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Star Wars Experience – Celebration Europe
by Mark Dermul aka The Autograph Bounty Hunter

July 13-15, 2007

I have to admit, I didn’t see all that I wanted to see at this show. Not for the lack of it at the show, but for the simple fact that I was unable to attend it all due to other commitments, not in the least to the autograph collectors who had ordered though the website.

FRIDAY 13th JULY 2007

I had not problem whatsoever to obtain my pink ‘STAFF’ pass and got easy access to most of the areas that I needed to go – but not all areas… That took another badge and I wasn’t that high up on the hierarchy at CE. Friday, I mostly spent in the Southgate Room where the Collecting Panels were held. Collectors from all over the world (including Spain, Holland Denmark , Sweden, Australia, UK, America, Canada, Mexico and Japan) gave interesting slideshows about collectibles in their respective countries. The panels were well-attended. I’m sure the limited edition pewter medallions that were given away at random times during these panels, had something to do with it. But still. It was a win-win situation. You’ll remember that I am the proud sponsor of the Belgian medallion.

In the meantime, on the dealer floor, it was obvious that some good deals were being done. Watto would have been envious. It was amazing to see so many people in one place. But little did I know at that time that this was only a precursor to a full house on Saturday and Sunday.

I spent a lot of time in the Autograph Hall for the obvious reason. My friends and I had divided the workload, but I still needed to get close to 130 autographs. Not a easy thing, when you see over half the Autograph Hall filled with people lining up to meet Mark Hamill – aka Luke Skywalker. And while it was a little bit crazy (Hamill arrived an hour late to start his signing session, tickets for his autographs were £85 a piece and people would have to be turned away for certain when he had to go on stage at 5 pm) it was worth every minute. I must congratulate Derek Maki of Coolwaters Prodcutions, Mr Hamill’s signing agent, and his crew of volunteers. They did a fan-tas-tic job, no doubt about it. They kept the crowd in line, even after having had to wait for more than three hours. And then Mark had to go for his on-stage performance and it was again left to the crew to appease the people who had been in line for so long. They did get a special ticket to come back the next day and be the first in line. Not an easy job, but they did it remarkably well. I have learned a thing or two from them.

On the Celebrity Stage, Mark Hamill was interviewed by Master of Ceremony Warwick Davis (and my hat off to you, Warwick, for pulling of that job so eloquently). Needless to say, the theater was completely full. Not one seat remained. The interview could be seen on two big screens next to the stage. Mark talked about his experience on set, the difficulties about filming in Finse (Norway) for The Empire Strikes Back and about his project Black Pearl, which will be a feature film sometime next year. Also shown were a couple of clips from Warwick’s behind-the-scenes film ‘Return of the Ewok’, in which Hamill has a couple of cameos. At the end of the show, Mark took questions from the audience.

Then it was off to the screen outside (thank the Maker for a dry evening), where Steve Sansweet endeared the hearts of a huge crowd with his lovely opening remarks (‘Star Wars is forever!’). Warwick Davis, Jerome Blake and Mark Hamill made another appearance here as well, to promote the screening of A New Hope that was to take place in open air, but the man everybody had been waiting for was obviously Ian McDiarmid – aka Emperor Palpatine! As a notoriously rare signer, I never expected him to sign any autographs. He upheld his reputation, much to my chagrin. Not for the lack of trying though. But his performance on stage was absolutely one of the highlights of the day. The next twenty minutes were filled with funny remarks, witty comebacks and a load of jokes about Star Wars in general and some golden protocol droid performer in particular. His standing ovation was certainly deserved.

The first day was concluded (the official part, I mean) with the screening of A New Hope in the open. We ended the day in the bar ‘Fox’, right next to the venue, where we redefined the meaning of ‘cocktail hours’.

Limited Edition pPewter Medallion Collecting Panels Belgiam Medallion Convention Floor
Celebrity Stage Mark Hamill and Master of Ceremony Warwick Davis Mark Hamill Outdoor Stage
Steve Sansweet Mark Hamill Ian McDiarmid – aka Emperor Palpatine Ian McDiarmid – aka Emperor Palpatine

- Day 2 - July 14, 2007 -      - Day 3 - July 15, 2007 -

-Click Here to Go Back to the Main SW Experience Page-

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