We’ve spoken a little about this on Funnybooks, but Paul will be attending this year’s Star Wars Celebration Event in Orlando, Florida! Star Wars Celebration will be at the Orange County Convention Center from April 13-16. Unfortunately, do to some scheduling issues, we won’t be there for Sunday, but we will be able to attend the first three days of the show!

With SWCO coming up this week, I wanted to give a few pointers related to things I learned from when I attending my last SWC, in Anaheim in 2015. (video playlist below:

  • Firstly, and most importantly, be prepared for crowds. I cannot stress this enough. I was very much unprepared for my first experience hitting the show floor, and the wall to wall people. SWCO has been sold out of 4-day passes for months, and individual day passes are now starting to sell out too. This will be a very crowded convention.
  • Plan to be in line for any panel you want to see an hour early. I know that sounds crazy, but generally, if you’re not in line at least a half hour before a panel, then you’re not getting in. Unfortunately, that generally means that, unless you’re lucky, you’re not going to really be able to get into back-to-back panels, so plan ahead rather than be disappointed.
  • There is a TON to see. Plan to spend time on the show floor. Seriously, give yourself a good amount of hours to really see everything the show floor has to offer. There’s photo opportunity booths, merchandise booths, club booths….just so much to see, that you could genuinely spend one full day just looking at the floor without panels.
  • If you’re planning on getting exclusives, hit that booth first. Most exhibitors with exclusives have an allotment available daily, and it’s usually pretty low. So hit that booth immediately upon opening of the show floor every morning. (UPDATE: As a note, NerdBlock is offering a box of SWCO Exclusives – this may be worth getting, though what exclusives are in the box have yet to be revealed.)
  • The Celebration Store will be the most crowded of the event. It may take hours to get in the store, and another hour or so to check out. If you are willing to risk missing out on some merchandise, wait till closer to the end of the day. Crowds do die down in the second half of the day for the Celebration Store. (UPDATE: Her Universe will also be featured at the Celebration Store, rather than its own tables. Expect crowds, especially when Ashley Eckstein is scheduled to appear)
  • Have FUN and don’t panic or get upset. Fights have broken out over exclusives before. Lines WILL be long. You WILL have to wait. Plan for that and go in with that mindset and you’ll be fine. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with not just scalpers, but other fans as well, who are just an anxious and excited as you are. Be kind to each other.

With all that in mind, obviously, we’re not going to be able to see everything we’d like, but here’s what our plan is for our days at the con!

Thursday:

  • 40 Years of Star Wars
    A very special tribute to the 40th anniversary of Star Wars will kick start Celebration Orlando in grand fashion. The panel, hosted by Warwick Davis, will feature Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and discussions with some of the saga’s brightest stars, highlighting the impact of the galaxy far, far away and the fandom that has propelled it for the last four decades. As is tradition, this marquee Celebration event will undoubtedly include many not-to-be-missed surprises.
    This will be one of the biggest panels at the show, with many surprises, including casts from the originals and prequels and maybe a rumored announcement of an upcoming blu-ray release? Not only will they be showing this in the main auditorium (called THE GALAXY STAGE), but they will be live streaming it in other rooms as well. I do now know if the show floor will be open while this is running. At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, the show floor opened after the opening panel, and this is the opening panel of SWCO.
  • Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates
    Dave Filoni, Executive Producer and Supervising Director of Star Wars Rebels and Supervising Director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars,  is joined on stage by creative executive Pablo Hidalgo. They’ll discuss some of the most cherished characters to come out of Lucasfilm Animation, reveal some untold origins of heroes and rogues, and with rare clips and artwork, they will track the surprising fates of this generation of Star Wars characters.
    I love watching Filoni and Hidalgo chat about Star Wars, and showing off clips and previously unreleased stuff. This was a major highlight of SWCA for me, so looking forward to seeing this one.
  • Disney Parks & Star Wars Merchandise
    Discover a galaxy of merchandise celebrating the Star Wars saga! Be among the first to get a sneak peek into what new exclusives will be coming from the Disney Parks in 2017 and 2018. You will also take an inside look behind the magic at how Disney Parks creates exclusive Star Wars merchandise, with insights from Disney’s creative development team. With Brad Schoeneberg, Cody Hampton, and Quynh Kimball.
    Merchandise panels are usually pretty hot, and this one will likely be killer, with talk about the exclusives coming to Disney Parks, and perhaps more info on the upcoming Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Disney World.

Friday:

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will appear on stage. There will be plenty of surprises and special guests on the panel to keep the excitement brewing and speculation spinning throughout the rest of the weekend.
    We’ll likely see our first footage from Episode VIII during this panel, so expect people to camp out overnight to get into the Galaxy Stage for this one.
  • Lucasfilm Publishing Writers’ Roundtable
    Join some of the biggest and best Star Wars authors such as Timothy Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Thrawn), Beth Revis (Rebel Rising), Delilah Dawson (The Perfect Weapon), Charles Soule (Poe Dameron, Darth Vader), Jody Houser (Rogue One), Michael Kogge (Poe Dameron Flight Log), and Ben Acker & Ben Blacker (Join the Resistance) to discuss their approach, process, and reception to writing stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, exclusive sneak peeks and announcements into the future of Star Wars publishing! Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain and Jennifer Heddle.
    I enjoy hearing about the expanded universe and novel stuff, so this should be a fun one for me, and includes comic writer Charles Soule, who I’m a huge fan of.
  • Fantasy Flight Games: Star Wars Tabletop Games
    Ever wanted to find out what it takes to bring Star Wars from a galaxy far, far away to your own gaming table? Join Fantasy Flight Games as they give you a look behind the curtain into their world of board, card, miniatures and role playing design and learn more about some of the exciting Star Wars games they are working on now!
    As a gamer, Fantasy Flights’ panel should be a really interesting one, as the Star Wars Role Playing Game is a blast to play. Looking forward to more info on what they have coming. We have an actual play recording of us playing EDGE OF THE EMPIRE from Fantasy Flight Games that’s a fun listen here.

Saturday:

Saturday will be all Star Wars Rebels for me. Plans include:

  • Star Wars Rebels Season Four Sneak Peek
    Executive Producer Dave Filoni and special guests will bring an epic sneak peek at what’s to come in Star Wars Rebels fourth season. From the exclusive reveals, to the always lively audience Q&A, Celebration fans know this panel is not one to miss!
  • Star Wars Rebels Press Conference
    Participants include: Dave Filoni (Executive Producer) and TBD special guests
  • Star Wars Rebels Select One-on-Ones
    On and off-camera interview opportunities with Dave Filoni and TBD special guests

What are you planning on seeing at Star Wars Celebration Orlando? For the full panel schedule, visit StarWarsCelebration.com!

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