A Padawn’s Star Wars Celebration Experience

I first heard about Star Wars Celebration (SWCA) many years back when I first attended WonderCon. I met a very excited con attendee who had shared that if you’re a Star Wars fan, Star Wars Celebration was the place to be! Although I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan, what really pulled me into the Star Wars universe was The Mandalorian. So I hadn’t considered going to this con until after watching the show and after the pandemic lockdowns.

If you’re not familiar, Star Wars Celebration is a four day Star Wars centric convention held in a different city each year. This year, it was held in Anaheim California, USA. For this post, I’ll share my experience as a first timer, e.g., Padawan, attending SWCA 2022 (SWCA22). Below I’ll discuss my original plans for the con, how my experience went for me, and my thoughts on attending the convention. With that said, let’s get into it!

Looking forward to visiting a galaxy far, far away. . .

This year, I could only attend 3 of the 4 days of the convention. That included Friday to Sunday convention days. With that said I was looking forward to catching one or more of the following events and activities:

  • The panels at the main stage, these included features from the new Obiwan Kenobi series, Mandalorian discussions between Jon Favreau, and a couple others.
  • Attending an origami class by Chris Alexander, creator of the Star Wars origami books and designs.
  • Wearing my Star Wars inspired cosplay and sharing it with other con-goers and cosplayers.
  • Getting celebrity photo ops with The Mandalorian case wearing my self-made Mando cosplay.
  • Checking out what the convention floor had to offer including the artist alley, exclusive merchandise and exhibits.

Reality vs. Expectation

I wasn’t able to complete all the items I had originally intended from my list above, but I wasn’t disappointed or didn’t feel anything was lacking from my overall experience. I already highlighted the biggest moments that happened to me during the con via our SWCA22 Con Stories post, which you can check out here. I did think it would be nice to outline some of the things that happened during my experience that changed from my plans.

I spent most of my time visiting different exclusive exhibits they had on the show floor:

  • The Mandalorian Experience
  • Rancho Obiwan Exhibit
  • Various fun and interactive show floor pop-up displays

Here are some photo highlights from each of the exhibits.

The Mandalorian Experience

Rancho Obiwan Experience

Show Floor Pop-up Experiences

Bad Batch Panel

I was actually able to attend one main panel at the con. It’s usually very difficult to get into the main panels due to attendee capacity restrictions. One con tip is to try to attend the large panels at the end of the convention. I have had a lot of great luck attending similar panels at other cons (e.g., Hall H at SDCC). The trick that worked for me was to try the standby line, which is different per con (some cons do not have any depending on the panel popularity and con management). See photos below as a point of reference:

As you can see, the lines are long! So, this time, I got lucky and was able to attend the Bad Batch panel on Sunday via the standby queue. The Bad Batch, if you are unfamiliar, it’s a Disney+ animated series that features a rag tag crew of “rejected” *(e.g, bad batch) clone troopers that were originally introduced in the Star Wars Clone Wars animated series. For this panel, they had the show runners and the voice actors discussing their experience on the show. They even had the voice actors do lines from an episode in season 1. See below:

What was even more exciting was that we got a sneak peak of the season 2 trailer before everyone else. The trailer is now publicly available, see below:

And the final surprise was that everyone who attended the panel was able was given an exclusive epic Bad Batch Season 2 poster for free! See below:

Photo Ops & Cosplay

One of the biggest highlights from my con experience was wearing my self-made cosplay at the con. On top of that, I had went all in and got celebrity photos with a handful of The Mandalorian cast.

I’ll be sharing more on the specifics of my cosplay build(s) in another post, to follow soon.

Plans for next time

If I ever get the opportunity to attend SWCA22 again, hopefully when it comes back to the US in about 2 years, I would probably keep a couple things in mind.

I would 100% attend all days of the con. This year I had some IRL work obligations which is why I only attended 3 days, but I definitely will consider going the full 4 days next time. As it turns out, a lot the big announcements and huge reveals happen on the first day!

For me, cosplay is now almost a must to get the complete con experience. . . But, wearing a comfortable Star Wars inspired cosplay that’s practical and also allows me to share my enthusiasm for Star Wars is probably the way I’m going to go in the future. Bulky Mando besker is difficult to move around in, and definitely limited what I was able to do on the day I wore it. TBH, it’s so much fun getting photos with other cosplayers in cosplay. But, it’s also great to be able to freely move around to explore the con.

As much as possible, I’d try to complete all the things on my list. But being flexible works. For example, The Mandalorian Experience was a total surprise exhibit, hence, not on my list at all! So, that first day I attended the con and went straight for it (see my con stories post here), just simply made my con. Again, being flexible works.

Final thoughts

Overall, Star Wars Celebration was an amazing experience. I didn’t expect it to go so well. There were so many activities, events, exhibits and things to do or see. I also met so many great people there. If you are able to attend this con, and are a HUGE Star Wars fan like I am, it’s definitely worth the experience.

I hope you enjoyed checking out my Padawn’s experience to attending SWCA22. I also hope this post may be helpful for any future SWCA con-goers. Thanks so much for following along. With that said, as always, may the Force be with you!

Did you attend Star Wars Celebration 2022? What did you enjoy from the con? We’d love to hear about it via the comments below.

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