CE16 The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (Praises and Grumbles Here)

Discussion in 'Star Wars Celebrations' started by LAJ_FETT , Jul 17, 2016.

  1. PongKrell

    PongKrell Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 17, 2016
    This was our first Celebration, and I think the only problems we had were our own fault. Our hotel was in Waterloo, so we could have had an extra hour's sleep if we'd been closer. And we didn't bring a good tote bag... wandered around for ages trying to find one and there was only the Pyramid one full of crap stuff and the Celebration Store ones. Got one of the latter eventually.

    Queuing for the Celebration Store was fine, got in alright using the Lightspeed Lane, but a shame most of the shirts had sold out by Saturday lunchtime. Also, that tube map shirt has some mistakes on it... they mixed up ESB with ROTJ (there's no Hoth in ROTJ for example) and Utapau is spelt Utahpau. :/


    We arrived at the Excel at about quarter to 7 each day and got all of the wristbands we wanted to (Mark, Rogue One, Anthony, Rebels, Carrie, Future Filmmakers). There was a bit of a queue on Friday, but barely anybody there on Saturday and Sunday. Easily got tickets for the Kylo Ren figure on Saturday and Sunday. Managed to get into the EA panel and Ray Park without wristbands.

    I agree with Obi Anne, would have nice to have had a few more prequel things. I'm really enjoying the stuff going on with Rebels, the comics and the novels, where they're sort of cross-pollinating prequel stuff with the original and sequel trilogies.

    I can't remember what the ILMxLab was like on Friday and Saturday, but we were aiming to get in the queue for it first thing on Sunday. We were about the third chute along to get in at 10, and the ILMxLab was right around the corner from the queuing hall... but already there were about 200 people queuing up to go in, at about 10:03am!
  2. PongKrell

    PongKrell Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 17, 2016

    I think it had to be a bit like that really, EA didn't have much to say at E3 and they didn't have much to say at Celebration either. I don't think any of the panellists would have gone really in depth with their answers because it was all a PR thing.
  3. PongKrell

    PongKrell Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 17, 2016
    I'm not sure Sunday was the least attended this year. It was a lot easier to move around the exhibition halls on Friday.

    There was an Art of The Force Awakens panel at 6 o'clock on Saturday.

    The longest the main hall was empty for was about 3 hours between Mark Hamill and the Rogue One panel on Friday. Most of the time, it was never empty for more than 30/45 mins with the warm ups beforehand.
  4. redxavier

    redxavier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 23, 2003
    Rogue One panel was great with free poster and nice exclusive teaser.
    All other panels were very easy to get in to, and some of these were fantastic (TFA droids and Archaeology especially).

    Rogue One panel was marred by technical issues that I honestly thought was a joke at first. Two mistakes, playing the right video all the way through, that are almost unforgivable given this day and age.
    Sound pollution from the main hall coming into the Galaxy and BTS stages. This sometimes made it difficult to hear the panel, or broke the immersion.

    Prices and availability of items. Shocking that this is the last place I would ever buy Star Wars stuff. There are no deals to be had, since the prices for everything have been bumped up from normal (likely due in great part to the exhibitors trying to recoup the high price for them to attend). And then there was not finding a lot of stuff. Forbidden Planet were only selling #1 of all their comics, with no other issues (was looking for Poe #2 that no-one had), and no-one was selling the complete line up of canon Star Wars books (I did eventually find Twilight Company though).
  5. Carrie1138

    Carrie1138 Jedi Knight star 1

    Jun 14, 2014
    The wristband system worked for me, and I really appreciated knowing I had a guaranteed seat for what I wanted to see each day.
    Great panels: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Rogue One, The Art of TFA.
    Security was quick and efficient - I was in and out a few times as I smoke, but never had to wait more than a minute.
    The impromptu parade of female character costumes before Carrie Fisher's panel - I'm an old fan, I remember when Leia was the only option, so I found this really moving.
    The Future Filmmakers panel was a good/bad for me ... it was a great panel, but it didn't feel like a main stage panel, or at least it didn't feel worthy of being the last panel, being kept off the streaming and coming with all the warnings about no photography when we didn't actually see anything new.

