Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Field Guide to Celebration

I will not be attending Celebration this year. That's a bit of a disappointment for an aspiring Star Wars blogger, but the odds are it will work out well in the long run...and I do in fact want to be told the odds.

I could write about the experience of not  going to Celebration: the blogs I'll stalk, the twitter feeds I'll raptly watch. I could write about my pro tips from last year (arrive either very early or at around 10 am to avoid long lines; Nick Gillard will let you chat with him for free if there's no line; eat).

For now, though, I'm going to go through the schedule and point out where I would have gone, vicariously living through panels, mostly about books and The Clone Wars, that might be interesting to my readers too.

Thursday

If you would like to take some time to rest and watch The Clone Wars on a big screen instead of traipsing about the con, CVI will have a dedicated theater every day playing eight episodes spanning seasons two through four. On Thursday they include the more-impressive-than-usual General Krell trilogy, as well as season two's "Landing at Point Rain". Each subsequent day has a theme: Bounty Hunters, Villains of the Dark Side, and Heroes of the Force.

At 11:30 AM the "Inside The Clone Wars Tech" panel talks about the show's animation and will feature a Q & A with Dave Filoni and VFX Supervisor Joel Aron.

James Luceno hosts a writing panel at 1. He's not one of my favorite writers, but the panel description talks about "imagining alternative sequences and story arcs in the Star Wars movies". Is this a fan fiction panel in disguise?

You've gotta pick between that one and "1313", however: the upcoming video game gets its own panel, also at 1. I'll be eagerly listening for news from that one. There will be a second "1313" panel on Friday.

Here's one I'd schedule dinner around: at 5:30 Dave Filoni teaches a "class" on storytelling "in the true Star Wars style". I attended a panel with him last year that had some great insights into the nature of the Jedi and the saga, and I must say that listening to him for an hour can tell more about his and Lucas' view of Star Wars than a handful of The Clone Wars episodes.

Friday

Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Matt Lanter, and Dee Bradley Baker appear in a panel about The Clone Wars voice acting at 10:30.

This would really be a tough decision for me, since at the same time Del Rey is hosting a "What's Coming Next" panel featuring authors Aaron Allston, Troy Denning, Drew Karpyshyn, James Luceno, and Timothy Zahn. Maybe we could get them all together for dramatic readings and negate the problem of choice...

At noon, Seth Green and company will be releasing the first snippets of information from their "top secret" animated Star Wars project.

At 1:30 comes the Hour With Anthony Daniels. While not especially relevant to my interests, I happened across Daniels' panel at CV and found it hilarious. Tip: don't film the show. He might take your camera.

Aaron Allston hosts a writing panel at 2:30 which seems to be about his methods instead of Star Wars-specific topics. It suggests ways to cheat writers' block and alternatives to conventional outlining.

Begin the excitement for The Clone Wars season five at the red carpet at 4, when David Filoni and the stars of the show will gather before the premiere at 5.  I wouldn't miss this for the world: it's the key to a good seat, and the voice actors' bright personalities are sure to make it entertaining. The premiere episode, including the next clash between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, begins at five.

If you're more into books than TCW, Troy Denning has a panel about plotting and how to build a "strong literary climax" at 5:30. Judging by the fact that this man wrote Star by Star, here's betting that one of the tips is to make sure everybody dies.

It's a star-studded day: 7:30 brings Mark Hamill to the main stage. I don't recommend trying to get into this one if you've attended the TCW premiere: the line for Mark Hamill at the previous Celebration had wrapped around a corner of the convention hall by around noon.

Saturday

A "very special" Clone Wars panel at 10:30 seems to be a rehash of Thursday's animation panel, but will also allow fans the opportunity to ask questions about season five.

Seth Green and co. will also host a second panel at noon.

Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo join forces for a no-holds-barred storytelling panel at 7:30.

Saturday is also a great day for shopping, but it's the busiest day of the con: if you're looking for limited edition artwork, reserve it the first day and take it home on Saturday. (Hopefully this year's artists' alley will be laid out a bit better than the last one.)

Sunday 

 Sam Witwer, the voice of Darth Maul, takes the stage at 1:30 to talk about his role in The Clone Wars. The panel description mentions The Force Unleashed, but not The Son. Maybe I'm not the only one who wants to forget that.

The closing ceremony (a "new tradition") happens at 3, but panels will continue to run until 5 pm. The complete, unbiased schedule can be found on Celebration's mobile site here.

Enjoy your Florida! I'll be there in Force spirit.

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