For me, Celebration V was all about the community. Sure, I saw Jon Stewart interview George Lucas live on-stage, but not even a Q&A with The Maker could match the experience of meeting long-time friends, many of them for the first time. It's always a treat to see friends like the ForceCast's Jason and Jimmy, or Paul Bateman of RalphMcQuarrie.com, or Fanboys director Kyle Newman, in person. I've spoken with folks like Paul and Kyle online, but before CV, we'd never met. When I saw them in person at CV, it was like we were just continuing the conversation.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the entire team from TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com, most of them for the first time. I had corresponded with all of them on our internal email list, so this was like a family reunion. Many hours were spent in the Rosen Centre bar just talking Star Wars with them. I couldn't ask for a better way to wrap up each evening. I think we worked well together as a team to bring news to fans back home -- I know I had a blast reporting alongside them for four days.
In addition to the TFN/RS team and many other long-time friends, I also met a ton of people for the first time at CV. ForceCast fans, Twitter followers, and TFN readers approached me to say hello at our booth, during panels, and around the show floor. I'm not used to being recognized, so this was kind of weird but very cool. It means a lot to us when people say that they appreciate our work. I will enjoy putting faces to names when I see tweets or forum posts from my new Star Wars friends in the future.
It was also thrilling to meet celebrities I've long admired in a casual context at the convention. For the Prequel Appreciation panel, I was honored to share the stage with The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni and TCW voice actor James Arnold Taylor. Dave and James are incredibly nice, approachable guys who are happy to spend their time talking to fans like myself. Dave was at the two after-hours parties on Thursday evening, where I had the pleasure of talking to him for a few minutes about The Clone Wars. James participated in the "Fandom in 140 Words or Less" panel I moderated with TFN's Mandy B., and his input and time were greatly appreciated. It was a privilege to sit (and stand) next to these two gentlemen and discuss Star Wars at various points during the convention.
I'm rambling here, so it's time to wrap it up. I will never be able to list the names of everyone who made Celebration V the best four days in recent memory. I don't want to leave anybody out! Special thanks to everyone who attended the ForceCast live shows and the Prequel Appreciation and Fandom 140 panels. I keep going back through the tweets that mention me and smiling at the kind words and witty remarks. Star Wars fandom has always been about the community, and suffice it to say, Celebration V made it crystal clear to me why Star Wars truly is forever.