I won't hesitate again.
I have only been to one other fan-centric convention. It was a Firefly convention at a local Marriott. I went for one day, and though it was okay, it wasn't my cup of tea. And we all know that I love me some Firefly. It was just... small. Some vendors in a hotel lobby and a few stars there to talk and give autographs and photo ops. Star Wars Celebration V was the opposite.
I'm not finished either. Panels ran continuously on all topics from costuming to collecting to interviews with stars to social media and how it relates to fandom. One entire room was a gorgeous nostalgia-inducing display of the art of Ralph McQuarrie. The reverance in that room was palpable. The 501st had a room of props and memorabilia, as well as a display of all the helmets from the TK project. You could also just sit and watch the endless parade of costumes outside the main exhibit hall all day.
I think one of the keys to making this event so enjoyable is that fans get to contribute. A lot. Lucasfilm deserves props for not only listening to their fans, but including them. It creates a certain kind of environment and fellowship that I've not quite felt at other conventions. The solidarity of Star Wars is strong. I am aware of how corny that sounds, but it's true.
My highlights of the convention include:
- The Art of Ralph McQuarrie gallery
- Seeing that the Her Universe booth was surrounded by people every time I walked past.
- Watching the kids fight Darth Vader on the Jedi Training Stage. They were excited and amazed, but not one of them I saw was frightened.
- Meeting awesome artists and folks I know from the internet like Grant Gould and Mandy from TheForce.net
- Hanging out with so many awesome fans that understand why things like the scale of Han's bloodstripes matter
- Buying. cool. things. I had to play serious luggage tetris on the way home.
If you love Star Wars and you are able, go to the next Celebration. I promise you won't regret it.