Celebration Europe 2016 draws ever closer (July 15-17) and more details about the event has surfaced, including the nearly complete panel schedule going live so attendees can begin to plan accordingly, what prints will be exclusively available at the art show, and that ILMxLAB is bringing its Trials of Tatooine VR demo to the show! As exciting as some of the panels are this year, if I only get to play the VR demo I’ll be happy (…maybe). Details on all the above, plus a run-down on the schedule, below!
I got two prints at Celebration Anaheim 2015, but this year’s art show has more I’d like to buy, something my wallet won’t allow! There’s tons of The Force Awakens-themed art, unlike last year since the movie hadn’t released, but not everything I’m looking forward to is from Ep. VII. Show attendees, or the person who you know is going that’ll be doing the heavy lifting and grabbing one of these prints for you, can already begin pre-ordering the art. The ones I’d love to buy are pictured above: “Pieces of the Past” by Kaela Croft because, hello, Ahsoka!; “Rebels” by Alex Buechel since it has the entire crew from the show, even the ship, on it!; “The Force Awakens” by Jerry Vanderstelt, not only because it’s gorgeous, but because it has so many things the official poster just couldn’t/didn’t have; “Strength” by Karen Hallion due to the focus on the strong ladies of Star Wars, though it would’ve been nice to see Dr. Aphra included as well! All the art looks really good this year, lack of comic characters is both disappointing and understandable, seeing as they aren’t as popular as film or TV show characters, but an art print including some of the great new characters introduced in the comics would be nice to see eventually.
As I mentioned above, ILMxLAB is bringing Trials on Tatooine to the show for attendees to try out and I’m not kidding about being okay with not seeing anything else as long as I get to experience the VR demo. In it, you get to wield a lightsaber and block incoming stormtrooper blaster fire, protecting R2-D2 and the Millennium Falcon, which looms over you as if you’re really there…I mean, how can you beat that!? You can check out a trailer for Trials on Tatooine here. While I will unlikely attend the ILMxLAB panel (due to it conflicting with the Star Wars Rebels Season 3 panel/premiere), you can expect impressions from the demo sometime next month after I get a chance to jump into it…and if ever decide to leave.
Speaking of panels conflicting with one another, SWCE 2016’s schedule is live (for the most part) and attendees must begin figuring out their priorities because there’s a high chance one or more of the things they’d love to see will either be set at the same time or overlap. Here are some of the panels I’d most want to see, regardless if I get to go to them or not:
Friday (July 15)
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (4-5pm, Celebration Stage): Despite just getting an info dump from Entertainment Weekly on the upcoming film, expect to learn even more about it, see the cast, and new footage hopefully in the form of a trailer!
- Ahsoka’s Untold Tales (11am-12pm, Galaxy Stage): I’ve got more information on this panel here, but the title alone should be enough to make you realize this is the panel you’re looking for! More Ahsoka all the time, please.
- An Hour with Mark Hamill (11:30am-12:30pm, Celebration Stage): You can’t go wrong starting off your day with Mark Hamill, hey? He’s guaranteed to say more than he did in TFA!
- ILM Presents: Star Wars Archeology (2-3pm, Galaxy Stage): John Knoll (Chief Creative Officer and Producer of Rogue One), Doug Chaing (VP Executive Creative Director and is working on Visceral Games’ Star Wars project), and Kevin Jenkins (Supervising Art Director) all sound like the perfect group to give fans an inside look how ILM created some of the effects for the Star Wars films, new and old.
- STEM Heroes and Heroines of Star Wars (12-1pm, Fan & Collector’s Stage): Find out how Star Wars’ STEM characters and technology can influence generations to come to follow down the STEM path.
Saturday (July 16) i.e. the busiest day of the convention!
- Star Wars Rebels Season 3 (4-6pm, Celebration Stage): After the show’s great second season and its amazing finale, you can imagine this year’s offereings won’t have any empty seats! Not only will this have an hour long panel, packed with the reveal of a Legends character coming to canon everyone is assuming will be Thrawn, the cast & crew, premiere date announcement, and likely a new trailer, but it’ll be followed up by the S3 premiere! Rebels fans (i.e. me!) will not want to miss this!
