After a good journey with just a minor traffic-jam we arrived on Friday afternoon in Düsseldorf. Because I had the opinion that we would be inside enough over the following days, I ordered
my nephews to walk at the shores of the Rhine, where we enjoyed the nice spring weather with a lot of other peoples. So we just relaxed the rest of the day to save our energies for the con.
The Jedi-Con started at 13:30 on Saturday. It was easily to reach for us. The station for the suburban train is just around a 10 minutes walk from my father’s place. And the train just needs another 10 minutes to reach Düsseldorf Airport. The Maritim Hotel, the venue of the con, is right next to the Airport. We were right in time there to avoid being in a long line. But we still had to wait. The organisation this year was a little chaotic as it seemed. After getting our green plastic wristbands, that were the tickets for the three days, we stood in the next line: This time for the con-merchandise. After getting our stuff there, we walked to the room with the name Corellia. It was the place where all traders were. It was a little smaller than last time, but nevertheless a huge amount of Star Wars stuff. I bought a book by Constantin Gillies, who would also be the first panel guest today. (A smart move as I saw later, because I bought it for 7 Euros. After the panel the trader changed the price to 15!)
So there was the first panel of the day. In “real life” Constantin Gillies is an economics journalist for newspapers like Financial Times for example. But he is also a Star Wars fan since he was a kid and now searches for Star Wars stuff in everyday life. He had been at the con two years ago already and again his panel was interesting. You can see the powerpoint presentation to his panel on his site http://www.gillies.de/
. Just click on the button “Star Wars im Alltag” in the left sidebar. After his panel I managed that he signed my book.
The next panel was Richard LeParmentier. Yes, Admiral Motti himself. The only officer who contradicted Vader and lived afterwards. Richard came on stage with a cane, limping. His first words were: “I am not Dr. Gregory House.” He told us that he had a knee surgery recently, but will be okay soon again. He told us stories about how the set of the Death Star was build and that was just a tiny spot of the studio because most of Elstree Studios was for the life-sized model of the Millennium Falcon. He also told about the work with Dave Prowse, Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing. Next of Star Wars stuff he was also in the James Bond movie Octopussy. He disliked the movie, but said that he enjoyed a scene in which he was wrestled down by three of Octopussy’s female aides. By the way some trivia: His ex-wife played Ursa in the Superman movies.
The third panel of the day was Wanja Gerick. Nobody of you will ever heard of him, but we Germans hear
him, because he’s the German voice of Anakin in the dubbed Episode II and III as well as in the animated Clone Wars. He does also the voice for Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural. Wanja is a very nice guy. A Star Wars fan already before he became the voice of Anakin, it was his first time on a con and he had a blast. He told us about the work as a voice actor and how movies are dubbed. It was a very interesting panel.
The next guests were Cathy Munroe (Zuckuss) and Chris Parsons (4-LOM) from the famous bounty hunter scene in ESB. But Gods… those two were really boring. They talked about their costumes and that they did “real acting” back then. Not like the CGIs today. Guys, you had a minute of screen-time…
Then in the evening was the Opening Ceremony. The motto of the con was “Star Wars rocks”, so they (Robert Eiba, the president of the official German SW fan club and some others) did a great show. They made a SW version of Rocky Horror with taking the songs and putting new lyrics on it. It was just awesome. I hope that there will be some videos of it on youtube soon, so that I can show it. But here are the lyrics at least: http://www.forum.oswfc.de/viewtopic....d6a91b6e4c2442
. For all who knew Rocky Horror it was easy to sing along. After the musical they welcomed all guest stars on stage.
After the show was the last panel of the day: Steve Sansweet from Lucasfilm. Steve is a really nice guy and it’s not his fault: But there was nothing new in his news. He promised that we would see a “world premiere”. And what was it? A trailer to the Clone Wars episode with young Boba in it. Okay, we were worldwide the first who saw it (they showed it on WonderCon the next day), but that was not really exciting. Other than that he just showed trailers to “Star Wars in Concert” and “Force Unleashed II”. About the live-action TV show he just said that it’s in “advanced pre-production”. That was the same he had said two years ago. But with this panel the first day was over.
The second day started early at 10:00 with a panel “International SW Collectors” with Gus Lopez and Duncan Jenkins, two US collectors together with three others from Sweden, Belgium and England. They talked about what different kind of collectors there are like some just collecting only things about a certain character or just from a certain country. And how it was in the beginning for collectors in different countries.
The next panel was with Femi Taylor, who has been Oola in the original ROTJ as well as in the extended scene in the Special Edition. Even after all the years she still looks fantastic. And she told us that she’ll become 49 this month! I just can say: Wow. Femi is a trained dancer and singer, who has been in musicals like Cats for example. She told us a funny anecdote about her audition for ROTJ. They called her to the casting and she didn’t know for what kind of movie, just that she would play a dancer. And then she had to walk around in a bikini in front of the director and casting people, so she worried it would be a blue movie. Gladly it wasn’t. She also had stories from the set of Jabba’s palace and that Salacious Crumb annoyed her a lot. Today she’s retired from show business to have more time for her family. Some years ago she studied interior design and is designing kitchens now.