    Agree on the sound pollution. Particularly in the last panel - I was in the Galaxy stage, and the cheer from the main floor made it clear that John Boyega had just turned up on the live stage, which was really frustrating!
    The wait in the morning between getting wristbands and getting in. Wish they'd opened the store for shopping or something.
    No information on adult (or YA) fiction in the Publishing panel ... I get that the people on the stage were mostly focused on the children's end of the market, but all we got was the cover of Catalyst with James Luceno's name on it. Is there even going to be a Rogue One novelisation? We don't know, and we didn't get to ask questions either. I chose to go to this panel instead of the Creatures of TFA one on the main stage, and I regret that now.
    Lack of merchandise. I was hoping to be able to buy from places like Her Universe, who don't ship internationally.
    Exclusive giveaways with purchase only - I really wanted a Vote Leia poster, but you could only get one if you bought a book, and I already had all those books!

    20-minute queue for a cup of coffee :_|
  6. sworrubsnz

    sworrubsnz Jedi Youngling

    Dec 17, 2015
    If you haven't come across this info yet: Rogue One novelisation will be written by Alexander Freed:

    I think it was announced in an interview with Matthew Ruddle of Penguin Random House UK on the Star Wars Show Live…

    My wife had the same thought re: Her Universe. I had expected a dedicated booth for them!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Carrie1138 likes this.
  7. FettDOB

    FettDOB Jedi Youngling

    Jul 7, 2016
    I only found this site a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for information about Celebration Europe, I would like to say a huge thank you to the people who posted invaluable information in most cases before it was posted on the official site.
    I plan to stick around & get involved in what to me looks like the best of the various Star Wars forums out there at the moment.
    Please excuse the rather long first post.

    This was my second Celebration, the previous one also being in London in 2007 when I’d gone for one day on the Sunday.
    This time round there were three of us attending, my wife who is also a huge Star Wars fan & one of our close friends.
    We live in Ascot which is to the West of London so getting into & across London each day was a necessary evil.
    I’d been keeping an eye on this forum as well as the official site & FB page so knew the score with picking up badges & wristbands for the main panels.
    We picked up our badges on Thursday evening after work to avoid any delays in the morning.
    The three of us were up, out of the house & in the car on day one by 6am, we parked in West London, then tube hopped via the Piccadilly & Jubilee lines to Canning town to pick up the DLR, the entire journey took roughly 90 minutes, Saturday was quicker & we drove on Sunday due to the late start of the Jubilee line.

    Over the three days, we got wristbands for Mark Hamill & the Galaxy Stage streaming of the Rogue One panel on Friday, I also saw the Boba Fett panel, Anthony Daniels & the Creatures, Droids & Aliens of TFA on Saturday, Carrie Fisher & the Galaxy Stage streaming of the Future Filmmaker & Closing Ceremony on Sunday.
    I really didn’t have a problem with either the issuing of wristbands for the Celebration Stage panels or the way it was done.
    As much of a pain as it was to be getting up in the middle of the night to get there for 7:30 to try & get what you wanted I really don’t know how else they could have managed the process.
    I’d much rather know in the morning what I’m going to see rather than spend hours in a queue with no guarantee that you’re going to get in.
    I know a lot of people were really unhappy about the 6am distribution but if you were willing to put the hours in, then generally speaking you got what you wanted.
    The chute system to get in each morning seemed to work really well, those that got in line earliest were admitted first which is how it should be, again I really don’t know how it could have been handled better.
    Screens showing clips from the films & or previous Celebrations would have made the wait a bit easier but this is a minor point.

    I’m sure improvements could be made for the next time round, a larger area for the Celebration stage would help, the hall held 4,500 with 300 VIP’s which meant 4,200 wristbands for each panel which was clearly not enough to satisfy the demand.
    The official site was not great & difficult to navigate, one example being the ability to pre-order the event exclusive art prints which I found on here & which was never posted on the official site.

