Week one is over and I would have to say, from my perspective it was quite the success! The goals I had set for the weekend were met, and some things exceed my expectations. Over all, a great time, if I don’t say so myself.
It all started Friday. Day one. Kickoff day. My friends Robbie and his brother Angelo arrived at Hollywood Studios at 3 AM to wait in line to score a rare chance to meet Ahmed Best, aka Jar Jar Binks in Episodes 1-3 plus The Clone Wars. He isn’t someone who does a lot of conventions and it was his first time at Star Wars Weekends, so scoring the autograph was awesome!
The Star Of The Saga show was quite enjoyable. I knew Ahmed Best performed the voice of Jar Jar, but I didn’t realize he also was the motion capture actor for the character as well. He was the original MoCap before Andy Serkis. He said during his Q & A that the FX team was still writing the MoCap program during the filming of the movie. The legendary Peter Mayhew was also there that weekend. Of course, the topic of Episode 7 came up, which he, of course, didn’t answer. He was walking this year, not great, but good considering 6 months ago he had double knee replacement and a year ago he was in a wheelchair.
Then there was Darth’s Mall. I will admit, I have mixed feelings about the store this year. Disney changed the location, so the store was half its normal size. There was only one wall area of art, no place for artist meet and greets, and part of the space was occupied by Jedi Mickey and Princess Leia Minnie photo op area. The amount of merchandise being offered was greatly reduced due to the lack of space. The smaller venue led to longer lines, which at one point was a 3 and half hour wait just to get into the store! Yet there were some highlights. The Her Universe display and selection was awesome! I think they could have used more space, but they did great with what they had. Ashley Eckstein’s new designs were incredible. The R2-D2 jewelry was stunning! D-Tech had a great line up as usual. Besides the typical personalized phone cases, the 3-D statues of stormtroopers and Han in carbonite with your face on them were great looking. If I had an extra $100, I would have one on my desk. If all the shopping was making thirsty, you could then stop at Ackbar’s Snack Bar in Darth’s Mall for some refreshment. Ingenious! Love the concept. This was something new that I’m glad they added.
Day 2, Saturday, was a great day too. It was a little more laid back. The park was no way near as crowded as I expected. Robbie, Angelo and I also arrived early, around 4 AM. We secured our fast pass tickets for Vanessa Marshall, who is voicing Hera from Star Wars Rebels. This day was the perfect example of why I love the Star Wars community. It started in line for the fast passes when I met a great family of Star Wars fans. I had a great conversation with Cody, about the weekends, Star Wars, Coffee With Kenobi, all while his wife Jen shared some homemade cinnamon buns with me and my friends. They had their daughter with them who was all dressed up as Darth Vader. After we got our tickets and said our good byes to Cody and family, I met and had a nice chat with Tim and Miguel from the 501st Legion. Great guys who I later got to see marching in the parade. After the park opened, Robbie, Angelo and I stopped at the Starring Rolls Cafe for breakfast, where I was joined by my friend Colin who I hadn’t seen since college. It was great catching up with him a little bit. As we were leaving the cafe, I hear someone yell out for Coffee With Kenobi. I turned around and met the lovely Tricia Barr, co-host of Fangirls Going Rogue. Had a great conversation with her for a few moments.
Next it was autograph time. Vanessa Marshall was incredible! Robbie and Angelo went first. As Angelo was finishing up, he told her that I was the SWW correspondent for CWK and thats apparently all it took. She turned to me, came off the podium and gave me the biggest hug. See, the day before, the one year anniversary episode of CWK was released and of course, Vanessa Marshall sent in her congrats in that episode. She was obviously familiar with the show, and genuinely seemed just as happy to see me as I was to meet her. She signed some autographs while I thanked her for the kind words she sent in for the show. Of course, she couldn’t give anything about Rebels away, but she is just as excited for us to see it as we are to see it.
After meeting Vanessa Marshall, the gang and I went to see the Beyond the Force Star Wars Rebels show. This is where Ashley Eckstein interviewed Vanessa about her involvement in Rebels, how she found out she got the part, and other projects we know her from. The set was awesome! Some large versions of the Imperial recruitment posters were hanging on the stage. It was all very insightful. As a Star Wars fan, this is a dream come true for her. The show included some behind the scenes video of the making of Rebels, plus an exclusive clip from Rebels. It was an extend version of the already released clip of Hera flying the Ghost while Kanan is fighting off some T.I.E. fighters. Very entertaining and humorous. One thing Dave Filoni said in one of the videos, its they wanted to go back to some of the same kind of humor as the original trilogy, and from the look of this clip, it appears they have succeeded.
The Behind the Force show ended my weekend. Due to family requirements, I didn’t go sunday, but from what I am told, it was the busiest day to date. Plus during the Star Of The Saga show, they celebrated Peter Mayhew’s 70th birthday. I was pretty bummed to have missed that, but happy he will be in Episode 7. You can see all the pictures from the first 2 days there on my Photobucket page here or check out the sideshow below.
Week two is coming and I can’t wait! This weeks celebrities are Warwick Davis (aka Wicket from Return of the Jedi), Jeremy Bulloch (aka Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), and Tiya Sircar (aka Sabine Wren from Rebels) I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday. So excited! You can follow my exploits live on twitter and of course a Week 2 recap will follow. Thank you to all who have sent tweets about my posts. I’m honored that you are following me for the updates. If you are going to be at Hollywood Studios for week 2, please, don’t hesitate to stop me and say hello! I have had a few people message me and tell me they saw me and didn’t say anything. Trust me, I don’t bite. Would love to meet you all and who knows, you photo may end up in my weekends recap! Check my Twitter to see what Star Wars gear i’ll have on that day so make it easy to spot me.
Until then, may the Force be with you all!
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