- Star Wars Publishing (12-1pm, Behind the Scenes Stage): Get a preview of the upcoming slate of novels, like maybe some more information on Ahsoka and Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, as well as hopefully some reveals of what’s to come!
- Marvel’s Star Wars Comic Books Panel (3-4pm, Galaxy Stage): Marvel has done an exceptional job with their comics so far and since I’ve been reviewing every issue released so far, you can bet this is something I’d love to see. Panelists include Editor Jordan D. White, writer Kieron Gillen (Darth Vader) and artists Phil Noto (Chewbacca, Poe Dameron) and Marco Chechetto (Obi-Wan & Anakin, Shattered Empire). The most asked question will be, “When will we get a Dr. Aphra series?” and if they don’t announce it there, the second most asked question will be, “Why did you not announce a Dr. Aphra series?” I expect the panel to likely have the announcement on what will replace Darth Vader as the next on-going, since that series ends in August.
- Meet the Creators: The Minds Behind EA’s Star Wars Games (7-8pm, Celebration Stage): After a rather disappointing showing at E3 2016, here’s hoping not only does this video game panel show off more than another behind-the-scenes video, but at the very least gives us a title for the Amy Hennig-led Visceral Games’ upcoming project (which we got a brief glimpse of in the E3 video). And since this is on the Celebration Stage, the biggest stage they’ve got, I actually have my hopes up we could be getting more footage or details of some kind. We’ll know soon enough!
- Meet ILMxLAB: The Future of Immersive Entertainment (4:30-5:30pm, Galaxy Stage): If you don’t get your fix of Star Wars VR experiences just from checking out Trials on Tatooine, then this will be the panel for you.
- Anthony Daniels, Without Protocol (2-3pm): Has this guy ever missed a Celebration?!?
Sunday (July 17) UPDATED
Closing Ceremonies…likelyFuture Filmmaker Discussion and Closing Ceremonies (3-4:30pm, Celebration Stage): UPDATED: Looks like I was half right: This panel includes the Closing Ceremonies, but will also have Rian Johnson, the director of Ep. VIII, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, directors of the untitled Han Solo film, Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, and Pablo Hildalgo where they’ll be chatting about the upcoming projects! What better way to end the convention with a title / cast announcement for the Han Solo film and a title plus QUICK tease of Ep. VIII? At least that’s what I’m hoping we’ll get, but either way this will be a must-see event! (Original Thoughts Follow): While this panel is currently untitled, the timing and stage make it the best candidate for the closing ceremonies. The weekend will surely be focused on Rogue One and Rebels S3 news, but don’t expect Ep. VIII to sit this one out completely, though if they’d announce anything here it’d probably only be title for the film. Other possibly reveals include what is the subject of the third A Star Wars Story spin-off film, official announcement of cast from the Han Solo film, or…something else entirely.
- Carrie Fisher: The Princess Diaries (11-12am, Celebration Stage): The Queen of unpredictability graces the stage for what is sure to be on helluva an entertaining hour that could literally go anywhere. Yes, please.
- Restored Music from The Empire Strikes Back with David Collins (10:30-11:30am, Galaxy Stage): Restored John Williams music, scenes from The Empire Strikes Back, and hosted by David Collins (from the StarWars.com team, previous Celebration host, former LucasArts employee)? Count me in!
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens – From Silver Screen to Videogame (1:30-2:30pm, Galaxy Stage): Those curious how they went about making a two-hour film into a several hours longer video game or just those curious about BTS for video games in general will want to to make it to this one.
What panels would you like to make? Which podcasts would you rather be supporting instead? Pick wisely, because while there are still a few unannounced panels, there’s already plenty of good things to choose from!
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EA Provides Minor Updates on Upcoming Star Wars Video Games from Visceral Games, Respawn Entertainment, and More
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Ahsoka Tano Novel Coming October 2016!
Star Wars VR Experiences from ILMxLAB Teased
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Video Game Set to Release June 28th
Rogue One Prequel Novel and Comic Announced, New Bloodline Details Revealed at C2E2 2016
D23 Expo: Rogue One Cast Revealed, Ep. IX Director, Star Wars Land News
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