Star Wars Celebration began in 1999. With Celebration 2019 as the 13th Celebration since 1999, the convention will be 20 years old. It also appears that Celebration 2019 could be the last one.
Here’s a handy list with the dates and locations they were hosted in.
|Celebration I||April 30–May 2, 1999||Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum||Denver, Colorado|
|Celebration II||May 3–5, 2002||Indiana Convention Center||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Celebration III||April 21–24, 2005||Indiana Convention Center||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Celebration IV||May 24–28, 2007||Los Angeles Convention Center||Los Angeles, California|
|Celebration Europe||July 13–15, 2007||ExCeL Exhibition Centre||London, United Kingdom|
|Celebration Japan||July 19–21, 2008||Makuhari Messe||Chiba, Japan|
|Celebration V||August 12–15, 2010||Orange County Convention Center||Orlando, Florida|
|Celebration VI||August 16–19, 2012||Orange County Convention Center||Orlando, Florida|
|Celebration Europe II||July 26–28, 2013||Messe Essen||Essen, Germany|
|Celebration Anaheim||April 16–19, 2015||Anaheim Convention Center||Anaheim, California|
|Celebration Europe III||July 15–17, 2016||ExCeL London||London, United Kingdom|
|Celebration Orlando||April 13–16, 2017||Orange County Convention Center||Orlando, Florida|
|Celebration Chicago||April 11–15, 2019||McCormick Place||Chicago, Illinois|
ReedPOP has been organizing Star Wars Celebration for some time. But Celebration 2017 in Orlando, FL was considered an absolute disaster. So much so that it had people questioning ReedPOP’s involvement in future Celebrations. In 2017 FilmBuffOnline wrote:
There was a lot of exciting news coming out of this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. We got the first poster and trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We got more information on what the Star Wars Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios would entail. And we got a load of news on new toys and video games and other Star Wars ephemera. But all that good news was slightly overshadowed by a whole lot of bad news, bad news that will sound familiar to anyone who has ever attended a convention put on by ReedPOP.
The event started out on the wrong foot on Thursday as the event organizers tried to the filter the crowds entering the building through one entrance. This resulted in an over 2 hour wait in a mile-long line in the hot Florida sun for many attendees.
The same day also featured more complaints from customers who camped out overnight to get first shot at wristbands to see the Celebration’s panels live, only to be shut out when people cut in line in front of them to get the cherished wristbands, leaving the diehards to watch the presentation simulcast in other locations.
One of those locations was the convention floor, which featured a giant screen that simulcast the more important panels. This would have been useful for fans that couldn’t get a wristband–if it wasn’t for the fact that someone put a life-size model of a Tie-Fighter in front of the screen. People who wanted to catch the panels being shown had to huddle between the prop and the screen, making that area a traffic nightmare.
That wasn’t all. A person who worked the show at a fan booth for kids who spoke to FIlmBuffOnline under the request of anonymity said that ReedPop was noted as being late on many things – communication, sending tickets, merchandise, and more. If you wanted to visit the official store, you needed to have a ton of free time, it at times took hours just to get into the store, then an hour or more to go through the checkout process. People complained about lack of staffing and being told the wrong information by the staff they had.
There was problems with the autographing systems as well. Autograph collector Rick Polney was especially frustrated by the way Topps ran this area of the Celebration. “If you weren’t able to buy an autograph ticket online, then you could buy tickets there. The line was weirdly slow. Like HUNDREDS of people waiting to buy a ticket but the line never moves,” said Polney. “Not sure if the workers were slow or if the system was slow. Also there was never a consensus on how many items a person can have signed. I know it slows things done if one person has ten things to get signed but if you have ten tickets what are you supposed to do?”
Star Wars Celebration 2018 was canceled.
Star Wars Celebration 2018 is not going to happen at all as the event was cancelled. The next event is instead happening at a later year as confirmed by the show’s official website. The announcement reads, “The Next Star Wars Celebration: Coming to Our Galaxy 2019.”
A rumor reported on by TheForce.net in April 2018 that Celebration may be undergoing some changes after 2019.
The latest Star Wars Celebration rumor has to do with the company running the show. In the past it has been REED POP. However, their contract is up in 2019, and word on the street is that after the disaster last year at the Orlando Celebration, REED POP is out, and Disney will be handling the show with their D23 crew. D23 is a new convention that has gained popularity the past few years featuring nothing but Disney and everything they create from animation to Marvel, you’ll find it there.
Perhaps Disney will use their D23 crew to handle Star Wars Celebration. But it may be just as likely that Disney will simply absorb Celebration into D23. After all, why would Disney maintain one separate convention for just one of its IPs?
If Celebration does get absorbed into D23, and D23 doesn’t have a Star Wars podcast stage, then all of those Star Wars podcasters trying to show off for Lucasfilm luminaries may be doing it all for nothing.
Here’s what a fan might expect to pay if Star Wars Celebration is absorbed into D23:
Guess which price structure Disney would prefer to have you pay.
“The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.”
~Grand Moff Tarkin
Disney has had no problem with sweeping away remnants of the old Lucasfilm.
In 2013 shortly after the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, when Disney prematurely canceled the well received Clone Wars series. This dismayed many loyal fans who felt that while the series started out a bit rough, it had surpassed the Prequel feature films by the end of its run.
