*If you're not watching the trailer to avoid spoilers, I'd suggest skipping this post.
There was one thing I HAD to see at Star Wars Celebration, The J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy panel. It didn't matter if it was on the main Celebration stage or one of the four rooms it would be simulcasted, I just wanted to see it! Sure, it would be great to be in the room with them but I really just wanted to be part of the experience on the first day of Celebration. I knew it would be epic! So, when I found out just days before the convention that they were allowing people to line up the night before at 6pm, my heart sank. And when a friend of mine tweeted me saying there were people lining up for the line-up (yes, you read that right) in the early afternoon I was kind of freaking out. I knew that with all five rooms put together they could hold A LOT of people, but I really didn't know what to expect. After discussing the situation with my husband, we decided to leave earlier than we had planned, something that is extremely difficult for me to do. I am not a morning person by any means, and I need more sleep than the average person. Somehow it worked out and I had never been more awake at 5am than that day! I was determined and hopeful!
We arrived in line just after 6am. There were literally tons of people there! I saw a sign that said Digital Stage next to the line we were in and assumed that meant we were going to be in one of the extra rooms where it would be simulcasted. I was ok with it. My husband on the other hand questioned whether or not the line for the Celebration Stage had already filled up and wondered if we could check just to be sure. I told him I didn't want to leave the line and that I was glad we were at least going to be able to get into one of the rooms.
The staff started making their way down the lines with wristbands for the panel. I observed that they were bright orange, but that's it. I didn't even read what it said. Minutes later I looked down at my wrist and my eyes widened. "Babe... These say Celebration Stage.". We both just looked at each other intently. We didn't believe it, especially with how many people were in that room and how quickly it was filling up. He asked a few of the staff and I heard them all say "You're in.". I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! I was so unbelievably excited!!!!!
We waited in line for the panel for 4 hours but it actually went by rather quickly. We met some great people, a father and son from Maryland, and talked about EVERYTHING Star Wars. I even met my friend, Teresa Delgado, in line about half an hour before they let us in. She was right in front of me the entire time but we both had no idea the other was there until I tweeted her.
We pretty much #fangirlflailed, embraced and began talking like two people who regularly hang out. I can't remember how Teresa and I met but we've been online friends for years and she used to post here on AAHA. Also with her was Aaron Goins and a few other friends. It was awesome meeting everyone!
Once we made it inside the arena, which was enormous, we made our way to the very top. It was actually perfect seating because no one could stand up and block our view. We had the perfect view of the stage and screen! Being there with thousands and thousands of fans was one of the greatest experiences EVER. It was emotional and powerful. I was so happy to be there with my husband and friends!
Everyone roared when J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy appeared on stage. J.J. was super excited and started filming the crowd which was quickly followed by a selfie. Kathleen was wearing a new Her Universe t-shirt which everyone loved! It was great hearing them both talk about the new movie (I wish I could remember what they said specifically!) and mentioning that we're going to be seeing some great female characters in the future!
They introduced the new cast, who all seemed lovely and they even brought out the new Stormtroopers AND BB-8. I was legitimately freaking out! I exclaimed, "He's so cute! - He's so little! - So chubby!" probably way too many times. My husband and I both decided that we need him in our home. BB-8 and R2 were just adorable together though I sensed a little rivalry. I'm excited to see how they interact in The Force Awakens.
Of course when Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Peter Mayhew came out on stage everyone was extremely excited! I couldn't help but think, "We're in the same room with them!". It was a crazy feeling and I got a little teary eyed when Mark Hamill began talking. It means so much when the actors treat their fans so well and refer to us as "family".
And then it came time to show the new teaser trailer. My heart was pounding and the energy in the arena was increasing by the second. The lights dimmed and all you could hear were people screaming and cheering! This video will give you a taste of what it was like being there when they showed the trailer for the first time!
I loved the silence in the arena during the first scene that was shown. The camera slowly pans and you could clearly see that something had crashed on the planet of Jakku (the planet which we all thought was Tatooine). The camera finally panned far enough so that you could see it was a crashed STAR DESTROYER!!! Ohhhh my gosh!!! The crowd went wild, including myself. That first shot was just mind blowing! I loved every second of the trailer. It was beautifully done. Mark Hamill sounds exactly like Luke Skywalker which some of you might think me silly to say but Mark as himself doesn't really sound like Luke to me. However, his voice over for the trailer was impeccable.
"The force is strong in my family. My father has it, my sister has it... You have that power too..."
Seeing Vader's melted helmet was so surprising and it made it feel all the more like Star Wars. Some have pointed out that Luke says "My father HAS it" instead of "HAD it". I don't really know what to make of that. The only thing I can really think of is that, like Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Yoda, he is a force ghost as well. But to me, it doesn't seem like they will do anything with that in the new movie. We'll see I guess!
Also, I think everyone needs to be careful not to assume that when Luke says "My sister has it..." that the shot to coincide with this phrase doesn't mean Leia is going to use a light saber. Trailers are often deceiving and what is said during the video doesn't always match up with what is shown. You should also notice that the woman's hands who receive the saber are very young looking. Roel Veldhuyzen also pointed out that the person handing the light saber to the woman is not human. This was simply discovered by brightening the photo. You can see it here.
The X-wing shot about killed me. I distinctly remember screaming. It was such an AMAZING piece of footage! In fact, it was all incredible. And I already love the new sith, Kylo Ren. That's not weird, right?
And of course, there was the last shot of Chewbacca and Han Solo. If no one was already crying (like I was), they were after "Chewie... We're home.". By that time I was crying AND laughing and hoping I didn't annoy anyone by how many times I said "Oh my gosh!". My husband wasn't crying but was definitely speechless. I looked over to my other side and Teresa was crying as much as I was, while Aaron's eyes were totally red. He sat there shaking his head like "What did I just see?".
The panel ended with a second showing of the teaser trailer, which was such a treat! EVERYONE wanted to see it again! What a way to kick off the convention!
This was honestly one of the best days of my life!
Thanks to Star Wars Episode 7 News & StarWars.com for the screencaps.