Finally returning after a three-year absence, Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 brought with it exciting news and footage from Obi-Wan Kenobi, Willow, Andor and so much more!
We attended this year’s Celebration and share our experience with you in the below playlist! From check-in to closing ceremony, from cosplay to a surprise Mandalorian experience, you won’t want to miss this year’s coverage!
Disclaimer: We were given a media pass to Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022, however, we also purchased -day passes in order to enter panel lotteries, and Lightspeed Lane and panel reservations. As such, you will get an honest opinion of Star Wars Celebration 2022 below.
While the impact of the pandemic was definitely felt with this year’s Star Wars Celebration, some major content reveals and the return of a fan event of this size brought with it enough good will to make Celebration 2022 memorable.
The return to four days seems like a wise choice, given panel options and merchandise availability (a number of vendors were not able to have their exclusives due to supply chain issues).
While I don’t know that we’ll attend next year’s event in London, I think ReedPop has figured out ways to make Star Wars fans happy with the content and coverage they supply.
Here’s some specific highlights:
Panel Reservations and Lottery System
I am actually a fan of the reservation/lottery system. It lets me know ahead of time what I’d get into and what I wouldn’t, it reduced camping out and line waiting and, when it worked, it was a generally pleasurable experience.
Unfortunately, again technical issues, especially on the first day, had the app, essentially, not being useful beyond knowing panel schedules and maps. Confusion with staff also led to a number of stand-by queue issues for those unable to attain guaranteed panel access via lottery.
The Exhibit Hall at this year’s Celebration brought with it a VERY impressive Star Wars Show Live Stage, thankfully tucked away to the side of the main vendor room that allowed for much smoother moving people traffic (compared to Chicago’s stage being in the center of the Hall
Obviously, as mentioned above, supply chain issues led to some notable exhibitors, namely Sideshow and Hasbro, offering pre-orders for their exclusives, rather than selling the items there.
- Funko continues to be the craziest booth of the convention – this year, a stage was added inside of their booth where celebrities would make surprise appearances. Lego also had a stage in their booth this year, allowing for more specific fun content outside of the panel schedule.
- Disney’s presence this year, again, focused on advertising experiences in the parks, rather than selling items at the convention itself.
- Heroes and Villains (https://heroesvillains.com) was bigger than ever, and I was not able to get anywhere near the booth all weekend due to their awesome exclusives and long lines.
- Despite not having an exclusive for sale at the show, the Sideshow booth was beautiful, with tons of statues and photo opportunity.
- Also, the addition of Obi-Wan costumes to the VW booth on day two was a nice surprise.
Celebration Show Store and Exclusives
Sadly, I was never able to obtain a Lightspeed Lane pass for the Celebration Store, and there were numerous times where the standby queue was capped.
However, perhaps I got lucky, but I took a chance on walking up to it on Friday and walked right in. Between restocks and no wait, I was able to get everything I wanted.
- The biggest panel of the weekend (which I sadly was not able to attend) was the LucasFilm Studio Showcase. In addition to first footage from The Mandalorian, also trailers for Willow and Andor were shown, and John Williams conducted the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Indiana Jones themes (with a surprise appearance from Harrison Ford). Great stuff and, thankfully, other than Mandalorian, all trailers have been released online.
- Speaking of The Mandalorian, I was able to attend the Mando+ panel, which featured an amazing extended version of the trailer AND first look footage of the new Ahsoka show.
- Dave Filoni’s presence was felt in a number of large panels, including Tales of the Jedi, a new series of animated shorts focusing on Ahsoka and Count Dooku. Really glad to attend this panel.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in the negative sometimes – whether it be toxic fandom, technical issues, or whatever, but when 65k fans with the same level of love for a franchise as you gather to celebrate that franchise, you can’t help but enjoy yourself. This year’s Celebration may not have been my favorite, but it was certainly a great experience and a welcome return after these last few years.