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    Posted on Apr 29, 2017

    I Went To The World's Largest "Star Wars" Fan Convention And It Was Everything

    Here's everything you missed if you didn't make it to the 2017 Star Wars Celebration.

    Hi, my name is Luis Del Valle and I had the opportunity to travel to the 2017 Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. (And you don't turn down an opportunity like that.)

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    If you're not familiar, Star Wars Celebration is the largest Star Wars fan convention in the world.

    Lucasfilm

    The convention has been held in different locations around the world since 1999. This year's celebration was in Orlando, Florida.

    The heart of the event is the main hall where you'll find a bit of everything (like at most of geek conventions).

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    Like, literally everything: toys, posters, t-shirts, key rings, pins... even thematic food.

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    What really makes the Star Wars Celebration a draw is that it's usually where the most important announcements about the Star Wars universe happen.

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    This includes new trailer releases, movie announcements, toy reveals, etc. If there's a big announcement to be made about the Star Wars universe, this is the place it happens.

    For example, this year Hasbro announced the launch of the Forces of Destiny toy line.

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    This new line of toys includes more realistic features which combine elements from both action figures and dolls, with the intent of highlighting the heroines of the Star Wars franchise.

    But aside from toys, you'll find all kinds of creations related to films.

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    Like this man who makes little sculptures of the characters out of vegetables.

    Or this fashion designer who makes clothing inspired by the Star Wars universe:

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    Everyone at the convention went a little crazy when it came to shopping. There'd often be a two-hour wait just to get into the shop that sold exclusive collectibles, and then another hour-long wait just to pay.

    Maybe it goes without saying, but you'll probably want to have plenty of cash in your savings account before you go to Star Wars Celebration.

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    You'll want to buy everything you see, and you're definitely encouraged to!

    Still, there's plenty to enjoy even if you're not good with budgeting (like me).

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    There's plenty of fans who go just to show off their cosplaying skills.

    From the most faithful and reliable costume recreations:

    Lucasfilm

    To the most ... creative?

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    It's essentially a never-ending parade of all your favorite characters (and some new favorites).

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    And you've got a built-in excuse for non-stop photos and selfies with them!

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    Yes, an actual R2 unit. It was the best day of my life.

    And it's the perfect opportunity to really inhabit your favorite characters.

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    For instance, here's me as Princess Leia.

    And it's great for all ages.

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    I was expecting a lot of old-school Star Wars fans, but there were actually all types of fans at the event. The best part is that everyone is there to celebrate together, so it's really easy to make new friends.

    During the four day convention, there are tons of panels and events featuring the people behind the Star Wars franchise.

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images / Lucasfilm

    From the actors who gave life to the characters, to the directors, producers, script writers, authors of the extended universe, and more. Many people sleep at the convention center so that they can get into panels the next day.

    I managed to get into a few, including one about the Star Wars Rebels series, a tribute to Carrie Fisher by Mark Hamill, and the official announcement of The Last Jedi 😱.

    Getty Images / Lucasfilm

    Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, director Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill and even BB-8 got on stage to reveal details about the new episode.

    And then they gave away movie posters after the panel!!!!!

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    But the most impressive panel was for the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

    It all started really low-key with Warwick Davis (who plays several characters in the Star Wars universe) taking the stage to celebrate forty years of Star Wars nostalgia.

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images / Lucasfilm

    But it quickly became a parade of big names who caused me (and thousands of other Star Wars fans) to have a geekgasm. Among those who came out as part of the celebration were...

    George Lucas!

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images / Lucasfilm

    Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Ian McDiarmid (The Emperor)!

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

    Mark Hamill!!!

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

    AND HARRISON FORD!!!

    Lucasfilm / Getty Images

    Then the climax came when almost the entire main cast of the original trilogy took the stage together:

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

    They recounted stories and anecdotes from the set, and even revealed a few little-known curiosities about the movies.

    Then Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher's daughter, presented an emotional tribute to her mother:

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    Just try to get through it without shedding a tear. It's impossible.

    And to top it all off, JOHN WILLIAMS came out of nowhere and conducted a medley of the music from the Star Wars films.

    Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

    My heart has survived a lot of excitement over the years, but I barely made it through listening to John WIlliams conduct his iconic score. It was a dream come true.

    And because the celebration took place in Orlando this year (home of Disney World), there was an extra little event called Galactic Nights.

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    Hollywood Studios, one of the Disney parks in Orlando, was closed and turned into a massive tribute to the Star Wars universe. With parades, attractions, and merchandise specifically created for the celebration.

    "Chewbacca, help me wrap this up."

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    The Star Wars Celebration is an event that every Star Wars fan should try to attend at least once in their lives. It's THE ultimate venue for geeking out about Star Wars with people from around the world who share the same passion for the legendary saga. If you like Star Wars, it's an essential pilgrimage.

    Meanwhile, I have to go explain to my bank why I spent so many Imperial Credits in Orlando over a four day timespan.

    This post was translated from Spanish.

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