Today I’ve been reflecting on my very first Star Wars Celebration convention – Celebration III in 2005. I had just turned 22 days before, and it was only my second time travelling internationally (and the first time without my parents). It felt so daunting at the time, traveling all the the way to the United States, but I was determined not to miss out on the biggest Star Wars fan event in the world!
The women of Star Wars have always been a collecting focus for me, from apparel, to action figures, to autographs. It was so exciting to meet Mary Oyaya (Luminara Unduli), Nalini Krishan (Barriss Offee), and Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti) in person. Celebration didn’t have photo ops back then, but I just had to get photos with them – they are all so gorgeous and lovely to meet!
Ah, cringy photos from my youth. I was wearing no makeup, tired from jet lag, and had frizzy hair from trying to be a blonde back then (my hair really didn’t like it…) but I really treasure these photos and the memories of that trip.
I still have the t-shirts I was wearing – the ‘micro series’ Clone Wars Yoda women’s tee from StarWarsShop and the Celebration III Princess Leia women’s t-shirt from the Celebration store (that t-shirt took so many hours in line to get, but it was so worth it). This Yoda t-shirt is still one of my all-time favourites – the print is flocked, it’s so fuzzy!
International travel and the hotel took up most of my savings – flights from New Zealand to the United States were pretty expensive back then! Most of my shopping funds went towards autographs, but I am still very happy with the little mementos I was able to afford –
- Acme Archives Clone Wars Yoda character key
- Hasbro Celebration III Exclusive Darth Vader Figure
- Celebration III Exclusive Logo T-Shirt (Unisex)
- Celebration III Exclusive Princess Leia T-Shirt (Women’s)
- Celebration III program book
Matt and I have always been avid photographers, so we both had digital cameras back then in 2005, but we also took along a widescreen disposable camera to take panoramic shots – and we still have the prints! Quite grainy by today’s photography standards, but sentimental none the less.
We spent a lot of time browsing the dealer hall – so much Star Wars stuff all in one place! The NZ-US exchange rate was absolutely awful at the time, so we couldn’t buy as much as we would have loved to (and a suitcase can only hold so much), but it so amazing to see all the collectibles in person.
The ROTS branding had a strong red and yellow colour scheme, I remember it so well in those halls, right down to the red carpets. The anticipation of that duel on Mustafar was so intense!
The big main stage event of Celebration III was of course – the George Lucas panel! Who else lined up outside on that cold snowy morning? It was totally worth it to see George Lucas and Rick McCallum talk about making Star Wars and answering audience questions. They ran the panel three times, so everyone had a good chance of getting in – we were at the second panel.
As long-standing members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, my husband and I always love seeing the great array of costumes at every Celebration convention. The 501st marched together to their early morning photo op, and the Rebel Legion group photo was nearly rained out!
It took up most of my suitcase, but I brought my Jedi Knight costume along to join in the group photos. I’ve always been a Rebel Girl – I had to join my fellow Rebellion members. My wool jedi robe was perfect for those bitterly cold mornings – it doesn’t snow where I live, so I was not used to the cold.
My husband and I have also been long-time members of the R2 Builders community. It was great to attend a meet-up with ILM droid wrangler/prop maker Don Bies, where he shared so much helpful information, and even passed around some real screen-used R2-D2 parts!
Another amazing highlight – the costume displays! The traveling exhibits never quite make it to New Zealand, so we are always excited when Celebration includes a costume and prop display. This tradition ended in 2015 with costumes from The Force Awakens at Celebration Anaheim – I really wish they would bring back the screen-used exhibits for Celebration.
This part of the exhibit was amazing – seeing costumes from Revenge Of The Sith before the film had come out. The hype surrounding the ultimate duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan was immense, so it was thrilling to see these costumes in person, they weren’t even behind glass.
Stay tuned for more of my favourite Star Wars Celebration memories 🙂
Did you attend Celebration III? What are some of your favourite memories and highlights from that convention?