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Celebrating 'Star Wars'


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Celebrating 'Star Wars'

Entertainment reporter César Soriano attended Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis April 21-24.




Sunday, April 24:


Too bad he can't use the Force to skip TSA: So I'm at Indianapolis Airport. And who should I find behind me in the security line? Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He didn't have time to chat but he did say he had a great time meeting and mingling with fans.


He's on my flight, along with a few dozen Star Wars fans proudly displaying their convention badges. Engage hyperdrive! Uh, yes, I proudly admit it: I'm a geek.Posted 11:17 a.m. ET.


Back to reality: Capping off four days of Celebration III, more than 500 costumed members of the 501st Legion fan club have gathered for a group photo. Due to freezing cold snap, the photo shoot has been moved indoors. The ballroom looks like the landing platform of the Death Star. The troops stand at attention in perfect formation: 15 Darth Vaders, 20 Boba Fetts, a couple of Imperial guards and hundreds of Stormtroopers of every type. And at the head of the formation, the Emperor himself. Actor Jay Laga'aia, who plays Capt. Typho and one of the C3 masters of ceremonies, gets into the act, posing alongside the emperor character. He's clearly enjoying himself, as we all are.


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

Master of ceremonies Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho) stands front and center before a formation of Stormtroopers.


Unfortunately, it's time to head back to reality. So with that, Celebration 3 comes to a close. And now the final countdown begins for Revenge of the Sith. But the future of Star Wars franchise looks bright. May the force be with you. Always.Posted 10:27 a.m. ET


Is that the Imperial Death March I hear?: For early birds who managed to be outside at 8 a.m. were treated to an impromptu parade of thousands of fans in costume, including some 500 Stormtroopers. You shall not find a more wretched hive of scum and villains than them in Indy today. Posted 9:36 a.m. ET


Saturday, April 23:


Holy Sith! It's snowing! Yes, that's right. After three days of rain, now it's snowing. Celebration has never had good luck with weather. The first celebration in '99 in Denver was a big, muddy, wet mess. The next one, if there is a C4, should be somewhere with more predictable weather. Like Vegas! Can you imagine? Posted 12:20 a.m. ET


Costumes galore: "What are you supposed to be?" I ask Stacy Ayer of Denver. He's wearing blue stuffed overalls with trash hanging all over him: garden hose pieces, motor oil cans, Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, etc. He looks like he fell in the Death Star trash compactor. "I'm Bubba Fett!" Oh, OK, now I get it. Posted 11:10 p.m. ET


Rock on: "1, 2, 3, 4. Come on, Lucas, give me more!" That's the plea by the rock group Pallet, who are playing Star Wars-inspired tunes. It seems like half the crowd here is in costume. My favorite so far is a dress made from old '70s Star Wars curtains. Posted 10:52 p.m. ET


Party time: It's the final night of Celebration III. The hottest ticket in town is the Celebration at Celebration. Outside the ballroom, a few dozen fans are offering to buy the exclusive tickets. Inside, it's a carnival — palm readers, temporary tattoo artists, bars, carnie games, a flame juggler, caricature artists and more. A jazz ensemble is playing funky Star Wars inspired tunes. A DJ spins star wars techno. Eye candy everywhere. Woo hoo! Posted 10:45 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

Celebration III masters of ceremonies Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho) and Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) share a laugh in the green room.


R2-D2 unmasked: "Everything comes to an end eventually," says actor Kenny Baker, the man inside the tin can known as the beloved R2-D2 droid. I caught up to Baker in the autograph room where he was meeting with his adoring fans (and selling his John Hancock for 20 bucks a pop). "It's sad that the films are coming to an end. But I should think George Lucas has had enough of Star Wars." Have you? "Not really, no. It's all really quite interesting." Posted 7 p.m. ET


At the wrong convention? "Look! It's a geek from another dimension." — Triumph the Insult Dog


"People keep asking me if I'm in the wrong universe or if I've lost my ship," says Dominic Carretta, wearing a Star Trek costume. Carretta says he just likes "going against the grain. I like Star Trek and Star Wars. There's no reason you can't like both."


