Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Sunday, April 14

It was snowing! The news actually said it was a record: 16 hours of uninterrupted snowfall. The most ever during the daytime.

And then by Tuesday it would be 70!
Thanks a lot Chicago.

The snow canceled many flights. I heard on a podcast that there were rumors that George Lucas and perhaps even Ewan McGregor were supposed to fly in for the 20th Anniversary of The Phantom Menace panel on Monday, but their flights were cancelled.

I didn’t get to go to the TPM panel because my sister and I were heading home, but those that went said it was a bit lack luster and the end felt like it was scrapped together at the last minute because they didn’t have their surprise guests. Who knows?

My sister and I went to a panel in the morning: This Deal is Getting Worse All the Time. It was a cute interactive game. They gave out raffle tickets and if your number was called you went up to play any variety of games for the chance to win a prize. But then some were mystery packages and you had to make a choice, a gamble really, to either keep your prize or upgrade it for the mystery package that could be a better or worse prize. It was fun to watch but I was glad my number wasn’t called. The only prizes I liked were Star Wars lunch boxes. I don’t care to collect any toys.

At 12:30 I had a ticket for Matt Lanter’s autograph. I brought my Clone Wars cast photo for him to sign. It being day 4 I could tell he was tired. He was quiet, but very nice and appreciative. I said that I was so emotional when it was announced that TCW was returning and I can’t wait to see it. I mentioned that I was sad Timeless was cancelled but glad at least that it got some closure. Then I also said it was cool that he met Hayden and to have a photo of the two Anakins together. He said Hayden is a nice guy and that was the first time they had met.

My sister and I met up with our friend Megan for The Clone Wars panel. We decided with the snow and the huge pain it was to go over to the Wintrust Arena that instead we stayed where we were and see it in the Live Streaming room. So we queued up early for the people without the reservation QR codes. We made it in and it was a very emotional panel.

You can watch the whole panel here. I am going to make some references with the time stamp.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Saturday, April 13

Saturday is usually the busiest day of a convention and it showed at the queue for the shuttle. In the morning my sister and I met Megan, Lea and Nicki at the line for the shuttle and it was a cold wait. I was dressed as Padmé that day and I didn’t want to bring a jacket or scarf. It was going to be a long day of running from queue to queue and I didn’t want to carry it around. So while waiting on that line outside I was shivering.

A few shuttles passed us by and they were full. We waited about 40 minutes and about 4 shuttles passed us by. We were about to order a Lyft when finally an empty shuttle arrived.

I made my costume. At first I was going to dress in the leather corset look from AotC but then I thought about the Chicago weather and also what costume I could finish in time for Celebration so I went with the green velvet gown from RotS, minus the pregnancy belly. It is more of an “inspired by” look than an exact replica. The fabric is actually pleated velour and I beaded the pin myself with the symbol of Naboo.

Ugh, the hem got caught in the escalator! Luckily I pulled it out in time, but I have to clean some grease off the hem. Such a cosplay noob move!

Megan originally was going to cosplay as Medal Ceremony Leia but her costume was not going to be repaired in time. So she dressed as Bespin Leia (the dress is from Her Universe).

Ever since Celebration Orlando 2017 I have had hope that Hayden would attend another Celebration. Bummed that we missed Orlando, Megan and I vowed to attend the next one and if Hayden came we would go in together for a photo op.

With the exception of The Clone Wars cast photo op (which to save on cost Megan and I decided to do together) I held off on other ops, waiting for Hayden’s announcement. He was the last to be announced. Since he was a bit pricy I sacrificed my other wish list items:
– I also considered getting a photo op with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jason Isaacs, or with the Rebels cast (although the voice actor for Zeb was not there)
– and then I was also considering getting autographs from cast of TCW and Rebels.
– I would also like Ahmed Best’s autograph on a photo I have with him and Jake Lloyd from Big Apple Con in 2010.

After Hayden was announced I only ended up getting Warwick’s photo op and Matt Lanter’s autograph.

The thing is Hayden doesn’t go to many cons, but Jason, Freddie and Warwick do. So I hope to see them at another con or at another Celebration. Hopefully the whole cast of Rebels will be at the next one for a cast photo.

The first thing for the day was that Megan and I had a photo op with 7 cast members from The Clone Wars.

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Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, narrated by January LaVoy

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Witness the birth of the Resistance

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing.

This is one of the top notch Star Wars novels. It’s my first Claudia Gray novel and she is an excellent author. (I plan to read more of her work. My sister is a fan of her Firebird series.)

Leia is so in character and it’s fantastic. Gray wrote her perfectly. She really got her intelligence, her heart, her temper and her sass so well.

