My teeth won’t stop chattering. And the Stormtrooper in front of me just threatened to kick my a*s. It’s raining. I can’t feel my feet. And the poncho I’m wearing keeps slipping over my face, fogging my glasses. 1,000 of us are pushed against the wall by 50 Stormtroopers from the 501st battalion. I’m not sure whether we’re going to be executed right here or if they’re going to march us, again, to something far worse. I breathe in and try to remember why I’m here. When the scout trooper gets up in my face and tells me to move, I remember: I’m here to see George Lucas. I’m here for a moment with the Emperor himself…
A LONG TIME AGO, IN A LINE FAR, FAR AWAY…
Going into Star Wars Celebration III, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been to smaller comic book conventions in the past, I’d been to the San Diego Comic-Con, but I’d never been to a convention so focused on one particular subject. Would it be socially awkward? Would it be too geeked out even for me? Would it be crowded?
The answers to those questions are ‘no, no and yes.’ Including Chris Gore and myself, there were about 60,000 people in Indianapolis for the Celebration. Decked out in all types of Star Wars-related gear, they were all there for the same reason I was: to stand in line.
I’m kidding of course, I don’t honestly feel that everyone came to town because of some line fetish, but as the days went on, as Gore and I took picture upon picture with colorful fans, it became harder to dismiss as a possibility. Dubbed “Star Wars Line-A-Palooza” within minutes by wordsmith Gore, the entire event was marred by fan upon fan stretched out, in and round the convention center as they waited for the Star Wars Store to open so that they could get exclusive Vader action figures, t-shirts and magnets. If you weren’t in that line, you were probably in the line waiting to get into the building, a line that stretched around the corner of the convention center at all hours of the day. Beyond those major lines, there were sub lines for food, screenings, autographs and even, in the instance of Gore and I, lines to get your picture taken with costumed attendees. It was, quite simply, insane.
For the most part, I dodged the lines. I wasn’t there for an exclusive Vader figure, my press pass meant I didn’t have to stand in a special line to enter and I made it a point to eat prior to entering or after leaving the convention center. I figured I was enjoying the event the way it should’ve been enjoyed, without all the cattle mentality hassle. I toured the Exhibition Hall, I watched the One Man Trilogy and I got kissed by a Princess Leia look-alike. All was good.
However, there was one line I wasn’t going to be able to avoid. Word was that Lucas was going to be attending the convention, his first convention appearance in 18 years, and he was only doing three 20 minute shows Saturday morning (the convention ran Thursday through Sunday). Since any fan in their right mind would want to see Lucas, I knew I’d be fighting all attendees for my spot at a show. Also, as the youngest of the Film Threat posse in attendance (with Gore and Dennis StarWoids Pryzwara), I figured I should bite the bullet and stand in whatever line was sure to appear for entrance to the “Lucas Show of Shows” to insure attendance for the others.
The rumor was that fans could begin lining up for the Lucas show Friday night at midnight, and that a total of 9,000 would find their way into the three shows by the end of the morning. I wanted to be sure of that before committing to the idea, but I figured I’d be lining up at midnight regardless. Lucas is a hero of mine, and this was Celebration III, the last Star Wars movie was to be released in a month and I might never be in a room with George Lucas again. There was no way I was going to be denied. However, so far everything I’d heard about this lining up was a rumor, and I needed some official confirmation (because I didn’t like the prospect of lining up at the wrong spot and not getting in).
The line continues in LINE-A-PALOOZA: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM LINE>>>