And then there's Morgan Phillips from the Big Apple, in a chrome Stormtrooper costume adorned with jewelry and carrying a blaring boom box. Only in New York. Posted 6:18 p.m. ET


Lights out: I am wiped out. Between walking all day around the mammoth convention center and operating on four hours of sleep, it's tiring being a Star Wars fan. Apparently I'm not the only one. Outside the autograph room, about a dozen fans, mostly adults, are sprawled out on the carpet along the walls, dead asleep. One guy is snoring, three huge boxes of souvenirs at his feet. Nobody pays any mind to the man or his loot. Posted 4:15 p.m. ET


One for the home team: The DC Metro Area Star Wars Collectors Club has a booth in the fan room. They have quite the cool logo: Yoda holding a lightsaber in the shape of the Washington Monument. Go, D.C.! Posted 4 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

A squad of Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion fan club provides crowd control outside the ballroom where George Lucas is speaking.


Elvis lives: Elvis is alive, and he's a Stormtrooper! Ken Tarleton, 33, has taken his standard-issued Stormtrooper uniform and added a gold medallions, a gold chain belt, and a white cape with sequins in the shape of the Empire emblem. Why Elvis? Tarleton, with his obligatory sideburns and gaudy gold glasses, shrugs: "Why not?" Posted 3:45 p.m. ET


Mini Skywalkers: The Junior Jedi Academy at C3 is a must-see attraction for families with young children. Wannabe Padawan learners are taught the basics of lightsaber fighting. The youngsters are having a grand time at lightsaber 101, learning to attack, duck and defend. When suddenly, there is a great disturbance in the Force. Cue the imperial march. Darth Vader is here. The kids take turns testing their new skills attacking Vader, some hitting the costumed actor a little too hard with their plastic blades. You must learn control, young Skywalkers! Posted 3:15 p.m. ET


Full house: Talk about sardines. The crowds today are outrageous. The convention has been closed to newcomers because the maximum capacity of 30,000 has been reached. Inside, people seem to be taking it well. At the Star Wars store, things seem a lot more organized now, but the line to enter is still six to seven hours. The must-have item is an exclusive Darth Vader figurine. They sell for $15 each, four per customer limit. And already, some entrepreneurs — taking a lesson from Watto the dealer — are reselling them to fans in line for $100. One exhibitor has been evicted for openly buying and selling the figures. Posted 12:25 p.m. ET


Lucas OKs 'Star Wars' TV shows: George Lucas, in his first convention appearance in 18 years, announced Saturday he will create two Star Wars television series spin-offs. Lucas, introduced by his two children, says Revenge of the Sith is everything he hoped it would be.


"The most gratifying part is that I'm finished," Lucas said during a brief question-and-answer session. "At last people will get a grasp of what this is all about because it's not six separate movies. It's one big movie. It just took a long time to make.


"Apart from other people's sentiments ... I'm extremely happy with all the Star Wars films."


The biggest news for fans was Lucas confirming rumors that his sci-fi saga will make the jump to the small screen. The animated 3-D, 30-minute series is based on the popular Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts now airing on Cartoon Network.


The live-action show will feature new characters from the Star Wars universe. Lucas said shooting will begin in about a year. Lucas said he will create and launch the show. But he then plans to step back and move on to non-Star Wars projects.


"That was a big revelation," says fan James Ward, 15, of Vail, N.J. Some fans have worried that a TV series would dilute the franchise as has happened with Star Trek.


"Lucas is not going to let that happen. If the show lives up to the movies and they are something that adds to the Star Wars universe, then it will work," says Ward, wearing a Jedi costume.


The modest Lucas received a roaring standing ovation after his appearance. "I'm just amazed it's had such a profound effect on people all around the world," said Lucas. Posted 11:06 a.m.


Star Wars coming to TV: George Lucas has green-lighted two Star Wars television series: one a 3-D animated series, the other a live-action series. Posted 10:10 a.m. ET


Waiting for Lucas: The climactic scene of Celebration III is about to begin — an appearance by the Jedi Master himself, the father of Star Wars, George Lucas. It's his first convention appearance in 18 years. Some fans began lining up at noon Friday for the chance to see one of three Lucas speeches. The ballroom holds 3,000 people for each show. There are 30,000 fans here. You do the math.


