The Star Wars Celebrations begins!

The day is finally here. The one I’ve been preparing for all my life. My parents have ignored my pleas to celebrate it but I’ve persisted. Finally, I get to celebrate my birthday!

I’ve got my blaster ready to shoot first

But that’s not why you’re here. Tomorrow (1am Singapore time), the doors will open to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California – the biggest gathering of Star Wars geeks ever seen on this galaxy. While I am unable to join the festivities, Disney Studios have arranged for a simulcast of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel from Anaheim. We are one of only 23 countries to be given this honour.

Thanks to friends in high places, I have been bestowed a seat in the fully subscribed event.

First, a cuppa to soothe jitters

Fringe activities start from 11.30pm, according to the schedule, and I would love for you to join me on this historic journey to document my favourite movies of all time.

See you in a bit.

———————————

10.52pm

On my way to @shawsg IMAX theaters for the Star Wars Celebrations. Not the best time to lose the keys to the falcon. Gawdammit.

Lost the keys to the Millennium Falcon and have to take the train

11:05pm: Star Wars Celebrations revolving posters at Shawsg.

11.33pm – more event photos

The public sopped up every opportunity to get a photo with their favourite Star Wars characters

A pensive stormtrooper pondering the mysteries of life and — where the hell is Slave Leia?

Darth Vader all dressed up for Star Wars Celebrations

Minutes before I was searched and had my miranda rights read to me.

The only two Hans tonight. And with Slave Leia around. No prizes for guessing who the winners are.

Just like school: X-wing pilots picking on A TIE pilot

The appearance of Slave Leia, surprisingly, made the boisterous crowd quiet and reserved. Strange.

The princess and. the droid. They propelled the Star Wars plot in the opening sequence of A New Hope

Of course Han(s) need to get in on the shot too.

i just had to have a selfie with Leia and R2D2. Only R2 looked into my camera though.

My selfie with R2!

The crowd waiting patiently to get into the cinema for the Star Wars Celebrations!

00:50: 10 mins to @sw_celebrations panel!

Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican hosts Star Wars Celebrations panel with director JJ Abrams and LucasFilm’s Kathleen Kennedy.

JJ Abrams spotted wearing Apple Watch

JJ Abrams emphasised the importance of building live sets for the authentic feel.

JJ Abrams and LucasFilm’s Kathleen Kennedy in a Millennium Falcon set

Best selfie ever!

Shooting at Abu Dhabi was “incredible”, says JJ Abrams. The scenery were beautiful and the it just feels like Tatooine.

Abrams also spoke about Force For Change, the social goodwill Star Wars is doing to help UNICEF. For US$10, people get a chance to appear in The Force Awakens, while doing a good deed.

That’s not all the movie is doing. The Kid Power Bands programme puts wearable bands on kids to get them to be more active. Activity done by kids are clocked, with points awarded. These points are then converted to funds — sponsored by partners — to pay for food packets which will be distributed by UNICEF to severely malnourished kids.

Next the panel invites the latest robot on stage! It’s BB8, and its a working rolling robot! To see it move “live” is awesome. I can’t wait for the toys to be released.

John Boyega who was the star of the first The Force Awakens trailer “confirms” he is a bonafide stormtrooper and not impersonating one like Han and Luke did for A New Hope. JJ Abrams playfully nudged him: “don’t say anything”. Boyega conveniently “forgets everything” he knows about the movie.

The new look of stormtroopers

Abrams understands it will be a tremendous pressure to please every fan but emphasises this is a movie made for fans by fans. “Even in moments of sheer horror on sets, the joy far outweighs them and he can’t wait for us to watch the movie”, he added.

The new stormtroopers march in, centrestage, and while the designs look sleek, I personally still prefer the original design. What do you think?

The panel calls on the stars of Episodes IV, V, VI: the people who made it all happen: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Anthony Daniels (C3PO), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Harrison Ford (Han Solo) was absent as he’s still recovering from a plane accident. We wish the best pilot in the galaxy a speedy recovery.

In answer to host Breznican’s question on whether Princess Leia’s hair buns will also make a return, Carrie Fisher replied the buns will be “retired but there will be new styles to look forward to — but not in a metal bikini. I promise.”

Mark Hamill (left) and Carrie Fisher. The best twin movie match up ever!

Mark Hamill takes the stage to thank fans for making, what director George Lucas called “the most expensive budget movie ever made”, possible.

And with that, the panel has ended and the new The Force Awakens trailer is ready to play in our comfortable IMAX theatre at Shaw. 

You can also view it here.

Enjoy the new trailer with new cast, new TIE fighters, new robot and old faces. 

As Han Solo drawls at the end: “Chewie, we’re home”. We can’t agree more. 

Thank you for following us. Goodnight. 

NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect an error where we said Ms Kathleen Kennedy was from Disney. Ms Kennedy, of course, is with LucasFilm.

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