Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017: Day 1 photos and foot woes

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Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017
Aftermath series author Chuck Wendig signs books for fans at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017.

What have I gotten myself into? As someone who’s never braved a major international convention personally, maybe Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 wasn’t the best starting point. And, possibly, doing a full day of Disney duty first was blister bait.

Either way, as Day One of the official Star Wars marquee event closes, I’m feeling like something that’s gone through a Death Star trash compactor. I know I’m not alone …

We missed Thursday’s keynote “40 Years of Star Wars” panel, which featured surprise guests Harrison Ford and George Lucas (NBD) joining Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Skywalkers themselves, Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen, along with Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams.

Of course, there was a touching tribute to the late Carrie Fisher, which you can watch below. Experiencing this live along with hundreds (thousands?) of fans must have been something truly special:

There were no bombshell announcements, other than yesterday’s late-breaking news of an animated series called Forces of Destiny that will span the many eras of Star Wars and focus heavily on the Saga’s heroines.

The true grist for the rumor mill is sure to come Friday with the Last Jedi (Episode VIII) panel featuring Kennedy and director Rian Johnson along with who-knows-who-else and, presumably, the long-awaited first trailer for the December release.

Would I be better off at home watching the live feed? Maybe, and I may end up doing so Friday from here, Wi-Fi willing, or in an overflow screening room. Who knows? But I did get what I thought was a great collection of photos from the main convention floor, which was packed — but only after I made it inside through absolutely insane lines around the Orange County Convention Center. (Media passes to SWCO aren’t supposed to get you past those, but after several hours a security official noticed my badge and pulled me out of the queue, so I was spared the full brunt of that particular experience — mostly. And convention staff I spoke with later did not seem to approve.) We’ll see if Friday’s any better — or worse. As I prepared to post this, Celebration organizers sent out an alert that additional entry points will be added on Friday: “Entrance to the show on Thursday morning was not as fast or as smooth as we wanted it to be and for that we are very sorry. We always try to strike a balance between safety and convenience and in that spirit we made some changes that we hope will make Friday and the rest of your Star Wars Celebration experience much better.”

I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me …

Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017: Day 1 photos