Bruce Penn, 50, and his son, Charles, 20, got in line just after midnight. Outside. In a thunderstorm. Two days of rain has made the Clones' home world of Kamino seem like a desert paradise. "It's my hope that (the saga) is not over," says Charles. Posted 10:05 a.m. ET


Iraq to Tattoine: Army Spc. Brian Jones just returned in February from a year in Iraq, just in time for Celebration III. "I'm disappointed the saga is ending, but I'm looking forward to what's next," says Jones, 29, of Florence, Ky. During his year-long stint in Tikrit, he passed the time watching the Star Wars trilogy DVDs he purchased at the PX. He introduced Star Wars to his fiancée, Heather Frodge, 29. "I'm having so much fun. I'm just happy," says Frodge. Posted 1:48 a.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

Lori Sartre, 34, a Boston graphic designer, displays her R2D2 dress.


Global relations: So far this evening, I've met fans from Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Australia and Japan. Call it the United Nations of Star Wars. "It's truly a global phenomenon," says Ottawa resident Elijah Phillips, 29. The members of the Canadian garrison of the 501st Legion are identifiable with their hockey jerseys emblazoned with a maple leaf in the middle of the Empire logo. "I'm not here for the stars. I'm here for the fans," says Luc Lavictoire, 30, of Ottawa. Posted 12:30 a.m. ET


Friday, April 22:


Foreign legionnaires: Another night, another Star Wars bash. Tonight it's a gala at the Hyatt ballroom organized by the 501st Legion, Rebel Alliance and FanForce, three of the largest Star Wars fan clubs. Part of the proceeds are going to benefit Katie, the daughter of 501st founder Albin Johnson, who is battling cancer. Elsewhere, the Japanese fans are here in full force, including Sumiko Matsuda, on her first trip to the U.S. She's sporting a kimono bearing the badge of the Empire. Posted 10:19 p.m. ET


Geeks 'r' us: Rachel King makes no bones about it. "Yes, I'm a geek. A couple of people think I'm a freak for being here," says King, 17, of Leavenworth, Kan. She's here on a trip with her dad and brother, both huge Star Wars fans. In the merchandise room, the family dropped $600 on souvenirs, not to mention the four-day hotel room and entry fees. "So, yes, it's going to be an expensive trip." King believes more and more girls are getting into Star Wars because of the Anakin-Padme love story covered in the prequels. "And because of Hayden Christensen," she notes with a smile. Posted 7:10 p.m. ET


Angry fans: A near-riot has broken out at the entrance to the Star Wars Store, where Celebration souvenirs like T-shirts are sold. But the doors are locked and some 100 angry fans, many shouting at the top of their lungs, are upset that the store was shut down for the day at 11 a.m., one hour after it opened. The advertised closing time is 8 p.m. Security guards from GENCON, the C3 organizers, said they had stocking and overcrowding issues. "If I had known it was this disorganized, I wouldn't have come," says Jim Lavin, 41. He and his wife, Sarah, 37, drove 12 hours from Union County, N.J. They bought a four-day pass, but they're so fed up they decided they will leave early tomorrow. "It just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I'm aggravated." Posted 6:30 p.m. ET


The circle is now complete: "Oh. My. GOD!" Mitch Kerns reacts in sheer amazement after watching six minutes of footage from Revenge of the Sith. "You look back at Phantom Menace and it seems, not archaic, but not as good as what we just saw," says Kerns, 30, of Kansas City, Mo., attending with girlfriend Season Prewitt, 26. Producer Rick McCullum, who introduced the sneak peek, also shows fans a clip of how the fantastic computer generated images were created. "We've reached a whole new level of photo realism. In three or four years you won't be able to tell the difference between what's real and what isn't. Sadly, we won't be here," says McCullum. Posted 5:10 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

Luis Ramos, 29, of New York, strips his shirt to show off the Star Wars battle scene on his chest.