There is some action and adventure in the story, but it is more political – and not in a boring way. The story takes place six years prior to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Not an era I care for but after reading this I have more insight into how the First Order came to power.

January LaVoy’s narration was great. She sounded similar to older Leia’s voice. Her voice for Lady Carise Sindian was spot on because she sounded just like a prissy royal bitch. And I liked what she did for Ransolm Casterfo’s voice. It was great for his character development where he starts out as a stuffy ass and then by the end you are sympathizing with him.

I loved the development of the friendship between Leia and Ransolm. The turn around from enemies to friends to enemies to friends again was an emotional rollercoaster.

I can’t go further without going into some spoilers:

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Friday, April 12

Day two! The big panel today was the one for Episode IX, but my sister and I had a photo op with Warwick Davis at the same time. So I didn’t even bother entering the lottery for it. I have read online from the fandom that usually when Warwick is hosting panels during Celebration he does not do autographs and photo ops. So when it was announced that he was I thought we should take the opportunity.

Of course I was also holding out for Hayden’s announcement (he was the last guest to be announced) so I held off on Warwick’s op a little bit. His autographs was selling out fast but I’ll try to get that another time. I just really wanted the photo.

But first I really wanted that exclusive edition of Master and Apprentice so we got an early shuttle (around 8 am) to go queue up at McCormick Place. Well it more like a massive crowd waiting outside the exhibit hall. We randomly “queued” up next to Dan and Melissa (who we met the previous day). We talked about our dislike of what was done to Luke in The Last Jedi. Let’s not go there right now. But it was nice to see them again and talk about Star Wars with them while we waited.

When they let us in my sister said she would meet me at Del Rey and being really petite I snuck through the crowds to get to Del Rey. And it was chaos! No queue. Just a massive crowd of people pushing with their fists out trying to get a bracelet. Three people were putting them on wrist. Other Del Rey people were acting as barriers with their arms out to stop people from mobbing the people behind the tables, I guess.

The man I was next to acting as a barrier kept saying “don’t push”, “don’t hit me”, “there will be more bracelets tomorrow”… Someone asked if he drew the short straw this morning but he said he volunteered!

It was almost impossible once someone got their bracelet to leave the crowd and the people behind the tables were saying let them leave. As they left we kept inching up, with our fists out, and eventually I did get a bracelet. It was close too because as I was almost there they said the beacon lit up that they were running low and don’t worry there will be more bracelets the next few days.

When I found my sister again she said she was worried and thought she should try to get a bracelet for me.

Then we saw that the Her Universe booth had a pretty manageable line. It was still long but it was moving. So we decided to get on and if we didn’t get close by the time we had to get to the photo ops we’d try again later.

Luckily we did make it to the check out within the half hour-45 minutes and bought the rest of what we wanted. All in time for our photo op!

I got the:
– Padmé ombré hoodie
– Tano sweatshirt
– Sisters of the Force t-shirt
– my first (and probably my only) Funko Pop of Ahsoka Tano (signed by Ashley)
– Padmé Nouveau, even though I already have this shirt, it is worn out. And since HU reissued it I seized the opportunity.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Thursday, April 11

After missing Celebration in 2017 for the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars I said I wouldn’t miss the next one. And I meant it.

When they announced it was in Chicago I was a little disappointed. I never really had an interest in going to Chicago. Especially in April, when it is still cold and there is a possibly of snow. (And it did snow!) In the end I really liked Chicago and would like to visit again to see more of the sights and museums. Just not in April.

My sister, Victoria, and I flew in a day early to do some sightseeing. It was cold and it did rain quiet heavily so we didn’t get to see much. I’ll talk about that more in another post. Right now I just want to talk about Celebration!

Day 1 was a preview day, so no panels. The show floor opened at 1 pm so my sister and I spent the morning having breakfast at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. We had the Upside down pineapple pancakes. It was so delicious but so big we took the left overs to the hotel and it lasted us the whole week as our breakfast.

We then walked around Millennium Park to take better photos of The Bean and the sights in the sunlight. We also went to The Chicago Theatre.

After checking out the sights and buying some souvenirs we went back to the hotel so I could dress up as Barriss Offee. I made the costume myself. After getting to wear it I know some changes I would make. The cape needs a shrug underneath to keep it from shifting. I knew this would happen but I ran out of time. I would also like to add pockets to the skirt. As for the makeup, drawing on the diamonds was hard. I think I want to find/make little purple diamond studs to glue on with eyelash glue. I would also like to save up for a really nice lightsaber and not have the Toys R Us one (which I clipped to my belt and it mostly hid under my cape.)

I would also like to point out that I don’t like what was done to Barriss on The Clone Wars so I’m Legends Barriss- where she was Anakin’s peer and was not turned into a terrorist traitor. But that is a whole other discussion.

