Fans gather for celebration of long-awaited prequel

A long time ago (April 21-24, 2005) in a galaxy far, far away (Indianapolis, Ind.), over 30,000 fans from around the world gathered for Celebration III, the largest Star Wars convention ever.

“Revenge of the Sith,” the third prequel and sixth and final film in the “Star Wars” series, will be released on May 19, and even though that’s less than a month away, it seems like a lifetime to every fan who experienced all that this convention had to offer.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Easily the most exciting event of the four days was a very brief appearance by George Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars” and director of four of the six films, including all three prequels. Fans camped out for over 24 hours to ensure that they could be present when Lucas spoke in his first convention appearance since 1987.

The biggest news that Lucas had was that after “Revenge of the Sith,” there will be two “Star Wars” television series, one half-hour animated series and a one-hour long live action series set between the events in Episodes III and IV. Lucas wants to have a full season of scripts before filming, but he expects that filming will begin in about a year.

Exclusive Privileges

“Star Wars” is almost synonymous with collectibles. The largest hall in the Indianapolis Convention Center was filled with “Star Wars” dealers and exhibitors showcasing all the new products that will be available to coincide with the release of “Episode III” this year.

But more importantly, there were a number of collectibles only available during this four-day period. Among them was a talking Darth Vader action figure. James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, recorded lines especially for the figure, including “Star Wars Celebration III … you will not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

Entertaining Influence

“Star Wars” has inspired pop culture since the first film came out in 1977, but it was truly fascinating to see what some people have done with their love of it.

One such event was “Star Wars in 30 Minutes,” in which a fairly small cast recreated the entire original trilogy in a super-fast-paced and highly energetic and comedic performance. Using only minimal props and costumes, the cast took the audience through the most important events and dialogue of the trilogy.

Also on board was the Fan Film Awards. Started in 2002 at Celebration II, this annual event, sponsored by, recognizes and awards independent filmmakers who make short movies about “Star Wars.” Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in “Return of the Jedi,” hosted the event and showed two of the short films he made, including a documentary he made at age 11, giving a behind-the-scenes look of his famous “Star Wars” role.

May 19 can’t get here soon enough. Trailers and TV commercials are great, but not nearly as great as the six minutes of footage that Rick McCallum, producer of all three “Star Wars” prequels, showed to fans attending Celebration III.

I will say this: the first two prequels were disappointing in many respects. This is the film for which everybody has been waiting. It might just be the best film in the series – get ready for the biggest battle scenes ever seen in Star Wars.

I hope that “Revenge of the Sith” will allow others to see just why so many of us love these films so much. As was said at the Fan Film Awards, it’s a shame that not everyone can find something in their lives to be this passionate about.