Packed like clones: This place is so packed, it's uncomfortable. You have to plan what events you want to see because otherwise you'd spend all day in line. The wait to get into the Star Wars store was four hours, and by lunchtime the line was closed for the day. And don't plan on seeing back-to-back events because it takes so long to move through the crowded corridors. By the way, it costs $110 for a four-day adult pass, or $40 per day. Oh, sure I'll whine and complain, but at the end of the day, it's all worth it for geeks like me. Posted 4:03 p.m. ET


Show the love with body art: In the midst of all the Star Wars fans, there is a small group that shows its devotion through body art. I met four New Yorkers with elaborate tattoos of Yodas, ships, battle scenes and other imagery. They plan to compete in a tattoo contest Sunday. "I have a passion for film," says Luis Ramos, 29. "And I got into tattooing with rock and roll. The next logical step was to combine the two." Posted 3:34 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY

This Star Wars character holds a sign that says "All items negotiable. Ask 4 Prices."


Something for everyone: Without a doubt, my favorite attraction at the convention is the merchandise room, where many a fan and his dollars are quickly parted on items such as Star Wars Legos (less than $20), authentic-looking lightsabers ($100) — even a full-size movie theatre-style popcorn machine ($1,099). Earlier I spoke to Steve Sansweet, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who is now the head of Lucasfilm fan relations and a big collector of Star Wars stuff. So much stuff in fact that he built a private 5,000-square-foot Star Wars museum in a barn at his California home. "It's a passion," he says. Posted 3:18 p.m. ET


'Star Wars' royalty: In the Star Wars fandom universe, Samantha Brotzen, 22, is a celebrity. The Long Island, N.Y., pre-law student gained her 15 minutes of fame when she appeared in a Conan O'Brien skit. Triumph the Insult Dog, poking fun at fans waiting in line for Attack of the Clones, interviewed Samantha and noted the guy-to-girl ratio was in her favor. "Not too shabby, huh? You have your variable pick of the litter of guys who have no idea how to please you," said Triumph. The skit soon took on a life of its own, posted on the Internet and is now immortalized on one of Triumph's DVDs. "At first it was cool, but I keep getting IMs (instant messages) and PMs (private messages) asking if I'm that girl, and I just say 'Um, yeah, now go away,'" says Brotzen. And contrary to Triumph's opinion, she's tried dating somebody outside the Star Wars universe, but he didn't have an interest in the conventions. "People say you should never date inside your fan club but now I am." That often leads to in-fighting. "The girls fight over the guys, the guys fight over the few good-looking girls. It's very high school," she says. For the record, yes, she has a boyfriend. And watch out guys, she also has a black belt in karate. Posted 2:02 p.m. ET


Spot the tots: There's nothing cuter than a Star Wars kid. Three-year-old Gabrielle Martin, decked out in a mini-Princess Leia outfit, is surrounded by reporters and photographers. "She's holding her own press conference," jokes dad, Justin, 32, of St. Louis. "For me and her, it's like a Disneyland trip. Disney and Star Wars, that's what she loves," says Martin. "I seen the movie at home on, um, DVD," says Gabrielle. Kristen and Eugene Marino spot the tot and place their own costumed baby, 18-month-old Amelia in an R2-D2 outfit, next to Gabrielle. "She loves to dance to the Star Wars music and she can do the heavy breathing," jokes Kristen Marino. Posted 1:40 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY


Gabrielle Martin, 3, talks on the phone with her grandmother at Star Wars Celebration III.


Let the whining begin: A cold, steady rain is falling in Indianapolis today. Celebration III isn't open yet, but hundreds of fans are already waiting in line, many without umbrellas or raincoats. Inevitably, the complaints have begun. On theforce.net, a popular Star Wars fan site, conventiongoers posted angry rants about long lines and high prices. Autographs from Star Wars actors range from $10 (Femi Taylor, Jabba's slave dancer in Return of the Jedi) to $30 (Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrissian). To get autographs from all 41 cast and crew members here would set you back $560! And that's not counting the $5 glossy photos. I'm sure somebody will make a bigger killing reselling this stuff on eBay. Posted 10:45 a.m. ET


Thursday, April 21:


Late-night munchies: Say what you will, Star Wars fans know how to party. The 501st, one of the largest Star Wars fan clubs in the world, has taken over the Ram restaurant and brewery. The entire bar is decorated with Star Wars paraphernalia. Yellow caution tape warns "imperial occupied zone." The menu items include Boba Fettuccine and Old Ben Kobe beef Burger. The club's 3,000 worldwide fans are mostly Stormtroopers who focus on the dark side. "The dark side just seems a lot more appealing," says founder Alvin Johnson, 36, of Columbia, S.C., mixed drink in hand. "Being evil sounds more fun. We play on this dichotomy of being the bad guy, whereas in real life 99% of us are really good decent citizens." Posted 2:40 a.m. ET


Let's wrap this thing up, people: The festivities continue with a lightsaber dual, followed by video comments from Samuel L. Jackson and others. Then it's time for the walk of Star Wars luminaries: Kenny Baker (R2-D2), David Prowse (Vader), Chewbacca, who towers over his castmates, and Jake Lloyd, who is no longer a boy. OK, this thing is running on and on. Like Luke Skywalker, I have no patience. Posted 11:06 p.m. ET


The Jedi council: The music is interrupted by klaxons and sirens. Red lights bathe the stage, announcing the arrival of Darth Vader who is surrounded by about 50 Stormtroopers. After a few pleasantries by Lucasfilm honchos, attendees at the opening ceremony are treated to a music video featuring never-before-seen footage of Revenge of the Sith and music of John Williams. From my seat, this looks like it could be the best of the prequels. The crowd apparently feels the same, many leaping to their feet in standing ovation. Australian actor Jay Laga'aia sang a parody of American Pie. Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) gives the crowd a summary of the weekend's events. A theater company that performs a cult classic play, The Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes, puts on a hilarious skit parody of Sith. They are followed by a one-man Star Wars performer. The piéce de résistance: The Star Wars Musical, performed by a George Lucas look-alike. Posted 10:50 p.m. ET


Now that's entertainment: Raise your lightsabers in the air like you just don't care. First up: the Mt. San Jacinto College-Menifee (Calif). Jazz Ensemble, performing Star Wars cantina-type music like Imperial Funk and Star Wars Salsa. Posted 9:45 p.m. ET


It's opening night at Star Wars: Celebration III: Outside the ballroom, 19-year-old Steve Fordham is entertaining the crowd in line (and himself) by posing for photos with swooning female fans. The handsome teen is a spitting image of actor Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker. "I never really thought about (the resemblance) until somebody showed me his photo in a magazine," says the Provo, Utah, native. He's hamming it up as Anakin's clone, right down to the scar on his right cheek. Fordham, who's current occupation is "Star Wars geek," would like to try his hand at modeling. The best perk of being Hayden's twin? He doesn't even hesitate: "Girls!" Posted 9:40 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY


Peter Venkman, meet Mace Windu: A few Ghostbusters' fans crash the Star Wars Celebration.


Wrong convention?: I ran into three dudes in costume. Not unusual, except for the fact that they're dressed like the cast of Ghostbusters. "We just wanted to be different," says Jacob Didot, 20, of Mooresville, Ind. Apparently, it worked, because a huge crowd has formed to snap photos of Didot and his pals, Jonathan Ray, 23, and Dustin Gardner, 22, also of Mooresville. "We love Ghostbusters," says Ray. Obviously. Posted 8 p.m. ET


Title IX even applies to Star Wars: I had this stereotype in my head that the convention gender ratio would be 100 guys for every female fan. Actually, it's more like 60/40. "This is my first trip to the United States," says Idoya Cortina of Spain, her curly blonde locks peeking out from under her Stormtrooper helmet. But, for the record, she says she first went sightseeing in New York City. Posted 6:59 p.m. ET


"We keep the guys in line," says Suzanne Sousa, 32, of New York. She and Michele Hadlow, a 35-year-old Forbes magazine photo editor, are manning a booth to promote NYLine.org. On Saturday, club members will begin their vigil outside Manhattan's Ziegfeld Theatre. (And unlike the misinformed fans in Los Angeles, the Big Apple fans are in line at the right theater.) This is Sousa's first time to a convention. "I've been a Star Wars fan for a long time but you have to go to a convention to see what it's all about." Posted 6:02 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY


Lynne Phillips, 29, of San Francisco opts for the Princess Leia gold bikini and and Shannon Mayfield, 39, of Houston, goes for Padme's white crop top.