I did get many compliments and 2 guys took my photo when I was on E.K. Johnson’s book signing line. While I was taking a photo of an excellent Ahsoka cosplay (from the end of Rebels) she said to me, “Even after everything.” I chuckled but didn’t get into my Legends Barriss spiel.

My sister and I took the complementary shuttle from the hotel which was super convenient and not so crowded on a Thursday.

Something new this Celebration was that instead of overnight queuing for the main opening panels there was a lottery. I like the idea of that but I didn’t bother with the lotteries because the only one I really wanted was The Phantom Menace panel, but we were leaving Monday.

You could also reserve panels- if you got the crappie app to work. Which I never could for reserving panels, nor for the Lightspeed lane for the Celebration Store. The only thing I used the app for was reminders for the panels I wanted to see, my autograph and photo ops, and to map the room the panels were in.

There was an 8 hour wait on the queue for the Celebration Store. There were some t-shirts I did want. Mainly the badge art of Leia, Luke, Ahsoka, Anakin &Rex & Ahsoka, and  the Rebels mural.

But after that whole fiasco I gave up on it the first day. I don’t want to spend all day on a queue for just a bunch of t-shirts. And if the app had worked as it should have I wouldn’t have needed to wait and I would have had my shirts. They also didn’t tell anyone you needed to download the app update to get the Lightspeed Lane to even show up. I found that out from someone on a queue. But even so, when I did update it, the Lightspeed Lane still did not work for me. So: Celebration= FUN! Celebration App= Epic Fail!

Honestly, I don’t know why we can’t order this merchandise as part of the Road to Celebration and have it shipped to our home instead. Such B.S.

I ordered two things from the Road to Celebration: the Anakin and Padmé pins/t-shirt and the Hera and Kanan pins/shirt. I didn’t participate in any of the pin trading or buying. I kept my goodies at home.

Anyway, back to Thursday. As soon as we got to the exhibit hall I went straight to Del Rey to get the bracelet for the exclusive SWCC edition of Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey. The bracelets were already gone for Thursday.

Next, and I knew it would be like this, the Her Universe queue was like a mile long. It snaked, with many line breaks to Artist Alley. At the very end of the day when my sister and I saw the line was short I did manage to buy from the Sisters of the Force collection Hera’s green sweatshirt and Padmé’s Lake Retreat dress. Everything else I wanted was sold out for the day.

So after checking out the line for HU we went to Anderson’s Books. The crowd was massive and getting into the store was a fight. I was looking for the SWCC exclusive edition of Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. There were none to be seen so I was getting frustrated and was going to go ask the cashier. Victoria stayed on the check out line and thank goodness she did because they brought out a box with the edition I wanted. Vic grabbed one. I also bought a hardcover copy of Thrawn. I brought Thrawn Alliances from home for Timothy Zahn to sign but you had to have purchased something from Anderson’s to go to their signings.

Then we walked around to get the layout of the place. We went by Jason Palmer’s booth. He had been working on a giant mural that was unveiled at the convention that has the whole saga: The Prequels, The Clone Wars, Rebels, Rogue One, Solo, The Originals, and The Sequels. It is beautiful! If I had the money and a mansion, I’d get it.

Episode IX was covered the first day but I saw what it looked like on a iPad at the booth. You could buy the complete mural starting at $150 and it’s 10 inches by 7.5 FEET!

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Friday, October 5

I went to work for the earlier part of the day and got to Comic Con at 2PM so I could go to Ashley Eckstein’s meet and greet at the Reed Pop booth.

I was such an airhead and forgot to bring my From a Certain Point of View book for her to sign! What a scatterbrain I am sometimes.

Ok, next time. Moving on. I told her how emotional I was when I found out The Clone Wars was returning while watching the SDCC panel. Ashley said she was a hot mess because she was crying, but I told her I was crying with her and I loved when Matt got out of seat.

I was getting choked up again and so I asked her about her sweatshirt and if it’s available. She spoke about the concept for the original logo for Her Universe being Ahsoka’s markings and the shirt is available. It came out for the 10th Anniversary collection, but slipped under the radar with the other items based off the characters’ outfits.

I told her that I got the Skywalker hooded sweatshirt and she asked if it is too big. I told it her it is but I knew it would be. I can just wear it around the house when it’s winter. It is so comfy.

She is so sweet, she asked about my sister and I told her she would be coming to NYCC after work, and that we will be seeing her in April for Celebration.

At the Penguin Booth there was a mystery giveaway. You chose from several descriptions. I saw someone walk away with this book and the cover caught my eye, so I did my best guessing. I guessed right!
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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