Film

Orlando Calrissian Lives

Orlando Calrissian Lives

Are you sick and tired of reading about how George Lucas’s Star Wars movies and no shortage of merchandise have come to permeate our culture? Oh, please go screw yourself already.

If you never had an obvious jones to fly the Millennium Falcon and can’t enjoy seeing fully armored stormtroopers mixing with more slave Leias than you can count, I will be polite but I will not call you friend.

Enough Slave Leias to delcare intergalactic peace.

Star Wars Celebration V hit the Orange County Convention Center from August 12 – 15, 2010. As the Roman numeral denotes, the event was the fifth official Star Wars convention since 1999 (unless you count the Starlog magazine-sponsored convention to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Star Wars in 1987, which makes six, but I digress). The Main Event had Jon Stewart cracking wise with George Lucas, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. The audience went totally nuts when Lucas presented a never-before-screened deleted clip of Luke Skywalker assembling his green-bladed lightsaber in Return of the Jedi. Prior to this, the only way Star Wars fans could view Luke building his lightsaber was in the Shadows of the Empire mini-comic that was distributed with Galoob’s Micro Machines toys back in 1996. Yes, I scripted the comic. Just so you know.

Other high points of Celebration V? Take your pick. Exclusive Star Wars toys, books, and collectibles were available from here to there. At the Commitment Chapel, Ken Tarleton, the terminally popular Elvis Trooper, officiated pseudo-weddings that were mostly genuinely heartfelt. The tattoo pavilion offered a probably more permanent way to commemorate the convention with skin illustrations that Rod Steiger could only dream of. And the 501st Legion Imperial Bash proved that no one parties like a non-profit group that wears home-made, movie-quality Star Wars costumes to raise money for charity and make children of all ages smile. In other words, the beer flowed and Twi’lek chicks did their thing. Thank you, Erich Shafer (aka TI-6124), for putting me on the bash’s VIP list, which was not only above and beyond the call of duty, but downright nice of you.

But if you could only see one thing at Celebration V, I hope to God it was The Art of Ralph McQuarrie. The exibit presented recently unearthed sketches by McQuarrie, including some made the very day he received the first script from Lucas. It’s hard for some folks to imagine life without Star Wars, but it’s impossible to imagine Star Wars without McQuarrie’s artistry. Without his input, Star Wars might have been a dud, and you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.

If you missed the convention, you might still be able to buy a copy of The Art of Ralph McQuarrie from the publisher at dreamsandvisionspress.com.

You haven’t bought the book already? I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Dark Horse Comics co-founder and Star Wars comic book editor Randy Stradley and Star Wars books author Ryder Windham made their debut as the scheming Pith Lords at Star Wars Celebration V.
Photo by Rachel Kempster.