Attention: Local nerf herders, Stormtroopers, rebels, Jedis and smugglers alike. Stars Wars Celebration is heading to Orlando this weekend for four days of light saber wielding, TIE fighter flying and learning the ways of the Force.
The definitive Star Wars convention is back in Central Florida for a third time, bringing some of the biggest stars of the franchise. Better yet, the celebration comes just in time to celebrate Star Wars' 40th anniversary.
"(Celebration) is all Star Wars, all the time," said Steve Sansweet, consultant to LucasFilm and founder of Rancho Obi-Wan, the world's largest museum of Star Wars memorabilia. "It's really a gathering of the tribes from around the world."
The Orange County Convention Center will be filled with Star Wars celebrities, authors, collectors, cosplayers and plenty of shopping from a galaxy far, far away. There are games, panels, droid racing, fan group meetups, speed dating and a special tribute to the galaxy's beloved Princess Leia, the late Carrie Fisher.
"It's really amazing to see what the fans have developed over the last 40 years," Sansweet said. "Star Wars keeps evolving, and there are so many entry points to the community."
This year's Celebration is extra special for Florida Star Wars fans, who get the celebrate four decades of fandom right in their own backyard. They also get a sneak peek of what's coming in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which premieres in December.
Longtime fans get a treat in the form of a replica bedroom decorated with all the Star Wars toys and memorabilia a child in 1979 could ever want, courtesy of Rancho Obi-Wan.
Celebration is about celebrating all facets of Star Wars — the films, hundreds of canon and Legends books and spinoff shows The Clone Wars and Rebels. There will even be a sneak peek of Rebels Season 3 on Saturday.
With the new worldwide reach of Disney and the continuation of the stories starting with The Force Awakens in 2015, there seems to be no end in sight for Star Wars.
"The Star Wars gene has been passed down three generations now," Sansweet said.
Mark Hamill, right, Felicity Jones, Warwick Davis, Alan Tudyk, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Riz Ahmed, Hayden Christensen, Jeremy Bulloch, Peter Mayhew, Ray Park, Forest Whitaker, Billy Dee Williams and more.
Her Universe: Created by voice actor Ashley Eckstein, who plays Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars and Rebels, brings her geeky fashion line to Celebration with convention exclusives. Don't miss her panels on strong female characters and with Ahsoka author E. K. Johnston on Friday and Saturday.
Star Wars authors:
Some of your favorite Star Wars authors are headed to Orlando this weekend, including Timothy Zahn (The Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn), Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath series) Christie Golden (Star Wars: Dark Disciple), E.K. Johnston (Ahsoka) and Delilah S. Dawson (Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon). Bring your copies to get signed.
The Last Jedi:
The first trailer for The Last Jedi is expected to be revealed during this panel with director Rian Johnson and some special guests. Can't be in the room where it happens? Stream the panel on starwars.com.
Tribute to Carrie Fisher:
Co-star and longtime friend Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) presents a special tribute to the late Carrie Fisher, our beloved Princess Leia, who died in December.