Star Wars-ing: Celebration Stage Hosts the Stars of the Wars

Besides getting autographs, Celebration also has some amazing panels.  The biggest panels will take place on the Celebration Stage which will be in Chapin Theater on the 3rd Floor.  This theater is huge and has 2,643 seats.  However, we can assure you there will be more than 2,643 fans wanting to get into some of these panels (the tribute to Carrie Fisher is the one that sticks out to me), so arrive early. Some of these panels will actually be the overflow room from the Galaxy Stage (we will write about the Galaxy Stage events when they are listed).

Warwick Davis, a veteran Star Wars actor himself, will host these panels.  Wristbands are required fro all Celebration Stage performances.

Thursday

40 Years of Star Wars: This will be streamed from the Galaxy Stage.  This is the “main event” of celebration and the one that people will camp out overnight for (you will have to get your updates from other people because we won’t be doing this).  This will feature Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and is sure to have surprise guests including some that might not be signing.  11 am – 12:30pm

Smooth Talkin’ with Billy Dee Williams: Still the coolest motherfunker on the planet, Mr. Williams will charm you with stories from his long, amazing career. 2-3pm

Always Two There Are: Ian McDiarmid & Ray Park:  The two actors who played Sith lords will discuss how fun it was playing the bad guys, because let’s face it, the bad guy’s have more fun. 4-5pm

Friday

Star Wars: The Last Jedi:  This will be streamed from the Galaxy Stage. The director of Episode VIII, Rian Johnson, will join Kathleen Kennedy.  I keep waffling on if they will show the first teaser for The Last Jedi at this panel or the 40th anniversary one.

Small Talk with Warwick Davis: Mr. Davis has done mulitple roles in the Star Wars universe and will have much to say about his work in all of them…except the Last Jedi.  He’ll probably keep mum on that one.

Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher:  Carrie meant something to us all. But what she meant to Mr. Hamill was probably a little more special and intimate in a friendship that lasted at least 40 years.  I don’t expect many dry eyes, but I do expect lots of laughs.

Saturday

Star Wars Rebels Season Four Sneak Peek:  This will be streamed from the Galaxy stage. The executive producer, Dave Filoni, will give us some ideas where the story for Rebels is headed.  Since most of the main cast of Rebels will be at Celebration, I’m expecting this to be one crowded stage.  We are going to try to attend this one for sure.

Anthony Daniels: 40 Years with Threepio: Mr. Daniels will talk about his long time alter ego in the Star Wars universe.  1:30-2:30 pm.

Star Wars Celebration Championships of Cosplay:  We have attended this cosplay contest in the past and it is breathtaking how good some of the cosplays are.  Every year, cosplays get more intricate and more elaborate (yes, I know what I wrote).  I can’t wait to see what is in store this year. 3:30-5 pm.

Smuggler’s Revenge: Kyle Newman and Galaxy of Voices:  A live audio drama will be put on by some talented voice actors.  The story is an original one (and non canon in case that makes a difference)  7-8 pm.

Sunday

These are the Droids You’re Looking For:  This panel will provide the fans a look into what goes into making the Droids of Star Wars.  11am-12pm

Hamill Himself:  This is where Mr. Hamill will ruin Episode VIII for everyone by giving us details on he and Rian Johnson would know.  NO.  He won’t be doing that.  He will be telling us about his remarkable career. 1-2 pm

Celebration Orlando Closing Ceremony: This will be streamed from the Galaxy stage.  A wrap up of the 2017 celebration.  4-5pm.

 

 

 

The Nola Nerd Couple Podcast Episode 5: Wizard World New Orleans Wrap-Up

On this episode of the podcast, the Nola Nerd Couple discuss Wizard World New Orleans 2017.  We discuss specific things we did and what we like most about the con.  Of course, we also pointed a few minor better ifs.  We also talk about Rogue One, Super Mario Run, and a few comics.

Topics include: Dave Bautista, Theo Rossi, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Harley Quinn, and DC Rebirth.

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars at Wizard World New Orleans

ww201717_00068Friday night, there were two panels that discussed Star Wars.  The first panel, led by fans,  debated the question of “What period is the Golden Age of Star Wars?”  The panel, and the room, split between the original trilogy and the Disney era. To me, nothing will be as exciting as watching the original trilogy, especially A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.  However, George Lucas held tight reigns over the franchise and while there was an extended universe it was basically added piece by piece. Under Disney, there is a unified focus on creating the larger Star Wars universe.  Books are created with this in mind.  Look at Marvel during both ages.  Marvel, during the original trilogy, was basically left alone and was given no guidance as what to do between movies. This allowed for some strange characters such as Jaxxon.  Under Disney’s stewardship, the universe seems to be carefully plotted out with much involvement from all creators: movies, books, tv, and comics.  Having a character from the Clone Wars be in Rogue One best illustrates this fact.  If you are judging by movies, then yes the original three will be hard to beat.  However, if you are judging by the entire universe, Disney has done a fantastic job so far.