We skipped the next panels of Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez (Star Wars artists for trading cards) as well as the second panel of Zuckuss and 4-LOM for a lunch break.
The next one we watched was the one of Jake Lloyd and Matthew Wood. Matthew is a sound effects guy from Skywalker Sound/Lucasfilm and also the voice of General Grievous in the movie and Clone Wars series. He also speaks the battle droids in Clone Wars. It was good that Jake wasn’t alone on the stage, because he seems to be very shy and introvert. Nevertheless after some minutes on stage Jake showed that he has a very dry humour, which made us laugh a lot. After Episode I his parents moved away from LA with him to give him the possibility to grow up like a normal kid. And you can tell that they did well, because he’s very down to Earth. He’s at college now and wants to go back to show business, but not as actor but behind the camera as an editor. Matthew is also a nice guy. He started as computer game tester for Lucasgames with testing “The secret of Monkey Island”. Then he ended up in the Sound Effects department. He became Grievous by accident. They were testing different actors, changing their voices with a computer programme. One day Matthew played around with his own voice. Lucas listened to the recordings and was like “I want actor number 11”. But there were just 10 actors, so Matthew had to tell that it was himself.
After this panel there was the costume contest. The jury were Femi Taylor, Wanja Gerick, one “Imperial” from the German Garrison of the 501th, a “Jedi” from the Rebel Legion as well as the winner of a SW trivia game. There were different categories like single person or group. Like always the costumes were great. All put a lot of effort in them. But the winner was really the best: A General Grievous costume. And there was a “special price” for the youngest “contestant”: The maybe one year old baby of one the 501th members was dressed as Imperial Admiral. Here’s a youtube video, I found, with the part of the contest for single persons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP2iPwXTj6o
Then in the evening there was a big show named “Super Jedi”, a kind of SW version of shows like American Idol. Three candidates had to do a performance first and then some tasks to solve like a quiz and such stuff. Funny was as they should do a lightsaber battle with a Wii and it didn’t work because one always hit the wrong button, stopping the game. The show ended at 23:30 after finding the Super Jedi. Afterwards was a “Galactic Disco”. But we left because our last train home went at 23:55.
In a good mood we were waiting for the train. Okay, that’s not really something of the con but nevertheless I need to tell it. As we were waiting, my younger nephew searched our backpack for something to eat still and opened such a bag with Aoste mini salamis. So we sat at almost midnight at a train station underneath the airport, eating salami. And as my nephew remarked how weird that is, I said: “Düsseldorf Airport… never you’ll see another hive of scum and salami.” We laughed until we cried and it became our motto for the next days.
The third day started early at 10:00 again with a special panel “Now to Naboo – A Travelogue” by Mark Dermul. Mark is a fan from Belgium, who travels to the locations of the SW saga. He had been to Tunisia and Norway already and this time he was to Italy, to the Lake Como. He showed pictures of the locations, told us stories about his journey and gave tips for the ones who want to go there as well. Here is his homepage: http://www.markdermul.be/
The next event was an auction of rare collector’s items. Steve Sansweet was the auctioneer. There was some nice items among them like a great leather jacket from the Lucasfilm crew, crew t-shirts. Or more obscure ones like an Ewok toothbrush. I liked a Darth Vader piggybank from the 70’s, but wasn’t willing to pay so much money for it.
In the afternoon was another panel with Matthew Wood, who explained how they do the droid and Grievous voice. He brought a computer with the programmes. He also showed a promotion trailer with all kind of movies their company made the sound effects for. A very interesting panel.
Next was a talkshow with Jake Lloyd and Wanja Gerick. Some of the questions were the same than the other days, but because they are both very likable guys, it was a funny panel.
And then it was the time for the Closing Ceremony already again. All guests were on stage and together they sang and dance “the Star Wars again” (to the melody of Time Warp). Of course the audience had to sing and dance along. Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez did some solo songs and playing guitar too. Randy sang a love song to Padme, he had written himself. They were really good. Then it was time to say good-bye until in two years again.
The day after the con we slept a little longer, but not as long as we would like to have because we wanted to go to the Neanderthal that day. The Neanderthal is a little outside of Düsseldorf and is, how the name tells you, the site where they discovered the skeletons, which are named after the valley. There is an interesting museum there ( http://www.neanderthal.de/en/home/index.html
), that I can recommend. It is surrounded by a very nice nature protection area that is a good place for walks. And in the afternoon we spent some time in the city of Düsseldorf looking through book and CD stores.
The next day it was time to drive home again. Instead of the normal 4 ½ - 5 hours we needed 7 hours to reach home because of two accidents on the Autobahn. The first was on the opposite lane gladly. Five trucks had crashed into each other. Very nasty. For the recovery they had to block our side of the Autobahn as well. Then maybe 30 kilometers later was another accident. A trailer with a whole yacht on it had tilt over and was blocking the two lanes of our side. Great. We stood for another hour in a traffic jam. But then finally we arrived at home. Back to Epics…