    Because we arrived early each day, security & bag search was a breeze, my only complaint was the snaking route of the barriers when there was no need for them that early in the morning, if they had routed people straight up to the search desks until it got busy it would have saved a fair amount of time.
    We ended up going through security twice each day, once to get in to pick up wristbands, we then walked back down to Costa for breakfast before going back in & never encountered a queue, maybe we were lucky but all of the security people that we encountered were friendly & helpful.

    I didn’t make it into the official store but my wife & our friend did, they queued for 30 minutes from 5:45 on Friday afternoon, they picked me up a couple of t-shirts, a pin badge & a guide book, the women’s t-shirts that they wanted were sold out which they were disappointed about & both of them said that the store just wasn’t that great &certainly not worth a 90 – 120 minute wait.
    In this day & age with the combined talents of the organisers & the Lucasfilm / Disney corporations they could surely come up with a way for ticket holders to pre-order items & then pick them up over the course of the three days whilst still having the store available for people who wanted to visit it, having two stores in different parts of the exhibition halls would also spread out the crowds.
    People obviously want to buy official souvenirs but when the queue to get into the store is 90 – 120 minutes all day every day it will put a lot of people off.

    The Celebration stage & panels were brilliant, there really was a huge buzz of excitement whenever we were in there.
    Mark Daniel & DJ Eliot were superb & really got already excited people even more excited, the conga line & dance off before Anthony Daniels panel will live with me for a long time.
    Getting out of that hall after each panel was horrible though & really needs to be looked at, if & hopefully when Celebration Europe returns to London.

    My autograph priorities for the weekend were Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill & Anthony Daniels.
    When I got out of the Boba Fett panel on Friday evening, there were three people in the queue for Anthony Daniel so I got in line.
    I’d heard a lot of less than flattering things about him, but he was charm personified when I met him & was happy to chat for a few minutes.

    I managed to get a reasonably low number for Mark Hamill on Saturday & got in line mid-afternoon, the line took a while, I reckon I waited just over an hour, when I first made it into the room he did look quite grumpy & withdrawn & was not making eye contact with people, a couple of kids were in line with their parents he made a real effort for them & was all smiles & really engaged with them which I assume put him in a good mood, by the time it was my turn he was very chatty & shook my hand.
    I’d been waiting the best part of 40 years to meet him & as always with these things the actual event is over in a few seconds but it meant the world to me.

    We got 3 low numbers for Carrie Fisher on Sunday morning by hot footing it to her area when the doors opened.
    We headed straight to her booth after her talk to be told she wouldn’t be signing until at least 1pm, we ended up giving one of our numbers to a woman who had booked a photo shoot but had ended up with a number in the 300’s, she was almost in tears when the guy running the line told her there was little or no chance to her getting in to get her photo signed, we were glad to help & she ended up just behind us in line when we went back later on.

    What can I say about Miss Fisher? She is mad as a box of frogs but lovely at the same time, we only wanted one autograph so my wife was keeping out of the way when she was signing for me, Carrie noticed this & told her to come forward, we both got “stamped” & she chatted to us for a while, definitely one of the highlights of our weekend.

    As most of us know, half of the fun at these events comes from being with like-minded people who have a genuine love & affection for the films, we spoke to numerous people all of whom seemed to be having as much fun as we were.
    The cos players as always were amazing with some jaw dropping costumes & makeup, we were wearing jeans & t-shirts & at points were struggling with the heat so I can’t imagine how people felt in costumes particularly the ones with masks on.
    The next time I will make a huge effort to be online when the tickets go on sale to try & get VIP ones, being able to gain access to the main panels & getting in early each day must be a huge bonus & would allow you to get so much more done, we will also stay close to the exhibition hall the next time as the travelling really took its toll on us by Sunday.