Scantily-clad, Star Wars-style: I'm walking down a corridor when I spot about 50 people in a circle, snapping pictures of something I can't see. The crowd, mostly men, is giddy with delight. Is it Lucas himself? Nope. Two young, scantily-clad women. Lynne Phillips, 29, of San Francisco is dressed in Princess Leia's "slave girl" bikini from Return of the Jedi. Shannon Mayfield, 29, of Houston is wearing Padme's ripped, belly-baring outfit from Attack of the Clones. Why are they here? "For our love of Star Wars," they sing simultaneously. How do they know each other? "We met in line for Episode 1," they echo. Do they always speak in unison? "Yes!" Posted 5:38 p.m. ET


Future Sith lord: Collin Pertner is speechless upon meeting his idol, Boba Fett. His eyes open wide, his jaw is on the floor. Collin — wearing a Darth Vader T-shirt that reads "Who's your daddy?" — is 12 months old. "He can't say any movie lines yet but he can do the heavy breathing sounds," says mom Betsy Pertner, 26, who is accompanied by her husband Joe, 31. Posted 3:52 p.m. ET


We've located the rebel base!: I've finally arrived at the Indiana Convention Center. Outside, the line snaked around the block and there is an hourlong wait to enter. Inside, WOW! Thousands of fans, many in costumes. The first fan I meet is Kevin Peters of Nashville, decked out in a snowspeeder pilot uniform. It's his first Celebration convention. "I really wanted to be here, especially because it's the last Star Wars film," says Peters, 34. Posted 3:42 p.m. ET


By Cesar Soriano, USA TODAY


Betsy Pertner, 26, of Norwalk, Ohio, holds up her future Sith lord toddler, Collin, 1.


Commence ground attack!: I'm stuck in downtown Indy traffic. But I know I'm close. I've just been passed by a squad of Stormtroopers walking back from lunch.Posted 1:45 p.m. ET


Let's get this party started: It seems like half the people on my Chicago-to-Indianapolis flight are on the way to the celebration. A young couple is wearing his and hers Star Wars T-shirts. "And so it begins," the young man says at the sight of his fellow fans. A teen girl is reading the novel Revenge of the Sith. Frank Grant, 8, is skipping school to attend C3 with his dad, Will, of Rosell, Ill. "It's a little father-son bonding trip," says dad. Frank, wearing a Darth Vader shirt, is a big fan of the dark side. What's he most looking forward to seeing? "Stormtroopers!" he shouts. Posted 11:10 a.m. ET


Leaving on a jet plane: "The first transport is away! The first transport is away!" (The Empire Strikes Back). Ugh ... 7 a.m. flights are about as appealing as blasting Womp Rats on Tattooine. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is on my flight. Somehow I doubt he's going to C3. Posted 8:00 a.m. ET


Wednesday, April 20:


Following the Force: It was the summer of 1977, and my kid sisters and I were home on summer vacation. My mom was out of town, and no doubt we were acting up like a bunch of crazed, unruly Ewoks. When my father was finally fed up, he dragged us to the movie theater at the mall to watch a new sci-fi spectacle called Star Wars. I don't recall hearing much about the movie beforehand, so I didn't have any expectations.


Turn out the lights. Roll film. Cue the blaring trumpets of John Williams' iconic theme. The opening crawl. The first scene of a massive star destroyer chasing Princess Leia's wounded ship. Mouths agape. I knew this was something special. We sat through the film twice, back in the day when such things were permitted. I've probably seen the original three Star Wars flicks 50 times apiece. Easily.


Fast forward 28 years.


Soon, in a state far, far away, some 25,000-plus Star Wars fans will descend on Indianapolis for "Star Wars: Celebration III." The four-day, Lucasfilm-approved convention will feature trivia contests, memorabilia dealers, celebrity guests, parties, and yes, weird humans wearing weird costumes. It all culminates Saturday morning when George Lucas, will make a much-anticipated, albeit brief, appearance before his legions of fans. For those not lucky enough (or too embarrassed) to attend, we'll be blogging live from the convention beginning Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned. May the Force be with you. Always. Posted 8:35 p.m. ET



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