Nearly 20 years ago today, the very first Star Wars Celebration kicked off in in Denver Colorado at the “Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum”, three weeks ahead of the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Denver was the home of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, headed by Dan Madsen at the time, so that was the reason it was chosen as the location for the inaugural event.
This first ever “celebration” event that was “for the fans, by the fans” was the first Star Wars convention since 1987 and featured a slew of displays, props, guests and panels which mostly centered around “The Phantom Menace”. Highlights included a life-size LEGO X-Wing, the world premiere video of the “Duel of the Fates” music video, behind the scenes footage from Episode I and a full-scale replica of Anakin Skywalker’s podracer.
Guests would include Sound Designer Ben Burtt, Special Effects Artist Don Bies, Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Costume Designer Trisha Biggar. The event would be deemed a huge success as 20,000 diehard Star Wars fans from all over the world attended the event and had a great time.
There would of course be twelve more Celebrations that followed and would take place all around the world including Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. The most recent event happened in Orlando Florida in 2017 and drew 70,000 dedicated Star Wars fans, a record for the event. While there is a Celebration planned for 2019, there are no official details released yet by Disney or Lucasfilm although there are many rumors circulating that Anaheim will be the location and it will take place sometime in the fall.
Since next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the event, it would be surprising if the powers that be didn’t hold the event during this time. Not only to make it 20 years to the day this exciting and wonderful event started, but to of course line up with everyone’s favorite day of the year and de facto Star Wars holiday, May 4th. Here’s hoping…
Till next time…MTFBWY.
UPDATE: I (Dustin) wanted to share this photo of the original TFN crew at the event 19 years ago. We did not have a digital camera then, so here's a picture of the picture! (Notice the large tent we were in!)
From Left to Right:
Back Row: Father Roderick (TFN Virtual Edition), Adam Pawlus (Rebelscum.com, Galactic Hunter, Entertainment Earth), Josh Griffin (TFN), Scott Chitwood (TFN).
Middle Row: Maureen Kuppe (Rebelscum.com), Philip Wise (Rebelscum.com), Mark Minicucci (Yakface.com), Brian Linder (TFN).
Bottom: Dustin Roberts (Rebelscum / TFN), Joe (TFN)
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