    I like the Excel centre as a venue & if the event is going to happen in the UK it really is the only venue capable of hosting it, whatever people from other parts of the UK might say (I’m from Scotland originally so don’t flame me) London does have the best travel links in the country particularly for out of town visitors.
    Hopefully we are now entering a regular cycle of Celebrations with them happening in the States one year & Europe the next.

    Overall we had an absolute blast & can’t wait to do it all again either in Europe or the States, unfortunately Orlando is not an option for us next year as we have already booked a trip out there for November.

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I live out near Heathrow Airport. A friend of mine came from the US for the show and we ended up getting a hotel room over in Southwark from the Thursday til the Sunday. It was just a few minutes walk to the Jubilee Line station from there so our 'commute' was relatively easy. Still a long day though with all the walking at ExCel. The hotel bar looked real good after that trip! And there was really no queue when we went out to ExCel to get our tickets on the Thursday.
  9. redxavier

    redxavier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 23, 2003
    Yes, the 24hr registration helped enormously I think. Plenty of time to get your badges and there were plenty of tills at the busiest times.

    In the future, it seems like they should give the Celebration Store longer opening hours as well. If you were there early from 6am to pick up a wristband, it was easy to get all that business sorted out quickly, such that by around 8am you had throngs of people just waiting around until 10am. Who really wants to travel back to hotel or home at that point? Ideally, they could fill in that time before the hall opens with the Celebration Store, especially given its huge popularity over the 3 days (I never saw a short queue).
    FettDOB likes this.
  10. FettDOB

    FettDOB Jedi Youngling

    Jul 7, 2016

    We will definitely be booking a hotel close to the exhibition hall the next time, whether it's in London or elsewhere in Europe or the States.
    If the wristband thing becomes the norm for getting into major panels then you really do need to be within walking distance or your looking at sleeping on a hard floor to guarantee that you get into what you want.
    I was skeptical that there were "three days" of things to do but we still ended up not managing to do everything that we wanted.
  11. FettDOB

    FettDOB Jedi Youngling

    Jul 7, 2016

    The official store really needs to be looked at for future events, they are missing a huge trick by not having a pre ordering service & or more than one store onsite, longer hours would also help to alleviate the queues.

    DARTHLARS Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 12, 2002
    What was the deal with the smoke/mist on Friday afternoon? What caused it? There was no announcement about it being safe or not.

    Signage and information was sometimes inadequate. The leaflet you got with your badge did not explain the wristband system. I missed that you needed a wristband also for livestreams of the Rogue One panel.
    I asked a staff member for where the Galaxy Stage queue and got wrong directions.

    Also... I wonder. If your #1 priority for going to Celebrations is panels, there is a 2 wristbands/day limit and some panels are only live-streamed for free on Youtube and the others are uploaded later... then why go at all? I would have been able to see more panels if I had stayed at home streaming Youtube than being on site. Not to mention all the time and money I would have saved.

    On the good side, the food options were great. I'm a vegetarian and found at least two choices in each stall that I visited ... but I attribute that more to the event being in the UK than anything else.
  13. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I think quite a bit of the smoke (and spillover noise) was caused by the effects for the High-Performance RC Experience (Propel's drones). We finally got around to seeing it on the Sunday and it was loud and smoky inside.
  14. Claire1976

    Claire1976 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 20, 2013
    I agree with the person a while back that said the signage could have been better. We wanted to see the Droids of TFA panel on the Galaxy stage Friday afternoon and got in the line that we thought was for the Galaxy Stage. The people standing infront of us said they were waiting for the Galaxy stage too, so there we waited in a very long line that we layer discovered was the queue for the Propel drones display and because of this we were late to the Galaxy stage and only just managed to get a seat. Looking at the floor plan it looked like we were in the right place but because of lack of signs we ended up in the wrong line.

