Celebration VI Day Two Diary by Bry Dean
I arrived at Celebration VI on Friday much earlier, and much more relaxed now that I was more familiar with the place. My first destination of the day was the What’s Coming From Del Rey panel, which started at 10:30am. The schedule promised a great lineup and it didn’t disappoint. The panel featured Pablo Hidalgo, Aaron Allston, James Luceno, Drew Karpyshyn, Jennifer Heddle, Shelly Shapiro, Troy Denning, and Timothy Zahn: The Dream Team of the Expanded Universe!
First up for discussion was the upcoming Star Wars Reads Day, which will feature several major publishing companies engaging in a major reading campaign across the US on October 6th. From there the panel discussed upcoming releases, and I jotted down a few main points:
- The Essential Reader’s Companion is the most incredible undertaking Erich (Del Rey editor) has ever done.
- The Old Republic: Annihilation an action-packed spy novel that features “a regular guy” instead of a Sith.
- Shelly Shapiro considers Star Wars: Scoundrels to be Timothy Zahn’s best book ever, and that’s saying a lot. We will also see an eBook short story prequel to Scoundrels entitled Winner Lose All.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be the final Coruscant Nights novel.
- Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi is a fully self-contained story.
- Star Wars: Crucible will be one big adventure that only the Big 3 can handle.
- Newly announced is a series of novels from the Classic Trilogy era tentatively entitled Rebels. There will be a Princess Leia novel by Martha Wells and a Luke Skywalker novel by Kevin Hearn. Release dates forthcoming.
- Another announcement: There’s a new post-Fate of the Jedi trilogy in the works entitled Sword of the Jedi by Christie Golden. Release dates forthcoming.
The panel then opened up a fan Q&A. Some highlights:
- James Luceno joked about using large words.
- Troy Denning calls Star Wars the greatest writer’s workshop.
- Aaron Allston told the audience to ‘make your future X-Wing novel wishes known!’
- There are no plans at this time to kill off the Big 3. At the moment George is not ready to see them go.
- Jennifer Heddle said regarding same-sex characters that discussions are being had, and to be on the lookout for more of them.
- The Paul S. Kemp duology is “super-secret”
- Shelly Shapiro said that continuing the Republic Commando series is a “maybe”.
- When asked about the Even Piell continuity blunder, Shelly Shapiro said: ‘What can you do? We’d like to pretend it’s not there’.
The panel then talked in-length about Leland Chee and all he does. From start to finish, it was a great panel. Afterward, I met Drew Karpyshyn and Erich Schoeneweiss, who are, of course, a couple of nice guys. From there I decided to tape a walkthrough of the exhibit hall. Be sure to check it out once I upload it; you might be on tape!
A major highlight for me was being able to meet Steve Sansweet, a fan favorite. His Rancho Obi-Wan Experience was a gem of the exhibit hall, and I’m glad he brought some of his treasures for fans to look at and appreciate. I happened to walk up just as StarWars.com was filming an interview with him, and the interviewer turned out to be Alison Haislip! It was neat to watch that take place. After about 30 minutes, I finally got the chance to meet Steve and talk a bit about his exhibit. After reading his column for years in Star Wars Insider, it was surreal to finally meet him in person.
Afterward, I got in line at the Dark Horse Comics booth where author John Jackson Miller was signing. I brought along my copy of Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories and got it signed! He’s another really nice guy; we chatted a bit about my review and some of his other publications.
During the rest of the day, I met many people and exchanged business cards. I nearly choked on my lunch, though, when I just happened to casually pass Anthony Daniels in one of the corridors. I’m sure I looked ridiculous just staring at him, as he walked my just oozing charisma, no doubt preparing himself mentally for his panel. I’ll never forget that moment.
My final event was watching Revenge of the Sith on the big screen there at the convention center. They replayed all six movies there, and they were hosted by Mary Franklin. Such a great atmosphere. Every time a character made a debut appearance in the movie, there were claps and cheers all around. To that audience, Revenge of the Sith was new again, and being there with them made the experience one of my Celebration highlights. After a late night, it was time to get some sleep, so I could start it all over again the next day.