he loved the films, toys and games, the rest of it left him cold. He's not interested in the behind the scenes, the actors or the special effects, so I don't think it was what he expected. Oh well...

Day three. I'd taken up my best camera on day two but not dragged 11yo into the Rogue One arena to take photos. I left early with eldest...and forgot my damn camera batteries. I was stuck with the rubbish camera and my phone...which the camera then died on. The naff phone deleted half my photos after we left Rogue One. Bummer. Anyway, we'd set off early - sans cosplay because eldest's Rey outfit isn't finished - in the hope of getting wristbands to the Carrie Fisher panel. Again, we missed the earlier train. As we reached the first underground station, I saw Celebration tweet that all the wristbands had gone. Boo. However, we got chatting with other fans on the tube, the station played the Imperial March as we boarded, and excitement was high. And this is where I saw the difference. While 11yo loves the films, eldest is the one who loves the whole concept and camaraderie of fandom. She gets it! She was so excited at all the cosplay, especially the younger ones. She was excited about seeing the costumes, and when she got to hold a movie accurate replica Rey staff, I think I had her totally sold. She wants to go to more conventions!
Vader's death mask
Kylo Ren's lightsaber

While we didn't get in to see Carrie Fisher's panel, we watched most of it live stream as we sat beneath a life sized TIE fighter and ate our lunch.

We couldn't hear much of it and there were interruptions by the live show, but mostly her dog Gary stole the show. I know Laurie has already seen the RT of her tweet demanding that there be more pets in space. We also met up with Patty a couple more times, and she gave me a bag of goodies (she's a giving person!).
Warwick Davis on the live stage screen interviewing Carrie Fisher. My photo of her has vanished. :(

Day three was also the day to shop. Most things were reduced (although obviously not the highly desirable things like the replica Kylo lightsaber at over £200, or that staff she's holding at over £1000, eep!). But eldest picked up a huge print of her favourite character.
While I picked up some pieces for my two boys.
But all too soon the closing ceremony came round...and a surprise appearance by John Boyega on the live stage just feet away from where we were sitting! (Yeah, I took photos of him on the big screen because my camera couldn't focus in on the real thing past all the people in front of us, lol).
Best shot I could get of John just with my camera

But all too soon it was all over and we had to say goodbye...

Last Celebration image as you leave ExCel
The aftermath at home - goodies awaiting new homes
The Star Wars Celebration was the most awesome event I've ever been to, and I'm so grateful to Patty and her husband for the opportunity to go (and then to take a couple of my children). Maybe one day I'll get to do it all again.
For more photos of the event, props and costumes, please visit my Tumblr blog here:

Keir is on sale for just 99cents/pence/Euros until the end of July and as part of a huge scifi romance sale going on right now! Go to and fill up your ereader!
From the 21st of July until the 5th of September, all my social media will be operating on automatic with a ton of scheduled posts including all my copslay creations, guest posts, excerpts here at Spacefreighters Lounge, and my more popular posts and reviews pulled from the archives. Follow me on Twitter as @pippajaygreen or like my Facebook page here:
Oh, and one last shot of my girls who are enjoying the garden with me this morning as I write this post.

I hope to have some exciting news for you when I'm back in September. May the Force be with you!


  1. OMG, Pippa! How totally fun. What a fabulous recap. It sounds like it was a complete and total blast. I've listened to a good chunk of the Mark Hamill interview (he's still a fave) but I'll have to stop back later to hear it all.

    Is Alan Trudyk in Rogue One?!?!?!?!? Or was he just doing a quest appearance as a Sci-Fi icon?

    Your son's costume was a work of art and I'm so glad your daughter enjoyed the whole Star Wars manic fandom thing.

    Am I envious? Oh yeah. But your rundown was the next best thing to being there. Off to spread the word.

    1. I just realized I totally forgot to post my video nof Tudyk telling a story about him meeting Anthony Daniels! But yeah, Tudyk 'plays' the rogue Imperial droid KTSO in Rogue One. Bonus!
      Oh, I wish I could have taken everyone with me. Maybe next time I should wear one of those live cams and stream it or something. But I guess this makes up for not getting to stuff like RT - at least I get to geek out. ^_^

    2. That is way cool about Alan Tudyk (I'll spell his name right this time)! I didn't know he was going to be in it.

    3. I think I'd heard he was playing a robot in it, but I think the panel was the first full reveal of his and some of the other characters. I never expected him to be there, or any of the cast. They weren't listed!

    4. VERY nice surprise. Did anyone shout "I am a leave on the wind" at him? LOL

    5. Lol, no. We had very respectful audiences who didn't shout unless invited to ask questions.

  2. So envious, but in a good way! You've given us all so many vids and pics that it's almost as good as having gone ourselves!!

    So glad you had a blast. Fancons are the best events, ever!

    1. Thanks Eva. I have loads more but didn't want to make the post too long. I just hope I get to do it again one day! :-)

  3. That was very generous of Patty. What a fabulous gift. Gee, I reckon even crowd-hating me might have gone to this one. (I totally feel your son's pain) but I LOVE the behind the scenes stuff. Just not crowds. Thanks for the run-down and the pictures. They don't bother me at all.

    1. It was totally awesome. Yeah, I'm not a crowd lover and I hate getting my space invaded, but here I was surprisingly tolerant. I think it was the whole thing of we were all there for the same reason - our love for Star Wars. Not so much for 11yo (although I think maybe if he'd been with a bunch of mates he might have enjoyed it more). And it's comforting being around other geeks (my hubs would have hated it!).


Comments set on moderation - all spammers will be exterminated!

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.