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
  15. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 ST/Anthology/Fan Films Manager and Ewok Enthusiast star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 20, 2002
    The Good:
    -The fans! Everyone was friendly, and seemed to have a great time. Met a lot of people from all over the world that I really enjoyed hanging out with!
    -The cosplayers and Droid builders. A lot (most) of the work done on costumes was absolutely stunning! It made me really consider going in to cosplaying. Possibly my favorite part of Celebration! The pure love these people put into their hobby was inspiring!
    -The Carrie Fisher panel. She's just so awesome!
    -The Thrawn reveal (that I saw from the live stage) - this ties into the "fans" bit. The reaction to Thrawn appearing was amazing, and I loved being there with all the cheering, clapping fans.
    -The food and drink availability. I was afraid it would be impossible to get a bite to eat (especially since I have food allergies), but it was no problem, and surprisingly short lines.
    -Warwick Davis. He was an awesome stage host!
    -Mark Daniel. Great warm-up performer. Sympathetic and funny.
    -The live stage. Loved to be around there!
    -The female Star Wars characters parade. That was beautiful - finally we're allowing women to be as big a part of the fandom as men. Not one day too soon!

    The Bad:
    -The wristband process. I had totally missed that on the first day I was there (Saturday), so we didn't get into any panels that day. We got there as early as we could on Sunday (around 8:00 - earlier than that was impossible with the train times from where we stayed around the NW3), and we still weren't able to get wristbands to the Future Filmmaker panel (only streamed via the Behing the Scenes stage).
    -The prices. 135£ to get an autograph from Mark Hamill? That's absurd! At least I got to see Hamill from afar, once... always something I suppose?
    -The total lack of information. Nothing was clear. No clear directions to where the queues were supposed to be; everything just appeared chaotic!
    -The staff. Some were really nice, but most I encountered were unpleasant, grumpy and couldn't even answer the simplest questions.
    -The queue system. You had to stand in line, to be able to stand in line, to be able to stand in line, to maybe get to where you were hoping to go.

    The Ugly:
    -DJ Elliott. I hate to point fingers at a particular person, but before the Carrie Fisher panel, he kept making fun of a twelve year old. As someone who experienced quite a lot of bullying at that age, I can recognize bullying, and he was bullying that poor kid in front of four thousand people. I sincerely hope that man never gets to work Celebration again, because that truly was ugly, and Lucasfilm shouldn't want to be associated with that kind of behaviour.
    -The fact that the entire event felt like a huge cashgrab. There was all this talk about Celebration being a love letter to the fans, but it didn't feel like it. I watched the live stream from Celebration Anaheim religiously last year, and that certainly felt like a love letter. Celebration Europe not so much. In fact, at the last panel they seemed to talk more about how great Celebration Orlando will be than how great Celebration Europe is. What? And the whole nonsense about how the Future Filmmaker panel wasn't going to be streamed, and photography and audio recording was forbidden - and then they didn't show us anything. The same panel in Anaheim at least showed a Celebration exclusive teaser for Rogue One. This felt very cynical. In fact, a lot of Celebration felt cynical.

    All in all, while I had a really good time there, I'm not sure I got my money's worth. I'll have to let this sink in properly, but I'm not sure I'll attend another Celebration. And it saddens me that I feel this way.
    CaptainRegor and Claire1976 like this.
  16. Padme501st

    Padme501st Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2006

    I didn't go to Celebration Europe, but I've been to 2 Celebrations where he has been there and I've never liked him and I'm not surprised by his behavior. Mark Daniel is a keeper though, I agree.

    DARTHLARS Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 12, 2002
    I don't know about Mark Daniel. Right after CE2 closed in Essen, I and a few other Star Wars fans ran into him in a shop. One of us gave him a short polite thanks for having put on a good show, not trying to bother him any more than that. His response was "Get out of my way. Unlike you, I have got a life".

    So, yeah... That happened. But he did go to the 501st/Rebel Legion party this year so maybe he has started to like the fan community a bit more now.
  18. Padme501st

    Padme501st Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2006
    oh wow! I guess you can't really tell about people sometimes. Sad that people have to be so rude.
    CaptainRegor and TCF-1138 like this.
  19. MotivateR5D4

    MotivateR5D4 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 20, 2015