 

ww201717_00079The second panel discussed the psychology of Star Wars and was led by academics. They discussed Joseph Campbell and the myths behind Star Wars.  They discussed the motivations behind some of the decisions of Luke, Anakin, and Kylo Ren. They provided the first satisfactory answer I’ve heard for why Luke never showed grief over his uncle and aunt (hint: PTSD is involved). They not only referenced movies but brought up The Clone Wars and Rebels.  Dr. Travis Langely, who led the panel, has edited many books on the psychology of certain pop culture phenomenons including Star Wars. He and the members of this panel also provided panels that analyzed Doctor Who and Harry Potter..  If you see Dr. Langely will be at a comic con near you, I highly suggest you check out one of his panels and then go buy a book after.

Both men who have put on the Chewbacca suit in an official capacity were at Wizard World  New Orleans. Both drew great crowds and were fantastic with their fans.  Joonas Suotamo is one tall human being.

 

ww201717_00000

Carrie Fisher loomed large over Wizard World New Orleans.  She was going to be it’s biggest star.  She was the reason why people who might not normally attend a con would have went. Wizard World obviously refunded all who had bought an autograph, photo-ops, and VIPs with her. Peter Mayhew was still shaken by her death being her friend for forty years.  In the lobby, the placed a giant poster of Ms. Fisher for fans to sign and state their farewells.  It ended up being a loving tribute to the woman who inspired many of the fans that were in attendance at Wizard World.

 

Star Wars-Ing: Wizard World New Orleans Will Host a Carrie Fisher Tribute Panel

At 3:30, Wizard World New Orleans will host a panel that will pay tribute to Carrie Fisher.  Location hasn’t been disclosed at the time of this writing.

According to their Instagram account, they are asking people to post pictures their pictures with Ms. Fisher to Instagram and Facebook, tag them (@wizardworld) and use #WWRemembersCarrie.

Our friend David of NerdyGras, share this picture:

mark-and-carrie

The tribute will be live on their Facebook page, so if you can’t make the event you can still take part.

Editorializing: Mourning for People You Have Never Met

2016 seemed to be a horrible year for celebrities dying. It also seemed like a year in which people took it harder than most years.  It didn’t help that one of our first losses of the year was a Rebel, Rebel icon and one of the last was our Rebel hero.

For Nola Nerd Couple there were celebrity lives that were lost that hit us hard in 2016: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Carrie Fisher.

Why does it affect us so much?

There were plenty of other tragedies in 2016.  People in Flint Michigan went without a public supply of drinkable water. We watched an ancient city basically get wiped off the map in a war between the worst terrorist organization in the world and a government that has used chemical weapons on its own people.   A major American city has had over 4300 people shot and around 770 homicides this calendar year alone. Regardless of how you voted, I’m not certain anyone voted with any real confidence that things will get better.

For the most part, we feel powerless to stop those things or unable to do anything that will bring about real change. Then when we see a pop culture icon die, it really hits us.

I think it’s because they all provide us with hope. David Bowie taught me you could make true beauty even when facing death.  Moreso, he taught us all you can do it on your terms.  Everyone that went back and listened to Prince remembered that you had an artist that could play guitar like Hendrix, write music like Lennon and McCartney, front a band like James Brown, and sing like, well, Prince. Alan Rickman often played villains or scoundrels or husbands, and no matter what his character’s motivations were, he made sure that he owned them.  Yes, I thought Carrie was hot in that metal bikini.  However, I thought she was a badass when she killed Jabba.  She was no one’s slave and made sure that came through in her performance.

We call celebrities stars for a reason.  They make our world brighter.  Art, which they all strove for in their work, is a reflection of our best selves. Art is the hope we bring into the world even when it is a mirror to our darker impulses.

It’s ok to mourn people we have never met, because in the end, if they did their job to the fullest, the let us find out more about ourselves.

Star Wars-ing: Thank You and Goodbye, Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was probably my second crush.  (Olivia Newton-John in Grease was my first).  In Star Wars, she was braver and smarter than the boys. Those traits, which she gave Princess Leia, basically set up the template for the type of woman I like.  If you have met Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple, you know she is smarter and braver than I am.

We got to meet Ms. Fisher a few times at different conventions and Star Wars Celebration.  Some actors approach these in a robotic manner.  Others have learned how to do the perfect thirty-second small talk.  Not Carrie, she did conventions in her own style.  If she wanted to paint your nails, it didn’t matter if you were a guy or a girl, she did it. If she felt like throwing glitter all over you and your friends, she did.  She wouldn’t care about being G-rated in line (and sometimes she didn’t even care if she was PG-13!).  In fact, one time in Dallas we watched as she attempted to undress Ming-Na Wen, which is one of my favorite con moments of all time (and I’m pretty sure it was that way for Ms. Wen as well!).

If you paid for a photo-op with her, you also were paying to take a picture with Gary, her dog.  At the last Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, we did just that.

mark-and-carrie

She was always a gifted actress (see Hannah and Her Sisters, The Man with One Red Shoe, Shampoo).  Yes, Star Wars dominated her acting life but she made peace with it and learned how to turn it into a cottage industry.

She was also a gifted writer.  Postcards from the Edge is still one of my favorite Meryl Streep performances and that is largely due to Ms. Fisher’s writing. If you haven’t seen any of her “lectures” you are really missing out on a unique voice.

Carrie Fisher learned to play by her rules, as it should be. She is and always will be royalty to us. May the Force be with you, Carrie. Always.