Star Wars Celebration Europe

July’s big deal was Star Wars Celebration Europe.

John posted about it in greater detail over on LJ so read that for a more in depth look. I am not as massive a SW fan as he is but was looking forward enough to go along with the plan of trying to be in line in the Excel Center at 5am.

You see, SWCE had decided on a bit of a mess of a process that involved lining up to collect wristbands to guarantee entry to your chosen panels. All well and good but the actual distribution was to happen at 6am, a whole four hours before the convention actually opened. The Saturday panels of interest to us were not the massive star-studded ones, but  at the same time information was scant as to capacity and expectations for attendance and we didn’t want to risk it and potentially blow the trip.

We got a scant three hours or so of sleep at Laura’s house in London and then bussed it to Excel to arrive just after 5am.

We met up with Josh and I made myself comfortable on the cold concrete floor for a catnap. I woke intermittently and each time John was scouring the program book and positively vibrating in place with excitement for the day. It kinda made the ridiculous circumstances worth it.

We collected our wristbands for the Star Wars Rebels panel and then got in the now shorter line for the EA Games one and got those too. Then we had a chunk of time before opening but of course very little outside Excel was open for business yet so we made do with Costa coffee and toasties, which were actually pretty good.

Once the doors opened there was a bit of a mad rush to get in and then it was time to explore. I adore being surrounded by colorful masses of geeks, regardless of specific genre, and SWCE was no exception. A ton of costumes from the whimsical or silly to the spot-on recreations. There were a handful of really good twi’leks, a great older Luke, a bunch of good Finns, that last a particularly popular costume with very young girls. And of course representatives of various 501sts.

The merch on hand ranged from the usual stuff to some very cool launches like the remote control wristband to control BB8 units and the Propel quadcopters. The official gift shop had bizarrely long lines so we left it till last by which time it had been ransacked pretty much. We did pick up an extra of the awesome lightsaber lanyards though.

The panels were both good, with Warwick Davis serving as moderator. He also had the best intro and entrance of any convention guest I’ve seen since Peter Davison’s TARDIS landing at Gally a few years back. Unfortunately I was pretty exhausted by the time of the Rebels panel and fell fast asleep once they lowered the lights, missing the entirety of the two preview episodes. Ah well.

After the convention wrapped up for the day we said goodbye to Josh and headed over to visit Anna and Hogg, who were putting us up for the night. Hogg had decided to hit up Celebration the next day, based partly on John’s recommendation, and Anna was in the final stages of prep for her currently ongoing TAFF trip but they still had time to host our exhausted selves for a few hours. We had the best Thai food I’ve had in ages, maybe ever, and I went to bed at a reasonable hour while John attempted to burn the candle at both ends.

And that wasn’t even it for the weekend! The next day we left from their flat into London for the annual Coxon family picnic in Regent’s park. As usual there was Pimms and good food and French Cricket (which I didn’t play this time, it was far too hot) and for the first time this year extended Pokemon Go excursions by the younger generation. We’ll see if that becomes a tradition.

Eventually it was time to go, we left the earliest to catch our train home. On the way back to Southampton we spotted plenty of folks coming home from the Sunday of SWCE, including a couple from Winchester who we had a nice chat with on the train itself.


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