Then in 2014 came another hit; the official dissolution of the Expanded Universe. Disney Lucasfilm explained that the death of Chewbacca in the Extended Universe forced them to erase it using a bulldozer rather than a scalpel. But it later became apparent that they merely used that explanation as a pretense to excuse rewriting the mythology as a whole through their own SJW vision. Though painful for some, in the long term this move proved to be beneficial to fans, as it allowed them to easily differentiate between genuine canon and Disney material, and to dismiss any material with the Disney logo printed on it. A more detailed history of the decision to blow the EU to smithereens like the planet Alderaan, can be found here.
Ending Celebration could be just another phase in a long term Disney goal, of erasing ties to Lucasfilm’s past.
“I don’t know if there’s bad blood,” he told Vanity Fair magazine recently. “I was just never consulted or hired to do any of them. No one’s ever told me why. No, I was told–on the new regime, I was just told, ‘Just stay in your room and make sounds and just send stuff to us. We’ll decide what to do.’”
But is D23 really the future of Star Wars Celebration? I can imagine Star Wars making an appearance at D23, but certainly nothing as grandiose as past Celebrations.
This is just pure speculation on my part, but I have to wonder, if Galaxy’s Edge will be touted as a kind of year round Celebration, and end up performing the functions that Star Wars Celebration previously performed.
Convention attendance overall is on the decline, and major vendors and exhibitors are pulling out of conventions frequently now. So why spend all that money on a fading convention scene, when you already have the facilities available to perform that function year round? Additionally, Celebration seems geared towards the older fans which Disney apparently wants to distance the franchise from.
Generation X grew up on Star Wars. But fans won’t find Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Darth Vader when they visit Galaxy’s Edge. Disney has decided to exclude almost all of this franchise’s beloved characters from the land. If fans hated seeing their Han and Luke getting killed off in the new Star Wars movies, at least they got to spend a little time with them on screen in those productions. They will be absent in Galaxy’s Edge, which instead creates new storylines unconnected to the original trilogy that made Star Wars, well, Star Wars.
Galaxy’s Edge might turn out to be the biggest bait and switch in theme park history, as thousands of fans spend huge amounts of money to visit the Star Wars of their youth, only to discover that Disney has created an unrelated land that is, in many ways, “Star Wars” in name only. Imagine the social media backlash when that word gets out.
Just as Galaxy’s Edge will not feature the most popular Star Wars characters, it will not feature any iconic Star Wars locations, either. No Death Star. No Tatooine. No Coruscant. Instead, Galaxy’s Edge will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the up-until-now never-heard-of planet of Batuu.
Now we learn that Galaxy’s Edge is set during the Sequel Trilogy period, and it doesn’t get more generic than that.
4. The story of Galaxy’s Edge takes place during the sequel trilogy. While a set place in the timeline is yet to be revealed, it was confirmed by Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group that the land’s story is centered around the Resistance/First Order conflict.
One of the primary functions of Celebration is to provide stage and audience room for actors and other celebrities tied with the Original and Prequel Trilogies. So why pay to provide that, if you’re moving away from that material anyway?
Although Disney is doing nothing to attract older fans and everything to push them away, they still have no problem raising their prices for the older heads of households, who would undoubtedly have to pay for such an excursion.
As reported by the Associated Press, the cheapest single-day ticket for a “low-demand” day in the Anaheim, Calif., park will now cost you triple digits for the first time — $104. The least expensive daily ticket to Disney World in Florida will be $109. The price of a ticket for a high-demand day is up to $149. The rates for annual passes and parking are, of course, also going up (it now costs $25 to park your car).
Galaxy’s Edge opens only 45 days after Celebration 2019, which takes place April 11-15.
Now, keeping all of that in mind, there are growing concerns for safety at Celebration 2019 given the alarming increase in vocal SJW tweets voicing anger at highly critical fans. Cook County, which Chicago resides in, has recently dismantled its gang database thereby increasing the chance for violence in an already hyper-violent Chicago. And if that isn’t enough, Star Wars podcasters openly embrace terrorist group Antifa.
Readers may recall that leading up to the release of Solo, Lucasfilm put out a number press releases which promised possible future projects if Solo became a success. One of those projects was a long asked for Obi-Wan feature film. Shortly after the disastrous box office of Solo, Lucasfilm announced that it scrapped any plans it had for an Obi-Wan feature film and that many of the other projects were put on hold.
It was then that Lucasfilm representative Bryan Young penned an article for SyFy Wire blaming Geeks + Gamers and Ethan Van Sciver for the boycott. It was an article that sought to place blame on the canceled Obi-Wan film project on G+G and EVS, in hopes of turning the fans against them. It was later exposed as a lie. Nevertheless, it was a media personality officially tied to Lucasfilm who penned that article.
So now I have to wonder, if there is any kind of incident at Celebratino 2019, and the convention does come to an official end, will Lucasfilm then blame You Tube personalities for inciting such an incident and causing Celebration to fold? They’ve been spending the last year or more attacking the fans as “toxic” blaming them for everything from abuse against women to a proliferation of bunions. Why wouldn’t they do this too? I suspect that the first draft of a SyFy Wire article could be sitting in the hopper just waiting to be published.